THEY WILL ASK thee as to what they should spend on others. Say: "Whatever of your wealth you spend shall [first] be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof." - Al-Baqarah (2:215)

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

New cases, old cases…

After a lapse of 3 weeks, I was on duty again today. Usually I’d be on duty every alternate weeks, ie the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month, but since last month there was a 5th Wednesday, we didn’t have anyone on duty then. So yes, once in a while I do get a 3 week lapse before being on duty again.

I was told there were supposed to be 4 new cases today, but in the end only met 2. One didn’t turn up, while the other turned up very late and so SN told me there was no need to wait since that case was a prison case anyway.

Both cases I saw weren’t newly diagnosed cases. Both had been going for appointments in Sg Buloh Hospital before they moved to Perak recently.

The first case, a guy in his early thirties, had already been on HAART for a year now. He now stays with his family who knows about his HIV status and they don’t have a problem with it. There wasn’t much counselling needed for this guy, by now he already knows all that he needed to know.

The second case, a pregnant lady. Initially I thought hers was a newly diagnosed case, but turned out she too had been going for appointments in Sg Buloh before this ever since her first pregnancy. She did follow up at Sg Buloh Hospital until her first child was 2 years old but ever since she moved, she had not been going for any more appointments. Her first child had been confirmed negative.

She got HIV from her first husband. They then got divorced, and she remarried. Her second husband married her despite knowing that she was HIV positive. While she had not been going for any more follow up appointments after moving to Perak, recently when she was found to be pregnant, like it or not, her case had to be referred to Ipoh GH. Her husband’s blood test showed negative results, but he will have to be tested again to be sure he is not infected. I hope they will practice safe sex after this.

As I was at the Buddies Centre later today to settle some matters, I received a text message from Zana, who asked me to call back. Remember Zana… the problematic young woman I had written about a few years back? Just to recap…

Not long after Zana’s case was referred to me, she asked if I could help arrange for a place to stay for her. She didn’t say why at first, just said that her family didn’t want her to stay with them anymore. I suspected there had to be something more to that story, and finally she admitted she was pregnant. Yep, another of those out of wedlock pregnancy cases. So I sent her to a shelter home in KL, while her older child (from her late husband who had died earlier) was left with her parents.

Not long after she went to the shelter home, she gave birth to a pair of twins, both boys. At one point, I was prepared to fetch her and send her & the twins back to her parents house, but on the very day that I went to the shelter home to fetch them, I was told there was a crisis at home. Her father had disowned her and simply refused to let her come home, especially with the children. Apparently even with the first child, it was an out of wedlock pregnancy, but they managed to marry her off with the guy before she delivered. For the second pregnancy, they didn’t even know who fathered the children.

Problem with Zana was that she couldn’t get along with anyone else at the shelter home (and vice versa, all the occupants there were complaining about her too). Although the twins were eventually confirmed negative, one of them died after just a few months – not HIV related.

Zana then left the home, initially taking her son along with her, but later sent him back when financially she couldn’t give him the care needed. I lost touch with Zana after that, but occasionally I had been getting updates from the lady in charge of the shelter home where Zana used to stay.

This time Zana contacted me because she was at the Ipoh Hospital. Nope, she wasn’t the one who got warded, but her older child, the daughter who had been taken care by her parents. Seems the girl had been unwell of late and recently was found to have  toxoplasmosis. Toxo? It is one of the opportunistic diseases associated with HIV. Apparently the little girl had been diagnosed HIV +ve just recently. According to Zana, the girl was tested once initially (with negative results) but after that she was never brought for any follow up appointments. Now the girl’s in PICU, and according to Zana, is unconscious.

I am planning to visit them tomorrow. More updates after the visit…

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