I was on clinic duty again this morning. As I got into the hospital compounds, I saw 2 hospital security and 2 policemen at the parking lot near the specialist clinic. Apparently some idiot couldn’t find a nearby parking space, didn’t want to park any further and so simply parked the car in the middle of the car park – blocking at least 4 properly parked cars from getting out. I didn’t see the idiot who parked the car there, but I sure hope they towed the car away! Baru padan muka. Kalau ya pun nak cari jalan mudah, janganlah menyusahkan orang!
At the HIV clinic, there were supposed to be 3 new cases to be referred to us today, but only one turned up – an ex-IVDU who is undergoing methadone treatment. His wife, who had been tested negative, came along. They don’t have any children, and they seemed to be coping well.
That was it. Nothing exciting at the clinic today.
Remember I had planned to visit Lin before my Kuching trip but ended up visiting Sofie instead because Sofie had to be warded at the hospital? Well, yesterday I finally visited Lin to deliver this month’s supply of groceries for her family. I had taken the supply of groceries from the minimarket on Monday afternoon as I planned to visit Lin the next morning before going to my office. I figured if I visited in the afternoon, she’d be at her pisang goreng stall and it would be a problem for her to carry all the stuff back home on her motorbike.
So yes, I went to visit her in the morning. The house was quiet. Rahim her son was in school, her daughter Marlia was asleep (afternoon session in school) while Lin herself was just lying down in bed waiting for her alarm to go off at 9 am – the time for her to take her ARV medication.
I then found out that Lin is no longer selling pisang goreng. It wouldn’t have been a problem had I visited in the afternoon after all.
So what happened? Why did Lin stop selling pisang goreng at the stall?
You see, during my groceries delivery to Lin last month, she was told by the doctor to have a good rest for one week due to her swollen wrist. Well, after that when she wanted to start selling again, the guy renting the space (Lin just tumpang his stall without paying any rent) told her he wanted the space back as he himself wanted to sell more than just drinks. There wasn’t much Lin could say as the stall wasn’t hers. So she went to tumpang another stall nearby for her pisang goreng business.
Then all the badmouthing started. The guy (the one who originally allowed Lin to use his drinks stall to sell pisang goreng) started saying out loud, “Bukan aku yang halau dia” and whatever other stuff implying that Lin was the “tak mengenang budi” type. Then he himself started selling exactly the same stuff that Lin was selling – pisang goreng, cucur udang etc.
I think what probably happened was that with Lin selling pisang goreng at his stall, more customers went to his stall. He was probably thinking that if he starts selling pisang goreng himself, he’d earn more income. So he told Lin he wanted the space back, without telling her what he intended to do. What he didn’t expect was that Lin managed to get another space nearby so soon before he managed to start anything at his stall. So he started badmouthing her, and immediately started selling the same stuff himself.
Not being the kind who wanted to get into trouble with other people, Lin gave in. It’s difficult if there is a competitor with a PhD (perasaan hasad dengki) in such a small business. And Lin didn’t want to risk the prospect of the guy finding out about her HIV and starts spreading the story to all and sundry.
So for the moment Lin is no longer selling pisang goreng at the usual place. She’s looking around for another place for her business, away from the PhD guy. But she may need to postpone her plan. Her appointment with the O&G specialist recently had confirmed her fibroid problem and the doctor had set a date for her to be operated in one month’s time. If Lin is to start her stall now, she will need to take a break in such a short time. So might as well settle her fibroid problem first.
Now Lin worries about the hospital payment. She asked the doctor for a black & white on the cost to be incurred so she could start asking around for financial assistance to cover her hospital bills. But the doctor told her not to worry about it – just go ahead with the operation and worry about payment later. “Bukannya mahal pun, tak sampai seratus”, added the doctor. Even tak sampai seratus is a whole lot of money for people like Lin, especially now that she has no source of income other than our Sponsorship programme for her children’s schooling, and the alimony from her ex-husband (which doesn’t necessarily gets paid on time). Thank goodness, this year she is getting the supply of groceries so at least she doesn’t have to worry about her children not having anything to eat. Judging from what I had delivered to her for the past 2 months – they should have enough supplies for the whole month while waiting for my next delivery. She’d better pray for my health as well so that I can ensure the groceries are delivered on time!
I told Lin not to worry about the hospital payments. There is ample time for me to arrange whatever documentation needed for her to be exempted from payment, just like the letter we managed to get for Halimah recently.
Lin’s only worry now is her house rental and utilities. No business this month, and she may need some time after her operation to recuperate before she can start thinking about how to generate income for the family. But ever since I knew Lin, never once did she attempt to beg or borrow any money… unlike “you know who” who kept on trying despite saying that “Kak Zah tu garang!”
Whatever it is, I hope Lin will be able to cope. I will keep a close watch on her.