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)

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Rose's family

As mentioned in my previous posting, Jee called me while I was at the highway on my way to KL on Saturday. Somehow she has the tendency to call me while I'm driving. The last time she called some time back, I was on my way to Seremban.

Let me just give you some background about Jee and her family. Jee is Rose's younger sister. You may read about Rose here and here. From my earlier postings on Rose, you'd notice that Rose's family had not been too supportive of her. But towards the final weeks of her life, 2 of her sisters, Jee and Bibah did try to help her out as much as they could. Bibah, Rose's immediate older sister, was the one closest to Rose.

When Rose was informed by the doctors that her cancer had spread, Bibah was the one Rose confided in. Rose even gave my number to Bibah, telling her to call me should anything happen to her. During the final 2 weeks when I used to help Rose in and out of the hospital, I'd usually bring Rose to the homes of either Bibah or Jee, since they both stayed in Ipoh. Rose herself stayed in another town.

When Rose died, Bibah called me early morning to inform me about it. I went to their family home where Rose's body was brought to and stayed on until her body was brought to the Muslim cemetery. Noticing how close Rose was to me during her final weeks, Bibah and Jee always sought my opinion, particularly on the future of Rose's children. They were impressed that I knew almost A - Z about Rose, when I only knew her for less than 3 months. Little did they realise then that all Rose needed was a listening ear.

During the first few weeks after Rose's death, I was still actively in touch with Bibah and Jee to settle some matters. When the family, after asking the children themselves, informed me that the children's paternal family would be their new guardians, Bibah and Jee brought me to see the children's grandmother to enable me to assess the family, whether or not they needed financial assistance for the kids.

I was treated as a family friend after that. Either Bibah or Jee would call me from time to time to ask me how I was doing, and they would also invite me each time they had any kenduris or birthday parties. So I do still get updates about Rose's children even though Rose is no longer around.

What Rose never told me was that they had an older brother, Rosli, who was also HIV positive. No, Rose did not get HIV from her brother and neither did the brother get it from her. They were infected from totally different sources. Rose got the virus from her late husband (and only found out about it after his death) while Rosli was an IVDU.

When Rose died, she had quite a stack of HIV medication at home - my guess is she was not too compliant in taking her medication, especially after having to get treatment for her cancer (of the cervix). Rosli, who found out about his HIV infection while he was in a pusat serenti, was reluctant to go for proper check ups at hospitals. When he found out about the stack of HIV medication left untouched by Rose, he actually wanted to take the ARV medication for himself, whenever he felt unwell. He thought the medication could be shared just like any other medication for flu and cough maybe, and that they were only to be taken when he felt unwell. That's the trouble when you assume things instead of consulting the right person.

It was then that Bibah and Jee decided to consult me and tell me about their brother. I told them not to let their brother take Rose's medication without consulting the doctor. To be on the safe side, Bibah gave the whole stack of medication to me, so I could return them to the hospital.

After a while, the sisters managed to coax their brother to go for proper check up at the hospital. I helped to arrange for the referral letter and was even there when the sisters brought him to see SN for the first time before setting the date of his first appointment with the doctor. SN did advise him then that if he wanted to start taking medication, he should stop taking drugs (he was still on drugs then).

Rosli did go for the first appointment on his own. But you know how it is at general hospitals, you can't expect to wait for just half an hour before your name/number is called. It was quite a long wait at the hospital, and Rosli simply was a patient without enough patience. That was the one and only appointment he went for. There wasn't much the sisters could do for him when he didn't want to help himself.

Last Saturday, Jee called me seeking my advise. Rosli's condition had deteriorated or in Jee's own words... "Dia dah teruk." Jee asked if they should take him to the hospital. I told them that if they weren't sure of what else to do, just bring him to the hospital. He was too weak to refuse. Given his condition, there may not be much the doctors could do - it was already too late for that; but maybe they could help reduce his pain.

On Sunday, a call came in from Bibah's number. The moment I saw her number, I knew it had something to do with Rosli. True enough, Bibah called to inform me that Rosli had passed away - the second HIV-related death in the family although the HIV infection of the 2 siblings had nothing to do with each other.


Kak Teh said...

Al Fatehah. It must be hard on the family but having people like you around - their burden is lighter. At least they know who to look for. You've got strong shoulders and a sympathetic ear, Pi Bani!

Anonymous said...

Komen Pak Malim, kucing ray yg alim.

Pi Bani,

Anda adalah seorang yg berhati mulia, kata Pak Malim sambil meminum air halia. Saya jarang dpt berjumpa seorang yg berhati mulia seperti anda, kata Pak Malim sambil memeluk panda.

Pi Bani said...

Kak Teh:
I was glad that at least the sisters did learn a lesson from what Rose had to go through earlier on. This time at least the brother did get enough family support - unlike Rose who only began getting family support during the last few days of her life.

Pi Bani said...

Pak Malim:
Hati mulia tak mulia tu biar Tuhan adili, kata Pi Bani sambil makan koko jelly. Tapi kalau fardu kifayah kita tak laksana, tak ke kita sama-sama berdosa? tambah Pi Bani sambil melihat masa.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

And you are one hell of a gal, Pi. May God bless you..

mamasita said...

What a sad did Rose tahu she got HIV from her husband?Kesiannya.These adikbradik sounded like a happy family.What brought the brother to take drugs?Kesian betul.Very tearful.

Pi Bani said...

Kak Puteri:
Dengan Rosli ni I have to admit I tak terasa sangat because I only met him twice, tu pun pasal nak tolong fixkan dia punya hospital appointment. Dengan Rose dulu I dah memang rapat dengan dia when she died, so impactnya lebih sikitlah.

Pi Bani said...

You can click on the link provided for Rose's story. If you follow that story, you'd know that it wasn't all well in the family. It was only in the late stages of Rose's life did the family get together to give her the support -too little too late. Am not sure how and why the brother got involved in drugs though. I was close to Rose and got her to luahkan isi hati to me, but her brother's a different story altogether.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

Innalillah wainnailaih rojiun.

a sad case lah. very tragic.

to be honest, i cant imagine Rosli's condition before he breathed his last. mintak penerangan secara general sikit kak Pi. terima kasih.

Pi Bani said...

Nak bagi penerangan macam mana... I sendiri pun tak pi tengok dia - cuma communicate dengan adik-adik dia je. I don't really know what opportunistic disease/diseases yang dia ada, especially since dia tak pi proper check up kat hospital, but by the sound of it, my guess is he probably had TB and hepatitis.

Zawi said...

The blame game can never ends. Despite the capital punishment meted to drug peddlers, the profit is so lucrative that people are willing to take the risk to delve into this dangerous business. Even spic and span Singapore cannot rid itself from the same menace.
There will be more Roslis to cross your path in this life.

Pi Bani said...

Pak Zawi:
The problem is there are too many Roslis out there. Despite drugs being "musuh no. 1 negara" - there are still so many of our youngsters (and a few not so young ones too) who treat this so-called no. 1 enemy as their good friend.

And so the blame game continues...