When the organisers of an upcoming awareness programme first went to visit the Orang Asli village where the event is supposed to be held, reps of a few NGOs who are participating went together with them to check out the place. However, I only got the info after the visit, so I wasn’t able to join the first visit.
Yesterday a few members of the organising committee decided to make another visit to settle some things, and I was invited to join them since I missed the first one. The plan was that we were to meet up at the office of the Legal Aid Centre at Ipoh old town at 9.30 am and from there we’d all go in one 4-wheel drive.
Under normal circumstances, I should be able to get there in less than 15 minutes. So, when I made a move at 9 am, I thought I’d be early. To my dismay, there was MAJOR jam in town, something seldom seen in Ipoh. Apparently quite a number of roads were closed due to the Hari Malaysia rehearsal, including the road leading to the Legal Aid Centre office!
There was no way I could turn back once I got into the jam, so I just had to bear with it and continue driving towards the area. I called up the lawyer who had invited me to join them earlier, and apparently he too was caught in the jam, so he told me to just find a parking space and walk over to their office.
With everyone else having somewhat the same mission, finding a parking wasn’t easy either. I ended up parking my car at a spot which wasn’t a proper parking space. I figured as long as the car wasn’t obstructing anything or anyone, I couldn’t care less. Then I walked over to the office, thinking I was already late. It was already 10 am by then. Crossing the road was a breeze though since cars weren’t allowed into that road.
It turned out the lawyer was even later than I was! He only made it to the office 15 minutes later than me. Anyway, to cut a long short, we (5 of us) finally made a move after 11 am (and I managed to park my car at a proper parking space before we left). The Orang Asli village we were going to, Ulu Geroh, is accessible by car, tarred most of the way, but there was a certain stretch passing through a palm oil plantation where it is advisable to use 4WD or at least vehicles higher than normal cars.
Whatever it is, I am now trying to arrange with a lady from another NGO to go in their 4WD. She will probably be the only one representing her NGO at the event, but doesn’t dare drive at the kampong, while I dare drive but don’t have a 4WD. My car may be able to make it if I am super careful, but I dare not take the risk as the very next day I will be using my car to drive to Penang for the National Aids Conference.
Let’s see how it goes. We still have another 2 weeks to make the necessary arrangements.
This morning I was on clinic duty. When I first went to the doctor’s room, the nurse did say there were a few new cases so I just went over to the support service room to wait. I waited and waited and waited… by 11 am there was still no case referred. I was getting sleepy waiting in the room. Finally the nurse came in to refer one guy to us. When she passed me the file and I saw the name of the guy, I thought the name looked familiar. Indeed, he was the one who had called me earlier to ask what he needed to do to get an appointment at the hospital.
You see, Nordin had known about his HIV infection since 10 years ago when he had to do a medical examination during one of his job applications. But the doctor at the private clinic just informed him he was HIV+, no referrals whatsoever given for him to follow up. Nordin himself, feeling okay, didn’t bother to take further action.
It was only recently when he started feeling unwell, he decided to get the necessary treatment. But he wasn’t sure how to go about. That was when he decided to call us.
To get an appointment at the HIV clinic, he’d first need a referral letter. So, since he could afford it, I advised him to go for a blood test at a private lab, specifying he wanted the HIV test, and then when the results are out, to get a referral letter from the doctor there. And so he did just that, and finally managed to get the referral letter. Today was his first appointment at the hospital.
With a CD4 of 128, chances were Nordin would have to start with HAART immediately. When asked who else knew about his HIV, he mentioned that only his younger sis knew. His work colleagues were concerned that he had lost weight but none of them suspected he had HIV. Apparently they all thought Nordin “kena bomoh” as that was what a former supervisor threatened to do to Nordin before he left his job. Nordin of course had no problem with his colleagues thinking that way. He’d rather have them think as such rather than suspect he has HIV…
Well, that was the only case referred today. Didn’t get to see the other case as the guy was immediately sent to the ward while one other person didn’t turn up at all.