Chapter 23. Following the rehabilitation phase II

Each ex-heart surgical patient in Harapan Kita Hospital was expected to follow a full rehabilitation program – phase I, phase II, and phase III – so that after the rehabilitation program was completed, the patients could return healthy and in shape as they were before the surgery. In the rehabilitation program phase I they were taught exercise, riding static bike, and walk on foot while the patient were still wearing the baby blue patient suits. In the rehabilitation Phase II, the patients were required to wear uniforms in the form of dark blue jersey pants with red stripes on the sides, sneakers, and red-white shirts which on the left arm there was the words “Cardiovascular Rehabilitation”. The purpose of this phase II after I finished with it was to strengthen the leg muscles, therefore in this phase II I was taught exercise, riding static bike, and walking 1000 m, 1200 m, 1400 m, and the next day up to 1600 m, 1700 m, and 1800 m. For the patients who had already walked as far as 1800 m, the next time they were allowed to use a treadmill for 25 minutes, with a speed of 3-4 km/h…

If in the rehabilitation program phase I the patients were still staying in the treatment room in Harapan Kita Hospital, so in the rehabilitation phase II the patients had been discharged from the hospital and back to their home –­for the patients who lived in the Greater Jakarta area– or back to Bidakara guesthouse or boarding houses –for those who came from out of town. Actually, for the patients in the city and out of town, ranging from the rehabilitation program phase II would spend a lot of money, which was used for the taxi transportation and food allowance during the rehabilitation for the patients who lived in the city. The transportation also required to use taxi because the ex-heart surgical patients certainly hadn’t been so fit to take public transportation such as city buses or trans-bus in Jakarta. For the patients from out of town, the rehabilitation program phase II period was quite heavy too, because the patients and one or two relatives should stay in Bidakara guesthouse which was located next to the building II, or live in boarding houses in the township, which both options still required an outlay cost which wasn’t little.

I, as a patient who came from “the city”, on the day of my home returning from the treatment room, I stopped by at the rehabilitation program office on the 2nd floor to buy 1 jersey pants and two red-white shirts (I called it the “red-belt”), and stopped by at a clothing store in the building I floor 1 to buy a red-white sneaker with a Velcro writing “RSJ” (Rehabilitasi Jantung Sehat/ Healthy Heart Rehabilitation) on top of it. Still, in this clothing store I also bought a red-white shirt which the model was rather different from the one sold in the rehabilitation program store. Actually, only 2 shirts were allowed to be purchased from the rehabilitation program store because of the limited stock and the flood enthusiasts, so if we wanted to buy the third red-white shirt, it should be at this clothing store.

This rehabilitation program phase II was lasted for 12 meetings. The out of town patients were allowed to attend five meetings per week, perhaps to reduce the cost of living in Jakarta. While the patients in the city were only allowed to follow a maximum of three meetings per week – although after finishing the rehabilitation program I knew that it’s still negotiable that patients in the city could follow the meeting 4-5 times per week. Each meeting would last for 1 hour, from 7.45 to 08.45 a.m., 09.00 to 10.00 a.m., 10.00 to 11.00 a.m. and 04.00 p.m. to 05.00 p.m. For me personally whose rehabilitation program cost was borne by Askes, this meeting hour wasn’t an issue, whether to come in the morning, afternoon or evening, yet everything was paid by Askes. But for the non-Askes patients, probably they needed to pick and choose the exact meeting time, because the costs were different. The meeting at 7.45 to 8.45 a.m. cost Rp. 75 thousands, meeting at 09.00 to 10.00 a.m. and 10.00 to 11.00 a.m. cost Rp. 60 thousands, and at 4.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. cost Rp. 30 thousands…

At the beginning of this “red-belt” rehabilitation program meeting I had always been escorted by The Lady by taking a taxi from Cilandak to Harapan Kita Hospital. Why did I need to be guarded? Because of the fear that I would passed out in the middle of the journey or be lost on the way because my health hadn’t fully recovered. But after 6 meetings, then The Lady didn’t escort me anymore, I also wanted to go there by myself to be more independent. So in the rehabilitation program meeting 7th to 12nd I always took a taxi alone round-trip from Cilandak –Harapan Kita Hospital – Cilandak. The taxi fare was around Rp. 45 – 50 thousands, it’s quite cheap considering that riding a private car in Jakarta and having to buy the gas and pay toll fee, then the fare was nearly as much as it…

At the 12nd meeting in the rehabilitation program phase I –or I called the “red-belt”– each patient was fitted with “monitors” whose chest was attached by 3 monitors, so the heart record could be viewed on the screen in the rehabilitation room, it could be stored in hard disk, and if it’s needed it could be printed out too. At the 12nd meeting, the patients were only asked to walk briskly for 6 minutes and to be seen how far they could walk. For my case, if I wasn’t mistaken I could walk a distance of 489 meters in 6 minutes. I couldn’t enhance the road speed more, because there were many barriers which were the patients’ relatives were passing lane and crossing in front of our track.

At the 13rd meeting, I then underwent the “Promotion Test from red-belt to blue-belt”. Before the test, the blue-white shirt which on its left arm there was the words “Cardiovascular Rehabilitation” couldn’t be purchased. So on that day I deliberately came to the treadmill test in the Harapan Kita Hospital rehabilitation complexion on the 2nd floor. My red-white shirt and jersey pants had to be exchanged with the yellow turmeric patient suit. By the nurse who maintained the treadmill that would be used to test us, first of all we were told to lie quietly for 5 minutes, and then we were fitted with 8 monitors in our chest. After that I was asked to get up and stand on a treadmill that hadn’t work (still idle) to be fitted with a manual tens meter on my left arm…

Then the treadmill test used the “Rogers Method” (? Later I’ll check the name), I was asked to climb onto the treadmill that hadn’t been turned on. After the remark “Ready”, the treadmill then was turned on at a low speed and the elevation was “0 degree” or flat. The treadmill speed was approximately 3 km/h. A few moments later the treadmill speed was raised; the elevation was raised too to 10 degrees. I started kind of struggling to fulfill the challenge of walking on the uphill treadmill. Soon the nurse raised the treadmill speed to about 6.00 km/h and the elevation to 20 degrees…

At one point, the nurse shouted, “Do you want to continue?” I then replied, “Yes, I want 1 minute longer.” I subsequently learned that when the nurse asked “Want to continue?” meant that the time on the treadmill had passed 6 minutes –the grading limit had been passed. I, with all of my strength and mind, wanted to walk on the treadmill which was faster and faster and up and up eventually only bore for 1 minute longer. The total of my treadmill-walk record was 7 km – higher than the minimum limit which was 6 km– then when changing the turmeric yellow patient suit with the clothes that I kept in my locker, I could see my face smiling… I’m upgrading to Blue-Belt!!!! (To be continued)

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