Thursday, January 29, 2015

A day and a half

A man in traditional Sunda dress,
as we walk down the hill
Wednesday, January 28
We walk down to the hospital. Or at least we start walking. After 2 miles, the lightning and thunder hit. The rain starts so we hop into a passing angkot. Within a few blocks, it turns away from where we want to go, so W checks the Rute app on his phone. We are indeed going the wrong way: if we had walked another 200 meters in the rain, we would have had a direct bus. Argh.

When W asks the driver, he tells us to hop out at the next corner to catch another bus. His directions are confirmed by other riders. I pull on my raincoat as we leave the door but by the time my arms shrug into the sleeves, I am utterly soaked. Hair: check, wet. Trousers: check, soaked to the hips. Blouse: damp. Oh well. I'm steaming inside my rain gear because it's warm (83oF / 28oC). 

Nice. Well, nicer than cold rain.

Sumathi has been in hospital with an infection since Monday. Her phone died and she didn't have a charger along so she had no way of letting us know. She's at the best hospital in town, Borromeus, a Catholic institution with multiple buildings and floors. We find Lantai tiga, Ruang tiga (floor 3, room 3) in the right wing - and there she is.

Showing off hospital jewelry: a bracelet for
allergies, one for dizziness, and an ID
She looks angelic. The ironed white white sheets and hospital gown highlight her beautiful skin and face. She has a drip of liquids, meds, and nutrients but is on a strict diet so we can't bring her treats. She has a novel or two and some magazines to read. (But there's no place like home.) And Augustine has been sleeping over because the nursing care is slow and thin, even in the best places. 

We all sigh over memories of the excellent care when we lived in England. There we could see a doctor any time, care was inexpensive (or free), and the medical team paid close attention to our needs. "When we took our son in, the doctor called that evening because he'd forgotten one bit of caution about the medicine," Sumathi remembers.

W and a new coffee crew
W is gone by 6, walking to meet some guys in a coffee shop. It's about 2.5 miles away, near the hospital. 4 guys show up and decide to meet again. They enjoy time together. W's missing his coffee meet-ups with Saturday morning regulars in Seattle.

The phone pings W's progress on the walk and his arrival at the restaurant. 

I have to be up and showered when the helper comes at 8.  So I have a quick show and am ready to unlock the door. I'm even wearing jeans and my Seahawks T-Shirt in anticipation of Sunday's Superbowl, courtesy of Lia. (Thanks!)

Except - oh no! It's only 7am. I could have slept another hour. (Well, maybe if my phone pings were turned off!) Here, everyone uses WhatsApp to message. It's free on the phone and instantly transfers photos and texts. But I have an annoying notice ringer set. Might be time to change that. I call our moms and the phone cuts in and out. Lousy internet connection today.

A Singapore transplant
in the neighbor's yard
Ibu A serves fried and breaded fish today. W's jalapeƱo peppers taste great with the rice and veges, too. But they're too spicy for Ibu A when she tries one. She runs to the waste basket and quietly spits it out as soon as I leave the kitchen, rinsing her mouth afterwards. She has a more sensitive stomach for "heat" in food than we do. We do like heat in our food.

I ask her 5 new words. Boleh saya bertanya? (May I ask a question?) She tells me the Indonesian words and corrects my diction. There are a few other things that warrant attention: 

  • An American family coming for language school needs housing: their friends will drop by in a week or so.
  • W and I walk down the hillside to make a 30-second promo video for friends who are coming to Indonesia.
  • My head whirls with possibilities of the neighboring house. If I can think through spaces, when we land - and this place is a possible landing place - the furniture arranges itself and resources start gathering toward the functions of the rooms.
  • It's time to send the photo and caption for our weekly "New Normal." That MailChimp email often takes an hour or two, by the time I hunt down a photo, write, preview it with W, and send.
We are ready to head to the hospital to do some visiting when Ibu A leaves at 3 ... except that it starts raining as though God's preparing another flood. We wait until 4:30 when it calms down a bit. The thunder claps, bangs, and rolls against the hillsides and water gushes down the drainage ditches. Yes, we're taking the car today.

By 5:30 we're almost there. The parking attendant helps W back into a spot so tight that I have to get out and tuck in the side mirror on my side before he squeezes in. W sidles out his door, glad for every pound he's shed.

We are delighted to see that Sumathi is doing much better. The new meds are helping and there's a chance that she'll be on her way home in the next day or two! Hurrah.

Young and enthusiastic: a gathering at the nursing station
We have one more stop on our way home. The walk to the second hospital's lobby is hazardous in itself. We step up and down curbs, around barriers, and dodge motorcycles and cars negotiating the narrow lanes from the parking lot. Everyone else is doing the same. Ibu V looks much better than yesterday, W notes. Her fever has broken. W's been up a few times since my last visit, stopping by after doing errands. He usually reads several psalms and prays with her and her daughter, who is her primary caregiver.

By 8, we're on the way home and really hungry. We give the "man on the street" a few coins for his trouble, shouting instructions to W as he pulls into an easy parking spot. We eat (Chicken Cordon Bleu-ish for me; a breaded fish and chips for W) and drink mango juice - and still have enough to tip the servers with a Rp100.000 bill (about $8).

It's 9pm when we pull into the driveway. The hallway, kitchen counter, and a few floors are wet from the leaking roof. We wipe up, drink a glass of tea and catch up on emails, and then it's time to coach. The call comes at 10 and since it's our first time and it's a friend I love, I'm done about 11:15. 

Time to finish the blog post and definitely time to wrap up the day. Sunrise comes before 6am tomorrow. Please forgive any edits left undone.

Read more:
*Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart. Psalm 36:5-10 NIV
*And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:35 ESV

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