I was in Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh yesterday for my clinic duty. But when I arrived at the ID clinic, I couldn’t seem to find anyone in any of the 2 rooms. So I went straight to the registration counter in front, and finally saw SN there. She told me there’re no new cases for the whole week.
Since there weren’t many cases, SN wasn’t as busy as she usually would be. So both of us took the opportunity to discuss some cases… those needing help, those who have been defaulting their appointments etc.
Today, I was on clinic duty again. This time in Taiping. In contrast to the Ipoh ID clinic which didn’t have too many cases, the clinic in Taiping today was rather busy. Actually when I was there for the last clinic duty earlier this month, I got the nurse to confirm that there would indeed be ID clinic in Taiping on the 24th of December. It being the day before Christmas, I was concerned if the clinic would be cancelled. They had done that before (cancelling clinics) without informing us and we ended up going to Taiping Hospital for nothing.
The first case referred to us today was a guy who had earlier worked in KL but is now back in his hometown to stay with his parents. So it wasn’t really a new case. After finding out that he had earlier worked with an organisation dealing with HIV, and as a matter of fact he had previously attended international conferences on HIV/AIDS, I figured he would be a good candidate for us to pull in for our activities. He too seemed to love the idea. Much better than staying at home doing nothing.
While waiting for the next case to be referred, I overheard the nurse calling out a very familiar name. Hey, that’s my client’s name! So I went out to look for her and there she was at one of the benches, waiting for the nurse to give back her appointment card. After a while, all her 4 daughters came by. By now I’m already a familiar face to them, having taken them shopping for their schooling needs for a few years already since they are all under our Sponsorship Programme.
While I was having a chat with her, another lady sat beside me. I took a look at her, and whaddaya know, another client of mine with one of her daughters. Also a recipient of our Sponsorship Programme.
Then suddenly another familiar-looking lady walked by. This time another client whom I had not met for quite some time. None other than Yah, a client who had appeared rather frequently in my earlier blog postings. When I was first assigned as her client, her youngest was still a baby. Now the youngest girl is already in school, and doing quite well too, getting 1st in class in her last school exams.
After meeting all three of them, I went back into the make-shift counselling room (it’s actually the prayer room) to wait for the next case to be referred. Another guy was referred to us this time, but he was more interested to find out if we could give him financial assistance. Being single, never married, no kids etc, there wasn’t really much Buddies could offer in that matter. We do have our own funds for children education, but other than that, we can only suggest to them where they can get help.
The last case was that of a young lady in her early 20’s. I was told by the nurse that she’s a single mother, so I thought she may need help for her children. But when I talked to the girl, she told me she’s married but husband is confirmed negative and she no longer has a child. Apparently, she found out about her hiv infection AFTER she delivered. It was an out-of-wedlock pregnancy and she never went for proper check-up at any clinics and hence, wasn’t aware that she was infected until after the delivery. The baby had complications, and eventually died. So where does the husband come in? Well, they only met each other during her 7th month of pregnancy, and the guy still wanted to marry her.
So those were the 3 cases referred. Actually there were quite a few new cases today, but unlike the nurses at the Ipoh ID clinic who’d refer all new cases to us, in Taiping the nurses used a different approach. They actually ask the new patients if they wanted to see Buddies, an NGO. So some patients, feeling uncomfortable, refused to see us before we even had the chance to have a chat with them.
That’s the last clinic duty in Taiping for this year. One more clinic duty in Ipoh next week before the year ends.. and based on what SN told me yesterday, there are a few cases they need to refer to me this time.