Sunday, December 9, 2007

Less Hair, Hair Loss, Hairless

“Thank you bu Haji,” pak Ogah* said as I gave him some money before turning my car to a narrow alley in Pondok Pinang, South Jakarta.

Bu Haji?

Lho. I am not Muslim. It is mentioned in my ID card that I am Christian even though I don’t go to church on Sunday (while in many countries ID cards do not say anything about your religion, something very personal which has nothing to do with the state).

Why did pak Ogah called me bu Haji? It’s not because I was generous, giving him lots of money for regulating the traffic in front of the narrow alley. (Hajs, priests and other religious leaders are supposed to be generous, aren’t they?). Sometimes I am even annoyed with pak Ogah who pretends to be busy while the road is empty.

Anyway, he called me bu Haji because I was wearing a Muslim-look blue hat that covered not only my head but also my ears, which any baseball cap could not do.

Sinead O’Connors shaved her head bald, making public appearances with confidence. And she looked beautiful.

Even though I am also beautiful (hehehe..), I am not Sinead O’Connors. I did not want to become the center of people’s attention. People in my neighborhood and everyone who saw my beautiful head would all talk about me, and reporters from Pos Kota, Check and Recheck, Seputar Indonesia, RRI and BBC would swarm my house and queue for an exclusive interview. Oh no… I was not ready for that.

Before my first chemo in January 2004, I had heard about the side effects. In this treatment you get some a combination of several kinds of liquid drugs infused into your blood. This formula (I’d rather call it poison—it’s true, all chemicals are basically poison), which is expected to combat cancer, is so powerful that it also affects the healthy cells.

Hair loss and nausea are the two common symptoms. I was lucky because I did not suffer from the nausea, but I had incredibly painful mouth ulcers. I hated it, but it was not the worst part.

After my first chemo, I pulled my hair, expecting the worst to come. But the hair was still there…It was not until the third chemo that the hair started to fall (like the snow in winter time…) I had prepared myself for this, still I trembled with a chilled feeling in my viscera… and was motionless for a moment… before I took a broom and swept the hairy floor… (lantai berambut)

I looked at the mirror. I used to have thin hair, but it was still better than no hair at all. I wished I was a man. It’s ok for men to have bald head, but when it happens to women, all eyes will be on them.

So I just wore a Muslim hat or a scarf but not a wig because it makes me uncomfortable (panasss).

A friend commented, joking: “Aku aja yang Muslim nggak pakai jilbab, koq kamu malahan pakai… “

Padahal aku nggak pakai jilbab beneran seperti Santi Soekanto (temen ex JP yang sudah lama nggak ketemu.. ) atau Ratih Sang (ex peragawati, adik Dewi Savitri yg juga ex JP) atau Soleha (tokoh sinetron RCTI yg setia ditonton nyokap setiap sore). Yang aku pakai adalah kain penutup kepala berwarna biru tua yang ujungnya aku ikatkan pada bagian belakang. Terus terang, aku sama sekali nggak merasa memakai jilbab, malah rasanya mirip ninja… (tapi ninja yang kelihatan hidung, pipi dan mulutnya) …

One day when I interviewed Martha Tilaar (owner of Sari Ayu cosmetics), the friendly woman said that she was Hitachi – Hitam Tapi China. And then she asked me (who was wearing a black, stylish Muslim woven hat): “Anda Cina Muslim ya?”

I smiled and told her the truth. She responded by offering free hair treatment in her beauty saloon and said that she would give me a comb made of buffalo horn. But I didn’t take the offer because her saloon was located quite far from my house and I was too shy to meet her secretary to collect the comb. And who needed a comb if there was no hair in the head?

Despite the painful mouth ulcers and the hair loss, I felt lucky because during the six-round chemotherapy I did not suffer any nausea or other serious side effects (tapi mual ketika mencium bau seonggok daging sapi menu makan siang di RS). I could work as usual, just like other people.

During my first chemo, I had to spend a night in the hospital (Metropolitan Medical Center in South Jakarta) because the doctor was afraid that something bad might happen to me. But for the five other chemo sessions , I only spent a few hours for the treatment. I drove my car to the hospital and after the treatment I drove again... And I was home, safe and sound.

Two years have passed since the chemoteraphy was over and no one calls me bu Haji anymore. As I have my thin hair back, my hats and scarfs now rest in the wardrobe. (If anyone needs it, I would gladly donate any of them)
*Pak Ogah (literaly means Mr. No) is the character of Si Unyil TV children's program who refuses to help people unless he receives some money. Jakarta has many young people who act as amateur traffic regulators at U-turn spots, junctions and intersections, asking for money from motorists, sometimes in a threatening manner.

The Bald Truth

February 20, 2007 The Guardian

The hairdressers at Esther's Haircutting Studio in Tarzana, California were locking their doors for the night last Friday when a cavalcade of cars drew up outside. Britney Spears jumped out of one of the vehicles and, accompanied by her bodyguards, marched into the salon. When owner Esther Tognozzi refused to shave off the pop star's hair, Britney took hold of the clippers and removed her locks herself.

Does losing her hair equal losing her mind? Or is she finally regaining control of her chaotic life?
Throughout history, a shorn head has been heavy with meaning. The bare-headed Christian or Buddhist monks told of their devotion or a renunciation of worldly pleasures. More commonly, shaven heads have been associated with trauma, brutality and the loss of individuality or strength. In biblical legend, Samson was deprived of his incredible power and killed when his hair was cut off while he was asleep. In ancient Greece shaved heads were a mark of the slave.
Shorn hair is inflicted on the sick, and has been deployed by armies to both dehumanise their own soldiers and punish their enemies. In the second world war, the heads of French collaborators were shaved as part of their public humiliation. Among skinheads, a shorn head was a symbol of aggression. Among lesbians, a shaved head, or short hair at least, came to be a symbol of their abandoning of traditional man-pleasing femininity.
With time, a shaven head became fashionable, among men at least, and skinheads eventually lost their shock value. The image of a woman with no hair, however, can still pack a visceral punch.

"There are lots of positive connotations in men," says Alastair Ross, a social psychologist at the University of Strathclyde. "But in women it's seen as being out of control because it's outside the normal distribution of hair behaviour." In other words, baldness is still relatively rare in women, and is generally treated as a sign of crisis or stress - or if it is known to be self-inflicted, a sign of madness.

Becoming untouchable is the most widely postulated theory behind Britney's trip to the barber. One eyewitness to Friday's strange shearing scenes, Emily Wynne-Hughes, told the press that Spears had said that "she didn't want anybody to touch her". This idea that is her saying, 'I need some control of my own,' according to psychologist and author Dr Linda Papadopoulos.

Esther Tognozzi, a woman smart enough to refuse to shave Britney's head for fear she might change her mind and then sue, had little time for elaborate interpretations of what went on on Friday.

"I did say, 'Is this getting rid of the old and starting afresh?' and she said, 'Yes,'" Tognozzi told the media. More pertinently, though, the hairdresser revealed Britney's extensions were in a terrible state with only "about four inches" of natural hair underneath them. "Maybe she just got sick and tired of all the extensions and chemicals in her hair, and maybe she just wants a new beginning," said Tognozzi. "It's only hair. It grows back".

Photo caption: Cutting edge... Britney Spears snapped after shaving her head.
Photograph: AP

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Flying Cancer Survivor

On board a flight to Hawaii, the pilot announced, "That thump you heard was our last engine conking out. I'm really sorry to tell you this, but we are going to crash into the ocean."
In the stunned silence that followed, an angry voice spoke out.
"Dammit! That stupid doctor of mine! He said I was going to die of cancer."
"He lied!"

Copyright © 1998, Sydney Love
The above joke is reprinted from the website.
Gambar dan cerita kurang nyambung ya.. ..? heheheee.....

Kemuliaan Dokter

Dokter adalah profesi yang paling mulia. Bukan basa-basi. Beneran. (Sumprit.!) Saking mulianya, orang tak berani memanggil dokter langsung dengan namanya. Pasti ada embel-embel dokter di depannya.

Kalau namanya Zhivago, maka ia akan dipanggil dokter Zhivago, bukan pak Zhivago apalagi mas Zhivago. Meskipun guru dan hakim juga disebut-sebut sebagai profesi mulia, tapi jarang kita mendengar orang memanggil, misalnya hakim Bagir atau guru Anita. Mereka cukup dipanggil pak Bagir atau Bu Anita, atau pak hakim dan bu guru. Ada sedikit perkecualian, hakim sering juga disebut “yang mulia”, tetapi itu hanya diucapkan dalam ruang sidang. Presiden juga tak selalu disebut dengan predikatnya, melainkan cukup dengan pak atau ibu saja, atau bahkan bung dan gus. . .

Pekerjaan dokter memang sungguh mulia karena di tangan mereka tergantung jiwa pasien. Orang yang sudah setengah mati bisa sembuh berkat dokter. Tentu tidak semua pasien dapat diselamatkan karena dokter juga manusia dengan kemampuan yang terbatas. Tapi paling tidak dokter memegang peran penting dalam kesembuhan pasien.

Dokter dituntut untuk bekerja secara professional, teliti dan tidak boleh salah. Sedikit kesalahan bisa berakibat fatal. Tanggung jawab dokter sungguh besar.

Karena itu dokter layak mendapat penghargaan yang setara dengan pekerjaan dan tanggung jawabnya.

Kenyataannya, banyak dokter mengeluhkan gaji yang terlalu kecil, terutama dokter yang bekerja sebagai pegawai negeri.

“Kebetulan saya dokter PNS yg kerja di Puskesmas (rawat inap) di pelosok Jawa. Sebagai dokter dgn masa kerja PNS 8 Tahun, gaji saya masih dibawah Rp 2 juta krn dihitung bujangan,” kata seorang dokter mengeluh dalam sebuah forum di Internet.

“Sementara kerjaan saya menuntut saya 24 jam ready terhadap kasus yang ada. Minimal 3 kali semalam saya ditelepon untuk konsultasi pasien,” katanya sambil mengaku bahwa hasil yang diperoleh dari praktek swasta lebih besar dari gajinya sebagai PNS.

Aku tak tahu pasti gaji dokter. Yang jelas dokter PTT (Pegawai Tidak Tetap) yang baru mulai bekerja gajinya tak sampai Rp 1 juta. Beberapa bulan yang lalu ada berita di koran mengenai seorang kepala RS pemerintah yang mengusulkan agar gaji dokter umum dinaikkan menjadi Rp 5 juta per bulan dan dokter spesialis Rp 9 juta. Sekali lagi tak disebutkan berapa gaji mereka saat ini. (orang jawa bilang saru.. ngomongin soal duit..)

Bagaimana dengan dokter swasta? Sama juga. Rumah sakit tempat mereka bekerja tidak memberi mereka gaji tetap bulanan yang memadai dan menerapkan system bagi hasil. Jadi semakin banyak pasien, semakin banyak uang masuk.

Hal ini membuat aku sekilas teringat akan tukang jahit konfeksi yang menerima upah berdasarkan jumlah baju yang mereka jahit. Mereka bekerja dengan sangat cepat dan sering kali hingga malam hari untuk mengejar setoran.

Tetapi penjahit butik yang mementingkan kualitas, terutama yang sudah punya nama besar, mempunyai sistem kerja dan pengupahan yang berbeda.Dengan gaji tetap bulanan, mereka bisa bekerja dengan lebih berhati-hati dan berkonsentrasi pada kualitas pekerjaan mereka.

Ah, tapi butik bukanlah rumah sakit. Jadi mana bisa dibandingkan?

Pekerjaan mulia dokter haruslah jauh lebih dihargai dari sisi materi sehingga mereka dapat bekerja dengan lebih baik dan mempunyai cukup waktu untuk meningkatkan pengetahuan serta keahlian mereka.

Banyak dokter yang terpaksa sibuk menangani puluhan pasien setiap hari juga karena sedikitnya dokter di negeri ini. Jumlah dokter umum di Indonesia hanya 50 ribu sedangkan penduduknya 220 juta. Berarti rasio dokter umum dengan jumlah penduduk adalah 1:4400, padahal idealnya satu dokter umum menangani 2.500 orang.

Jumlah dokter spesialis lebih sedikit lagi, hanya sekitar 18.000 orang . Jadi jumlah pasien yang harus ditangani jauh lebih besar.

Ternyata persoalnnya sangat pelik. Kalau begitu, berarti harus jumlah dokter harus ditambah. Salah satu cara yang dapat ditempuh adalah menyediakan bea siswa bagi mereka yang berminat menjadi dokter umum maupun dokter spesialis mengingat biaya pendidikan yang sangat besar. .

Sementara itu pemerintah perlu menaikkan gaji dokter agar mereka dapat menjalankan profesinya dengan lebih tenang.

Tahun 2007 ini pemerintah telah menaikkan gaji guru, yang profesinya juga sangat mulia, menjadi dua kali lipat sehingga ada dari mereka yang dapat membawa pulang Rp 3 juta sebulan.

Pemerintah merencanakan untuk menaikkan gaji PNS sebesar 20 persen tahun 2008. Seandainya rencana terlaksana, tetap saja gaji dokter masih terlalu kecil…. Tetapi gaji kecil jangan sampai menjadi alasan untuk melupakan profesionalisme profesi yang mulia ini. (Seperti para pegawai negeri .. karena gaji kecil lantas korupsi) ####