Knowing that this was going to be a long weekend, I figured Azman would surely want to go home rather than stay at his hostel in Ipoh. I purposely postponed my monthly grocery delivery to Sofie’s home to Friday, and asked Azman if he wanted to come along with me in my car instead of taking the bus. Azman at first agreed, but he said he’d confirm later until he was sure there’d be no other programmes on Friday afternoon. There was no class that afternoon, but he wasn’t sure if there were any other programmes arranged.
By about 12 noon, Azman informed me that he wanted to stay back for a group discussion and that he’d go home on his own on Saturday. Too bad. But it was good to note that Azman decided to stay back for the group discussion. Back then when he was in school, he’d find every excuse he could to escape anything to do with studies.
So after getting this month’s supply of groceries for Sofie’s family, off I went to her house, alone without Azman. As I got to her house, I noticed the windows were closed and the door was locked. There wasn’t anyone home. But the day before I did inform Sofie that I’d be coming, and if she was going somewhere, she would have informed me that nobody would be home. So where did everybody go?
I decided to call Sofie. Got the answering machine instead. Tried again. Same thing. Decided to try one last time before giving up and head home (with groceries all still in the car) – luckily the 3rd call went through. Sofie was at the hospital. The line wasn’t too clear and I couldn’t really hear the details. I thought it was Sofie herself who was warded. Given her condition, I wasn’t surprised.
It wasn’t visiting hours, and the “special pass” I have is only valid at Ipoh GH, so I told Sofie to get Saiful, her son, who was also there at the hospital, to wait for me outside. It only took me about 5 minutes to drive from Sofie’s house to the hospital, and as I parked my car, I saw Saiful walking towards me. Then I saw Sofie sitting down on the steps near the corridor, looking very much like a patient, except she wasn’t in hospital clothes. Besides, what was she doing outside of the ward if she was the one who had to be admitted?
I then found out that the one who got admitted was Ika, Sofie’s youngest child. Apparently on Thursday while the girl was in school, her teacher called Sofie to inform her to fetch Ika from school as the girl had high fever. Sofie went to fetch her daughter and immediately brought her to the hospital to see a doctor, thinking that after getting proper check-up and needful medication, they could go home. But the doctor decided to admit her to the ward for further tests. It seemed the girl’s tonsils were getting bad.
Sofie told me that Ika was happy when she found out I was coming. So, although it wasn’t visiting hours, I went in with Sofie and Saiful. The guard did stop me at first, but let me in when Sofie told him that I was from an NGO in Ipoh Hospital.
When I got to Ika’s bed, at first she pretended she was sleeping. “Alah, tipu je tu,” said Saiful. Immediately Ika just got up and laughed. She looked cheerful. Her mother, with lack of sleep, looked more like a patient than the patient herself!
I didn’t stay long at the hospital. I just got Saiful to follow me back to the house so I could unload all the groceries in my car, and after that I sent Saiful back to the hospital.
Both Sofie and Saiful spent the night at the hospital. Sofie’s eldest, Azlan, who now has a temporary job at a small factory nearby was outstation delivering the factory’s products. Usually the hospital wouldn’t allow 2 people to spend the night at the hospital looking after one patient, but in this case, they allowed Saiful as well. Although the boy is already in form 2, he is small sized and a scaredy-cat. If he was not allowed to sleep at the hospital, and with his eldest brother outstation, he would have to spend the night alone at home. But there shouldn’t be any problem on Saturday once Azman got home.
Hopefully Ika would be discharged soon. I was told she may need to undergo a minor op for her tonsils, and that it may need to be done in Ipoh GH as the district hospital didn’t have the necessary facilities for such treatment.
I just hope the fragile looking Sofie herself would be strong enough to take care of her children…