Ever since we started increasing the number of clinic duties at HRPB, Ipoh, from twice a month to 4 times a month, I volunteered myself to take up every 2nd and 4th Mondays. That is in addition to my once a month duty at Taiping Hospital. However, this year the 4th Monday of January was a public holiday, and so was the 2nd Monday of February, and so this is the longest break I've had from my Ipoh clinic duties.
That doesn't mean I could "goyang kaki" for the past month. Any cases at the hospital needing welfare/social help, the doctors/nurses would still contact me directly. Even though it had been 5 weeks since my last clinic duty in Ipoh, I've had to go to the hospital 3 times, to settle the cases of 2 homeless guys needing to go to shelter homes. For both cases, the nurses arranged for the guys to be accepted at a shelter home in Sg Buloh, but the hospital doesn't cover for transportation and the one-off amount that needs to be paid to the shelter home (usually the shelter home doesn't charge anything, however since some of the homeless people go in and out as and when they like, the home has started charging a one-off payment to make sure there is some sort of commitment on the part of the homeless people), so our help is sought.
Majority of our volunteers are working 9 - 5, therefore we don't have people to personally send the homeless to the shelter home, however we do have a Client Welfare Fund to cover for their train tickets. For both the above cases, I bought ETS tickets for the guys to go to Sg Buloh, from the train station they'd go direct to Sg Buloh Hospital, and the reps of the shelter home will fetch them from the hospital. As for the one-off payment, I've had to source from donors, and the money would only be transfered once the rep of the shelter home confirms that the guys have indeed arrived safely at the shelter.
And not going for any clinic duties doesn't mean I don't have any new cases to handle. Once in a while I'd get cases referred by district hospitals or health clinics which we don't cover for clinic duties. This time I got a case referred by a Klinik Kesihatan. A young couple, wife HIV +ve and pregnant, husband -ve. Both husband and wife are not working. I tried calling for the whole day yesterday, every single time I reached the voice mail. I sent a text message explaining who I was, there was no reply the whole day. I almost gave up. That was until midnight when the lady finally replied my SMS. And so this morning I called again and finally managed to speak to her.
Since she was okay with the idea of having me visiting her at home (easier to talk face to face rather than on the phone), this afternoon I headed over to her place. They had actually just moved into the house a few days ago and when I got there, they were busy putting up curtains and tidying up the house. Unlike some husbands who stay away when I visit their wives, this lady's husband sat together with us and listened to everything I explained. I especially reiterated on the importance of adherence of the ARV medication for the wife. I explained in detail why she must take her medication on time every day without fail, and I also explained the implications of non-adherence. I made her promise me that she won't miss her medications and appointments. I told the husband to remind his wife when it's time to take her medication.
I also took the opportunity to explain to them what to expect in the next few months until delivery, what to expect after delivery etc. I told the lady to contact me if there's anything she's unsure of and needed to clarify.
I can't help it. I always pay extra attention to cases of pregnant HIV+ ladies. My main concern is so that the baby will not get infected.