When Sofie got a call from the staff nurse of the Ipoh HIV clinic about 2 weeks ago, asking her to come to the hospital much sooner than the appointment already set for her, Sofie started thinking of the worse. Apparently, after getting the blood test results showing that Sofie’s CD4 had dropped drastically, the doctor wanted to find out if she had been compliant in taking her medication, and if yes, whether the drugs given were suitable for her.
Sofie, upon hearing that her condition had worsened, started thinking of what would happen to her children if she dies in the very near future. She called her sister up north (the one sister she could always rely on) telling her about it, and the sister cried. Listening to the sister cry, Sofie cried…
Sofie did call me, but I just told her not to worry and just go for the appointment so that the doctor could figure out what could be wrong. I told her not to think too much about it.
Well, Sofie and her children did seem to enjoy themselves very much during our Family Day on Sunday. As a matter of fact, Sofie herself went swimming at the pool with her kids. (sakit badan kemudian kira!)
Today was Sofie’s brought-forward appointment with the doctor. I told her to call me once she got to the hospital so I could go over and meet her there. Yesterday I made sure I had the family day photos printed so I could bring them along with me today.
Sofie called me about 10.15 am. She just arrived at the hospital then. Immediately I headed to the hospital… and after a few rounds, I finally managed to get a parking space. There seemed to be so many people at the hospital today. I just went over to the area outside the doctor’s room. Apparently most of the patients were waiting to go in to see the specialists at the rooms beside the room for HIV patients. All chairs were taken, the moment one chair was free, I told Sofie to sit. She’s not strong enough to be standing for too long. As for me, I just stood and leaned on the wall beside Sofie. When the patient sitting on the chair beside Sofie’s stood up to go in the doctor’s room, I took the seat. But after just a few minutes, a fragile-looking lady came out of the doctor’s room, needing to wait for her prescription. Aduh, takkan I nak duduk pulak… so I immediately stood up to give my seat to the lady.
We waited for quite some time, and soon more and more seats were free. Thank goodness I finally to sit down, as it was going to be quite a long wait. Sofie was only finally called in at 1 pm. Most of the other people had gone back by then. At first I just let Sofie go in alone, but knowing that the doctor was no longer as busy as earlier on, I decided to go in. I could actually go in and out of the HIV clinic even through the middle corridor meant for staff, but today I wasn’t on duty and so I didn’t want to disturb the doctor.
Both the doctor and the nurse just let me sit on the other chair usually meant for another doctor (during busy hours they’d get an MO to see some of the less problematic cases in the same room as they don’t have any more rooms to spare). I listened to Sofie’s explanation to the doctor on what hurts etc etc. The good doctor gave her some extra medication (non-HIV related) for Sofie’s complaints of sakit kaki… kulit kering… demam… selsema… and whatever else. (mana tak demamnya, enjoy sakan kat Lost World!!)
The doctor then took the opportunity to inform me about 2 cases which she felt needed my attention but had not been referred to Buddies as their appointments didn’t coincide with our clinic duties.
One was a 15 year HIV+ orphaned girl, Nalini. However, when her mother was still alive, she never brought Nalini to the hospital for appointments so Nalini never got proper treatment. Nalini’s mother herself used to miss her own appointments. After the mother died, initially Nalini’s uncle did bring her to see the nurse to fix for an appointment. The nurse had purposely fixed the appointment during one of our clinic duties so the girl could be referred to us Buddies, but the uncle never brought Nalini for the appointment. Apparently later an aunt took care of Nalini, and it was this aunt who finally brought Nalini to see the doctor, but on that day, we Buddies weren’t on duty.
Well, today the doctor suddenly thought of Nalini when she found out that we Buddies brought some clients and their families to Lost World on Sunday. She figured Nalini would have enjoyed herself there. But we did not invite Nalini because she’s not on our clients list.
Another case the doctor wanted to refer to me was the case of an orang asli lady. Her husband just died, she already has 4 children, she’s not working, and she’s pregnant with her 5th child! And according to the doctor, this lady seemed blur. “I don’t know if she understood me lah, I talk talk she like blur blur like that!”
Yep, both cases sound like they need attention, so I’d better arrange something soon. Nalini is coming for her appointment in 2 weeks time, so maybe I can meet her during her appointment. As for the OA lady, who stays in another town, I think I may need to pay her a visit one of these days to assess her situation. Only problem is, her kampong doesn’t sound familiar to me, so I’d better do some homework first.
Anyway, by the time we left the hospital, it was almost 2 pm. I took Sofie out for lunch first, bought some food for her kids before I sent her home. It was getting late by the time we reached her house, and not wanting to rush, for the first time, I decided to perform my zohor prayer at her house. “Maaflah kak, bilik saya ni sempit.” (Ahh, you didn’t have to worry about that Sofie!) Meanwhile, the kids were laughing away looking at their family day photos…
Spending a bit more time with Sofie today, I found out that Sofie can actually sew clothes. She knows how to sew baju kurung and baju Melayu it seems. The only problem is, she doesn’t have a sewing machine at home, which is why she’s not doing any sewing. But she makes kuih to be sold. In fact beginning this month, she got a tender to supply kuih to a school canteen. Some caterers too like to order from her if their clients order kuih. Good for her!
Now, if I can find a still usable sewing machine someone may no longer be using, Sofie may be able to use it…