♫ ♪♫ Senangnya dalam hati… ♫ ♪♫ kalau beristeri empat… ♫ ♪♫ bila dah sakit kini… ♫ ♪♫ hidup merempat!
(To be sung to the tune of P.Ramlee’s Madu Tiga)
Huh? Why am I suddenly going into this madu-madu topic? Is it because of the difficulty to get gula, we now need to use madu?
Actually, I was on clinic duty today. Remember Ramli, whom I had met during one of my clinic duties last year, and I posted his story under case #3 here? You probably don’t remember because I never followed up on that story. To recap, here’s a cut and paste version of my earlier posting.
Ramli came in with a young lady - I thought his wife at first (he was wearing a mask, and he looked quite young behind the mask - hmm... I wonder if I looked young behind the mask too... haha!). Then the young lady introduced herself as his daughter. I looked at Ramli's file, and saw that he's 43. Well, still young, and with a grown up daughter, he must have got married at quite a young age. The daughter who came with him just got married recently.
I then asked how he found out about his HIV infection, and almost choked when his daughter selamba-ly answered, "Sebenarnya masa ayah kawin nombor 4 baru-baru ni kena buat test HIV. Dari situlah dapat tau."
I hope behind my mask they didn't notice my terkejut beruk face. Whoa... in our contact report form which we have to fill up, there is one column for "Spouse's name". Duh, do I now have to change it to "Spouses Names"??
I asked if his family members, especially his wives all know about his HIV infection. Here goes...
Wife #1 (also mother to the daughter who accompanied Ramli): She knows, but has yet to go for testing. 4 children with this wife... all grown up and all know about his HIV.
Wife #2: Also 4 children with this wife, the youngest is 4. All the children are staying with him. I was quite concerned about the 4 year old, but I told them to just get the wife to go for testing, if she's negative, then no need to worry about the kids. The problem is, while the children are with him, the family doesn't know the whereabouts of the wife now. As such, they are unable to get her to go for testing.
Wife #3: No children. It is believed Ramli got HIV from this wife. The wife, a foreigner from a country north of Malaysia, was infected by her earlier husband, but did not inform Ramli about it. She just mentioned she had TB. And she died of TB. Habis cerita.
Wife #4: Of course she knows lah, it was during the mandatory pre-marital testing that Ramli found out he was HIV +ve. But she still married him anyway despite the HIV and the 3 earlier wives...
That was last year. Today was Ramli’s appointment at the HIV clinic again. This time his situation is different. Last time I saw him, he was still able to walk. Today he was on wheelchair (in fact I was told he’s already bedridden at home). Last time wife #1 & #4 still around, wife #2 missing and wife #3 died. Today even #1 and #4 dah cabut lari! I guess when you’re not loyal, nobody wants to be loyal to you too huh?
Today again he came accompanied by the same daughter who accompanied him the last time. Only difference is, his daughter is pregnant and is expected to deliver anytime soon.
SN referred this case to me again because Ramli’s younger children need help. That would be the 4 children from wife #2 – all of whom are still schooling.
With ALL his wives leaving him (except #3 who died, the rest asked for divorce… including #4 who earlier married him despite knowing of his HIV status), and Ramli being bedridden, who’s to take care of Ramli? Worse, wife #2 not only left Ramli, she left the children with him as well. So who’s taking care of the kids?
Thank goodness Ramli’s daughter from wife #1 is willing to take care of him AND her half sisters/brothers. But she’s not well to do herself – she’s not working and is financially dependent on her husband. And she will be having her own child soon, surely she’d need to spend more on her own child.
I will need to visit them at home first to do an assessment before I decide on anything. Whatever it is, the children must continue schooling. Whatever their parents did, they shouldn’t be deprived of basic education at the very least!