It had been quite a while since my last clinic duty in Taiping. The last time I went in August last year, HIV clinic was cancelled but nobody bothered to tell me about it and so I only found out about the cancellation when I reached Taiping Hospital. My next duty was in November, just after my mother’s passing, and so I didn’t go as I had quite a number of things to settle.
Tuesday, 26th February 2013, off I went to Taiping for my first clinic duty there for the year. I remember my colleague telling me that when he was on duty last month, quite a number of cases were referred. In my case, I spent most of the time waiting in the makeshift counselling room aka the prayer room. One case was finally referred to me after 12 noon – a 39 year old ex-IVDU now on methadone. He seemed okay though, and with his family knowing his HIV status and being supportive, this guy didn’t really need help from Buddies.
One more case was finally referred to me at 1 pm. The nurse told me this lady was from a poor family, so even though she came late, I waited. And when she finally came into the room, she looked oh so fragile. Kak Ros, a 52 year old lady, weighs only 30 kg. Somehow I got reminded of Sofie, who at one time weighed the same. She used to work in a factory before, but due to her weak condition, she has stopped working since 2 or 3 years ago. So who has been supporting her family after her husband died a few years ago? (Btw, she was infected by her late husband). Siti has 2 sons aged 19 and 16. The 16 year old son is in form 4, and so the 19 year old boy is the one who has been supporting the family, including his younger brother’s schooling expenses.
Looks like this family may need our help, especially from our Children Education Fund. Definitely a case for us to follow up with.
Yesterday, Wednesday 27th Feb, I was on clinic duty again, this time in Ipoh. The moment I went into the doctor’s room, the nurses told me there was one new case to be referred, and one old case where the lady had requested to see me. They referred to me the old case first. As I had expected, the lady needed help with her children’s education.
As for the new case, the nurses themselves weren’t too sure if the guy came with his wife or his daughter. One nurse said the lady with him looked young enough to be his daughter while the other nurse said the lady looked more like his wife. According to SN, during the first counselling session she had with him, his wife had not been told of his HIV. SN did advise him that his wife needed to be told and to be tested as well, but SN wasn’t too sure if he had told his wife by now. Not wanting to give the wife a shock by calling her in to see me in case she still had no clue, we decided to just call the guy to see me first. He didn’t really talk much, but I did manage to get some info from him. According to him, he had told his wife everything and that she did come along with him to the hospital.
I then passed the info to SN, and immediately SN decided to call both husband & wife into the room for further counselling, and to get the wife tested as well.
So the nurse who said he came with his wife was right, huh? Actually both nurses were right. Probably one saw an older looking lady with him. When the other nurse took a peek, she saw a younger looking lady. Both his wife and 19 year old daughter came with him to the hospital… :)