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)

Thursday, 4 September 2008

New clients, old clients...

When I woke up for sahur yesterday morning, I noticed there was a message on my hand phone that I had not read. The message was from the telco informing me that there was a missed call from a particular number at 4 pm the day before. For whatever reason that call didn’t even get through; otherwise I would have noticed the missed call on my hand phone and if the number was registered in my phone I would have immediately known who the caller was. But because the missed call notice came in the form of a message from the telco, only the number appeared. The number looked quite familiar but I couldn’t for the life of me remember whose number it was.

I had to look through the whole list of phone numbers listed in my hand phone and finally found it – it was the number of the couple referred by SN to me in July. I had called them earlier and they promised to call me the next time they were coming to Ipoh.

So yesterday morning I returned the call. The couple was on their way to the Ipoh GH for their appointment. Ahah, so they’d be in Ipoh – a good chance to meet up and get all their details! But I was not on clinic duty yesterday and after having to take so many days off from work before this to take care of my mother, I felt bad about leaving the office just to meet up with them. Since 2 of my fellow volunteers were on clinic duty yesterday, I told one of them to meet this couple and get all their particulars. I also gave my colleague’s number to the couple so they could contact him.

Today I went to my NGO center. My colleague is usually there every Thursday afternoons so I took the opportunity to find out more details from him on what transpired the day before at the clinic.

Yes, my colleague got to meet the couple… Samsul and Suhaila – a young couple with a 4 year old son. Suhaila doesn’t work, while Samsul does odd jobs to feed his wife and son. Their own families have deserted them due to Samsul's past drug addictions and especially so after they found out about the couple’s HIV infection.

According to my colleague, the couple was quite reluctant to talk as there were so many people around and they asked if we could visit them at home so they could be more open. Well, they stay in the same town as Nuri and Ani; so maybe some time soon I may just visit them all in one day.

My colleague also told me that they (the 2 buddies who were on duty yesterday) had decided to assign me to another new client – a rather “peculiar” case. I was thinking… what lah these people, any complicated or peculiar cases they’d always pass to me!! Anyway, the new client is an orang asli lady in her 60’s who came to the clinic yesterday with her step-daughter. As to why my colleagues mentioned the case was rather peculiar, they said it was because the lady seemed to just sit there like a zombie. It was her step-daughter doing much of the talking.

“Are you sure she wants a buddy? Maybe she’s reluctant to have a buddy… that’s why she didn’t talk much?” I asked my colleague.

According to my colleague, it was the step-daughter who requested that a buddy be assigned to the mother. Ah well, I guess I will just have to give it a try then. Coincidentally, this lady stays in an orang asli settlement in the same town as Nuri, Ani and Suhaila, so I guess I don’t really have to go out of the way. Just visit them all at one go! The problem now is just to find the right day…

Oh, my colleague also told me that he met Yah at the clinic yesterday. Yah actually came to the hospital together with Mr Darling! Aiyo… I thought Yah’s days with Mr Darling were over! First Mr Darling… then with the engineer whom she caught red-handed in a hotel room in Kelantan with another woman… then I was told Yah was flirting around with an army guy… and now she’s back with Mr Darling??? Ayoma... ini kasanona getting worse lah! Ahh, lantak pi dia lah… I malas want to pikir already…

Anyway, Mr Darling told my colleague that he just went to visit his ex-wife Lin at the ward. Huh? I thought Lin was already discharged? I did send her a message earlier but there was no reply. According to Mr Darling, his ex-wife “dah teruk”. Alamak, I was thinking the worse when he mentioned that. I must, must, must make it a point to visit her. So I called the daughter’s number. The daughter is back at the nursing college where’s currently studying. She told me her mother was still in the same ward, but a different bed.

I headed right to the hospital after I left my NGO center. As I entered the ward, I saw Lin’s other daughter (the one who’s studying overseas but is back in Malaysia for holidays – I met her earlier during the family day trip). Thank God the daughter was there. If Lin was alone I wouldn’t have recognized her!! She looked totally different! No wonder Mr Darling said “dah teruk”. Her skin, her bloated face, her swollen lips… probably Mr Darling thought Lin was already at her “end stage”.

Apparently Lin had just started her HIV medication a few weeks before and all those symptoms were due to medication allergies. According to the daughter, the ID specialist had already confirmed that Lin’s condition was due to medication allergies. So for the time being they have told Lin to stop taking those medications and wait until her condition gets better before they start giving her a new combination of antiretroviral drugs.

You see, there are various combinations of antiretroviral drugs. Some people are allergic to a certain type of drug while some may be allergic to another type of drug. Some may not be allergic at all to any of the drugs. But they won’t be able to tell unless and until they take the medication. That’s why for those who just started medication, the doctors would ask them to come back for another appointment within 2 weeks. Usually by then, if their bodies could not tolerate the drugs, it would show.

Well, Lin did come for her appointment after 2 weeks. At that time, there seemed to be just some minimal swelling around the eyes, but it didn’t look too serious. So she was asked to continue with the medication. Sometimes they may get some effects initially but will gradually go away. But after a while Lin started getting very high fever, her skin started getting very itchy, her feet started swelling, her face and lips looked so bloated; she couldn’t open her eyes and neither could she open her mouth. When she sought the help of her brother to bring her to the hospital, she was actually hoping she’d be warded as she couldn’t take it anymore. When I visited her today, her condition had actually improved, but still, I could not have recognized her if not for her daughter who was there with her.

The daughter has been by her mother’s side ever since Lin was admitted. Lin’s younger children now temporarily stays with their grandma (Mr Darling’s mother). Yes, Lin “looks” terrible right now - I bet even Mr Darling has second thoughts about wooing her back (oooh, I’m bad!). But Lin herself admitted she’s feeling much better. It may still take some time before she gets back to her normal self but hopefully with that positive attitude of hers, she’d be able to go home soon enough. Before raya I hope!


Nightwing said...

Helo Kak,

Sorry to hear about Lin's allergy to the medication.

Hope she will get well soon. It is good that the daughter is by her side.

You have a good weekend now...take care and God bless you and your family.

Pi Bani said...

Yep, thank goodness the daughter (who by the way is studying medicine) is back home on holidays.

You have a great weekend too!

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

eh kak Pi, how do you think the orang asli lady got infected huh? i mean, no disrespect to her but she's already 60. i have some thoughts up me head. could it be that she's a junkie?

Pi Bani said...

I pun tak jumpa dia lagi so I wouldn't know. She may be 60 but she may have been infected long ago without even knowing it. Can be anything. So no, am not gonna assume anything until I meet her... itu pun if I can manage to get her to talk la!

Daphne Ling said...

Oh Kak Pi,

There's this hardware shop in Kampung Simee which was recommended by my friend for 'hopeless' cases...

It's called "Pukul kuat-kuat Sampai Mati Sdn Bhd".

I think Yah needs that to cure her casanona-ness...


Pi Bani said...

Aiya, if I send her to that shop nanti I pulak kena send to another shop... "Hukum Gantung Sampai Mati Sdn Bhd"... tak mau lar!

U.Lee said...

Pi Bani, you never fail to make me smile like kerang masuk kwali. Ha ha....I love that, "casanona"...first time I read it.
Pi Bani, you are hilarious! Wa, I bet your cheritas ada banyak ada chillie padi and hot pepper, huh?

Must have coffee with you...ha ha.
Happy Ramadan, Pi Bani, Lee.

Pi Bani said...

Ya lah... you ramai girlfriend you're a casanova. This one female version casanona lah!

Salt N Turmeric said...

Poor Lin. I hope she'l recover soon and gets to celebrate raya with the kids.

Aduh Pi. Sorang pukul kuat2 and u pulak hukum gantung. hahahah.

Pi Bani said...

When I visited Lin, although rupa dia masih teruk, dia dah mula recover, so yes, insyaAllah she'll be able to celebrate Raya with the kids.

As for pukul kuat2 and hukum gantung... ni dah kira tak tau apa nak buat dengan Yah la ni... :)