Chapter 13. Not having appetite in IWS room

Initially I was very happy to be moved from ICU to the Post Ops treatment room which was also called IWS (Intermediate Ward-Surgical). Maybe happy wasn’t the right word, the more appropriate might be “proud”, Proud to have graduated from the ICU and “upgrading” to enter the IWS. I was placed in a bed which was away from the door, which was usually called “patient number 9” by the nurses in this IWS room…

I noted, just like its name, Intermediate Ward-Surgical, the patients in this room were they who had just undergone surgery. There were by-pass patients (CABG, Cardiac Artery Bypass Graft), heart valve correction patients, or me, the patient who was labeled as a Bentall procedure patient. Since all the patients were just discharged by open-heart surgery, I saw that there was a blood and body fluid flowing monitor next to each patient. Not only that, each patient’s heart and thumb were monitored by a kind of monitor which its screen was small with different colored lights in it. Some monitors sounded… tuut… tuut… tuut… that was typical, which I thought sometimes It sounded melodic but when it came to sleeping time, it was quite disturbing. Generally, a sounded monitor meant there was “something” with the monitored patient so the nurse would quickly come to bed which its monitor beeping. Usually the nurse would turn off the sound immediately, and the room would be silent again. There sounded only the long breath of the patients or the moan of some patients (The patient next to me who came from Lampung often whined when his wife came to visit, but at the other times if his wife didn’t come, the patient would be silent…)

I noticed that some by-pass patients, moreover they who had already had other diseases such as hypertension or kidney dysfunction, would have difficulty in this IWS room. Some patients had persistent cough because there was a thickened mucus in their lungs and they usually should be heated first so that they could be relax and go to sleep. However it didn’t happen to the heart valve or Bentall procedure surgery patients as me…

Although I was happy to have been in the Post Ops room, and left the scary ICU room, as I noticed … I also concluded that I simply suffered too. Why? Because there were still three holes in my abdomen that inserted a kind of hoses that was plugged into a blood and fluid collecting tool that was shaped like a flat accumulator and it sounded klotok … klotok … klotok. With the three hoses which were pretty heavy in my stomach, the other hose jumped my urinary to flow the urine into a sort of thick plastic bag, and there was still another infusion hose in my left thigh… so I couldn’t move freely. I could only sleep on my back, and I couldn’t lean to left or right. Well, sleeping on my back for 5 days in this Post Ops room was quite excruciating…

In this Post Ops room I was also visited by the Medical Rehabilitation officer who came every day. Usually this officer wore a gray suit which there was a Harapan Kita Heart Hospital symbol on his pocket. The patients were asked to sit and cough in a certain way. Their principle was: “The cough may be retained, but the ripple (mucus) has to be removed”. So we were taught to cough that made the mucus came out, because they said that patients who were just had heart surgery, had some remnants of a mucous fluid in their chest cavity (thorax) that must be removed so that the patient could breathe easily. Thus, every day the Medical Rehabilitation officer came to the bed of each patient which was taught to cough, raise hand, turn the head, lift legs slightly, and so forth. In my opinion, it was useful to increase the confidence of the patients after undergoing the heart surgery that they could still do things like before the surgery.

If the patients in the ICU room weren’t given solid food but only a liquid diet infusion (glucose), then in the Ops Post room, the patients were given a standard hospital diet, which early in the morning was given a small cup of chocolate milk, muffin and hot sweet tea for breakfast, a complete meal that consisted of rice, vegetables, 2 or 3 kinds of side meal of fish, meat and chicken, fruit (usually banana or orange) for lunch; such cakes like hunk wee or jelly and sweet tea were given in the late afternoon, and the last, at the evening such a complete food like in the afternoon was given. For some reason, I lost my appetite at all if this complete meal from this hospital had placed on the small table beside my bed. My reason anyway was, as a person who was born in the “remote area” Madiun, I wasn’t accustomed to eat sea fish, especially it was cooked like that. I usually ate land fish – catfish, cork, tilapia, gourami – which were fried. In addition, the seasoning was salt less, no flavoring used in cooking, and it wasn’t spicy…. so this was like “mission impossible”…

Apparently I was not the only one here who felt hard to eat the food, but the other patients were. For some reason, after undergoing the cardiac surgery I lost my appetite, though the doctors and the medical rehabilitation officers, not to mention, the nurses asked the patients to eat as much as possible to accelerate the wound healing results of the surgery. I was also very surprised, because three months ago when I was admitted to the IWM (Intermediate Ward Medic) infirmary room I could eat the same food hungrily.

As a result, almost all patients in the Post Ops room ordered other food outside, and the nurses could approve it. “It’s okay, Sir, Ma’am, if the patients eat the food they bought themselves, rather than they don’t eat at all” that was the explanation of the nurses. Then the patient next to my bed liked to order rib soup, chicken or goat satay. Yet what could he say, the foods were already bought by his wife and definitely they weren’t cheap… but the husband didn’t ate much, because there was no appetite…

When I was visited by my family I asked them to buy me Yogjakartanese noodles at the canteen of Harapan Kita guesthouse. And when the food I ordered arrived, I devoured that Javanese noodles hungrily, and I sipped the broth hungrily too… sluuurp … until my big sisters Enny and Endang who saw me eating hungrily, attracted to eat the noodles too, I could see it from their eyes.

However… after eating that tasty meal which was bought from outside, I still refused to eat the food that was served by the hospital. Even worse, if I smelled the food or even the banana which was served to us the feeling to vomit nausea suddenly came. If I didn’t restraint it, of course I would have thrown up from earlier.

As a result, the drink I gulped was less and lesser because the amount of food I ate was also lesser. Apparently, the long term effect was the form of my feces was condense and condenser (“bedegelen” in Javanese). And along with the onslaught of blood-thinning pill given by the nurse every night, secretly there was a bleeding in my stomach or intestinal. Evidently, after the three intervals in my stomach were removed and I could walk to the bathroom to defecate, I leered my feces had a tinge of blood coming out…

I didn’t know that actually there’s something very serious behind that little bleeding…. (To be continued)

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