While waiting before the doctor’s door in Jakarta’s hospital, we had the great fortune to meet and befriend a wonderful Indonesian family. Only a short walk from our hotel and rumored to be inexpensive, my mom decided to make a hospital visit during our stay in Indonesia’s capital.
The hospital was Christian and fantastically old fashioned. After being told where to go, we stood in a short line while listening to the Christmas carol recording box on a Christmas tree. After informing the receptionist that we were interested in seeing the ear, nose, and throat specialist she replied, “first time?” “Oh, boy,” I thought, “How much information will they want in order to register us?”
The lady slipped a form over the counter and translated the lines we were to fill out to become registered patients. Name, date of birth, where we were staying in Jakarta, country of birth, and a signature were the only things required. I was delightfully surprised at the lack of intrusion on our personal details. Looking up to see a picture of the last supper on the wall, I realized that’s how it should be.
The doctor would be in from 4-6pm and saw patients on a first come, first serve basis. When we headed over to the ENT’s room at quarter to four, there was already a lady and her elderly father waiting outside the door. The lady, named Uuy, had been at the hospital seeing different specialists on behalf of her dad since early morning. She was clearly wearied by the long day, but was as faithful a daughter as any father would be blessed to have.
We discovered that Uuy was heading to Bali around the same day we were. When Uuy’s brother and nephew joined the waiting party, a lively conversation continued and happily occupied our time.
The doctor was late. Why are doctors, no matter where, always late?
Uuy’s father, first quiet, joined the conversation with translation by his children, whom he was clearly proud of for knowing English.
The doctor finally arrived in a Hawaiian shirt and no tie. Growing up going to the best hospitals in the world, and having been accustomed to the skill and professionalism of specialists from Duke and Harvard, my mom found it a little funny to see a doctor show up so casually.
My mom was graciously sent in first, though she was not the first arrival. Thirty minutes passed and Uuy exclaimed, “What is she doing in there so long?” “She’s probably getting a new ear put on,” I jested. Turns out the long appointment had been a very necessary one.
The doctor had all the equipment my mom had been wondering if he would have. It was the same equipment she was accustomed to, only a little dated.
After learning to scuba dive in Thailand, my mom developed a painful inner ear infection and never quite recovered good hearing in that ear. The ear doctor proved to be kind, talented and knowledgeable despite the dress and tardiness. He discovered both her ears were in deep need of being cleared.
Uuy’s family went in next and as we said goodbye to them, Uuy’s father graciously extended a home invitation to my mother.
Grace had her small ears sucked, drained and fixed up as well.
While the US penalizes anyone lacking health insurance, Jakarta provided same day consultation, service, and pharmaceuticals for about $50 each. This was mere pennies compared with the ridiculous thousands such a visit would have incurred back home.
We’ve kept in contact with Uuy and her nephew Edward through facebook. Being a Sunday today, Edward wished Jesus’ blessing for my family and I. The first thing on Uuy’s facebook is a video collage of Bible verses. My mom had it on her heart to pray for the Christians that live in Indonesia’s capital. And what do you know? God let us meet some.