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Monday, January 21, 2008

Not Knowing ...

I sometimes think that not knowing something is better than knowing. Or, not knowing makes someone’s life more peaceful.

In Javanese culture, in general, and in Central Java (or Semarang) in particular, people suggest that when someone is hospitalized, he or she is to leave the hospital (after getting cured) NOT on Saturday. Why? Javanese people believe that when someone leaves the hospital on Saturday, he or she is “doomed” to be back to the hospital, to be hospitalized again not long after that.

Although my family don’t have Javanese blood in our bodies, we somewhat believe in that so-called “myth”. It is easily understood because we have been living in Java for decades. Therefore, when my youngest sister was hospitalized last December (from the Christmas’ eve until the New Year’s eve), and the doctor let her go home on Saturday (December 29), my family chose to bring her home on Sunday December 30. (Un)fortunately, on that Saturday morning December 29, her temperature increased again and she got chilled terribly. This made the doctor ask us to let her stay in the hospital longer. We ourselves didn’t dare to bring her home.

Two days after that, Monday December 31 she seemed much better. She also started to feel bored of the situation in the hospital while her elder sisters felt exhausted attending her days and nights. My younger sister proposed an idea to bring the youngest home. Around 1pm when the doctor came to check her condition, I asked him that possibility. To our heart’s relief, he let us to bring her home.

Meanwhile, at the administration office, I met a guy who paid his sister’s expense. He was so in a hurry that he didn’t wait for the hospital to give him the computerized receipt. He simply said that he would come back afterwards to take the receipt and the change. (He didn’t live far from the hospital.) When asked by one of the nurses, he said, “We want to bring her home as soon as possible since tomorrow is Tuesday. We’ve got to do it before 4pm.” While giving you-know-what-I-mean look toward the nurse as well as to bewildered me.

I was dumbfounded. I didn’t ask him to explain what he meant. My being wise guy made me draw a conclusion—or a rhetorical question—whether the Javanese also treat Tuesday the same as Saturday as a “bad day” to go home from the hospital. Since that out of the blue made me uneasy, I called my mom (I was at the hospital attending my youngest sister together with Angie at that time) to pick us up before 4pm. ((NOTE: although it was still Monday, Javanese people believe that after 4pm, it could be considered to “have entered” or “to be counted” Tuesday already.)

(FYI, we left the hospital after 4pm because of some things. I didn’t tell my family about my “new finding” that Tuesday is not a good day to leave the hospital, not different from Saturday.)


Friday January 11 my youngest sister’s temperature increased again.

Sunday January 13, her body was very weak and the temperature was still high although we already took her to one doctor whose house was close to our dwelling place. The medicine that particular doctor gave didn’t work at all to decrease her temperature. Consequently, we decided to take her to the (same) hospital again. She had to be hospitalized due to dengue fever. Two weeks before, it was due to typhoid.

My mom commented, “We’ve avoided bringing home from the hospital on Saturday before this. However God “destined” that she had to be hospitalized again, what can we do? This is obviously out of our power.”

I kept quiet. I remembered the guy giving me you-know-what-I-mean look to explain why he brought her sister home in a hurry around two weeks before. This made me think that I had better not hear such a “rubbish myth” than I made myself sound so ridiculous and silly.

(I wrote this on January 18, 2008. My youngest sister was let go home on the day believed as the best day for Muslims. Since the doctor came to check her condition early, around 10.30—compared to the previous doctor who was responsible to treat her last December—I could ask my Mom to pick us up before 12, to make sure that it was STILL FRIDAY.

PT56 21.00 180108


johnorford said...

i really enjoyed this post! hope the patient fully recovers soon :):)

A Feminist Blog said...

Hi John, thanks for dropping by.
Thanks again for the wish. :)

triesti said...

you know... i think she got dengue from the hospital. hospitals & schools have high larvae account in Indonesia. Hope she's well now.

Last year I lost my niece to dengue.

oh, i never heard about not leaving the hospital on saturday/tuesday... maybe we are not javanese enough ;)

A Feminist Blog said...

Dear Triesti, in fact I also had that thought, she got it when she was hospitalized before that. She is much better now, thank you.
I am really sorry for your niece. :(
You are not Javanese enough? Nah ... that's funny. LOL. Btw, For leaving the hospital on Saturday is not good is very popular here, I suppose. But on Tuesday, not yet.