The Alvernia Journey: A Mosaic of Faith, Perseverance and Love

Hi all… I am sorry that I have been missing for a long time due to take care of my sick father.. Today’s post is going to be a long post with lots of pictures… I hope that it can help to give a useful information and to share what we have been though. I also hope that this true story can give a strength to any people who have been through a similar situation.

Day 1

It all began on the exact same day last Saturday on August 10, 2013. In the morning, my father complained that he had a severe headache. It’s like vertigo when the pain is going around like a circle. He also told me that when he opens both of his eyes, he’s seeing double. His right eye also dropped. My mother taught that it was a mild stroke attack and asked him to be tested for blood test + blood pressure. The blood pressure is high where as all the results of his blood tests are still categorized as normal. He also went to the shop for a half day and went home to take a rest. I still fed him with a boiled chicken and rice. We went to a general doctor at his home because it was still a BIG holiday season in Indonesia. We can’t find any senior doctors. Also, since we came from a small town, the hospital in our town is not advisable to go. Some of the doctors haven’t even graduated.

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Day 2

My mom got panicked when my Father couldn’t open both of his eyes in the morning at around 05.30 AM. She woke me up and told me that he also has a trouble to spoke clearly. The symptom is really similar to stroke. Therefore, all of my father’s families were very angry with me because we have lost the golden time (1×24 hours) since yesterday. However, deep down in my heart I have doubted that he got a stroke. He can still walk perfectly, he can lift up his arms perfectly. Why the stroke only attacked his face area? it didn’t make sense. I debated a lot with my mother and asked her to bring my father to an international hospital called Glen Eagle Hospital in Jakarta. The only thing is we didn’t know how to call the ambulance and was not clear about the procedure how to take him there. Our financial ability is also limited and thus, my father was very worried that we couldn’t afford the payment over there. I asked my father whether he has insurance and he told me that he has one. It’s from his bank, Panin Life. When I called the hotline service, it turned out that the coverage was very small and limited. It’s different from Prudential, Sequislife, Manulife and so on. We could only pray that with all the money we have, we can still able to afford it.


I also have made a commitment to myself that even though we have to sell our house, car, and everything we have, we will do it as long as my father can go back to normal.

One of my mother’s friend told us the procedure on how to take my father to go to the Jakarta hospital which is we needed to bring him to the local hospital first. Then, the hospital would take care the transfer procedure. The small town doctor told me that he got a mild stroke attack however, I still had doubt in my heart. Now that he has been diagnosed with Miller Fisher Syndrome with 100% confirmation, I know that God has put his word into my ears. I am not trying to become over spiritual, but i didn’t come from a medical background. What else was the other reason for my hunch back then?


The hospital then transferred my father from Sukabumi to Jakarta (the capital city of Indonesia) by ambulance. We arrived there and the emergency doctor asked the nurse to perform the MRI. Few hours later, the MRI result has come out and it turned out that ALL THINGS were fine. It couldn’t be stroke since they couldn’t find out any block inside his brain.

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I met Dr. Harsan and Dr. Vivin, the neurologists. She told me that my father was diagnosed by Miller Fisher Syndrome which is a variant of GBS or Guillain – Barre Syndrome. For more information, you can visit this website:

The Doctors also told me that I made the right call. If my father had been given a stroke medicine, his brain would have been severed by now. The option to heal my father’s disease was to give him the IVIG or known as Immunoglobulin. The only thing which made us concern was the medicine was VERY EXPENSIVE. It costs around IDR 17.750.000 per day or almost USD 2000 per day. We prayed that our savings can cover the expenses.


After all the tests have been completed, my father was transferred to HDU (One class lower than ICU).

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Day 3

This was one of the worst day the day in my whole life. My father blood test was dropped from 170/100 to 54/22. All the nurses were running around. Also, the Doctor’s team told us that in order to get well, my father needs to stay in ICU for around 8 months. Until the second day at Siloam, the hospital bill already reached IDR 55.000.000 (around USD 7000). The insurance only covered less than 5% of the total bill.

They moved him to ICU because he has difficulty to breath and thus, needed a ventilator to help him. His condition got worse for each and each hour. We were so afraid.

My father’s family pushed us to bring him to Singapore because of the advance technology and the well known doctors. However, we were so afraid about the hospital bill.. It can cost for even more than USD 100.000. They told us that they would truly support the hospital fee. In a matter of hours, I tried to understand the Medi-Vac (Evacuation process from Jakarta to Singapore). The cost is about USD 16.500.

At 03.00 AM, I was finally able to handle everything. We can only hope that tomorrow is going to be a better day.

Gunawan Darmawan @ High Intensive Unit

Day 4

This is the day when we transferred our father from Jakarta to SIngapore. Below are the pictures to explain more about our journey including the medical note from Siloam Glen Eagle Hospitals.

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Medical resume dari Indo

We finally have arrived at Mount Alvernia Hospital and chose Dr. Timothy Lee, Dr. Andrew Pan and Dr. Jim Teo to handle our father. 

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– to be continued – 

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