As I was busy calling/texting my clients who are coming for the Family Day, informing them of where to wait, who’s fetching them, what’s the car registration and phone numbers of the volunteers fetching them etc, a call came in from Aini. I had arranged for a trainee volunteer to fetch her at home and I just texted her the name and phone number of the volunteer.
Aini said she was at the hospital, warded. For the past few weeks, she had lost her appetite and had been feeling really weak. Even when she forced herself to eat anything, most of the time, she’d end up vomiting. Her siblings, who saw her looking really pale, had started questioning her on what her ailment really was. None, and I mean none at all, of her family members know she has HIV. Not even her children. But since Aini has kidney problems as well, they easily took her word that her paleness was due to her kidney problem.
On Wednesday, even though it wasn’t her appointment day, the nurse told her to just come to the clinic to see the specialist. She was afraid her condition may be the side effects of one of the ARV medication she was taking. Indeed, when the doctor saw her, the good doc told her to immediately stop the ARV she was taking. And based on her weak condition, she was immediately warded so they could put her on drips. Since she went to the hospital alone, on her own, Aini had to call her father to seek his help to get her things at home and to also take care of her children.
Today I decided to pay her a visit at the hospital. Decided to test my level of fitness as well, so took the stairs instead of the lift. I figured if at any time I felt too tired to continue, I’d just take the lift from whichever floor that I stopped. But nope, I made it all the way to the 8th floor using the stairs.
Aini was still on drip, but she was sitting on a chair, reading a newspaper. She looked much better, in fact she said she felt much better and could already take in food. Definitely her earlier condition was due to one of the ARV she was taking. After she’s discharged later, Aini will have to go see the specialist again, and the doctor will have to start her off on another regime of ARV.
According to Aini, she was told that very likely she can only be discharged on Monday. Which means Sunday’s family day is a definite no for her and her kids. Too bad.
Aini was quite concerned that her daughter, who looks after her at the hospital, may end up looking through Aini’s file and find the word “HIV” there. The girl will be sitting for her SPM this year, and Aini didn’t want news like this to affect her studies. I told Aini to just be prepared to talk to her just in case. Another concern of hers was the hospital bill when she gets discharged. I told her not to worry, since she does get monthly financial aid from the welfare department, all she has to do is to show her welfare card at the payment counter when she or her daughter goes to get clearance for discharge. In any event, I told Aini to just give me a call if she gets into any problem with the hospital bill.
I didn’t see Aini’s daughter outside when I came, but after Aini told me that her daughter spent the night at the hospital to accompany her, when I left the ward I decided to look for her. There she was chatting with a newfound friend who was also accompanying her mother. Aini’s daughter was surprised to see me there since it wasn’t visiting hours yet.
“Ponteng sekolah ek?” I teased her.
“Nak buat macam mana, ada orang tu manja, kena tunggu,” she said, smiling.
Anyway, she said she had already informed her teacher, and she had only missed school for 2 days while tomorrow is already Saturday. Hopefully Aini will indeed be discharged by Monday.
As for myself, after walking up 192 steps to the 8th floor, and still feeling okay, I decided to go down the same way. Yep, another 192 steps, which took less time than going up.