Hmmm… 2 weeks since my last blog posting. I’ve been taking a longer than usual Raya break haven’t I?
Well, not really. It’s just the blog that I have not been updating, but I have been in touch with my PLHIV clients especially inviting the single mothers and children to a Raya event sponsored by my school alumni this coming mid-September. However, I did indeed take a break from home and hospital visits. There were so many things to do at my own home!
Anyway, based on an earlier list given, HIV clinic in Taiping was supposed to be on yesterday, and since it was my turn, yesterday I drove all the way to Taiping, only to find out that HIV clinic for yesterday had been cancelled since before Raya. But nobody bothered to inform us Buddies… sigh…
Today, Wednesday, I was on duty again, this time in Ipoh. When I got to the doctor’s room, the nurse told me there were supposed to be 4 new cases. 2 were already there, but one of them, a Thai lady spoke neither Malay nor English, but apparently her husband could speak Malay. After looking at the file, I knew I had already met them both during my last clinic duty. At that time it was the husband who was referred to us, the wife had yet to be tested. So I told the nurse there was no need to refer that case to me as I had already met them.
So the first case was referred to me. When the nurse brought her to the counselling room, I thought this was another case of an elderly lady. But then when I got the file, I noticed that the lady, Selvi, was actually my age, in fact she’s one week younger. So, does that mean I look younger or does that mean I am also an elderly lady???? :P
Selvi was infected by her late husband. She had actually known of her HIV infection since 2004 when she got involved in a road accident and was in coma for some time. They never went for HIV treatment after that because her husband was the type who wasn’t bothered. She now no longer works, and survives on Socso pension. She used to work at a factory before the accident. When asked if her late husband used to work, she said, “Dia banyak curi sini, curi sana la…”
They didn’t have any children of their own, but Selvi did adopt a child, now 8 years old. Based on what Selvi gets from Socso, she and her adopted daughter should be able to survive. She doesn’t have to pay rental as she had finished paying for the house using her EPF money. Only problem is, Selvi, who is a diabetic, has some eye problems as well and is due for an operation, which has not been done yet because of her HIV. That was how her case was finally referred to the HIV clinic just recently ie by the ophthalmologist.
Since her vision is quite bad, whenever she needed to go anywhere, she couldn’t take the bus. She had to hire a cab, and whenever she needs to come to Ipoh for her appointments, she’d have to fork out RM70 just for transportation alone. I told Selvi we should be able to help out with her child’s schooling needs. She then started to ask if we could cover her transportation to the hospital as well. While I did listen to her problems, at the end of the conversation I reminded her that she needs to be thankful with what she has. I told her about the other families I have been dealing with… who earn half of what she gets monthly and have 3 or 4 more mouths to feed. Then only she said, “Ya, ya you orang mau tolong saya punya anak punya sekolah pun saya sudah suka…”
I guess some people tend to forget that there are so many people out there who are worse off than they are…
While I was waiting for other cases to be referred, suddenly I saw Shidah passing by. Remember Shidah? She’s the lady from a foreign country up north whose late husband used to abuse her when he was alive. After her husband’s death, I thought things would be easier for her so she could just go back to her own country and be with her child from an earlier marriage. Apparently I was wrong. For one thing, she herself wanted to continue staying in Malaysia. In addition, even her in-laws wanted her to stay with them, for their own selfish reasons.
Selfish reasons? Shidah’s husband had a job when he was alive… with EPF and Socso. They needed her as the widow to claim whatever necessary. As it turned out, Shidah has been getting the monthly payment from Socso (her in-laws aren’t too happy about this) but according to Shidah, her in-laws managed to get every single sen from his EPF account. I told Shidah she shouldn’t be too selfish herself. She did mention to me before that if she goes back to her country, she will lose her right to the Socso pension. I told her, while she herself has some rights over her late husband’s properties, his mother too had rights and so does his brother/s since they didn’t have any children together.
Today when I met Shidah, I was told she no longer stays with her in-laws. She has moved to another state nearer to the border, to join a friend doing some small business together. She came back to Ipoh just for her appointment. I told her she might as well transfer her appointment to a hospital near where she stays now so that she doesn’t have to travel so far each time she has to come for her appointment.
After Shidah left the room, in came Mas, another new client of mine. After the last time I met her, she was hospitalised because of a mild stroke (but I didn’t visit her at the hospital because I wasn’t told about it). She still looked weak when I saw her today, this time she came with her younger brother, who took leave from work to bring her to the hospital as she was too weak to come by bus. Mas plans to join the Raya event planned for mid-September… I do hope the brother will be able to send Mas and her children to the hotel for the event.
After some time, as I was starting to pack up thinking there wouldn’t be any more new cases, the junior nurse came in with another new case, Chan, a 22 year old guy. Quite a chatty young chap I must say. He even apologised for coming quite late. There was no doubt at all he’d be happy to have a buddy assigned to him. As a matter of fact, when I suggested to him that maybe he should join us as a volunteer, he welcomed the idea. Not only can he help others by doing so, he’d also end up helping himself. But before he himself becomes a volunteer, he will need to get himself to fully accept whatever that had been fated for him. By the looks of it, I think he should be able to get over the initial “shock” soon enough. All he needs is some moral support and someone to talk things out to. He now has a buddy for that…