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)

Monday, 14 October 2013

The new case

I was on clinic duty again today at HRPB, Ipoh. I now no longer complain about getting a parking space at the hospital because I no longer drive to the hospital.

So do I take a bus to the hospital? No.

Do I take a cab? No.

Do I cycle to the hospital? No.

Do I walk all the way? No.

I just drive over to the velodrome parking, park my car there, and take the free shuttle van service provided by HRPB. Easy!

There were supposed to be 2 new cases to be referred to Buddies today, but when I arrived at the HIV clinic at about 9.30 am, neither of the new cases were there yet. So I went over to wait at the room provided…


Usually we’d be sharing the room with pharmacists but today I had the whole room to myself, with some hospital staff coming in from time to time to use the photocopy machine, or to use the staff toilet located in this very same room.

After a while, the nurse came in, telling me that one new case was already at the clinic but I’d still have to wait anyway for the doctor to break the news to the patient first. Apparently the guy had not been told about his HIV (he was earlier warded at the hospital for high fever) and so the doctor had better break the news to him first before they refer the guy to me for support service. Usually for the new cases, they would have already known about their HIV before going for their first appointment at the HIV clinic, and so the nurse could refer cases to Buddies without having to wait for the patients to see the doctor first.

When the nurse finally brought the new case to me, it was already about 11 am. A Malay couple was brought in. The one who had just been told about his HIV was the husband, while the wife, since she too accompanied the husband to the hospital, was there when the doctor broke the news. At least we didn’t have to worry about the husband dilly-dallying about telling his wife, who definitely needs to get tested.

While the wife looked calm, the husband said he wasn’t too happy about the fact nobody had told him about his HIV despite having done blood tests previously. Had he known he wouldn’t have married his present wife (this being the 2nd marriage for the wife who has a 17 year old child from her previous marriage). I told him not every blood test done would check one’s HIV status, unless he specifically requested so, or unless there was a reason to do so.

Anyway, while the wife looked rather calm, I knew she was very worried. Her main concern was of course whether or not she too had been infected. After a while, I could see her eyes were a wee bit teary. I tried my best to convince them that having HIV doesn’t mean life ends there. I gave them examples of some people I know who had been living with HIV and taking their antiretroviral for so many years already, yet looked so normal, nobody would be able to tell they were HIV+.

Both husband and wife were to go down to get their blood tested after seeing me. For the husband, to get his CD4 count. For the wife, to test if she’s HIV positive or otherwise. In 2 weeks time they are supposed to come to the hospital again. By then they will know whether or not the wife is infected as well.

I hope she is spared from the virus, but if indeed she has been infected, it is not the end of the world.

I gave her my number and told her to call me anytime should she need to speak to someone about the matter.

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