Silent plea for help

Regarding Indonesian hospitals like RUSP Fatmawati, I’d have to say that there is a community nursing ethic: family members of Patient A trying to do what they can — maybe just by ignoring stray moans — to help out Patient B. It’s only natural to wonder if maybe you can/should help someone who seems to be suffering the way you are but more. And other times you’re on the receiving end, needing help from someone when you’re entirely outgunned and undermanned.

Pak. Fadil is out of ICU but had a life-and-death-type skirmish just before we walked into the room he’s sharing tonight with five other patients at RS Fatmawati. Blood, sweat, tears and a suction machine on wheels. In the fog of battle poor Mama passed out and another patient’s family –caught in the cross-fire — had to go out and call the nurse. With his two-day-old bracheostomy my father-in-law is learning to bring through a tube and communicate without speaking, all while trying to keep good and bad fluids down the right tubes.

So he can’t talk but he can write. But Mama can’t read. Heartbreaking really. She’s by his bed around the clock. I think we’ll have a cell phone for him shortly and he’ll perhaps be sending texts.  I don’t think he was particuarly aware he’d lose his voice (temporarily, anyway) before he went in for this procedure. So there’s a whole lot of adjustment on his part.

As Miguel de Unamuna has it:  La vida es lucha — to live is to fight. I have no evidence to the contrary. Fragile things that we are. Shaken, traumatized, and beaten down by illness of ourselves and others. But when you share a space and a moment and a breath of fresh air with someone you’re comrades. We’re on shifts now with everyone in the family taking a night.