On the early afternoon of Monday, December 3rd in 2012, Christoforus (Kristo) Laksono Baskoro had a motorbike accident in Tanjung Barat, an area around Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta.
He was on his way to the University of Indonesia campus where he was a fifth semester student of communication studies. Some good Samaritans took him to the emergency room of Bunda Margonda Hospital in Depok, a town to the south of Jakarta, where he laid down motionlessly until late afternoon, showing no sign of being able to talk or move parts of his body.
The CT scan result revealed that Kristo broke his shoulder blade and suffered brain hemorrhage. So, bad was the bleeding that some blood vessels in the brain ruptured. The doctor decided that Kristo had to undergo a surgery to save his life. It was shocking to us, his parents, and to his siblings that Kristo had to go through such a gruesome procedure. The surgery, craniotomy, was performed to get rid of the blood pooled in the brain and to stop the bleeding.
Following the surgery Kristo was taken into the ICU where he had to depend on a ventilator for three weeks. However, because of the prolonged use of the ventilator, Kristo’s lungs were filled with fluid that another surgical procedure, tracheotomy, had to be performed to save his lungs. The tube inserted through his throat with this procedure helped him breath and successfully aspirated the fluid in his lungs. This lasted for thirty days.
Because Kristo’s health was improving, although not significantly, the neurosurgeon decided to do a third surgery, Cranioplasty, on February 12, 2013. It took two hours, and following the procedure he had to be in the ICU again for three days. However, the doctor later found yet another problem, excess buildup of fluid in the brain, so serious that the doctor had to do a fourth surgery, ventriculoperitoneal shunting to drain the excess fluid to the belly area. All the surgeries were done at Bunda Margonda Hospital in Depok.
After the doctors decided that Kristo was strong enough, on March 18, 2013 he was transported to St. Elisabeth Hospital, to be closer to where the family lives. His condition was improving after the neurosurgeon did yet another surgery, craniotomy and Cranioplasty. He had to be confined in this hospital before the family could take him home. He had to use the feeding tube for all eating, drinking and taking medicines for over a year.
As time went by, Kristo’s condition was improving, especially his sensory system. His motoric system, however, did not improve nor has it gotten any better up to this time. He can neither move his limbs nor can he talk.
By God’s grace, by accident we found a simple way to communicate with Kristo. What we did was to spell a letter to him and if understood and agreed, he would raise his eyes to look up. For example, in Indonesian, when he wanted to say “Saya mau…” (I want …), we would spell a... b... c... d... e... f ... and so on until we came to the first letter of a word he wanted. We did this until we found the intended word. The letters then became words, and the words became sentences. We were all so grateful because by doing so, we knew what he wanted or what he did not want.
He would utter a sound, which to him was meant to shout. To us when he did that we got the sign that he wanted something and we started the spelling. We have used this method of communication until now.
Dec 2016, Kristo went to another surgery. There's an infection on his scalp so the scalp must be cut off. Now he is leaving with half of his sculp. Kristo says it's oke, and he didn't feel any pain. He still smiling and makes jokes. He told me that he still wants to do something to other people! We can communicate only by his eyes, but we believe someday God will heal him
As of Jan, of this year (2017) marks more than 4 years of Kristo's being paralyzed. We tried to contact the last neurosurgeon to ask for his advice for Digital Subtraction Angiography (DSA). He agreed and the procedure was done with quite a good result. What was shocking though was that a month later the surgeon, after taking the MRI, found an infection in the area where the Cranioplasty was done
The surgeon said that the only procedure to address the problem was to redo it all over again. Because all our resources had been exhausted, with uneasy feeling, we told the doctor that we would wait before we could agree to it. Indeed, up until now, there is still wound on Kristo’s head and while it often bleeds and discharges fluid, he never complains and he has no fever. We have not returned to the surgeon since then.
What we can do now is to keep his diet under control, giving him vitamins and supplements which have been approved by the doctors, doing physiotherapy, and giving acupuncture treatment once a week undergone four gruesome brain surgical procedures, Kristo’s sensory system has improved, but not his motoric system.
He is now only able to communicate his need by a simple method of raising his eyes when he agrees to the letters uttered to him. The letters would become words, and the words would then make sentences.
We continue to pray for Kristo, our son, and to love him unconditionally. We would like to express our gratitude to all who have helped in any way, for the prayers, for the attention and the donations towards an eye-tracking technology, “Eyegaze Edge” to help him communicate!
This cutting-edge communication and control system has been developed by LC Technologies, Inc. ( http://www.eyegaze.com/) in Fairfax, Virginia, USA. The cost for an Eyegaze Edge Tablet is US$11,385.