Previously, we had volunteers on duty at the ID clinic on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month. However, since I went back to doing freelance work in July 2010, having more free time to do voluntary work, I decided to take up the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays so we could cover more cases. Otherwise, when there are new cases on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays, none of the volunteers would be there for the ID clinic to refer them to.
So yep, beginning this year, the duty roster has 2 teams covering the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays, while the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays will be covered by myself and any of the trainees. I’ve already told the trainees I’d be there every 2nd and 4th Wednesdays, so if they want to join, they can join me on those days. However, so far, none of them has taken up the offer. Ah well, if they are not taking up the opportunity to learn (you can learn a lot from the clinic sessions, really), then it’s their loss, not mine.
Yesterday being the 2nd Wednesday, off I went to the Ipoh GH, alone, for my clinic duty. Before that, I went over to the State Welfare Department first. You see, on my way back from the assessment visits on Tuesday, I received a call from a JKM officer, asking me to come over to their office to get our cheque. The grant for my NGO had been approved and the cheque was ready for collection. Alhamdulillah, a good start for the year. We got RM5K.
I wasn’t really in a hurry to go the hospital… usually cases, if any, would be referred quite late. This time, however, the moment I got to the ID clinic, headed over to the doctor’s room to see the nurse, I was told there were several new cases and one was already there. Ah, I didn’t have to wait long. So I went over immediately to the counselling room.
The first case referred was a young chap in his mid-20’s. Unlike many cases where they found out about their HIV when they get warded for any other illnesses, this guy found out after donating blood. He went to donate blood at the shopping complex during a campaign, and a few weeks after, he received a call from the blood center telling him about his HIV infection, and that they’d be sending him a letter soon. He waited, but no letter came. So he went for blood tests at a private clinic and the results came out the same… reactive. Still unable to accept the fact, he went to the blood bank personally and got the same results. Then only was his case referred to the ID clinic.
When I spoke to this guy, he admitted it was still quite difficult for him to accept the fact. However, he was rather calm. He stays with his parents and they don’t know of this latest development. If he shows an upset face, they will somehow sense that there was something wrong. I told him it would be good to talk it out to someone and he agreed to be assigned a buddy so that he can talk to someone outside his family/friends circle.
In most of our cases, the clients would usually feel more comfortable talking in their mother tongue. However, for this guy, an Indian, he specified if possible he didn’t want an Indian buddy in case that person turned out to be his relative. So I assigned him one of my male Malay volunteers.
Immediately after handing back this guy’s file to the nurse, I was given another case. This time a Malay guy, ex-IVDU. He claimed he had stopped taking drugs since 2004 when he came out of the Pusat Serenti, but somehow he still looked like he was still taking the stuff. Even the nurse commented that his guy looked rather “blur”. This guy found out about his HIV when he was warded for TB late last year.
The next case referred to us was an educated-looking Chinese guy in his 40’s. Divorced, no children. He was divorced since 2004, and when asked if there was a possibility that his ex-wife may have been infected, he was very confident she was not. He looked like he knew what he was talking about, so I guess he knew pretty well how he got infected – and that must have happened after his divorce.
One more case was referred to me after that. Another Chinese guy, tested HIV positive when he was warded for TB. He seemed rather confused, and in the process managed to confuse me as well… :) Apparently one of our volunteers had already spoken to him by phone before, when he was just “suspected” of having HIV. Now that he is confirmed HIV+, I decided to assign the same volunteer to follow up on the case.
Those were the 4 cases referred yesterday. All males. All single. 2 were assigned buddies, 2 were not. But I definitely didn’t assign myself to any of the cases, as they were more suitable for the guys.
Next clinic duty will be in 2 weeks time…