Muslim Cancer Patient at RSCM Hospital Get Radiation Treatment Courtesy of “the Buddha”

I think yesterday was a pretty tough day at the hospital (RS Cipto AKA RSCM) . The costs alone are staggering, at least in the context of the patient expectations of receiving free medical care. Of course we now know that free medical care in Indonesia — which is sometimes up to international standards and always vastly oversubscribed — isn’t actually free. There was a bill for something like 8 million by the end of the day and one for 30 million coming up.

But somehow we’ve gotten this far. Clearly Pak Fadil is close to securing access to the big guns and poisons. And that’s why the scheduling and pay process is more intense. So Indonesians with cancer would want to be where he is. He needs these weapons to knock out the 4.6 x 2.3 x 2.5 tumor on his tongue.

Mona has to continually run to Chinatown to get signatures from a Buddhist organization there. Right now we’re paying with signatures. Who knows how or why the Indonesian public health system — in this case the cancer unit at RSCM — cooperates with a Buddhist organization in North Jakarta. But I’m glad. The Indonesian language being what it is, if you ask who’s paying for her father’s cancer treatment the answer translates loosely as “the Buddha,” who’s birthday Indonesia celebrated a couple days ago in the form of a lovely three day weekend.

Mona, Sema and everyone will be back at Cipto again today with the Bapak who we do expect to begin radiation treatment on Monday. He’s pretty thin but seemed to be in good spirits over the weekend.

As an out-patient he’s been told to secure a place at the “mes” — a type of barracks that costs just over a dollar a day. That’s better, I guess, than having to commute to the hospital which would be hard on him and increase the risk of missing an appointment. According to Mona he can’t miss any of his radiation appointments or the chemo ones that follow.