Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Spring is in the air

The temperatures are getting warmer. We can now open our windows when we cook. Our spring jackets are out. Snow is slowly melting away. The snowbanks are getting smaller. Some are just heaps of sand now. A rug, actually a piece of carpet with an ugly green colour and a black winter glove with the fingers sticking up have reappeared in our backyard. They were buried all winter under the snow. Who knows what else is buried there? I guess we’ll find out soon.

And we’ll soon say goodbye to these sights…

Boots and mittens drying over the heating vent

Airconditioning unit covered in plastic

It is spring break. The kids are home and I love it, even though they drive me crazy.

RC: Why do I have to dust the tables? They always get dirty anyway?

Mom: RC, where are you going? It’s your turn to wash the dishes.
RC: I’m just going to get something upstairs.
Mom: Oh, you better come down here after. I know your trick. You’re just trying to walk away from your chores.

RC: (Plays ball in the bedroom) He shoots, he scores. Yes!!!

RK: Mommy, Kuya RC won’t let me in the bedroom because he’s playing basketball in the house.

RK : Mommy, Kuya RC called me a bad name.

RK: Boo hoo hoo, Kuya RC hurt me.

RK: Boo hoo hoo, Kuya RC is laughing at me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A super family

The Incredibles” is a FUN family movie. It has great animation. It was created by PIXAR, same company that brought us Toy Story, A Bug's Life and Finding Nemo. What I like about this movie is that it tackles family issues that we encounter nowadays.

The story is about two superheroes, Robert (Bob) Parr aka Mr. Incredible and his wife Helen aka Elastigirl. They decided to go under a “Witness Protection Program” when Mr. Incredible started getting sued by the people he saved and didn’t want to be saved. But after 15 years, the entire family had to come out of hiding first to save dad and then help him rescue the world.

RK’s favourite parts:
--when Dash was running on water
--when JackJack turned into a ball of fire
--when the bad guys were running after Dash in the forest and he was running so fast
--when Frozone was skateboarding on ice

RC’s favourite parts:
--when Dash put the tack on the teacher’s seat that you hardly saw it on video
--when Dash was in the marathon trying not to be very fast

My favourite parts:
--when Helen (Elastigirl) was holding both Dash and Violet (who were fighting) under the table with her outstretched arms. Wouldn’t it be great if all moms have that superpower?
--everytime Elastigirl turns into a parachute.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Feeling guilty

A couple of weeks ago, RG asked for the DVD of “Ray.” We watched it last week. The movie tells us about the trials Ray Charles (Jamie Foxx) endured early in his life and how his mother, Aretha Robinson (Sharon Warren) insisted that he make his own way in the world.

I like how they showed the coloured bottles on the tree on the farm where Ray grew up and how Ray liked to look at them before he was blind.

Ray’s younger brother, George, drowned in a basin of water while Ray was looking after him. When his mother saw the boy under water, she asked, “Why didn’t you call me, Ray?” Ray felt so guilty. Shortly after that, Ray, who was only seven years old, started to go blind slowly due to glaucoma and the trauma of witnessing his brother’s death. His mother taught him how to be independent. He showed him how to make his way around the house and to use his sense of hearing. When he stumbled, she let him pick himself up, though it broke her heart. She told him, “Stand on your own two feet and don’t let people treat you as a cripple.”

His brother’s death haunted Ray throughout his early life and he got hooked on heroine. In the mid-60s he was busted and he went to rehab. That’s when he realized that it’s not his fault that his brother died and that he actually let others treat him as a cripple.

Being an eldest child, there were times when I felt guilty for some of the things that happened to sis when we were younger. We were only teen-agers when Mama went abroad and I felt responsible for sis when we decided to live by ourselves. Of course, later on, I realized that I wasn’t responsible for the decisions that she made. Now that I have kids, I sometimes worry when I leave my two younger boys to RG. I don’t want RG to feel guilty if one of his brothers get hurt while under his care.

Back to the movie, I admired Ray’s wife Della (Kerry Washington), whom he called Bea and stayed with him despite his infidelities. At first, Ray didn’t know that Bea knew about the girls he slept with and the illegitimate son he fathered. I don’t know if I could forgive my partner’s infidelity.

Jamie Foxx deserved the Oscar that he won for his remarkable performance of Ray Charles.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The tomb is empty

My earliest memory of Easter Sunday is when I was around 7, 8, or probably 9. I got up at the crack of dawn to watch the “Salubong,” a procession depicting the meeting of the Risen Christ and Mother Mary. I envied the girl who was my age and was picked to play the part of the angel. I have wanted to get dressed up as an angel too.

Another fond Easter memory was during the first year of my stay with my aunt and uncle in Pandacan, Manila. When Mama migrated to Canada, she left sis and me under the care of aunt and uncle. The day before Easter, Uncle painted the empty eggshells and the following morning hid them around the house while the rest of us went to church. He put peso bills inside the eggshells. Even Nena, our helper, found one with a five-peso bill out in back in the laundry area.

This Easter, I put candies inside coloured plastic eggs. I scattered them around the house for my kids to collect and I gave some to my nephews and nieces.

We went to church this morning. The purple drapes that covered the windows of St. A. were brought down. Instead, white sheer sheets with gold stripes hung by the windows. Even the purple sheet that draped the leafless tree on the altar was replaced by multi-coloured paper butterflies, which were made by the catechism classes, including RK’s. More folded paper butterflies hung above the altar, which was decorated with white carnations and white lilies in pots covered with shiny gold paper.

After mass, we all had lunch at sis’ place.

The long weekend has allowed me to relax, catch up on some zzz’s and watch a few movies on DVD. No, I wasn’t able to catch up on any reading. I have just been too preoccupied lately that I haven’t been able to sit on a book. I have three books in my shelf waiting to be read. The last time I read a book was 4 or 5 months ago. I miss reading my books!

Spotless mind

I watched the movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. I was surprised when RG said that he wanted to watch it too. Probably because it stars Jim Carrey. RG once researched this Canadian actor’s biography for a school project. He also heard me say several times that I wanted to watch that movie because it got good reviews and earned several award nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress. I was apprehensive at first especially when I learned that it was rated R. I hoped that Kate Winslet didn’t show her naked boobs in this movie like she did in a couple other movies. To my relief, she didn’t. RC and RK also watched it when they saw RG watching it. I told them that I might make them close their eyes during some scenes. They didn’t have to. But after hearing quite a few F words, I made the two leave the room. They didn’t see the naked butt of Stan. Whew!

“Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind”was a quotation from a poem by Alexander Pope. It was the story of two lovers, Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) who had a troubled relationship.

Joel accidentally read this letter from Lacuna Inc.

“Clementine Kruczynski has had Joel Barish erased from her memory. Please never mention their relationship to her again. Thank you.”

Joel immediately went to see Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson), the doctor who performed the memory erasure. Clementine underwent this procedure because she has grown tired of their relationship and she was so unhappy. Clementine didn’t recognize Joel at all and he couldn’t stand the pain of losing her to somebody else. Joel decided to undergo the same procedure – to erase all memories of Clementine.

Joel lay in his apartment, unconscious, while the crew began the process of mapping his brain and slowly erasing all memories of Clementine (the most recent first to the most remote). The story of the lovers unravelled backwards. We see first how tumultuous their relationship was, and then the start of their relationship and how they fell in love. As Joel remembered how much he loved Clementine, he started to change his mind. He didn’t want to go through the procedure after all. So in his mind, he and Clementine tried to run away from the machine. They tried to hide in his most remote memory, his childhood. But the machine found them there anyway. A couple of times during the procedure, the machine stopped and Joel opened his eyes, which he wasn’t supposed to do. Stan (Mark Ruffalo), the technician performing the procedure, was during this time fooling around with Mary (Kirsten Dunst), the doctor's secretary. When Stan noticed that the machine stopped, he called Dr. Mierzwiak. The doctor found Mary in Joel’s apartment and it turned out that the doctor and Mary had an affair and Mary underwent the procedure to have memories of her relationship with the doctor erased. When Mary found this out, she sent letters to all the doctor’s patients and informed them what they underwent. She returned their files – tapes, pictures, letters.

The beginning of the movie showed us how Clementine and Joel run into each other afer they had both erased memories of each other. The ending of the movie showed us how they discovered about the procedure that they went through.

I liked the editing of the movie – how the memories connected with the present time. I think that Jim Carrey gave a superb performance. We’re so used in seeing him in comedies and when he does these dramatic roles, we can really see his versatility as an actor.

And I’m glad that it’s only fiction. Imagine if we have an option in real life to erase painful memories, would we go through with it? At times when we get so down and lonely and depressed, we might be willing to do it when the pain gets so unbearable.

I know in my right mind that I wouldn’t want to erase any memory, no matter how painful it can be. I have experienced the sadness that Clementine felt in her relationship and the unbearable pain that Joel went through after losing Clementine. But I wouldn’t want to erase the cause of the sadness and the pain. The pain helped me grow strong as a person and the sadness made me appreciate any little blessings that I have in my life. But as I said, I’m glad that we don’t have the option to have those memories erased, and I hope that we never will.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A time to reflect

My youngest son, RK, wrote this after he read the story of The Bronze Serpent (Numbers 21) in the Early Reader’s Bible last December. (Refer to December 6, 2004 entry Thank You God)

My earliest memory of Holy Week in the Philippines is the rhythmic chanting of the passion, which I heard over the loud speakers of the Iglesia ni Cristo church across the street from our house in Noveleta, Cavite. The reading of the passion started on the dawn of Holy Monday and I think lasted until Good Friday. We didn’t have school and work on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Here in North America, only Good Friday is a statutory holiday. Government offices are closed on Easter Monday, though.

Monday, March 21, 2005

A friend in need

When F’s friends learned that he wouldn’t be able to work for at least six months after his bypass surgery, they organized a benefit social as a sort of fundraising to help out his family. The social was held last night at a church hall. Tickets were pre-sold and a few were sold at the door. Co-workers, people from Couples For Christ, friends, and friends of family mingled and danced. Friends donated prizes for silent auction. People also donated food – pancit, spaghetti, bread, kakanin (deserts), chips, drinks. Although I’m not a dancer, I did some moves with my friends to Staying Alive, Dancing Queen, Footloose and other songs.

F showed up even though he was still recovering from his surgery. He thanked everyone who supported him and came to the social. He said, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” His seven kids (mga pamangkin ko) sang their own rendition of the ABBA’s “Thank you for the music.” Nel, the head organizer and emcee of the night kept referring to the kids, “the von Trapp kids.” He didn’t know that they were performing “So Long, Farewell,” which they adapted from the movie, “The Sound of Music.” And of course, they got a big applause from the audience.

People danced away until about 11:00 p.m. R and I stayed with sis and the organizers to help clean out. Although it was already 1:00 a.m. when I hopped on bed, I felt like I did have a fun night!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Spring equinox

Spring officially starts today.

RC: Mommy, what’s an equinox
Mom: It’s when the length of day and night are the same.

This past week, the sun has already been up when I wake up in the morning. It’s wonderful to see the light of day once I open the blinds when I prepare breakfast. Also, I will have peace of mind now that RG doesn’t have to venture out in the dark when he leaves for school in the morning.

It’s slushy and it looks yucky outside. Brown stuff on the snow banks doesn’t look as pretty as only all white stuff. But this means only one thing. Spring is finally here. And although we still have snow, it’s getting warmer and grass is starting to peek out.

RC was just telling me the other day how his teacher, Mrs. M., was telling his class that if you slip (on ice), don’t use your arms to support your body because you could break the bones in your hands or arms. Just let your body fall on the ground or ice.

This morning, I just learned that someone we know did slip on ice and broke her arm. Her bones were dislocated and metal has to be inserted to support the bones while they heal. She’s in a cast now.

So, people, please be careful out there.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Tweeze out

Last weekend, R asked RK to pull out his white hair. RK was very eager to do it. It was so sweet to watch RK on the top of the couch, tweezers in hand, searching for any white hair and he would put them on R’s navy blue shirt.

Later, RC also did it. I remember that December night when R got mad at RC because he wouldn’t pull out his white hair. (Refer to my December 21, 2004 entry) I think now that RC sees RK doing it, he wanted to do it, too. The youngest one has set an example. Or could it be that R promised to give him a penny for every hair that he pulled?


Friday, March 18, 2005

Is this the little boy?

RG’s school band went to a two-day trip for a Jazz Festival out of town. Since RG’s class was performing on the first day, he had to wear his concert attire before he left this morning. He wore a black suit, white shirt inside and a maroon necktie. I helped him with his tie. Oh yeah, I know how to do a necktie. I attended Imus Institute during my first two years of high school and the girls’ all white uniform included a navy blue necktie monogrammed with the letters I.I.

This morning, I told RG to sit on the bed while I do his tie for he is much taller than me. It was a very tender moment. I seldom have a one-on-one contact with RG now. I turned up the collar of his shirt, wrapped the tie around, bound it twice, and told him to lift up his chin so that I could tie the thing neatly around his collar. He must have felt awkward and he just lifted his chin a tiny bit, eyes on the floor, trying to avoid looking at me.

Is this the little boy I carried? He’s almost a grown up now. I couldn’t help staring at the soft moustache growing sparsely on his upper lip, his carefully moussed hair, and his head that is bigger than mine.

When he threw on the black suit, which Tito Ronnie gave him, he looked like a mama, a gentleman. I had to have his picture taken. I asked him if I should wake up his Dad to help him with his things – a backpack, a light luggage and his saxophone. He said, “No, I don’t need help.”

I watched him by the window as he walked to school until I could no longer see him.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Time-out on St. Paddy's

RK: Mommy, do I have to wear green today?
Mom: No, if you don’t want to.

Every channel on TV today is talking about St. Patrick’s Day. I learned why he is celebrated on this day. It’s because he drove the snakes out of Ireland. Read more about St. Patrick here.

After school…

RK: Mommy, all the boys in my class had a time-out today.
Mom: Why?
RK: Because we threw snowballs on the wall.
Mom: Why did you?
RK: Because all the boys did.
Mom: What did you do at time-out?
RK: I had to write on paper: “I’m sorry Mrs. S. for throwing snowballs. I will never throw snowballs ever again.” And then I wrote my name.

Saturday, March 12, 2005


It’s Mama’s 60th birthday today. Last year, I was hinting to sis that we should have a big celebration for her. Mama overheard us and said that she didn’t want any of that. “If you really want to give me something big, send me to a vacation in the Philippines,” she said. We couldn’t afford that, especially now with our situations.

I was going to plan for a small surprise party like the one she had on her 50th birthday, which was planned by her friend, but I wasn’t able to due to the sad events that happened recently. So earlier this week, with sis’ help, we planned for a small family gathering. We wanted to cheer her up. Aside from her family, I think Mama is the one who misses Ate Alice the most. They were really close and they usually have coffee together every Sunday morning.

Mama was supposed to come at sis’ place at 3:00 p.m. to watch a movie before we leave for church at 5:00 p.m. She didn’t know that sis and I prepared some food and I decorated my house. She must have known that we bought a cake because sis asked her yesterday what cake flavour she wanted. She told sis not to bother but we bought a cake anyway.

We all anticipated her arrival at 3:00 p.m. I phoned her when she hadn’t come at 3:30.

“Ma, what time are you coming?”
“We’re not going to church until later, aren’t we?”
“Umm, we bought you a cake and we’re waiting for you to cut it.”
“We can do that after mass.”
“Oh, but the kids are eager to have some now.”

She came around 4:00 p.m.

“Surprise!” As if she really was surprised. We had pizzas, spaghetti, macaroni salad and vanilla flavoured cake with butter icing. Then we watched a movie, “October Sky,” which I already watched on TV last year.

Aiming High

October Sky” was based on a true story about the Rocket Boys. We all liked the movie. The kids liked it because of the crude rocket experiments. After the movie, RC whispered to me, “Is there a moral to the story?” “Of course there is,” I replied. “What, Mommy?” he asked. “What do you think?” I asked him back. “Oh, I don’t know,” he replied. I think there was more than one moral lesson. But the one that I could think of that his young mind would understand was: “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.”

I think the movie appeals to everybody because it is about 4 high school friends (ala “Stand By Me”) trying to fulfill their dreams. And didn’t we all have a “Miss Riley” in school who believed in us and encouraged us to follow our dreams. Also there was the clash between father and son. Homer’s father wanted him to follow his footsteps, working in the coal mines, but Homer wanted to leave his small town and shoot for the stars. Homer said several times that he would NEVER work in the coal mines, yet when his father had an accident, he stepped right in to help out the family.

These are some of the scenes from the movie which I found very touching:

1) When Homer asked his dad, “Why do you always have time to watch my brother’s football games, but never found time to watch me launch my rockets?”
2) When the whole town helped Homer rebuild his science experiment rocket nozzle when it was stolen.
3) When Homer told his Dad that Dr. Von (something) was not his hero, but rather it was his Dad.
4) When Homer’s Dad showed up the last time that he launched his rocket in No Man’s Land.

I think Jake Gyllenhaal, who played Homer, is a good actor. I also liked him in “The Good Girl” with Jennifer Aniston.

Friday, March 11, 2005

The elephant

RK: Mommy, what is elephant in Tagalog?
Mom: e-le-pan-te
RK: e-le-pan-te
Mom: I’ll teach you an easy sentence. The elephant is big. Say “ang”
RK: Ang
Mom: elepante
RK: elepante
Mom: ay
RK: ay
Mom: ma-la-ki
RK: ma-la-ki
Mom: Ang elepante
RK: Ang elepante
Mom: ay malaki
RK: ay malaki
Mom: Ang elepante ay malaki
RK: Ang elepante ble ble ble ble
Mom: No, you have to say it slowly. Ay malaki.
RK: Ay malaki
Mom: Ang elepante ay malaki
RK: Ang elepante ay malaki
Mom: Very good
RK: Ang elepante ay malaki…. Ang elepante ay malaki

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I don't want you to...

I have been out some nights this past couple of weeks (visits to the hospital and ER, the lamay, dentist appointment) and I wasn’t able to tuck RK to bed. When RK came home from school today, he hugged me and said, “Mommy, I missed you. I thought you died.”

The thought of death is very scary for adults, much so for kids. I know it is. I wrote the following in My Father in Catherine's Corner.
This is one of my favorite photos of my father. My father loved the ocean. When I was a child, we often went swimming. One time Papa and I went to his native town of Atimonan, Quezon Province. We were there for a few days. The house we stayed at was very close to the sea. We went swimming everyday. I was around eight or nine then. Lolo Biyo, Papa's father, had recently died. That was the very first time that a relative of mine died and I was just starting to get a grasp of mortality. We were on the shore one day, looking at the sea, and I just told Papa, "I don't want to you to grow old and die, Pa. I also don't want to grow old. I'm afraid to die." He said, "Well, everybody grows old and dies, Irene. But you and I will not die yet, not for a very long time." Now, being a mother to three children, my two older boys have gone through the same phase. When they were both about that same age, first Reggie, and then Ryan, there was a time that they kept asking me if they were gonna die. I always remembered that conversation with Papa by the ocean whenever they asked me about their mortality. I told them the same thing Papa told me that day. I told them the same thing every time they asked.

On superstitions

When I was a little girl growing up in the Philippines, I heard many superstitious beliefs – pamahiin or kasabihan ng matatanda. As I grew older, I have questioned the logic in these beliefs. Most of the time, I don’t believe in them, yet I follow what the superstition tells us just to be “on the safe side,” or because “there’s no harm in trying,” or just to please the elders.

I have learned a couple of superstitions due to the recent wake of Ate Alice. Yeah, Filipinos have carried their beliefs here half-way around the world.

“If the corpse is wearing any jewelry - a ring, a necklace, a watch, or anything that forms a circle – it should be broken/cut off. Or else there will be a series of deaths in the family.”

“The hosts should not bring home left-over foods from the wake or they will have a hard life.”

And this one I heard before when an older cousin – a seaman – disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle, back in the ‘70s.

“There shouldn’t be three people in the picture. The one in the middle will die first.”

When my cousin disappeared, my aunts found this picture where my cousin was flanked between my two aunts. I heard them say, “Sinasabi ko na nga ba.” I think that this is the reason why I switch my kids places whenever I take pictures with just the three of them.

And of course, we Filipinos being Catholics pray the Novena for nine days to pray for the soul of our dearly departed.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Not quite

We had warm weather last week. The snow was melting yesterday. There were puddles everywhere. I saw a brown patch on the front of the apartment across the street. I thought it was sand. I got excited when I realized that it was actually dried, withered grass.

But wait, no, it is not quite spring yet. It is cold again today. The puddles have turned into ice once again. And although the ice was covered with fresh snow, the sidewalks have become slippery again.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

She was laid to rest

We all attended Ate Alice’s funeral service. Fr. Dado gave a beautiful service. My niece A read the first reading. Kay, Connie’s daughter, did the second reading. Sis and I delivered our eulogies to Ate Alice. My voice started to crack when I went up there to read my piece (my February 26th entry which I revised). Although I managed not to break down in tears, I did stop a few times to get my unbroken voice back. Later, a few people said that our eulogies were very encouraging and uplifting.

Kuya Nestor, his 2 boys and Kay were in tears. Before the coffin was closed, Nanay Ayo and Connie wailed. “Wala na si ditse (mo)!” It was so heartbreaking. My kids watched in awe. This was the first time that somebody very close to us died. I don’t think that any of these has sunk in their young minds yet. My first experience of death in the family was when I was 10 – when my paternal grandfather died. I don’t remember crying.

This song was sung during the lamay:

Mahiwaga ang buhay ng tao. (Life is indeed a mystery.)
Ang bukas ay ‘di natin piho. (We don’t know what life has in store for us. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow. We could be gone tomorrow.)
At manalig lagi sana tayo. Ang Diyos siyang pag-asa ng mundo.

Pag-ibig sa ating kapwa tao. At laging magmahalan tayo. ‘Yan ang lunas at ligaya at pag-asa ng bawa't kaluluwa. ‘Yan ang hiwaga ng buhay ng tao.

Why does it sometimes take the death of a loved one to realize the pain we have caused each other? After the funeral service, I told R, we better show our love now for each other while we’re still both here. Let’s not fight anymore. You don’t want to cry and be sorry when I’m gone.

Friday, March 04, 2005

A trip to the ER

RC had a tummy ache after breakfast. He wasn’t able to go to school. He was in bed the whole morning. He felt better after 12:00 noon and I made him have some lunch. Then he started to have a tummy ache again. He was crying from pain and I told him that I should probably bring him to the doctor. “No,” he said and he cried some more.

Towards the evening, he got up from bed and lay on the couch in my workstation. He said that his tummy hurt whenever he got up and moved. And he pointed to the left side of his stomach where it hurt. I was worried that it could be his appendix. I told him that we’d have to go to the hospital and have him checked. He cried and said that he didn’t want to go to the hospital. I asked him why. “Are they going to cut me?” he asked. My poor child! After the 2 health scares that we encountered lately, first, that of Ate Alice, and then that of Tito F, he must have thought that going to the hospital meant having surgery.

I assured him that the doctor was just going to listen to his tummy and check what’s going on in there. And yet in the back of my mind, if it were appendicitis, then he would need an operation. I would have lied to my child. I then persuaded him more by reminding him that Christmas that I had to bring RG to the emergency room. RG had a tummy ache as well and couldn’t eat. He was probably 12 then and I was worried. It turned out that it was just spasms and we were sent home.

RC and I went to the ER and were asked some questions. What did he have for lunch? Where exactly does it hurt? When did you have a bowel movement? What color was it? Did it hurt when you pee?

When the papers were all filled out, we were sent to a room. A nurse came and said that there was only one doctor on duty that night and there were five patients before us. It could be a bit of a wait. RC lay on the bed while I sat on the chair. After a little while, he experienced pain again. But then it subsided. After a few minutes, I saw him smiling. He was feeling better. We waited for the doctor anyway.

I was so tired. I fell asleep on the chair. After 2 ½ hours I was awoken when the lights were turned on and the doctor came in. He checked RC and asked more questions. He took a urine sample to make sure that it wasn’t a urine infection. It wasn’t and he gave RC a clean bill of health. He advised RC to drink lots of fluid.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

She was loved

I went with sis to Ate Alice’s viewing (lamay). R, RC, RK and my niece A went as well. RG wasn’t able to come because he was at a friend’s place recording an audition piece for the Honour Band. A lot of people came. The group from the Couples for Christ-Handmaids, which Ate Alice was a member of, came. The girls from JMJ Fashions, were she worked as a supervisor, were also there. The girls were in tears. Mama told me that when their boss announced on Monday that Ate Alice was gone, the girls cried uncontrollably and they were sent home because they could no longer work. Nanay Ayo, Connie, and Kuya Nestor were also in tears. The chapel was full. You could tell how much Ate Alice was loved.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Please be careful with your heart

My brother-in-law, F, had a triple by-pass surgery on Friday, February 25. Imagine the worry of sis and F after what happened to Ate Alice. F had 3 arteries that were clogged. This was caused by fatty deposits that built up in his arteries over the course of many years. This is why exercising is so important – to burn this fat.

F’s open heart surgery was carried out under general anesthesia – total unconsciousness. The first thing that the surgeon did was to open his chest, from just below the neck to the middle of the upper body. That must be about a foot long. Then he cut (sawed) the breastbone (sternum). Ouch! To open his heart and operate inside it, they needed to stop his heart. So he was attached to a heart-lung machine to pump and oxygenate his blood during surgery. Meanwhile, the surgeon took a blood vessel from his leg and sewed it to bridge over (bypass) the blockage. The surgeon repaired three of his arteries. Hence, it is called a triple bypass.

After the operation, the heart-lung machine was slowed down and F’s newly repaired heart started beating and getting stronger and the machine was then turned off. He was then attached to a pacemaker to regulate his heartbeats.

A couple of days after the surgery, F was encouraged to walk around in the hospital.

When R and Kumpareng Rodel visited him, the latter wanted to see F’s scar. R walked out of the room. He didn’t want to see the scar. Mahina talaga ang loob ni R. When Rodel saw his scar, he almost fainted. R called a nurse to attend to Rodel. Nahilo, namutla at nagdilim ang paningin. He wasn’t expecting that F’s scar would be that big. For sure, he saw his wife’s C-section scar. But that was nothing compared to F’s. Also, R noticed that at 39 years of age, F was the youngest heart patient in the second floor of the hospital.

Here’s something else that’s interesting. Sis has observed that most of the heart patients were males. She asked the nurse if it’s only mostly men that get heart diseases. The nurse replied, “No. It’s just that men are babies. They complain when they feel any kind of pain. While women are used to suffering in silence. If ever they get a heart disease, it gets untreated. They suffer heart attacks and die.” Dedo na agad. (What does this tell us women?)

I commented to sis, “That’s true. We women feel pain regularly, for instance, menstrual cramps. We get so used to it that we don’t complain.” Imagine if men get menstrual cramps, they’d probably be at the doctor’s every month. And I guess, we, women, better get those chest pains checked. As well as other aches such as chronic headaches, fatigues, back pains, etc.

F is back home now recuperating. He will have to take it easy for a while. He has to wait 6 weeks before he could drive again and do the usual chores that he does.