Update: Pak Fadil Gets Chemo, Gives Thumbs Up

Almost two months ago, just before Pak Fadil got a breathing tube he was losing his patience — since cancer is frustrating, to say the least. His tongue looked and smelled like something you’d rather spit out. And he had devastating headaches and a terrible cough. This was complicated by diabetes and heart problems. But what was really driving him crazy was being in the hospital.

As an inpatient he had bounced in and out of ICU (before and after the tracheotomy),  up to the Fl. 5  diabetes ward  and down to  Fl. 4 with the other ear nose throat patients. Mama and Mona did 90% of the nursing. Occasionally a drill sergeant-type nurse would sweep in and family members of the patients would scatter.

I asked but no one could tell me who the treating doctor was. When I heard s/he was at that very moment on the same floor, doing rounds, I made of point of wishing to meet him/her. (It had been approx. 48 hours since a doctor had been by). I got lectured on protocol and was told to understand that some patients have urgent needs and we can’t second-  guess the docs.  I thought they might go into crazy bule containment mode and call security but they didn’t call anyone and the next day Fak Fadil was released.

Despite his weakened condition, the patient just wanted to leave. His medicines were apparently wrong, he couldn’t talk or breath, and the doctors seemed not to notice his advanced cancer.  Quite understandably he actually tried to break free and leave which complicated things for everyone.

Today the patient — now at Dharmais hospital — is mostly free from devastating headaches, require less pain medication, is learning to exercise his arms so he can write again — and he’s gone through a 4-day course of chemotherapy with 5-FU.

The Dharmais doctors are suggesting that he be released now — health permitting — until the next chemo treatment. But he shook his head; he didn’t want to leave.

The family still does much of the nursing and Mama’s legs are swollen from standing so often. But the tumors are shrinking again. And we’re very thankful the patient is receiving affordable treatment. Actually, the family can’t afford it. But with liability for apparently only 10% of actual costs (90% subsidized by government within SKTM framework), its within reach.

Get well soon! Selamat sembuh!