I was on clinic duty again today. Anticipating the difficulty of finding a parking space, and in view of the fact that my car was due for servicing, I decided to send my car to the service center, and then walk an extra few hundred meters to the hospital. With a volleyball game coming up on Saturday next week and the charity run the week after, I figured I’d need the extra exercise as well. As a matter of fact, last week when I went to visit Ijam at the ward, I actually used the stairs all the way up to the 6th floor. (Oh, I didn’t really use the stairs for the exercise, but only 2 lifts were working and there were soooo many people waiting!) I doubt any kilos were shed though… :)
Anyway, there weren’t many new cases referred to us today. There was only one new case, that of a 55 year old single man. A positive thinking man, but either totally unaware of how HIV spreads, or simply in denial of how he got infected. He claimed he must have got HIV through dusts… oh dear…
Before that one lady, Helena, a long lost client, came into the room. My colleague who was assigned as her buddy, had been trying to get hold of her, but other than calls that didn’t get through, visits to her house showed that she no longer lived there. We then lost touch with her. Before this, even when we were in touch with her, it was so difficult to get her to go for her hospital appointments. She didn’t even bring her children for tests, not even the youngest one, who was still a baby. Now the youngest is already 4. I was rather surprised when she told me today that while her 3 younger children were tested negative, her eldest daughter, 9, was the one infected. And the girl had not started medication yet because it was only recently that she started coming back for her appointments. I reminded her not to miss any more appointments. If she doesn’t care about herself, at least give her daughter the chance to access proper treatment!
Later, while I was chatting with my fellow volunteers, a familiar cute looking guy walked in with SN. Guess who? Remember D, the maknyah whom I visited at a district hospital last year? Yep, it was him! In full men’s (uh, boy’s?) attire. And he looked a whole lot better, definitely much better than when I saw him at the district hospital. And of course, he didn’t seem as schizophrenic as he seemed back then. He was even able to come alone, without his mother accompanying. I asked if he remembered me and he did. I asked how he was and it was SN who jokingly answered, “Kalau dia tak sihat, tarik je telinga dia!” I then reminded him to make sure not to miss any appointments, and immediately SN said, “Tapi engkau jangan datang pakai skirt pulak tau. Akak lari nanti!”
I was truly happy to see his condition improve by leaps and bounds. Alhamdulillah.
After a while SN came in again, this time with a nurse from the unit where blood tests are done. They asked if I had Sharifah’s number because the number in SN’s record is the old number. In case you have forgotten, Sharifah is Cek Mek’s mother. Sharifah had gone for her blood test earlier, but had left her appointment letter there. They figured Sharifah wouldn’t have gone too far yet, so they asked me to call her and get the letter. I tried calling a few times but my calls were not answered. Then I tried calling Kak Ana, because usually if Sharifah comes over for her appointment, she’d stay over at Kak Ana’s place so she could be with her baby as well. Even Kak Ana didn’t answer my call. Finally I just decided to send a text message to Kak Ana. Within minutes, Sharifah called back. They were still within the hospital compounds. At the cafeteria to be exact. So I told her to go back to get the letter.
There were no more cases referred to us after that, but SN did want to see me to discuss the possibility of sending volunteers to the Taiping HIV clinic. Dr Ker, the specialist in charge, goes there every 4th Tuesday of each month and to Teluk Intan every 2nd Tuesday. She could see the support from Buddies in Ipoh GH, and from Pusat Komuniti Intan in Teluk Intan, but there is no support group in Taiping hospital. Dr Ker mentioned that there is an organisation willing to chip in financially for that purpose, but they still need people to run the support service. I told Dr Ker I may discuss the matter further in our next board meeting. Maybe what we can do initially is to take turns to go there (it’s only once a month anyway) and at the same time rope in volunteers from that area. After a while, after they are already well trained, we can leave the Taiping HIV clinic to the Taiping volunteers! Well, let’s see how it goes…
We also discussed about Zali. Remember Zali, the guy whose wife purportedly left him and the kids? As I mentioned here, although at first we believed his story, later on due to inconsistencies in his stories, we figured it wasn’t that the wife didn’t want to take the kids, it’s just him not wanting the kids to go to the wife, despite the fact that his wife would be more capable to take care of the kids. Dr Ker asked if we could source out some help for him, and especially the kids. I told her we’d like to see and speak to the wife, but Zali always came up with all sorts of excuses not to let us speak to the wife. Just like the rest of us, Dr Ker’s main concern is the well-being of the children. In her own words, “He is going to be very sick soon. He is not compliant in his medication and given his situation, it is hard for me to start him on a new regime. It’s just a matter of time before he gets hospitalised. Who is going to take care of the children?”
Good question doc. But while we are thinking about the children’s well-being, Zali himself seemed to be rather selfish and thinking of his own needs more than that of his children’s. If he loves his children, then he’d better start thinking of their future.
After the short discussion (had to make it a short one as Dr Ker was busy with the patients), off I went. Walking at a fast pace (to get my car at the service center), before long somebody honked. I looked around and suddenly heard a familiar voice, “Amboi!! Lajunya jalan dah tak pandang kiri-kanan dah!” It was Kak Ana, about to drive off. In the car was Sharifah… and yes, my little Cek Mek!! Ooh, I love seeing them together. I always wonder when they are really getting back together. I mean for Sharifah to take the little darling into her full care instead of the current practice of visiting from time to time. Well, it was just a short meet, too short to get updates, but ample time for me to cubit-cubit the little girl’s cheeks. (nasiblah siapa jadi cucu angkat I...)
So yeah, it was a good day. It wasn’t so tiring after all having to walk the few extra hundred meters. The only downside was the few extra hundred ringgits for the replacements of some parts to my car… (will be driving down to Seremban next Saturday anyway, so better make sure the car is in good condition, right?)