Having read through and done the necessary corrections to the respective reports by the coordinators to be included in our Annual Report, yesterday afternoon I finally managed to find the time to visit Sofie and deliver some groceries as well. Before I took a break to Vietnam, I did bring her for her appointment at the hospital, but she had to come again the next week (after certain blood test results were obtained) before the doctor could decide on her medication. I was still in Vietnam on the day she was supposed to start off with a new line of medication, so I wanted to know how she was coping.
Not really having planned to visit yesterday, I only sent her a text message after 2 pm to tell her I was coming. No reply, so I figured she should be home.
But when I got to her house, the gate was locked, the wooden door was closed, but the grille door was open. Just as I parked my car in front of the gate, someone opened the door. It was Azman, Sofie’s 15 year old son. “Mama takde, dia gi pekan. Masuklah dulu.”
I got him to help me with the groceries. The moment I got to the door, he said, “Rumah semak sikit makcik. Ika lah ni!” blaming his sister who’s at school for the mess. As I sat down, he went to the kitchen, “Kejap ye makcik, saya masak air jap.”
Soon I heard the sound of a motorbike in front of the house. It was Sofie and her sister. The sister wanted to buy some things at a nearby minimarket and since Sofie needed to go to the clinic to get some medication for her throat, she followed her sister. When she got my message they were already out in town but they figured they’d be able to come back in time. So Sofie just called her son telling him that I was coming and to make sure he opens the door in case I got there before they managed to return home.
“Cuti ke hari ni?” I asked the sister. She actually works at a factory near Ipoh.
“MC kak, demam urat. Semalam balik kampung naik motor, pak sedara meninggal. Masa nak balik sini tayar motor pancit kat highway. Nak cari exit keluar highway cari kedai motor, kena menapak sorong motor 4 kilometer!”
Given Sofie’s condition, she didn’t follow her sister back for their uncle’s funeral. Lucky thing. Imagine if Sofie had followed her on the motorbike and they had to walk 4 km!!
Anyway, the moment Sofie walked into the house, she said, “Ya Allah, kan mama dah pesan suruh sapu sampah. Apasal korang tak sapu? Payah betul lah anak lelaki ni. Kalau anak perempuan rajin sikit.”
“Tak tentu jugak,” I said, “Kalau dapat anak perempuan malas, sama je…”
Soon after, Azlan, Sofie’s eldest got home. He was earlier at a friend’s house nearby. I told him about the box of form 5 books given by a friend of mine.
Sofie had been on her 3rd line of HAART for a week now. She still vomits, but not as bad as the 2nd line she took earlier. At least she can eat and so she doesn’t look as fragile as she did when she was warded recently. But there seemed to be some sort of rashes on her lower arms.
Me: “Gatal tak?”
Sofie: “Kalau tak usik taklah gatal.”
Me: “Kalau gatal nak usik?”
Sofie’s sister: “Hehehe… kalau gatal nak usik memang sah gatal la!!”
And the reason Sofie needed to get some medication for her throat? “Tekak saya sempit kak. Ubat yang dapat kali ni besar pulak tu. Tiap-tiap kali telan mesti sangkut kat tekak. Jenuh nak bagi masuk. Dah rasa bengkak je dah tekak saya ni.”
I told her to cut the pill into smaller pieces but to make sure she takes all the pieces so that the dosage would still be the same.
Whenever any patients start on a new line of HAART, they will need to come for another appointment within 2 weeks. Sofie’s next appointment is this coming Monday. Since I need to see SN on Monday anyway (to discuss about the 2 homeless guys who need to be sent to shelter homes in KL/Selangor), I told Sofie I’d fetch her at home and bring her along with me to the hospital. Her sister sounded relieved. She took MC on the day Sofie went for her appointment last week (when I wasn’t around), was on leave again on Wednesday when her uncle passed away, and then was on MC yesterday after having to walk 4 km when her motorcycle tyre got punctured at the highway. She didn’t want to take too many days off… it’s still the first quarter of the year, she needs to make sure she spares some of her leave for any future emergencies.
As we were chatting, Sofie asked, “Kak, kalau yang ambik ubat kat tempat yang sama macam saya tu, ada HIV jugak ke?”
“Ha’ah, kenapa?” I replied.
“Saya tengok hari tu ada perempuan tu gemuk aje. Lagi gemuk dari akak!”
“Lagi gemuk dari akak tu, maknanya engko kata akak ni gemuklah ya? Tak nak ambik engko hari Isnin nanti baru tau!”
Oh well, I have put on weight of late, and compared to skinny her, I am gemuk. Sofie thought everyone with HIV would be just as skinny she is…
Just as I was about to leave, I remembered the 4 places given free to “my children” to attend a 3D 2N motivational camp in April. I asked Azlan and Azman if they were interested. Azman immediately said yes but Azlan was unsure. His aunt encouraged him to go. “Bukan senang nak dapat peluang macam ni, free lagi!” she said. I told him it will be good for him and that the camp is not so much talks but more of activities. He finally agreed. So yep, I will be giving the names of Sofie’s 2 older boys for the camp.
This morning I had promised to fetch Fuzi and her son from their home to bring them to buy her son’s police cadet uniform. I never have to worry about punctuality when it comes to Fuzi’s family. If I tell them I’d fetch them at 9.30 am, by 9.30 am they’d be ready outside their home, doors all already locked.
As expected, when I got to their home, they were ready – Fuzi and her 3 boys. Her 2 daughters were in school while Hafiz and Ijam go to school in the afternoon. And since today is Friday, the bus would come a bit later. There was ample time for me to bring them to the shop to buy the cadet uniform for Hafiz.
All along in the car we had “radio Indonesia” on. (Fuzi, an Indonesian still, talks non stop, with loud volume too!)
When we got to the shop, I immediately asked for the cadet uniform from the girl there. The moment she saw Hafiz, she said, “Alamak, kecik… ada ke size pun?”
She then brought out the smallest size she had. A bit big for Hafiz, but not too bad. I told Fuzi to just shorten the sleeves a bit. Likewise with the pants. No problem with shoes though.
It didn’t take too long to get the uniform and accessories for Hafiz, and since there was ample time before their school bus would pick them up, before sending them home, I decided to stop by a mamak shop for brunch. They all ordered roti telur while I ordered roti sardin (to add more sadin-ness to my already muka sadin).
As we were about to reach their house, we saw a boy in school uniform, waiting by the roadside. It was 11.40 am and the boy was one of Ijam’s friends. “Eh, apasal kawan engko cepat benar tunggu bas? Hari ni kan bas datang pukul 1?” Fuzi asked Ijam. Usually the bus comes at 11.30 am. The boy (and his mother I suppose) must have forgotten what day it was…
Anyway, as always, whenever I visit any of my clients, I’d take the opportunity to find out how their children is doing… especially those under our sponsorship programme. It’s good to know that Wina, Fuzi’s eldest daughter who scored 4A 4B for her PMR last year seem to be doing well not only in her studies, but also in sports. She not only wins middle-distance events in school, she would also end up getting first or second place for cross-country events. Now she seem to be showing interest to take up tennis, but her school doesn’t offer that sport.
“Saya suka kak, kalau dia rajin masuk sukan ni. Daripada dia lepak-lepak saja dengan kawan-kawan, lebih baik dia masuk pertandingan,” Fuzi said.
I agree, especially since Wina herself is showing keen interest.