I was on clinic duty again this morning. This time I didn’t even bother trying to find a parking space near the Specialist Clinic… I went ahead to park quite a distance away. My charity run is coming this Sunday anyway, so I needed the exercise, no?
As I was walking nearing the clinic, before I could even get to the stairs, I noticed a familiar looking lady rushing towards me, then held and even kissed my hands. It was Shidah, the foreign lady married to a Malaysian, and the one who’d get beaten up by her husband from time to time.
Shidah can’t run away from home despite the beatings because other than not having any money (any household needs, the husband would bring her out with him and he’d pay, so he never gave her cash), her passport is being locked up by her husband.
Anyway, Shidah was at the hospital this morning to get her supply of ARV medication. So I told her to look for me at the usual counselling room after she’s taken her ARV from the pharmacy.
I then went straight up to the doctor’s room, to inform the nurses that I was already there. I was told there were supposed to be 2 new cases… one in the ward, while the other was not there yet. So I went over to the counselling room, and after about half an hour or so, Shidah came to see me.
Shidah looked a lot calmer than before. I think the fact that she knew she had somebody to talk to if need be, made her a lot calmer. She still gets beaten up from time to time, but not as bad as before. That however doesn’t mean she no longer has the intention to leave him. It’s just that she is willing to wait a while longer before attempting to go back to her country where her family is, and especially her child from her first marriage, whom she last got to see 4 years ago.
Shidah said she already knows where her husband keeps her passport, the only problem is, it is locked. She hopes to be able to “steal” her own passport, after which she plans to go back to where her family is. I told her that I can try help her financially especially if she needs to buy bus tickets and all, but other than that, she’d have to be on her own.
I also told her of the options she could take should she be unable to get hold of her passport. Shidah just listened carefully. She was beaten up just over the weekend, but her bruises weren’t obvious and she was rather cool about it. I guess she had gone through worse situations, the recent abuse didn’t seem to effect her so much emotionally as it used to do.
I can only advice her on the choices she has, at the end of the day, she’s the one who has to decide which action to choose. For the moment, her decision is to wait a while longer and attempt to get her passport first. The good news is however, that her phone is no longer held by her husband so I can call her without having to worry about her husband answering the phone as long as I call her during her husband’s working hours.
Not long after Shidah left the room, Nuri came in, not to see me, but to see the pharmacists. While the pharmacists were preparing her ARV, I called her to sit beside me so we could have a chat. Nuri makes a living by opening up a food stall outside a school near her home. However business had not been as good as before ever since another stall was opened just nearby, selling exactly the same things she sells. In addition her stall has a leaking roof which she is still unable to repair as she doesn’t have enough money yet to do so. With her eldest daughter at a nursing college still depending on her for pocket money and all, Nuri definitely doesn’t have enough cash to spare for things such as repairs.
I asked if her schooling children had to pay for anything extra in school. She just smiled shyly and said, “Seganlah kak semuanya nak mintak kat akak.” I told her that we already have the funds for children’s schooling needs and she’s not the only one getting the help but we Buddies wouldn’t know about whatever extras they have to pay in school if they themselves don’t inform us about it.
Anyway, Nuri’s daughter, Farah, also HIV+, is 13 this year and seemed to be coping well with her HIV, unlike when she was first diagnosed at the age of 6 or 7. I sure hope the girl will do well in school and not use her HIV as an excuse not to study. (yes, I do know of another HIV+ child, who, after knowing she was HIV+, simply gave up schooling because she felt she had “no future anyway”).
As for the new case that I was supposed to see, whoever the person was did not turn up at the hospital. It’s quite normal. Sometimes these people are not bothered to come to the hospital either because they feel they’re still healthy… or because they feel there is no point going to the hospital when there is still no cure anyway…