I had initially wanted to take Dahlia & her children shopping for their needs during the recent 1 week school break, but Dahlia’s 2 year old son was down with pneumonia and had to be warded at the hospital. I had no choice but to postpone the shopping.
Once school reopened, it wasn’t practical for me to take them during weekdays, because although all 3 schooling children go to school in the morning, they’d usually be back home only around 3 pm, especially the ones in secondary school. With their home being about 1 hour drive from my place, I didn’t want to rush everything and end up coming home quite late.
So I finally decided to take them shopping last Saturday morning. When I arrived at their house circa 10 am, Dahlia was still hanging some clothes on the balcony. Apparently their place was affected by the water rationing, and they had no supply of water for the previous 2 days. Water was back on Saturday morning, and so she took the opportunity to wash all her children’s clothes immediately.
Her second son, 13, had some activities at school and so he couldn’t join us shopping. However, according to Dahlia, his size is just about the same as his 15 year old sister, including shoe size, and so there was no problem buying his schooling needs without him tagging along.
So off we went… Dahlia and her 8 month old daughter at the front seat while the other 4 children aged 15, 7, 4 and 2 at the back seat. Since it’s no longer “back-to-school” promotion season, it wasn’t practical taking them to a supermarket. So based on Dahlia’s recommendations (she knows better where to shop at that town), we went to a bazaar in town. More choices of sizes etc. But I definitely wasn’t able to simply swipe my debit card for payment, and so I needed lots of cash with me.
The first round of shopping involved buying school uniforms, shoes, and uniforms for co-curricular activities (Kadet Remaja for the 15 year old girl and Kadet Polis for the 13 year old boy). Total came up to slightly over RM800. And I had about RM800+ cash in hand.
Seeing that the younger 2 boys were becoming restless and thirsty, after putting all the stuff into the car, I brought them to a nearby stall for brunch (they hadn’t had breakfast even). Then, before proceeding with more shopping, I had to go to an ATM first to withdraw more cash. We went on to buy track bottoms and school bags before finally heading to a supermarket to buy milk and diapers for the younger 2 kids.
Total damages: RM1.2K. But all the 3 schooling children are under our sponsorship programme, and I’ve also got some donations to buy milk and diapers for the youngest 2, and so all those expenses are already covered for.
Meanwhile, the blood test results for all the children will be known later this month. Dahlia’s blood test, came back with a CD4 of 110, and so she needs to get started with ARV medication immediately. She does intend to look for a job, but I told her to hang on a little while longer after she starts her ARV, in case there are any side effects. Once she’s okay with the ARV, then there shouldn’t be any problem for her to find a job.
Today I was thinking of just staying at home to finish up my slides for this Thursday’s talk on HIV to a group of factory workers. But after coming back from my morning walk, a call came in from an unfamiliar number. A lady, who got my number from the staff nurse at the HIV clinic, sought my help to bring her 13 year HIV+ sister to the hospital for her appointment. Usually she’d bring her sister to the hospital herself, but today she couldn’t. The girl’s mother, who is +ve herself, simply refused to go to the hospital. If it was up to her, the girl would miss her hospital appointments and meds as well. That’s why the older sister (who is married and stays elsewhere) took over the responsibility. But while she could bring her younger sister for follow up appointments, there was nothing much she could do to coax her mother to do the same.
The nurses had already spoken to the mother, telling her that she’d need to come for appointments herself, but no matter what they told her, she insisted she doesn’t need to because she feels simply fine.
I think she’s still in denial…