When I went to the hospital to meet up with Asiah on Wednesday, I took the opportunity to ask the nurse at the ID clinic if she knew when Ina, the pregnant Orang Asli lady, would be warded. The nurse only knew Ina would be warded within the same week, but wasn’t quite sure of the exact day.
Ina doesn’t have a phone. All the while if I needed to ask anything about her, I’d have to call her neighbour, who is also a good friend of hers. Since I couldn’t get an exact answer from the nurse at the ID clinic, I decided to call Ina’s neighbour. The neighbour told me that Ina would be warded the next day, which was a Thursday, but she wasn’t sure of the date of operation.
Hmmm… to be warded on a Thursday? I figured she’d be going to the OT on Friday to deliver. They don’t schedule operations on weekends, and it was very unlikely they’d ask her to be warded so early if the op is scheduled the next week.
I didn’t know what time the nurses from the klinik kesihatan near Ina’s place would bring her to Ipoh GH (Ina’s kampung is quite remote, so if she is not brought to the hospital in a jabatan kesihatan van, chances were she wouldn’t come for her appointments etc.), so I decided not to visit on Thursday. And even on Friday, I decided not to go too early, as Ina may still be in the delivery hall.
Thus I went to visit after 5 pm. True enough, Ina had delivered in the morning, and both mother and baby girl were sent back to the wards at noon. Ina was resting, while the baby was in another room, taken care by the nurses.
I had some time ago asked Ina to open up a BSN account, to enable me to submit her application for Paediatric Aid Funds (PAF) but never had to opportunity to get the copy of the bank book. So when I visited her on Friday, I asked if she had opened up the bank account. She had, and as a matter of fact, she brought along her bank book to the hospital. I helped to take out her bag from the drawer beside her bed, and she gave me her bank book… the necessary page not photostated yet. I sought her permission to bring her bank book back with me, get it photostated, and return the book to her the next day.
Anyway, when I took out her bag from the drawer, I noticed she didn’t have much stuff with her… and it looked like she wasn’t prepared with baby stuff either. I asked if her 7 year old child had started schooling… thank goodness she said yes. You see, Ina’s 3 older children, aged 14, 13 and 12, never went to school. So when I went to visit her last year, I begged her to make sure this 4th child of hers goes to school. I assured her we were willing to help out with the child’s education expenses.
After promising Ina I’d be back the next day (to return her bank book), I left to let Ina have a good rest.
Yesterday, after zohor, I headed off to visit Rosnah and Shila. They both stay in the same town, in fact they both knew each other as their children go to the same school. Of course, before this, they never knew that the other had HIV too… they only found out during our Family Day at LWOT last year.
First I went to visit Rosnah, as her place is nearer the highway exit. Settled all her child’s school fees etc, then off I went to Shila’s place. Shila isn’t my client, but since I was already in the same town, I might as well visit and get all the receipts etc for her child’s schooling needs.
Saw this little fella, alone, limping across the road. Wonder where the mother was…
The last time I met Shila was during our Family Day last year. She no longer goes for her hospital appointments, so I don’t see her at the hospital anymore. Her daughter Laila, is already in standard 5 this year. How time flies!
By 4 pm, I left, headed back to Ipoh and went straight to a hypermarket to buy some baby’s stuff. By the time I got the things, paid for them, and got to the hospital, it was already 5 pm… already visiting hours. So there was no need for me to wear my hospital special pass.
As I had expected, Ina was moved to the end room, where they usually send the HIV cases. The bigger ward, nearer to the nurses counter, was only a temporary stopover for them after being sent back from the delivery hall.
Again, Ina was alone. Her baby, born 2.4 kgs was in another room, taken care by the nurses. Apparently, earlier in the afternoon, Ina’s aunt had brought her other children to visit. Her 4th child (the 7 year old), cried when they were about to leave. You see, the little boy had never been separated from his mother before.
But Ina said the boy’s okay in school and gets along well with his friends. That’s what I’ve been hoping for. With 3 older siblings not schooling, if he doesn’t enjoy school, he may just decide to join his brothers at home. What will become of their future without basic education?