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)
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Saturday, 19 May 2007

Going nuts!

No, not me. I'm not the one going nuts - hopefully I won't ever. This posting is about the PLWHAs who cannot accept their HIV infection and are going crazy because of it.

When I woke up last Wednesday morning, I saw a message on my handphone from an unfamiliar number. The message read:

"Kak, saya minta maaf kalau mengganggu. Suami saya ada HIV, macam mana saya nak buat kerana dia la ni asyik menjerit macam hilang ingatan."

The message came in at midnight, I was fast asleep then (I am a morning person). By the time I got to read the message it was in the wee hours of the morning. So, I waited for daylight before attempting to call the number. Somehow my calls didn't get through.

I began to wonder who this person was. My PLWHA clients' numbers are registered on my handphone so I should be able to identify them easily if they called or sent any messages. The only person whom I thought would fit in was Mrs X, whose husband had attempted suicide before because he THOUGHT he had HIV. He would definitely fit the "menjerit macam hilang ingatan" description. Maybe Mrs X used her husband's handphone instead of her own.

I called Mrs X and asked if she was the one who sent me the SMS. Nope, not her... now who could this be?

After a few more calls which didn't get through, I decided to reply the SMS, asking the sender to identify herself. I also told her that my calls didn't get through. About half an hour later, the reply came...

"Saya isteri kepada Rashid yang temuduga di Ipoh pada bulan lepas."

Oh... then I remembered meeting up with the husband and wife during my HIV clinic duty last month. The "temuduga" she meant was the counselling session. Rashid himself was feeling very very dizzy during the session so most of the counselling was with his wife, not him. His wife had been tested negative. I gave them my NGO brochure with my phone number written on it in case they needed help. That was how she got my number.

I was unaware of whatever happened after the counselling session. Apparently, after seeing the doctor, Rashid was supposed to be admitted to the hospital for further checks. For whatever reasons, he didn't want to be admitted, so he disappeared after the appointment. His wife went frantically searching for him. He was nowhere to be found. His wife almost gave up and was already on the way to the police station to report the matter when finally she found him in town like a lost man. She took him back to the hospital to be admitted but after one or 2 days, he insisted he wanted to go back. His wife finally gave in and took him back, for fear he might run away from the hospital.

Rashid had actually just started working a few weeks earlier as a guard. But after being diagnosed HIV positive, he could not accept the fact and became so depressed. He could no longer work - talking to himself at home, sometimes shouting. As they had just absconded from the hospital the last time, no new appointment was set for Rashid. So the wife didn't know what else to do. The next thing that came to her mind was to get in touch with me. So came the SMS...

This is not the only case where the PLWHA goes nuts and drives people around them up the wall. Like Mr X who got Mrs X all tensed up with his suicide attempts.

Another PLWHA calls our volunteers not only every day... but 15 times a day!! To whine!! Thank goodness I'm not his buddy - otherwise I may go nuts too...


simah said...

salam perkenalan..

those in this job must be very very patient... non stop phone ringing at wee hours... countless whining...

but the basic thing is.. u all r helping people... May u all be blessed...masyaAllah

Pi Bani said...

Simah, welcome to my blog. Nak kata non stop phone ringing at wee hours tu tak lah. It only happens occasionally. Unless of course dapat the last PLWHA I mentioned in my posting - the one who calls 15 times a day... that one can drive me up the wall... terus jadi spiderwoman lah I... :)

J.T. said...

Despite the numerous calls you get and sometimes at ungodly hours, at least, you still take them. You are not shutting them out. That takes a lot of patience.
I feel that when a person is told that he/she has HIV/AIDS, that person ultimately thinks his/her life over. A generally 'uneducated' society (about HIV/AIDS) makes it more difficult for them to deal with it.
Thank God for volunteers like you, Pi Bani. In that situation, I'd imagine they just want to talk it out until they have nothing to say.
So, go nuts with a good feeling (it is possible, you know). :)

nyonyapenang said...

it sure takes a lot of guts, courage and patience to be able to do the works that you and all your buddies do. if not, you've gone nutty long time ago.

Pi Bani said...

JT, go nuts with a good feeling, eh? That can happen easily at Uncle Lee's blog! :)

Anyway, most of the time they just need to talk it over with someone who doesn't tell them they're wrong. In this line of voluntary work, it's the art of listening which matters most. I don't usually talk much during my first few meets, I just listen and let them do the talking. Later, when they have nothing else to say (like you mentioned), they will start asking questions, and it's our turn to do the talking. No point talking too early, they won't listen!

Pi Bani said...

Nyonya Penang, the patience came gradually as I grew older... :) I still got to work on it lah. I may not show it, but sekali-sekala fed-up juga with their kerenah. But every time I feel macam nak naik angin, I would ask myself, "How would I feel if I were in their shoes?"

Lee said...

Hi Pi Bani, no joke getting these late calls.
You know, I am surprised that Malaysia ada quite a lot of 'hiv' people?
Pi Bani, x'cuse saya, but I am ignorant re 'aids' etc in it thru drugs, needles, sex etc?
Kesian la when I read your stories.
How do you sleep at night Pi Bani? I mean daytime you experience these scenes. Me...I have difficulty if experiencing one like yours.
You're a fantastic lady. UL.

Pi Bani said...

Uncle Lee, the number of HIV cases in Malaysia is actually increasing. Majority (of those reported) are injecting drug users, while others thru sex - either out of marriage or some thru their own spouses. Most of the women got it from their husbands.

How do I sleep at night? Time tidur, tidurlah. Think of all the positive things... then go to sleep. Otherwise can go bonkers...

Mat Salo said...


You are doing the stuff that others can only DREAM of doing, and the job comes replete with a host of duties, often not found in the scope of work. Imagine a world where there aren't people around to do this sort of work, someone like you.. well, can you? But the one person I thought stood out was Rashid's eternally-suffering but patient wife. Imagine her love, her scarificies, giving her everything to a person she had pledged to. A complete reversal of roles; how does she cope? She's coping of course, because Thank God there's volunteers out there to help. If I were to put my self in her shoes, I would've abandoned him. Why? Because I am a man, and I suspect, honestly, a man can never love and give as much as a woman can... Is there a reason why volunteer work, or NGO's, fighting for peoples' rights etc., are staffed with women mostly?

In doing God's work, Pi, remember to take care of your own health, take a break sometimes, recharge -not merely for your sake, because these poor souls NEED you. Go ahead, let yourself feel good Pi. Remember, it's always nice to feel needed and loved.. and I bet the people you cousel love you Pi!

silversarina said...

salam Pi Bani,

Bila baca kisah begini sayu rasa hati tapi bersyukur ada insan berhati mulia macam you yang sanggup membantu tak kiramasa dan ketika...I wish I boleh jadi setabah dan semulia hati macam you....

Happy weekend !!

Pi Bani said...

Mat Salo, I do take time off for myself, you don't have to worry about that. However sometimes the break IS with the PLWHAs... like jalan-jalan makan angin somewhere... sambil menyelam minum air lah!

loveujordan, I just think of it this way... one day if I need help and nobody wants to help me, how would I feel? So, whenever I can help, just help. Thanks for dropping by, LUJ.