There were some things I needed to discuss with the staff nurse at the HIV clinic, and so even though I was not on duty, I still went to the hospital today. Parking, as always, was a nightmare, and by the time I got to the counselling room about 10.10 am, none of the volunteers on duty were there yet. (clinic duty is supposed to start at 10 am)
I went straight to the doctor’s room, saw the nurse, and spoke to her about Shidah’s case. One of the volunteers on duty, my vice-chair, then arrived. The other volunteer on duty, couldn’t make it; and since we were told by the nurse that there were a few new cases to be referred to us, I decided to stay on a while. 2 cases were then referred to us at the same time, and so I took one case and my vice-chair took the other case.
Not long after the 2 cases, SN came in with a lady who looked very familiar.
“Kak, akak tak ingat saya ke?” said the lady to me.
Ahh… no wonder she looked familiar! She may be a new case at Ipoh GH but she had been infected for quite some time already, only thing was before this her appointments were in KL. Remember Zana, the problematic young woman whom I had sent to a shelter home in KL before? Well, this lady referred to us today, Aliza, was an occupant of the same shelter home I had sent Zana to, in fact Aliza was more senior. It was at that home that we met, and Aliza remembered me very well because every time Zana created all sorts of problems at the home, I would be the person they’d contact.
Anyway, Aliza is now out of the shelter home and stays on her own, together with another lady friend from the same shelter home. 2 of Aliza’s 4 children are staying together with them, while the older 2 are at a boarding school, fully sponsored. Aliza and her friend both work as cleaners, and after work, at night, she sells burgers to get more income to support her children. Well, from now on, her children will also be getting help from our Children Education Fund.
When Aliza was in the counselling room, I saw Hana outside. The moment she saw me, she immediately got into the room. I took the opportunity to ask about her children. Her eldest, now waiting for her SPM result, is doing a temporary job. My main concern was Hana’s second daughter. The girl, who initially did well in school, later got worse in her studies and did very bad in her UPSR last year. I had suspected she had been teased in school because of her birth cert which indicated that she didn’t have a father (her eldest sis has a different father and her youngest brother has a different father – but at least they both had “official” fathers). According to Hana, she registered this daughter at a new school for secondary, with new friends altogether, none from her old school, and it seems the girl is more keen to go to school nowadays as compared to before this. I do hope this will continue until she finishes schooling. After all, she now has an IC and so there is no need to show her birth cert to indicate “maklumat bapa tidak diketahui”.
After a short chat with Hana, I decided to leave as well. After all, I wasn’t on duty. There was supposed to be one more new case to be referred, but my vice-chair said he should be able to handle it, so off I went to the doctor’s room to inform them that I was leaving. The nurse then told me that Shidah had just called to ask if from now on it was okay for her to just get her supply of ARV without going for any more appointments. Ahh, obviously, she doesn’t want her in-laws to find out. But still, even to get her supply of ARV, she’d need to go to the hospital, no? What was she expecting? To get me to bring the supply of ARV to her MIL’s house and come out with whatever story on why I was visiting? When the nurse told her she still has to come to the hospital for her appointments, Shidah told the nurse… “Nanti saya kena bincang dulu dengan Kak Afizah.” Duh! Akaaaak jugak?!
Well, Shidah had not called me yet after that, I guess she’s going to wait nearer to the appointment date before she makes that call.
Later in the afternoon, I decided to visit Lin to deliver some of the reference books I got from various donors. Lin has 2 children sitting for their exams this year – her son will be sitting for SPM and her daughter will be sitting for PMR. It had been quite a while since I last visited her family, her children were beginning to wonder if I’d ever be visiting again. When I called, Lin said she was out elsewhere but her eldest daughter was home. The daughter who graduated from a nursing college about a year ago, has been unable to find a related job and is still applying here and there. For the past year, she had been doing temporary jobs here and there, all unrelated to her qualifications, mostly clerical work.
I had quite a long chat with Lin’s daughter. She too seemed quite comfortable opening up to me. I do hope she’ll be able to get a proper job soon.
As for the 2 children who will be sitting for their exams this year, Lin had already arranged for tuition for her form 3 girl, but had not been able to influence the form 5 boy to do the same. Both of them are under sponsorship, so tuition fees shouldn’t be a problem. But according to Lin, the boy doesn’t want tuition because he’s shy. Shy to go for tuition?? But why?!
“Dia kata dia malu sebab dia tak pandai,” said Lin to me. Aiyo, shouldn’t he go for tuition because he is tak pandai??
Hish, macam-macamlah budak-budak ni…