I was on clinic duty again yesterday. This time I didn’t bother to go round and round to get myself a parking space… I just parked the car at the first space available, it didn’t matter if the place was far or near.
According to the nurses, there was supposed to be one new case. However, since Dr. Ker wasn’t around, not many appointments were fixed for yesterday. When I got to the room, the MOs on duty weren’t there yet, so I took the opportunity to discuss with the nurses on the coming PLHIV gathering at the end of this month. Since the gathering will be held at the hospital, the nurses will take care of the venue, food and goody bags. On our part, we’re supposed to get the PLHIVs to attend and to carry out the event on the day. Shouldn’t be much of a problem I think. We all agreed that it should just be something very informal for the PLHIVs to get to know each other. I think I’d only need to think of one ice-breaking activity just to get things going.
Anyway, the new patient did not turn up. Since I had seen the list of yesterday’s appointment, I knew my old client Jah would be coming. So off I went to the front of the doctor’s room to see if there were any familiar faces, and yep, Jah was there. Excited as always to see me.
Jah used to be the live-wire amongst my clients. Then she remarried and next thing I knew I wasn’t able to call her anymore. For the past 2 years she had not been joining our Family Day as I was not able to contact her. Apparently she had dropped her handphone and that was it. She even lost all the numbers she had saved in it.
So yesterday Jah asked for Shila’s phone number. The 2 had always been very close. So I wrote down on a piece of paper, my number, Shila’s number, the date of the coming PLHIV gathering and the date of our Family Day this year. Since it’s so difficult to get hold of her nowadays, I might as well give her all the info when I got the chance to meet her.
Me: Nah, nombor siapa lagi engko nak?
Jah: Tu, yang mulut becok cakap Indon sama-sama dengan saya gi KL dulu tu apa nama dia kak?
Me: Mulut becok? Cuba cermin dulu diri sendiri tu…
Jah: Kat sini takde cermin kak!
Oh yes, talkative Jah saying that Fuzi is talkative! I told her if she wants to meet up with her friends, then she should come for the gathering at the end of the month. Jah did sound very interested, but she’d have to go back and seek permission from her husband first.
As we were chatting, one lady came out of the doctor’s room. Jah introduced her to me, they just met that morning and talkative Jah as always would always find it easy to make new friends. Rozi, a single mother with 4 children, had been diagnosed HIV+ since 2007 but her case was never referred to us, probably because her first appointment was during the week when none of us were on duty. Rozi had heard about us from Wani, another client, and was interested to join us but at that time Wani had lost my phone number (just like Jah, she too dropped her handphone)
Since it was Rozi herself who was interested to join us, I didn’t have to explain to her what we Buddies do. When I told her to see me at the counselling room after she was done at the doctor’s room, she agreed.
While waiting for Rozi and Jah to come to the counselling room, I called Wani. Apparently Wani had not been told of the gathering this month and when I told her about it, she immediately agreed to come. She said she had been waiting for me to call her as she wanted to tell me about Rozi. I told Wani I had just met Rozi at the hospital.
Later I found out that immediately after I called Wani, she called Rozi. When Jah and Rozi came to see me at the counselling room, Rozi told me that Wani had just called her.
Rozi’s husband died in 2007, and it was only after that did she find out about her HIV infection. Her youngest child was only 2 years old then and Rozi was quite worried about her. But tests showed that the child, now 6, is negative. Rozi is only 36 this year but has a son (or is it daughter? Lupalah pulak…) who is 20 years old.
Anyway, Rozi works as a factory operator and earns about RM600 per month. Luckily she doesn’t have to pay house rental. But with 2 schooling children it is tough especially at the beginning of the year when she has to pay all the fees and buy all the schooling needs. But Rozi seemed like a strong woman. And she’s so calm. I could sense that she may be suitable for peer support. When I asked if she’d mind talking to newly diagnosed PLHIVs, she immediately said yes. So yep, this new client I’m putting under my care so I can train her for peer support. For a start she will be joining the PLHIV gathering later this month, so that would be a good chance for me to introduce her to the other PLHIVs.
I then offered to send both Jah and Rozi to the bus station. Rozi declined as she said she needed to go to the nearby shopping centre first. Jah, not only accepted my offer, she even added, “Kak… belanja makan dulu kak!” So I just brought her to the cafeteria and we had lunch there before I sent her to the bus station.
After sending Jah to the bus station, I noticed there were a few missed calls from our hotline number (I didn’t hear the phone ring as it was quite noisy at the cafeteria). Then I noticed a text message from our part time staff saying that she received a call from a welfare officer telling us to go to their office the same day to get the form to apply for welfare grant. The form and supporting documents had to be submitted by next day… that’s today!
So yep, had to do my homework until late last night to make sure everything would be ready today…