I was on clinic duty again today. This time alone because the trainee volunteer who was supposed to be on duty with me had office matters to attend to. But I am already used to being on clinic duty alone, even in Taiping, so it wasn’t a problem at all.
The moment I went in the doctor’s room, the nurse told me there were 2 new cases today and both of them were already there. So yep, no waiting for me today. Off I went to the support service room and within just minutes, the nurse came in with the first case.
A big-sized guy came in, alone. Looking through his file, I noticed he has a wife. “You punya bini sudah tau ka belum?” I asked. “Belum. Nanti la bila-bila saya bagitau…” he replied. I told him the importance of telling his wife so she can get tested as well. He then said he knew about his HIV infection since 2010 but didn’t go for any follow up. Wow, for the past 2 years he knew he had HIV, yet he never told his wife? As a matter of fact, when I kept advising him to inform his wife, he told me about how some time last year, his wife did a full blood test and she was found to be HIV-negative. Duh! I hope he wasn’t using that as an excuse not to tell his wife NOW. Whatever it is, I believe the doctor and nurses too will be pestering him to get his wife tested…
After a while, the staff nurse herself came into the room to refer the next case to me. A couple came in, the guy using crutches, accompanied by his wife. The guy had been tested positive for HIV after he was hospitalised recently for lung infection. The wife had yet to be tested but at least she’s fully aware of her husband’s condition and based on what was written in the file, she was due to do her blood test today.
The guy looked calm. He admitted he used to “main perempuan” when he was much younger before he got married, but he claimed he must have got HIV during a blood transfusion 10 years ago after an accident (the reason he’s using crutches now).
The couple has 2 children, one almost 20 and is working now. The younger one, 16, is still in school. Since the guy lives on his Socso and welfare aid, I thought the schooling child may need educational help. But the guy admitted his son has been getting financial assistance from various sources for his schooling. At least he’s honest, unlike some people I know who’d take advantage of any form of financial assistance offered, despite getting help from various other sources. The older son, was offered to a place in IKM after form 5, but decided to turn down the offer. With his father’s condition after the accident, and his mother not working to take care of the father, this boy decided to work so he could help his family financially by working. In fact, while he was still schooling, he brought nasi lemak made by his mother to school and sold them to his friends. Wow! I truly respect this boy’s sense of responsibility. Despite himself having to work immediately after he finished schooling, he is giving encouragement to his younger brother to study hard so he can further his studies after SPM. I like this boy already!
When I turned my attention to wife, she started crying. She’s afraid to get tested. I told her that whatever the outcome of the blood test, positive or not, she will have to accept because there is no way she can turn back the clock. She must now think of the future, not the past. “Tapi kenapa saya?” she asked as though she is already confirmed positive.
Guess she will need some time to swallow everything in. I will have to follow up on her later.
Those were the 2 cases referred by the Ipoh ID clinic today. I finished quite early by about 11.15 or so. But I couldn’t go hack yet as I had promised to meet up with a PLHIV who called me earlier, interested to join Buddies, either as a client or a volunteer. He stays in Perak but does his follow up in Sg Buloh, which was why his case was never referred to us before despite being on treatment for a number of years already. He was hoping to find fellow PLHIV in his town so he could form a group and they could meet from time to time to give support to each other. But although he knew of a few PLHIV in his town, they don’t seem to want to meet up. Which was why he finally decided to join Buddies. He said he’s getting bored doing nothing at home, and so he might as well do something useful like helping out fellow PLHIV.
What I like is the fact that he is willing to open up and share his experience with the public. He said if the PLHIV themselves don’t speak up, then people will never understand them. Great, now if we get invited for talks or the likes, we probably can rope him in to share his own experiences in dealing with HIV – such experience sharing will probably leave a greater impact on the audience.
We will take him in as a client first, then later on, after assessing him, we may pull him in as a volunteer.