Yesterday was my second clinic duty for the year at Taiping Hospital. Since we only send our volunteers once a month to Taiping for clinic duty, and we have 3 teams, our turn would come once every 3 months. For Ipoh clinic, I’d usually go every 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month.
The other 2 teams have 2 volunteers in each team, while for my team I cater for any trainee volunteers who’d like to join me. Yesterday however, I was alone. The moment I got to MOPD, I went straight to the doctor’s room to inform the nurse I was already there and to enquire if there were any cases to be referred. According to the nurse there were quite a few cases.
I waited at the praying room cum makeshift counselling room, located just behind the doctor’s room. Wasn’t bothered to get chairs, so I just sat on the carpet, with my netbook on lap, surfing the internet while waiting for the cases to be referred.
After a while, the nurse brought in a new case – a skinny looking guy, in his late thirties. Looking at his name which was quite unique, I remembered he used to call me before, seeking financial help. Another PLHIV gave him my number and told him to ask me if we Buddies could offer financial help. But our funds are more for children education, and since this guy was unmarried, there wasn’t much I could offer him but choices of where he could seek help from.
I was quite surprised when his case was referred to me as a new case. All the while, when he called (I think it was some time last year or the year before), I thought he had already gone for appointments at the HIV clinic. Apparently he only went to a nearby Klinik Kesihatan for his methadone fix, not HIV treatment. He now rents a room at RM150 per month, and works from midnight to early morning, processing chicken. Pay is based on hourly basis. However of late, he had been feeling rather weak, and so had been missing from work for almost 2 weeks.
The next case referred was that of Rogayah, a 52 year old lady. 2 young ladies, aged around late teens to early twenties, came along with her. They were her children, accompanying her to the hospital.
Rogayah has 7 children, all from her first marriage. When her first husband died, she then remarried. The 2nd husband died about 4 years ago of TB. Apparently, when the 2nd husband died, Rogayah and her children were tested for TB, all turned out negative. I’m not really sure if the husband was diagnosed HIV+, or if he ever got tested for HIV. But when he died, Rogayah was not tested for HIV.
That was until about 2 or 3 months ago, when Rogayah was warded for TB. Tests were done and she was found to be HIV positive. I looked through the file, and noticed that her CD4 was already very low, while her viral load was very very high. Rogayah herself seemed to be strong at heart… or maybe she was trying to be strong for her children. As I explained things to them, I could see tears in the eyes of her daughters. I am glad however that the daughters seemed to be very very supportive of their mother. They have to be strong for their mother as well.
As I went to the doctor’s room to return Rogayah’s medical file, the doctor immediately told me that Maznah, the young lady I went to visit earlier this month at a squatter area, had already given birth to a baby boy. Remember Maznah? I posted her story here. She’s supposed to deliver in July, but last week, when she kept on vomiting every time she ate anything, even her meds, she was warded again. And she ended up having to deliver the baby, prematurely.
Maznah had already been discharged from the hospital, but since the doctor at the HIV clinic wanted to see her, arrangements were made for the ambulance to fetch her from home and bring her for her appointment. So yes, I still got to see Maznah yesterday. Her baby was still at the hospital for observation, given his premature condition.
Guess who came to the hospital with Maznah? Her boyfriend… the father of the baby she just delivered. Has he been tested for HIV? Errrmmm…. he doesn’t even know Maznah has HIV. So isn’t he going to be tested? Well, according to Maznah, the plan was to get his blood sample under the pretext that they needed blood for the baby and so they needed to get his blood tested. Maznah was afraid he may leave her just like that without even getting himself tested if he knew Maznah was HIV+.
Oh well, I think I shall let the doctor take care of that part.
Another PLHIV was supposed to see me yesterday. Someone from Ipoh, who is already a client of Buddies, told me that a friend of his in Taiping wanted to register under Buddies and was interested to join us for the Family Day. I told him to get his friend to see me in Taiping during my clinic duty. He didn’t turn up until 1 pm.
The nurse on duty also asked if a friend of hers working nearby, who’s also a PLHIV, wanted to see me as well. He too, didn’t turn up until 1 pm.
Then I figured out, based on the name given, the guy mentioned by the client and the guy mentioned by the nurse must be the same person. He was the one who wanted to see me, but he was the one who didn’t turn up. I couldn’t wait too long at the makeshift counselling room since the room is actually a praying room. The staff there would want to use the room during lunch break for their prayers…