Beberapa waktu yang lalu baru saja saya mendapat kabar bahwa salah seorang guru saya semasa pendidikan orthopaedi harus menjalani sebuah operasi besar dan memerlukan darah untuk persiapan intraoperatif. Sayangnya memang darah yang dibutuhkan adalah golongan AB+, yang setahu saya memang cukup langka di bank darah. Saya sendiri memiliki golongan darah O+.
Peristiwa ini mengingatkan saya akan sebuah peristiwa lain di masa lalu yang membuat saya masih rutin mendonorkan darah saya hingga sekarang.
Untungnya 10 tahun yang lalu saya menulis peristiwa tersebut dalam sebuah aplikasi notes dan akan saya bagikan untuk sejawat sekalian. Pada saat saya menuliskan ini, waktu itu saya sedang menjalani tahun terakhir masa co-ass dan sedang menjalani rotasi pediatrik (Ilmu Kesehatan Anak).
Waktu itu saya menuliskannya full dalam bahasa Inggris, dan akan saya biarkan seperti itu baik judul maupun tubuh teksnya.
Our precious blood
I personally don’t like to write and express what I’m feeling to others. Not until I need to.
I never liked pediatrics, and am still struggling to find the likable things in every subdivision to make my study interesting. Sure, all the febrile convulsions and the CNS infections, acute diarrhea and acid-base imbalance, hemorrhagic fever and all the tropical infections. But hematology? It sure was one thing that I thought would never caught my attention.
Until one jam-packed night shift, when I met this thalassemia patient. Fourteen years old, notable Cooley face, pale and powerless, bulging rock-hard abdomen of severe hepatosplenomegaly (11cm/6cm palpable liver, Schuffner 5), waiting for a pack of packed red cells (PRC) since 11AM that morning (it was around 7PM). Nothing special, until the blood was administered. He suffered from a mild allergic reaction, lightheadedness, malaise, itching all over the body: uncomfortable for him, but not life-threatening.
Then, his 11-year old little brother (who was almost bigger than him) came and rub him on the forehead, fanning him with a stack of paper, calming his older brother. A simple gesture, as silent as an owl’s flight in the hectic emergency department, the kind of body language that speaks louder than 1,000 lines of “everything’s gonna be alright.”
Long story short, the first pack was administered, so the rest of the packs (3 more packs) were going to be administered the day after at the outpatient clinic. Then, they actually asked the pediatric residents who were on-call for the permission to sleep on the floor outside the emergency room, just to wait until tomorrow when the outpatient clinic’s opened in the morning. So the whole family slept the night through, on the floor outside the emergency room, beneath a row of some green chairs.
It was later that I found out that this kind of event is somewhat a luxury among thalassemia patients. All other less-fortunate patients just sleep alongside the river bed near our beloved hospital: the whole family, on several cardboard boxes, just to wait for the working hours to restart (because they simply have no money for back-and-forth transportation), and it’s blood transfusion with all the risks all over again. (END OF STORY)
Our erythrocytes’ life span is around 4 months, actively reproduced as we never realized it.
They need a blood pack every 21-35 days.
A bottle of You-C1000 is just 3 gulps of refreshing drink for us.
It’s lethal for them.
We would go mad if one of our weekends is disrupted with a 12-hour night shift.
They need at least a day off every month for blood transfusions.
We complain for every protruding spring on our spring beds.
They would be thankful for a couple of cardboard boxes from a nearby kiosk.
We would be thankful to live through our 70s.
They would be grateful to live through their 20s.
Don’t tell me it’s not your problem.
I’m a blood-type O, the so-called universal donor.
The way I see it,
maybe this blood isn’t mine to keep.