THEY WILL ASK thee as to what they should spend on others. Say: "Whatever of your wealth you spend shall [first] be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof." - Al-Baqarah (2:215)

Friday, 11 April 2008

Getting hold of Kak Som/Meeting a new volunteer

It has been about a week since I was assigned to be Kak Som’s buddy. During my group meeting last Tuesday, I took the opportunity to ask for more details from one of my group members who happened to be on clinic duty during Kak Som’s hospital appointment. I wanted to know who accompanied Kak Som to the hospital as it could give me some clues on her family’s acceptance of her HIV.

Too bad I couldn’t really get the info I thought I could get. According to my colleague, Kak Som actually came in an ambulance accompanied by 2 nurses from the district hospital where she was warded. So no, she was not accompanied by any family members. As such, the only info we got on her family was based on whatever she told the volunteers on duty. And sometimes the info obtained during the first contact at the HIV clinic may not be the whole truth as the PLWHAs may still hide the facts.

Although Kak Som didn’t talk much during the first contact at the HIV clinic, she did agree to the idea of being assigned a buddy and she did allow us to call. However, the number given was a hand phone number supposedly belonging to her daughter who stays with her.

Yesterday I decided to give Kak Som a call. I thought Kak Som’s daughter would answer the call and so I’d introduce myself to the daughter before I asked to speak to Kak Som. But when I called, a guy answered. Apparently the hand phone belonged to Kak Som’s son-in-law who seemed quite reluctant to talk when I introduced myself to him. I don’t blame him really, I don’t think any of Kak Som’s family members knew about us since none of them accompanied Kak Som to Ipoh GH last week.

All I managed to find out from the SIL was that Kak Som was still warded at the district hospital. So I didn’t get to speak to Kak Som. And I didn’t manage to get much info from the SIL either as he was reluctant to talk. Maybe he wasn’t sure he should be talking about his mom-in-law’s HIV status with a stranger… maybe he wasn’t comfortable having a mom-in-law who has HIV… maybe there were other people around him at that time… I don’t know for sure.

If Kak Som stays nearby, I would probably go and visit her at the hospital. But the town where she stays is quite far, so I guess I will have to give her some time and maybe call again when she gets discharged from the hospital. Or the other option is to check with SN when is Kak Som’s next appointment in Ipoh and I will try and meet Kak Som then.

Later yesterday, a fellow volunteer called me up to ask if I was free to meet up with someone who’s interested to become a volunteer. Usually we’d have an informal chat with any potential volunteers before accepting them into our organization. Not that we’re choosy people, but given the nature of our voluntary work, there are many things we need to consider.

Anyway, since I was free, I agreed to meet up with this lady, together with the colleague who called me up. The lady is a retiree, and both my colleague and I almost fainted when she told us she’s 69. Thank goodness before we fainted she managed to correct herself – she’s actually 59. Tak jadi pengsan! If she was indeed 69, before anything else we’d want her to give us a talk on “Staying Young”!

Well, my first impression is that she’s suitable for the job. But we will have to start bringing her around with us during our house visits to give her exposure to our work. Then only we'll know for sure if she is indeed suitable.

I had to go through the same thing when I first joined...


Umi Kalthum Ngah said...

DDearest Pi,

Assalamualaikum warahmatullah,

I read in one of your entries that you hate politics....

Well! Politics is inevitable. It means governing and administrating, be it organizations such as Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM) for me, and Buddies for you..

Politics was what our beloved Rasululullah (peace be upon him) did when he established the first Islamic Community at Madinah Munawwarah...

How else can we ensure that systems are in accordance to the syariah for the betterment of mankind if not through politics?

Only thing is, as everything else, it is either used or abused..

So, we must set a good example..i.e. to emulate the universal principles laid down by our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him)..

Pi Bani said...

Wa'alaikum salam warahmatullah.

When I said I hate politics, I meant politics in its present context - be it politics in political parties, politics in the office, or politics in whatever organisations. And politics in its present context, at least to me (others may differ), is:
- lots of abuse
- lots of cakap depan lain cakap belakang lain
- lots of backstabbing
- lots of mau nama tapi tak mau kerja
- lots of whatever else that is not in accordance with what our beloved Rasulullah SAW established.

You know why I'm comfortable with Buddies? Because although there is still a need for governing and administrating, there is much less politicking. Probably because ours is such a low profile organisation.

Yes, set good examples we must; but sometimes what is good to us may not be good to others. So I will just do what I think is good... lantak pi lah (Pi jugak kena lantak!) apa orang lain nak kata. Janji hati mau ikhlas... no udang di sebalik batu, no cicak di sebalik frame... ;)

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

oh, ok i missed not just the LRT, the buses as well. macam lama pulak tak masuk that you've already got a new client. ok not exactly a news since you already mentioned about Kak Som in your previous posts.

you said that Kak Som might have been infected more than 12 years ago but my question is, for 12 long years, didnt she feel any different in her body system? i mean, tell kak Pi, how exactly does one feel when he/she's diagnosed with HIV? ada physical pain ke apa ke...

mintak penjelasan, terima kasih.

Pi Bani said...

One won't know for sure he/she has HIV unless he/she does a blood test. Memanglah the virus attacks your immune system, but then again, orang yang tak ada HIV pun kadang-kadang memang selalu sakit kan? So, if they don't suspect that they would get infected by HIV, bila sakit ke apa ke, they'd think it's just sakit biasa.

Some tu, bila dah sakit teruk baru buat blood test then baru tau depa ada HIV... and when mentally they cannot accept it, physically they get worse as well.

Some pulak, segar bugar je tak rasa apa, pergi test for pregnancy. Nowadays asal pregnant they will definitely test for HIV as well no matter who you are. Then only they find out they're infected. Dari good news (pasal pregnancy) terus jadi bad news (pasal HIV).

So I guess my answer to your question is, NO way to tell unless the person knowingly memang exposed to activities which could get him/her infected. (itu pun boleh syak ajelah...)