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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Wednesday, 25 May 2011

A tempang day at the clinic…

I just realised it has been more than a week since I last updated my blog. Sorry about that. Ever since I injured my right knee during the run, I was sort of grounded. (sort of lah… you don’t really expect me to just sit down and do nothing kan?)

I reduced my voluntary work activities to wait until the knee heals. So I have not been visiting my clients, neither was I on clinic duty, so there wasn’t really much for me to blog about.

Well, right now my right knee is not fully healed yet. I still walk with a slight limp, but the pain is much more bearable. And since I was on clinic duty today, I guess I might as well get back to voluntary work mode.

So off I went to the hospital today, hoping to get a parking space near enough. Well, I didn’t get the nearest parking space, but it was still within bearable walking distance. But it was after all, the hospital that I went to, so I wasn’t the only one walking with a limp. Ramai gang!! :)

First thing as usual was, to go to the doctor’s room to inform the nurses that I was already there. ”Ni kenapa jalan tempang ni? Semalam engko menari disko ke apa?” Yeah sure…

Shila was in the room when I got there. Yes, the client who had been defaulting her appointments and stopped taking her ARV altogether. She finally had to go for her appointments again after being hospitalised recently. And being HIV+, her case was definitely referred to the ID clinic, and so, like it or not, she just had to see those same faces again…

Anyway, SN told me there were no new cases yet. I just told them I’d wait at the counselling room. I figured it would take some time before any case was referred, so I took out my netbook, but before I could even manage to switch it on, one guy came to me to ask if he could talk to me. He wasn’t referred to me by the nurses, in fact he was only at the hospital for his blood tests. I guess he had heard of us before, but never referred to us.

Yazid, 52, still single, and stays with his elderly mom. When asked if his family knows of his HIV status, he said they all do, but he wasn’t sure if they understood. He is already depressed with the fact that he is HIV+, yet his siblings left the responsibility of taking care of their overly-sensitive mom to him. He has 9 other siblings, and sometimes instead of offering to take care of their mom, they send their kids there when they need to go away for a few days. When the kids get naughty, Yazid would scold them, and when he does that, his mother becomes sensitive and thinks that Yazid was actually scolding her.

So Yazid feels all stressed out. Well, at least that’s Yazid’s side of the story. As usual, during first meets, I’d just listen and only offer my advise when asked. Yazid was asking if there was a home for PLHIVs where he can learn more about Islam since his religious knowledge is not that good. So I gave him the number of an Ustaz running a home in KL. I told him to call the ustaz and then decide whether or not he really wants to stay at such a home.

After Yazid left, a call came in on my handphone. A lady from PKI called to inform me that a PLHIV staying in Ipoh needs help and asked if I could do something about it since it was an Ipoh case anyway.

As I was talking to the PKI lady, I saw Mr K opening the door, saw me, and then I saw him turning and telling someone, “Ada.” Then I saw Mrs K opening the door for her little girl, telling her, “Tu ha makcik!” Next thing I knew, 4 year old Baby K came walking to me, salam, and then gave me a peck on my cheeks. Then off she went. Awwww…. my injured knee felt like jelly for a moment! Thank you little girl, you made my day!

The next person who came in specifically looking for me was Farah, the abused wife. She just wanted to talk. Her husband had not beaten her up since the last time we met, so she looked quite alright. He still does scold her quite a lot, but at least the scolding didn’t get physical. Farah still wants to go back to her hometown when she can, and I gave her the same advise I gave her before. I told her that without her passport, the best people to help her out would be those at the embassy. It is now up to her to decide when and how she wants to make a move.

As we were talking, SN came in and told Farah to wait outside the doctor’s room as her turn was coming soon.

SN then told me about Devi, another client who had just been discharged from Hospital Bahagia and is now staying on her own. SN’s main concern was that Devi needs to start on her ARV again, but staying alone, SN doubts Devi would be compliant.

Devi already has a buddy, so I guess I will just have to inform the buddy of Devi’s latest status. Let the buddy take over from there. I have enough clients of my own to think about.

By 12 noon, there were still no new cases referred to me, so I went over to the doctor’s room to check if there were any cases to be referred. There were none. “Kalau takde, si tempang nak balik dulu,” I said. The nurse’s immediate response was, “Ala jangan la cakap macam tu… sedih saya!”

Hopefully I won’t be as tempang in my next clinic duty…


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Monday, 16 May 2011

Running on course for a cause

15th May 2011 – The day finally arrived. When I first agreed to take part in the Rotary Ekiden Run For Charity event, all I was thinking of was to raise funds for my PLHIV families. It was only later did I realise that the day coincided with the International AIDS Memorial Day.

So yes, yesterday I ran… in memory of all those who died of AIDS-related diseases… and in support of my own PLHIV families. Somehow this year’s run meant a whole lot to me, because by Saturday, I managed to collect RM4.5K for my 3km run. My donation card was full to the very last line! So many people were willing to donate just because this almost-half-a-century-old woman was willing to run! With the amount collected, I knew I simply had to complete the run.

And ran I did…

run9The run being flagged off… spot me if you can!!

I just followed my own pace, not too fast (unlike some runners who actually attempted to get into the top 5 placing), but not too slow either, else my other 3 teammates would have to wait so long for me to arrive. (I jokingly told my treasurer however that if I wasn’t back in an hour, to please go look for me…)

Throughout the run, I had to go up and down quite a number of pavements, and halfway through the run, when I was stepping down from one of the pavements, I miscalculated my step and felt a slight pain on my right knee. I then decided to slow down and walk… until the last 500 meters when I decided to run again and pass the ribbon to our 2nd runner, a 16 year old girl.

I completed my run in 19 minutes, and noticed our 2nd runner made it in 15 minutes… so hey, I didn’t do too bad for a 48 year old woman who seldom take part in runs, did I? :)

run10 Handing over to 2nd runner

Anyway, at the halfway point, each runner would be given different coloured ribbons by the organisers. Red ribbon for first runner, blue ribbon for 2nd runner etc. While I was waiting for my second runner to arrive, a lady, who noticed that some of the 2nd runners had blue ribbons in their hands before handing over to the 3rd runner, asked, “Mana dapat ribbon warna biru tu? Saya lari tadi tak dapat ribbon pun?”

Oh, so she ran! Wow, she must be one tough lady, she looked so fresh! She wasn’t even sweating! Later I found out why…

You see, the first runner would pass the ribbon to the 2nd runner at a designated area. The 2nd runner would pass the ribbons to the 3rd runner at a designated area slightly further up, while the 3rd runner would pass the ribbons to the 4th runner at a designated area slightly further up than that. Of course all the runners would have to run around the whole course of approximately 3km before handing over the ribbons. What this lady did, was, as the second runner, she took the ribbon from the first runner, than immediately handed over the ribbon to the 3rd runner at the 2nd to 3rd runner handover area, without even running around the course. She hardly even ran 100 meters before handing over to the 3rd runner. No wonder she wasn’t given any blue ribbon… and no wonder she looked oh so fresh!!

Well, anyway, while waiting for the other runners to finish their run, I went to sit down under a tent. Later when it was all over, when I wanted to go back and send my 2nd runner home, the moment I got up I felt excruciating pain on my right knee. The slight pain I was feeling during the run had become worse. But I managed to walk to my car… driviing wasn’t a problem at all as there was no pressure on the knee.

The moment I got home, I had trouble trying to walk from my car into my house. Had to hold on to anything I could get hold of in my path. It was SO painful. The knee support wasn’t able to support my knee! So, as far as possible I tried to avoid moving around to avoid putting any weight on the injured right knee. But of course, I still had to walk lah in the house… to go to the toilet, to go to the kitchen etc. Luckily I wasn’t too bad with my fitness, so there were no muscle pains whatsoever. My hips, my thighs were A-okay. Otherwise I probably wouldn’t have been able to walk at all if those were added to my knee injury.

Anyway, after 2 rounds of applying cold ice on my knee, this morning my knee was still in pain, but a bit more bearable. I then decided to also try cupping (bekam) since we do have the set at home.

As of this moment, the knee pain had subsided a lot. But I’m still making sure I’m taking a break from my activities for another day at least to make sure my knee injury is healed before I go out again.

Having said all that, I must say, the pain was worth it. For the 3km that I ran in 19 minutes, I managed to collect a total of RM4,700. No pain no gain huh?

So, am I willing to run again next year? Errrrrrrmmm….

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Clinic duty: 2 old cases, no new cases

I was on clinic duty again this morning. This time I didn’t even bother trying to find a parking space near the Specialist Clinic… I went ahead to park quite a distance away. My charity run is coming this Sunday anyway, so I needed the exercise, no?

As I was walking nearing the clinic, before I could even get to the stairs, I noticed a familiar looking lady rushing towards me, then held and even kissed my hands. It was Shidah, the foreign lady married to a Malaysian, and the one who’d get beaten up by her husband from time to time.

Shidah can’t run away from home despite the beatings because other than not having any money (any household needs, the husband would bring her out with him and he’d pay, so he never gave her cash), her passport is being locked up by her husband.

Anyway, Shidah was at the hospital this morning to get her supply of ARV medication. So I told her to look for me at the usual counselling room after she’s taken her ARV from the pharmacy.

I then went straight up to the doctor’s room, to inform the nurses that I was already there. I was told there were supposed to be 2 new cases… one in the ward, while the other was not there yet. So I went over to the counselling room, and after about half an hour or so, Shidah came to see me.

Shidah looked a lot calmer than before. I think the fact that she knew she had somebody to talk to if need be, made her a lot calmer. She still gets beaten up from time to time, but not as bad as before. That however doesn’t mean she no longer has the intention to leave him. It’s just that she is willing to wait a while longer before attempting to go back to her country where her family is, and especially her child from her first marriage, whom she last got to see 4 years ago.

Shidah said she already knows where her husband keeps her passport, the only problem is, it is locked. She hopes to be able to “steal” her own passport, after which she plans to go back to where her family is. I told her that I can try help her financially especially if she needs to buy bus tickets and all, but other than that, she’d have to be on her own.

I also told her of the options she could take should she be unable to get hold of her passport. Shidah just listened carefully. She was beaten up just over the weekend, but her bruises weren’t obvious and she was rather cool about it. I guess she had gone through worse situations, the recent abuse didn’t seem to effect her so much emotionally as it used to do.

I can only advice her on the choices she has, at the end of the day, she’s the one who has to decide which action to choose. For the moment, her decision is to wait a while longer and attempt to get her passport first. The good news is however, that her phone is no longer held by her husband so I can call her without having to worry about her husband answering the phone as long as I call her during her husband’s working hours.

Not long after Shidah left the room, Nuri came in, not to see me, but to see the pharmacists. While the pharmacists were preparing her ARV, I called her to sit beside me so we could have a chat. Nuri makes a living by opening up a food stall outside a school near her home. However business had not been as good as before ever since another stall was opened just nearby, selling exactly the same things she sells. In addition her stall has a leaking roof which she is still unable to repair as she doesn’t have enough money yet to do so. With her eldest daughter at a nursing college still depending on her for pocket money and all, Nuri definitely doesn’t have enough cash to spare for things such as repairs.

I asked if her schooling children had to pay for anything extra in school. She just smiled shyly and said, “Seganlah kak semuanya nak mintak kat akak.” I told her that we already have the funds for children’s schooling needs and she’s not the only one getting the help but we Buddies wouldn’t know about whatever extras they have to pay in school if they themselves don’t inform us about it.

Anyway, Nuri’s daughter, Farah, also HIV+, is 13 this year and seemed to be coping well with her HIV, unlike when she was first diagnosed at the age of 6 or 7. I sure hope the girl will do well in school and not use her HIV as an excuse not to study. (yes, I do know of another HIV+ child, who, after knowing she was HIV+, simply gave up schooling  because she felt she had “no future anyway”).

As for the new case that I was supposed to see, whoever the person was did not turn up at the hospital. It’s quite normal. Sometimes these people are not bothered to come to the hospital either because they feel they’re still healthy… or because they feel there is no point going to the hospital when there is still no cure anyway…

Ah well…


Monday, 9 May 2011

On charity mode…

Other than toys collected during my “back-to-school” weekend, I’ve also been getting other toys, either by post, or personally delivered by those who happened to come to Ipoh for work matters.

So yes, I do have more than enough toys for our coming Family Day in July…

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Now that I’ve already sourced for the toys, I shall leave it to the Fellowship committee who will be involved in making all the necessary arrangements for the Family Day, to sort the toys out. I’ve done my part…

But THAT will be in July. There’s another charity event coming soon… the Ipoh Rotary Ekiden Run for Charity this coming Sunday, 15th May 2011.

Buddies took part in the same run last year, but last year we had 5 runners in a team with each one running 2 km, making it a total of 10km per team. I personally managed to raise RM1.1K for my 2km run while the other 4 runners combined managed to raise RM200. Duh!

For this year’s run, the organisers decided to make it 4 in a team – with each one having to run 3km – totalling 12km per team. When a Rotarian asked if we’d like to send a team for this year’s run, at first I wasn’t quite sure if we should participate. I wasn’t too worried about the other runners of course, I was more worried about myself. Compared to last year, I am not only a year older and closer to 50, I am also 3 or 4 kgs heavier and the run is 1km further. If I don’t participate, I know the usual runner from Buddies will have no problem finding “import” runners, but based on last year’s funds raised, the only way for us to raise more funds is by having this old “madam chair” running as well.

So yes, RUN I will this coming Sunday! Been keeping fit for the past few weeks with high hopes that I will be able to complete the 3 km run. I know I can walk 3km non-stop, so worse comes to worse, I’ll walk!

BUT even with this Madam Chair participating, we still don’t have enough runners in the team. One of our volunteers who ran last year, has to represent her club team this year, leaving only 2 of us, myself and our treasurer. So I got the treasurer to get an “import runner” willing to run for charity. The other runner will be my client’s 16 year old daughter who always take part in her school’s cross country runs. So yep we will have a nearing 50 makcik and also a teenager in the team!

As for funds, with last year’s RM1.1 collection for my 2km run, I would have been happy with RM2K for this year’s 3km run. But alhamdulillah, as at this moment, I have managed to get RM3.2K for my run. That’s more than RM1K per km! Woo hoo! So at least my effort will be worth it!

Only problem is, the temperature of late had also been increasing together with the increase in the donations I managed to get!. Whatever it is, since this will be a relay run where each runner will have to complete 3km before passing the sash to next runner, we will have to take turns. And like last year, I will insist on running FIRST to avoid the blazing hot sun. First, I’m the chairperson… secondly, I’m the oldest in the team… and thirdly, I managed to get the highest amount of donations. So yeah, I shall use my veto power! :)

Whatever it is, I sure hope the weather will be kind this coming Sunday…

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Of teenaged children and a teenager wannabe…

The past long weekend would have been a good time to just sit back and relax at home… but did I choose to do that? Nope!

For one thing, the leadership camp I had registered 4 of “my children” for was during that long weekend, and I was supposed to fetch them at their respective homes and send them to the place where they were supposed to assemble before taking a bus to the campsite.

I had to fetch 3 of the children – Fuzi’s daughter and Sofie’s 2 older sons. As for Aini’s daughter… well, her house is not that far from the assembly point, so she said she’d go on her own.

As early as 6.40 am, I left my house, heading over to Fuzi’s house first to pick up her daughter. I had told Fuzi I’d fetch her daughter around 7 am. When I got there at 7 am sharp, the girl was already waiting outside the house.

Then off to Sofie’s house to pick her 2 boys, who as always, would wait for their mother’s ramblings before they’d make a move!

All three were rather quiet in the car. Still shy. Although Azman, Sofie’s second son, is usually the talkative type, but that morning he too was quiet. We got to the assembly point at about 7.45 am, and after making sure they had registered and signed at the registration counter, I left them there and told them I’d be coming to fetch them on Monday evening when they come back from the camp.

So, did I relax at home until Monday evening? Heck no – I went to unwind myself! Back to my old school in Bukit Merbah, Seremban to become a teenager again! Ooops… a teenager wannabe, that is!

I actually spent the night at one of the dorms, together with some new roommates from various batches and various houses. Out of those who spent the night in the dorm, only one of them had been my dorm-mate before waaaaay back during my school days.

And the very next day guess what this close-to-fifty-but-pretending-to-be-fifteen female specie did? SHE PLAYED HOCKEY. Ah, but not to worry, the game was played at a much smaller field, 7 a side, 10 minutes each half with a 5 minutes break and players could be replaced at any time during the game. Our only problem was, by the time the game started, we had exactly 7 players! No reserves to replace any of the pancit players!


Our Under-50 players - The teenager wannabe in brown

I was the oldest player on the field that day – we called ourselves the OGA under-50 hockey team… and we played against the TKC under 15 team. That must have been the longest ever 20 minutes of hockey game I had ever played. Maybe the girls did kasi chan, I don’t know, but despite the lack of stamina amongst the oldies, by the end of the 20 minutes, the under 50 beat the under 15 team, 5 goals to nil!

Am glad to say that I didn’t suffer from any body aches or anything of that sort despite falling once during the game in my excitement to chase the ball. The girl whom I clashed with while chasing the ball, upon seeing me fall, got so concerned that she asked me twice if I was okay. And during half time she came to see me again to ask the same thing. She must have thought this orang tua sure dah lebam sana sini and she must have felt guilty she was involved in the clash. But hey, I’m A-OKAY, still standing, no bruises whatsoever and should still be able to participate in the 3km charity run on 15th May in Ipoh.

What matters is that I did unwind and I did enjoy myself at my alma mater. And at the same time I also managed to collect loads of toys from friends, to be given to the children of our HIV families during our Annual Family Day scheduled to be held in July. In addition to that, I also got more sponsors for my coming 3km charity run on 15th May. It was such a 3-in-1 weekend… I got to unwind, I got to collect toys, and I got more sponsors for my run.

I drove home on Sunday itself (yep, the same day I played hockey) and alhamdulillah made it back safely to Ipoh by 6 pm. Luckily the teenaged children who went for the leadership camp were only coming back the next day so there was no rush for me.

On Monday, I was told that the children should be back in Ipoh by 6.30pm. So in the afternoon, I made sure I went to the Buddies center to unload all the toys I had collected earlier on Sunday. Otherwise, there’d be space for only one passenger when I was supposed to fetch 4!

At 6.30 pm, I was already at the place where the children were supposed to be. The same place where I had sent them earlier. But as I got there, none of them were there yet. When I enquired with the organisers, I was told that there was massive jam in Simpang Pulai, and so the bus would be late. Apparently, the bus which was supposed to fetch them at the campsite in Tapah got there late because the drive from Ipoh to Tapah took 2 hours as compared to the usual 30 – 40 minutes!

The bus made it back at 7 pm. One by one the children came down, and when my 4 children got down from the bus… I could see immediate positive outcome – they were more open, more friendly and more cheerful!! Yayyy!!

I will definitely consider sending some of my other children for next year’s leadership camp!