Friday, October 13, 2006

Summer Break (Part 2)

Metro Mad all got a bit too personal last Sunday. When I left off last week I was just about to have my broken leg bolted back together with titanium screws in the operating theatre of Pertamina Hospital after pranging my motorcycle quite heavily against a wayward Bajaj. This week I thought I’d continue the whole sorry saga of my Jakarta hospital experience and generally prolong the downer I’ve inflicted on the usual Sunday Post fare of luxury watches and desert island paradise holidays.
The last thing I remember in the operating theatre before the anesthetic switched out the lights was the doctor saying, “Time to pray to your God.” I fired off a quick prayer to Thierry Henry and slipped into the blackness.
When I awoke I was fully bandaged up and lying in the hospital room that would be my home for the next week. One tube fed into my wrist while another fed out of my…er…third leg. I had been turned into a mere conduit; a section of human piping in the hospital’s complex sub-systems. I have to admit that having never been hospitalized before, I was slightly freaked out by the whole experience. I was determined, however, to put on a stoical face when the visitors started to arrive and the fruit started to accumulate into a huge mountain in the corner of the room.
All of my chums were around to visit and inspect my tubing within the first couple of days. It was all very cheering. After a couple of days though I was texting them with increasing frequency and imploring them to bring food in for me. The hospital food was nothing special and, frankly, was getting me down. I presume though, that this criticism could probably leveled at most of the hospitals on the planet. Initially I was brought baked potatoes, instead of rice, as my side dish, a nice Bule sensitive touch. I soon set the catering staff straight however and managed to get myself put back onto rice rations after a couple of days. Thankfully friends helped me out with my nutrition regime. On one memorable evening I was brought a take away Indian curry and a couple of cans of beer, stinking out not just the room but the entire floor of the hospital.
I was, in fact, staying in a double room although I wasn’t actually sharing with Indonesia’s ex-president. The nearest I got to a Soeharto was watching young Titiek on TV as she tried to dampen everyone’s World Cup enthusiasm with her potato like charisma. Yes, at least the football was on to cheer me up a little and my mind was soon taken off my spavined leg by Christano Ronaldo and his frankly rather homoerotic Extra Joss advertisement. He may have , “Never felt so energetic like this before,” but my team, England, clearly hadn’t been sipping enough of the old Joss before their games and their torpid performances catapulted me back into depression. I could have done better myself hopping around the pitch on my crutches. The Bapak in the bed next to me agreed and instead threw his weight behind the Dutch team.
The nurses taking care of me were efficient little angels although they studiously ignored my overly optimistic demands for some morphine. If I have one slight criticism, it’s that they did insist on upon waking me up at 5a.m. every morning with a chirpy, ”Sudah siang, Mr.” (It’s already afternoon). Obviously they didn’t want me to miss a single, edifying second of my lovely stay in hospital. There’s one fundamental thing that separates Westerners from Indonesians and it isn’t religion or politics or anything like that. No, it’s what time we get up in the morning. For a pale face like myself, 4 or 5 a.m. is no time to be leaping out of bed and springing into action; even less so if you replace the word leaping with hobbling.
After a week I was packed off home with a bag of pills for a dull summer of convalescence and Stephen Hawking style fun. Ah well, at least I’m able to sleep in now. Nevertheless, I’m pretty immobile at the moment and starting to wonder how I can keep Metro Mad running over the next few weeks. Expect columns about the interior of my fridge and the delights of Kabelvision to be coming your way in July.
Drive safely everyone.

Simon Pitchforth