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)

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Homeless by choice

Remember last month I mentioned about sending 2 homeless guys to a shelter home? We helped to buy train tickets and to pay the initial registration fee to the home for both guys.

I visited both cases when they were warded at Ipoh GH. The first guy, J, when asked, did agree to go to a shelter home, but if possible he preferred the place to be in Perak. But when told that there was none available in Perak specifically for HIV cases, J finally agreed to go to a home in Sg Buloh. The arrangement was that I'd buy him a train ticket up to Sg Buloh station, from there he'd go straight to Sg Buloh Hospital, and someone from the shelter home would fetch him at the hospital. For J, so far so good. He's still there at the shelter home. No complaints.

As for the other guy, H, when I visited him in the ward, he did mention he didn't want to stay at a shelter home. He was then staying at an old abandoned home, without doors and windows, without any furniture whatsoever.

I was rather surprised when the nurse from Ipoh ID clinic called me to seek my help to arrange for transportation and to pay for the initial registration fee to the shelter home for H.
"Eh? Hari tu dia kata dia tak nak dok shelter home?" I asked the nurse.
"Sekarang dia dah setuju," the nurse replied.

I figured he must have ran out of options and finally agreed to go to the shelter home. So I bought him the train ticket and arranged with the rep from the shelter home to pay for the registration fee once this homeless guy reaches the shelter. But before H went, he sent me a text message, asking if there'd be any financial assistance for him. Financial assistance? We already bought the train ticket, we agreed to pay for his initial registration, what else did he want? Apparently he was asking for monthly financial aid. Banyak cantik! I told him that we're only assisting, not taking over responsibility. After he left for Sg Buloh, I thought that would be the last I'd hear of him.

Late last week, a call from an unfamiliar number came in on my handphone. The caller turned out to be H, coming up with stories that he had to leave the shelter home because the doctors told him to start on methadone and the people at the shelter don't accept methadone cases. And so he was asking me for transport money to get back to his old place. Methadone? I thought he said he was no longer taking drugs? When I asked if he was taking drugs, he denied. Then why on earth would the doctor want him to take methadone? In the end I just told him I'd have to find out more from the nurse at Ipoh GH.

Within less than an hour he sent me a text message, "Macam mana ba?" I didn't bother to reply. I hadn't even spoken to the nurse yet, and he was already pestering me for money. Our assistance actually stopped the moment we sent him to the shelter home. He shouldn't expect us to give him money as and when he wants them. Who does he think we are?

When I went for my clinic duty at Ipoh GH on Monday, I took the opportunity to ask the staff nurse at ID clinic. Apparently when H called me to ask for transport money to go back to his old place, he was already back! The nurse was surprised when she saw a case brought to the specialist clinic from the ward, the guy looked familiar and finally she recognised it was H. She then called the rep from the shelter home and found out that H only stayed there for a week (he told me he was there for a month). And H told the nurse a different version of reasons.

He denied being on drugs, but the truth is, he was brought to the hospital by the police, after he passed out when the police caught him taking drugs. No wonder the doctor in Sg Buloh wanted him to start taking methadone. And the reason he left the shelter home was because he couldn't get his supply of drugs there. They did not chase him out. He was the one who left.

So now H is back to being a homeless guy... by his own choice.

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