Wednesday, August 06, 2014

August


It is the 6th of August in the year 2014 at half past eleven in the morning. It is the first time in weeks since the sun has made an appearance. It is the monsoon season, after all.  But boy has the weather been so bleak and gloomy, it affected my mood. It also ruins my errands days so I've had to adjust or limit time spent outdoors lest I get caught in horrendous traffic just to make it safely home.

I tell you once you are stuck in 4 hours of traffic just to get home which is just a short distance from my point of origin - factor in the amount of time I had to stand in queue at the taxi stand - you feel like strangling the person who coined the term  "It is more fun in the Philippines"!!!

Aside from that, I've been saddled with joint aches and pains. Some which lasted a day, others several days but nothing that an ointment or a pain reliever won't heal. I guess it is part of aging gracefully. 

In conclusion, it only seemed like yesterday when it was the scorching month of May that befell us. Now it is the rainy month of August already. Wow time sure flies by so fast, I tell you! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

A son's farewell

My mother in law passed away last July 13, 2014 past noon in California. 

It was early morning Monday and I was awake and watching the last few minutes of the World Cup finals between Germany and Argentina. 

Germany won and just as I posted on Facebook my joy at their triumphant win, I received a message about the sad news from my sister in law.

My mother in law was 83 years old and lived a full and colorful life. She is survived by her 3 children and their spouses and her 8 grandkids.

Since my husband is the only one who lives here in the Philippines and it isn't easy to procure a US visa at the drop of a hat ... he just composed an eulogy for his mother which was read at her viewing last night.

First of all, good evening to everyone who are here and in one way or another have that special bond or relationship with our dearly departed mother. 

We deeply regret that we are not able to personally join our family and friends in paying our last respects for Mama. As much as I, as a son, and my wife Net would have wanted to come, it is no secret that it isn’t easy to secure a visa to the United States. 

A visa allowing a person to enter the United States, especially if that person comes from the Philippines has become one of the hardest things to achieve in one’s lifetime as a Filipino. Not even a demise of a close relative or a dear loved one can be enough reason to acquire that elusive US visa. 

Well, it’s a good thing one only needs a visa to enter the United States and that, it’s not a requirement in going to Heaven. It is very comforting to know that in all the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, each and every one of us automatically acquired a visa to enter Heaven in the goodness of God. So all of us have the assurance that our Mama De as our mother was affectionately called by most family and friends, will get her new visa, and new citizenship, once God’s angels guide her, to the immigration officer named Peter.

Our mom would never be our mom without her devotion to the Black Nazarene in Quiapo Church. Whenever she finds the opportunity to visit the Philippines, she would practically make time to go to Quiapo Church almost every day. Quiapo Church and the Black Nazarene for her was a lifetime devotion. In fact, even when it was already a struggle for her to travel, she would always insist to my sister Ate Min and Jun our younger brother that she wants to come home so she could visit the Black Nazarene in Quiapo.

Now, there’s no need for her, for our Mama De, to come home.

She’s home.

Ma, we will all miss you. We give our thanks to God for choosing you in bringing us your children and grandkids in this world to partake of the precious life that He has given to us all. 

Enjoy now the eternal light of God and His eternal peace. We love you.

Rest in peace, Mama De.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Walang tulugan (No Sleeping)

During my single days I was quite the night owl.  I would sleep at around 4:30 A.M or when dawn was slowly creeping in. I used to waste spend my hours chatting with my friends who were scattered all over the world. Thus the different time zones.

When I got married in 2008, my lifestyle took a drastic change. With all the never ending chores to do, my body rhythm would shut down early. I would be dozing off by 11 P.M. My sister found it amusing that I would be in bed by 10:30 P.M while she was still wide awake and we would chat on Skype. My eyes were half close by then and sometimes I would drop my smartphone on my face. Heh!

Therefore I need to condition myself to stay up late so I can watch the knockout games of the FIFA World Cup 2014. Here is the schedule of the games in this part of the globe.

So I could either add my intake of caffeine, or I could take a nap in the afternoons. No matter what I need to be up, wide awake and in my right senses to catch all of these games live broadcast.


By the way, now that some of my favored teams have gone home (Spain, Italy, Portugal) I would be rooting for FRANCE.  For old times' sake ... Allez Les Bleus!  =)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

World Cup Fever

There are only two sports that I am passionate about.  

Soccer and Tennis.

I played tennis for a very brief period in my life in Dubai, of all places.

Then I semi-fainted due to the extreme humidity and heat of the desert climate.

I say semi because I was half conscious but felt really out of it.

So I stopped playing.

Heh.

Call it trauma or lack of motivation or a fleeting fancy.

Whatever the reason (till this day I'm not sure), I just couldn't bring myself to actively play, ever again.

As for soccer I never played the game.

Although back when I was studying in Brussels, Belgium - soccer was the main PE course.

Now for someone who was wearing thick glasses, balls flying can be quite frightful.

I wasn't good at it - even back then I had two left feet.

But I developed a keen interest in it.

I got hooked on the FIFA World Cup.

I remember during the 1982 World Cup held in Spain, I collected all the cards of every player.

From every team that qualified and I pasted them on this official World Cup scrapbook.

It was fun, exciting and I stayed up to watch all the games.

I was 14 years old back then and the WORLD CUP consumed my entire being.

Fast forward to 2014 - the FIFA World Cup is now in its second week.

The games are now held in sunny, warm and welcoming Brazil.

The live broadcast of the matches are shown at midnight, 3 AM and 6 AM, Manila time.

I'm too tired and dare I say too old to stay up that late.

So I just catch the replays in the afternoons.

Even though I already know the final scores.

Because it is the first thing I check on my smartphone upon waking up.

The thrill I get from watching the replays is just as exciting as watching it live.

The FIFA WORLD CUP always brings fond memories of my childhood.

Days of yore when everything stopped and football reigned supreme.

The nostalgia always bring a smile to my face.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Normalcy

The past 5 weeks was pretty much a blur.

But in between the numerous hospital visits where various blood tests and ultrasounds were performed on my sister, we managed to treat my dear Mom for her 77th birthday last May 30.  Yes the double 77 as we like to call it.

We had lunch at a Thai restaurant named Soi for her birthday lunch.


For dinner, it was at HK Chef which serves Chinese food.



Then before my sister returned to HK, we treated dad to an advanced Father's Day treat at Tony Roma's his fave restaurant.



June 10, the doctor cleared my sister for travel so she returned to HK where she has a ton of work to do. Her biopsy results were benign (Thank God!), but she still has uterine bleeding and was given meds to regulate the flow. Her myomas are growing by the day but the hysterectomy would have to be postponed for now.  She still has to clear her sked as well as seek permission from her boss for a longer leave of absence from work.   So in short, even though the nightly fevers have subsided and her infection is cleared, she isn't really cured just yet. 
The long road to recovery is just temporarily shelved as she needs to earn a living which in turn pays for all these procedures. 

June 11 - I returned to our lil nook in QC. I miss having my sister around but for now she is just a Skype video chat away.  I have tons of household chores waiting for me to tackle but I'm still in my lazy mode and I'm actually quite tired and exhausted from the ordeal.  

Meanwhile ... life goes on and we are all moving onwards! 

P.S.
Thanks so much everyone who sent their good wishes for my sister's recovery.  Much appreciated and may God bless you all.

Monday, May 26, 2014

A trooper!

So let me see as of today, my sister has gone through 3 ultrasounds, several blood tests, an ECG, a chest Xray, and CBC (Complete Blood Count).

As the tests results come out in printed form (which can be checked online, thankfully), there are certain improvements in one area while other issues are still either infected or need more days to heal.  She has stopped all antibiotics as the doctors deem it would be too much to go beyond the prescribed 2 weeks of dosage.

Every time we go to the clinic or the hospital for these tests, my parents (who are in their late 70s, mind you!) and I ALWAYS tag along. Even though I keep telling them they should not bother as they might get tired going out in this extremely hot weather.  They refuse to take NO for an answer and insist they are doing fine and can bear the severe climate.  

I am sure they are worried sick as no parent wants to see their children in pain or sick with an illness.  But they are strong individuals and I know they are putting up a brave face amid such trials.  I worry about my sister's health but more so I also worry about my elderly parents well being every single day since they are in their twilight years.

But this family has always been a strong force of 4 members and we have this very close bond that has sustained us since I was born.   Plus we have an extra member now (my hubby) and his mere presence lifts my downtrodden spirits.   By him, being patient and very understanding of my need to be at my sister's side, even though he himself had a health scare (which he had to handle by his lonesome self) is more than enough for me to know that I can push through any challenge that comes my way.

The 'last' hurdle to tackle is a biopsy on Monday, June 2.   This ultimately will determine our next course of action although her doctors have made it perfectly clear that a hysterectomy is the ONLY solution to her incessant uterine bleeding.

But she would need to take a longer leave of absence from her work and AS OF THIS MOMENT, this isn't viable just yet.  In fact, she needs to go back ASAP and attend an important trade fair next month.  So despite being saddled with medical tests and bleeding, my sister WORKS from home. She has a whole June issue of her magazine to publish as well as two trade directories to print.  All this despite my vehement request for her to rest and concentrate on getting well and on her recovery.  She insists.  If she didn't do her job, she won't have money to pay for her medical fees, her lab tests and her hospitalization.  So I guess she does have a valid point. 

I know I am just rambling at this point as this post is all over the place but I just wanted to document it so I can one day look back and recall these tough days.

To be continued ...

Thursday, May 15, 2014

6 years

This merry month marks two special occasions for our family. My mom's birthday on the 30th.

And our wedding anniversary today, the 15th.

6 years now.

We have this agreement that whenever my sister is in town, I would stay with her at the condo. It would save us from daily commutes to and from our apartment in QC.

This sort of understanding is one of the reasons I attribute for our strong marriage.

He truly comprehends that I need to be by my sister's side when she visits. More so now that her health is in jeopardy.

My trust, respect and love for my husband grows a thousand fold not only today but every single day even though we might not always be physically together!


Sugar, iron and wood are the symbols for the 6th wedding anniversary. 

As we enter our 6th year of wedded bliss, may we continue to be "sweet" to each other by putting the "wooden" Cross in the center of our marriage. With the aim that the love, respect and trust we share will be as strong as  "iron". 

Happy Anniversay Hon!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Confined spaces

Today my sister was scheduled to fly back to her workplace after 10 days of R & R.

But.

Drastic change of plans.

Because you see she was hospitalised for 5 days at St. Luke's Hospital, in their QC branch.

Flashback - She arrived early morning of Labor Day, May 1, 2014. But by that time frame, she had been battling a severe case of gastroenteritis for five days already. Painful abdominal spasms, vomiting, unable to keep her food down, and she also had nightly high grade fevers.

When she arrived at the airport, she was so pale and exhausted from the flight but was so happy to be home with us, her family.

During the weekend, she got worse with her fever reaching 40 degrees, she had chills and was in so much unbearable pain.

So on May 5, Monday morning we rushed her to the hospital. Her doctor deemed it necessary to confine her and keep her under close monitoring. 

She spent a total of 4 nights and 5 days with several antibiotics fed to her intravenously. Her fever was on and off and I spent every waking hour of those days attending to her every need as she was too weak to fend for herself.

One night, I got the scare of my life as the nurse came in to take her temperature. Her body temperature had dropped to 35 degrees!!! She experienced hypothermia and was literally freezing!

I wrapped her under two blankets, lowered the aircon unit and kept rubbing her all over as she began shivering violently. All this time, I kept talking to her and told her to stay awake!  I was fearful that she might fall asleep, lose consciousness and not wake up. I really panicked but managed to stay calm and focused on getting her body temp back to normal.

Thankfully it did ... after an hour!

Well after her confinement, the doctors found out that aside from the abdominal flu, she has several cysts in her uterus and also a few myomas had developed again despite the fact that she had them removed in 2011 in Singapore. 

She might need another major operation to address this issue which is now causing her to bleed beyond the normal days of the monthly period.

She is resting now, still very weak and has to return to the hospital on May 19 and 20 for further tests and consultations.

Although she is having all these health issues I am glad she was able to make it home and is recuperating here so we can take care of her.

I am also grateful that her boss is considerate enough to extend her leave and is giving her all the time she needs to make a full recovery here or until the time the doctors deem it is ok for her to travel.

The road for her full recovery is still a long way to go and it worries me that there is a possibility that the cysts might be malignant.

But I want to stay on the positive path and keep praying with all my might for some good news to emerge from this latest health crisis my poor sister has to endure.