When Zalia called on Saturday, saying she’d be going to the hospital on Monday morning for her blood tests, I figured I might as well see her then. So I asked her what time she expected to be done with her blood test, she said she should finish rather early as she needed to fast before her blood is taken, and so she intended to be there by 8 am. I told her to wait for me in front of the doctor’s room of the HIV clinic at 9.30 am. It would be difficult for us to recognise each other if we were to meet elsewhere.
By 9 am I was already at the hospital. Went straight to the doctor’s room and when the nurse saw me, she said, “Eh, hari ni takde kes!” The doctor was supposed to attend a meeting and so all appointments for the day were postponed to another day, and even the staff nurse took leave. When I told the nurse that I was there to see Zalia, and I asked her if Zalia was already outside the room, the nurse took a peek outside the door, even called out Zalia’s name, but nope, she wasn’t there.
So I decided to call Zalia to tell her I was already there. According to Zalia she was still waiting for her turn.
While waiting for Zalia to come up, I asked the nurse for Zalia’s file so I could get her details. When SN called me last week to refer Zalia’s case to me, and she told me that Zalia stays with her mak angkat instead of her own mother, I had actually expected Zalia to be one of those problematic young ladies. True enough, when I read through her file, indeed she had gone through such a problematic life as a teenager.
Raped at 15 by different people – unreported. Raped at 16 by her boyfriend, got pregnant, did D&C, again unreported. Stopped schooling and didn’t even complete form 5. Got pregnant again, this time she was married off to the boyfriend. And she gave birth at 18 to a baby girl. It was during this pregnancy that she found out she had HIV. From the file I noticed that her case was referred to Buddies in 2009 (I wasn’t on duty then) but was not assigned any Buddies. I guess at that time she was with her husband and they probably felt they didn’t need our services. Now she is divorced, and that was why she came to seek help from SN last week and so SN called me up to refer her case to me.
After taking down all her details from the file, it was already 9.45 am but Zalia had still not come up yet. The nurse went out to get a drink for herself and so there I was all alone at the doctor’s room. Hehehe… macam doctor le pulak! I called Zalia again, and she said her turn was 3 numbers away. So I told her to come in straight to the doctor’s room once she’s done instead of waiting outside the room as mentioned earlier.
After a while, I heard a knock on the door before a young woman opened the door. “Kak Afizah?” she asked. It was Zalia. Called her in to sit beside me and we started chatting.
After her divorce, Zalia stayed with her parents, but after a while she stayied with her mak angkat because “ada konflik sikit dengan mak”, she said. Zalia herself did work for a while last year but for the moment she’s not working and is still looking around for a job.
When I asked who had been supporting her child, she said the child is being taken care by her parents but her parents had been grumbling about her not contributing anything to the child’s needs.
Apparently the conflict between Zalia and her mother started when Zalia wanted to marry another guy after her divorce, and her mother didn’t approve of this guy.
“Kenapa mak tak suka?” I asked.
“Sebab boyfriend saya ni panas baran sikit.”
“Laahai, dah tau dia panas baran pun awak nak jugak kawin dengan dia?”
“Hati dia baik kak. Dia terima saya walau tau saya ada HIV.”
Ahh… but of course, before marriage even kentut pun wangi kaaan…
The mother had also been nagging her to get some assistance for the child’s upbringing. Zalia’s parents are not well to do, and with 2 of Zalia’s younger siblings still schooling, buying diapers and milk for their grandchild can be quite a burden. Which is why Zalia is now looking around for assistance while she can find herself a job and get back on her feet.
“Tak nak ke jaga anak tu sendiri?” I asked again.
“Nak, tapi tak mampu, nak buat macam mana?”
“Habis tu, tak nak balik dok dengan mak? Boleh jaga anak sekali.”
“Saya tak berani la kak. Rindu sangat dengan anak tapi tak berani nak balik.”
I promised Zalia I’d try to get supplies of diapers and milks powder for her daughter, but where was I to send the stuff if I get them? Send them to Zalia, her child is not staying with her. Zalia said I could send them direct to her mother, but her mother doesn’t even know me. So I asked Zalia if she’d come along with me to her mother’s house during my first visit. Other than sending the stuff for her child’s use, Zalia would be able to see both her daughter and her mother as well.
Zalia agreed to my idea. Which means she actually wants to go home but afraid to.
Well, all that will have to wait until after next week. Will be busy this week to ensure our Family Day on Sunday runs smoothly. I’d need to call my clients to remind them of where and when to wait, or if they are going on their own, how to get to the place. As of this moment I am still trying to figure out who will be fetching 2 more families…