July 14, 2003
Del Carmen, Lubao, Pampanga
It was just last week that I’ve faced the most tragic incident in my life, which almost, almost killed me. Today, as I start my new life (for this is definitely my new life), the memories of the events are too vivid…
Friday, the 11th of July, 1:00 pm, I had my last natural manure, as Jonas and I jammed. Later that day, at 5:00 pm, my girlfriend, Chez and I went to SM City Manila (as we usually do after class), to canvass cell phones for Chez to buy a new one. But suddenly, I had this strange feeling in my body frame that strucked me, not permitting me to move well --- a stomachache. It was 6:00 by then that I told my girl what I felt. She asked me not to continue the canvassing. But because I thought it was just the ‘usual’ stomachache that everybody feels (which I feel rarely), I insisted to pursue it. At 7:00 pm, we decided to go home and at 7:45 pm, we parted ways. I thank Chris, my classmate for lending me his 2nd book of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, for because of that book, I forgot the ‘stomachache’ even for just a while riding a public jeepney.
From the time I’ve went down from the jeepney, the ‘usual’ stomachache that I thought developed into a more painful ache. The moment I’ve reached home, I paused for a while and lie down before changing clothes. After changing, I thought of eating supper for that is the thing I must do for that moment, but wasn’t able to for the pain is already excruciating. What I did was lay down my bed and rest again, for I thought, the reason of the hurting is the air from my stomach. An hour had passed and still, it is excruciating. Later on, I went to the comfort room to do the ‘usual thing,’ which I normally do early in the morning. But to my surprise, nothing went out, even air, which I expected to come out. I started to doubt at that moment that something was wrong, that what I am feeling, is not the ‘usual’ stomachache everyone feels. At 11:00 pm, though, I took supper still, for I know, I’ll need it BADLY. From that night till dawn, I didn’t sleep.
Saturday, 7 o’clock, I got up, fixed myself and went to Masagana (a mini shopping mall in Ermita Taft), to meet the new students who will audition in our dance group, Computer Engineering Dancers. For at that day, I had a lot of activities to do. At 9:00, I’ll participate in a qualifying exam for the official publication of the Recognized Student Organizations in Adamson University, Ugnayan, a seminar will be next after the exams, then our dance rehearsals. At that evening, we are to go to our choreographer’s condo to finish some dance steps. But because of the unchanged condition of my stomach, I decided not to attend any activity on that day, because I know, there is something wrong in me. Then, I told myself, I’ll go home --- to Pampanga! At 10:00 am, I held a jeepney and went to the room we’re renting in Quezon City. I arrived at 10:45. I then arranged my things --- my books, toothbrush, deo, and stuff. But with the pain I feel, I decided to rest even for just an hour.
One o’clock pm, and I am inside a bus rolling its wheels through the concrete hi-way to Pampanga, thank God, I was able to sleep while I was in the bus. At 4 pm, I’ve reached home, surprising my mom with an unusual appearance. It’s obvious that something was hurting me (and as my mother, she feels it), my body. Striking the question, what’s the matter with me, I immediately told her what I felt. Then my mother told me to take lunch for I lost my appetite and didn’t eat anything from the time I woke up. After eating, she told me to take a rest and take a medicine (a painkiller which is also responsible for farting). We’ve waited then for me to fart for we all believe the cause of my ‘stomachache,’ is the bulky air in my tummy. We’ve waited and waited, but nothing happened. Tatay then decided to insert a suppository in my anus for me to fart. Yet nothing happened. Still, I suffer from the pain in the mid-section of my body. Unaware what is the cause of pain, I still managed to take even a bit of my dinner for I really lost my appetite. My aunt gave me a drug that could stop the ‘ache.’ Later that night, I had a fever. I even vomited. I was petrified! Asking my mom ‘bout the pamphlet about Hepatitis A, my pediatrician gave me when I had the illness, I suspected that Hepatitis is attacking me again (for its main symptoms are vomiting, fever, and lost of appetite). But after reading the pamphlet, I dismissed that thought for I didn’t turned yellowish, and slept quite well, maybe because of the drug my aunt gave me and my girlfriend’s father’s text message, telling me to get well.
Eight o’clock am of July 6, I woke up with the same pain I am feeling for the last 38 hours. But this time, the pain lowered down, leaving the section of my abdomen. At that moment, I called my mom. Yet, because of my voice, which appears to be a whisper, I just decided to wake up go downstairs. But because of the pain, I just found myself lying on the floor, holding my tummy with that appearance of a shrimp. My mom then found my state and hurried to comfort me. She was too agitated. Her care was all I needed at that moment. She told me not to worry for we will see a doctor. And at 9:30 in the morning, we’re drivin’ to a private doctor’s clinic.
Dr. Fernando, whose clinic stands in the heart of Sta. Cruz, Lubao, was the first physician who checked me up. He asked the history how I felt --- when I started feeling it, what did we do to lessen the pain, and what I feel at that moment. He pinned my stomach and asked me what part is hurting whenever he pin it. I was surprised when he pinned the lower right of the mid-section of my body and gasped, for it was the first time I noticed that it really hurts a lot. He then told us, my mother and I, that it was 60% appendicitis. But he refused to diagnose me at that point and told us to let my blood and urine tested. After few minutes, after we went to the nearest laboratory, we handed-in the results of the tests to the doctor. Dr. Fernando told us it was NOT YET appendicitis for they found out in the results that I have Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). He advised us to still observe my condition after taking his prescribed medicines. He told us that if I still feel the pain the next day, they must take me to the hospital for further observations and stop the intake pf the drugs he prescribed.
It was 12;00 that we reached home and told everyone what was the result of the check-up. But it was just 3 hours later, the pain I felt moved into a more agonizing state. My father told me to insert suppository for we all believed it’ll be gone after I did the usual thing or just fart. For we know, it was just the bulky air in my tummy because the doctor just told us that nothing was wrong in my stomach, save for UTI and we all suspected it was part of the symptoms. But instead or farting or so, I vomited. Then, the pain starts to kill me. Excruciating isn’t the apt word to describe what I felt at that moment, for it was far more than excruciating --- it’s as if it’s already knocking me out. I never saw my mom as worried as that moment. I was hugging her tightly --- as tight as I could at that point. ‘Masakit’ was the only word I can utter. It was as if I am in the state of innocence --- that all I know and concerned of is the word ‘MASAKIT.’ Tears feel from my suffering eyes unconsciously. It was the most painful day in my life that I even wished to be just dead! I can feel that something in my stomach was getting numb. My hands started to feel numb too. Then, I just found myself being carried into the car for I can’t even walk or just stand.
It was the fastest drive to the hospital for the people inside the car except for me. Because for me, it was the longest travel I ever had in my entire life. Every time we pass through a rough road, I utter a silent scream. When we reached the hospital, Tatay carried me up to the emergency room for there were no stretch chairs available. Doctors came near us by the time I was laid in a bed. And asked my mom and I what is wrong in me. Same procedure as Dr. Fernando, the doctor pinned his finger in my stomach. “It is appendicitis,” they said silently. With no further talking, a doctor came to me and told me he’s going to insert some hoses --- the dextrose, cat titer, and a hose, which will be inserted from my nose down through my abdomen (in which I’ve learned was called a lavage…if I can spell it right). The dextrose went first for they found out that I was already dehydrated because of the infection. Then, a hose was inserted to my nose, and afterwards, a hose through my penis. It hurts a lot. Especially, the hose was inserted 5 times or so in my penis for it always puffs out. Finally, after 4 attempts, it’s a success. I even asked the doctor if I still can reproduce to ease the tension I feel for my penis really hurts (man! If you could just imagine!) --- a lot!!!
It’s 7:00 pm that night, I found myself waiting outside the operating room, lying in a stretch chair. I felt silence even though I can hear people talking at quite a distant. It was the time for me to reflect. I told myself that after that day, I am already okay --- that it’s just like doing a tough dance rehearsal. I asked God to guide me and it’s all in His hands, that what He wants will reign. Then, at 7:20 pm, a guy rolled me in room. I then told myself, “This is it.” But to my surprise, I saw no one in the room except, perhaps, the apparatus and tools which may be used in my operation. Then the “bag” responsible for my urine slid from the bed I was transferred, pulling the hose from my penis and dropped itself on the floor. I looked at the hose to check if it was still in its proper place. But sadly, it came out again. Another agony! But I want to urinate --- I really wanted to --- badly! I called a doctor, a nurse. I even said ‘TAO PO!,’ to catch anyone’s attention. But 10 minutes had passed and no one answered me. I already felt that my urinary tract was full. And at last! After 20 minutes of suffering, a doctor came to me and told me to just urinate. But I can’t. Lying in bed and urinating? Uh… it’s disgusting! Then the doctor gave me a small trashcan and told me to urinate there. I have no choice --- I have to stand. To my amazement, I was able to stand straight easily. Then the doctor left me and I was able to release the cause of my temporary agony.
At 7:50 pm, my surgeon, who will be my doctor, Dr. Canlapan, inserted the cat titer again through my sex organ. Rushing through the door were the assistants of Dr. Canlapan and my anesthesiologist, Dr. Gutierrez. They started asking me while taking my blood pressure and body temperature. They asked if I had asthma or a heart disease, which I haven’t and if I was hospitalized. But even once in my life, I was never confined in a hospital except at that moment. Then, jokingly, I told the doctor (my anesthesiologist), that I want him to let me sleep while I am being operated. “Of course. But I’ll tell you when,” he answered.
The time was 8:15 pm, when Dr. Gutierrez, my anesthesiologist injected anesthesia through my spine --- at the lower section. The doctor told me it’ll quite hurt. “But after the injection,” as he added, “you won’t feel anything anymore.” But because of the many pain I felt that day, I didn’t find the injection painful. After 10 minutes, the lower part of my body felt numb --- from the section of my abdomen down to my toes’ nails. The doctor then told me it’s ok for me to sleep and then put oxygen on my nose. But to my surprise, I didn’t slept. I was wide-awake at the whole operation. At that moment, I felt safe --- secured. For at that moment in time, I know it’ll be over. The spider near the rounded shaped fluorescent lamp at the ceiling was the only thing I am looking at while the doctors were doing their thing. Upon opening the mid-section of my body and pulling my intestines out, the doctors were moved. I can hear them discuss things. They asked each other why were my intestines already like that. A doctor said the appendix was already 3 days. Then, I heard them vacuum my intestines (if my perception was right). From that moment on, my upper body started to shake --- like an epileptic. And at 8:55 pm, they closed the opened mid-section of my body and at 9 o’clock, they rolled me through the recovery room.
The time was pass 12:00 but I am not sure if it’s still nighttime. I consider it was already afternoon. I still can’t feel the half of my body. I even touched and pinched it to see if it’s still there (mahirap na!). Then, I reckoned what the doctor said. My appendix was already ruptured --- the infection started to scatter around my internal organs. Lucky for me for we still managed to be in time, or else, I’m dead. Dead. Dead? I never thought even once that my condition was already fatal except at that moment. But perhaps because I was still not conscious at that point, I care less ‘bout what might have happened. And one more thing is that my body is still shaking because of the anesthesia. All I care at that moment is the fact that I’m already safe…
I don’t know if the one checking me --- getting my BP, body temperature, injecting medicines and painkiller as she says --- was a nurse or a doctor. When she checked my body temperature, I heard her say, ’39.3.’ Then, she left my bed and came back telling me she’ll give me paracetamol for my fever.
Every now and then, Tatay always checks me because I am alone with no relatives in the recovery room. A relative only comes in when I need something. The first time I was transferred to the recovery room, it was my mom who attended me. She was shocked upon seeing me shaking. I immediately told her it was the effect of anesthesia in my body. Nut she still asked a doctor to make sure. After that, it was already my father --- he was the one checking my condition every now and then, asking the nurses/doctors what’s my state.
3:00, 6:00 pm, and still, I am in the recovery room. When Tatay came in to check me, I asked him why I am still inside that room. Why were the other patients just spent 2 or 3 hours in that room? Then, Tatay told me he didn’t know and went out. I then remembered that I was critical and thought perhaps, that the doctors were still observing my condition.
At last, at 9 o’clock am of July 8, I went down already to my (surgery) ward. The room was 109. There 6 beds in the room --- 3 at the right and left as well. Mine was the first bed at the right, touching the wall upon entering the room. The room was quite pleasant and clean. It has complete lightings and ventilation. It was on the first floor, found at the end of the aisle.
I know, the moment I was laid in my bed at the ward, I was already safe --- far from dying. But I still suffer from the hoses inserted in my body. I still don’t talk normal because of the hose inserted in my nose down to my abdomen. And of course, can’t move well because of my cat titer (the hose inserted in my sex organ). It was the second day that I don’t do anything but just lie in bed. I was still not permitted to sit or stand. Most of the time, I do sign languages to signal my mom some of my needs. That afternoon, the mid-section of my body throbbed again. It was excruciating. I grabbed my mom’s hand and pressed it when the pain attacks. My father then went out and called the nurse. Then, the nurse told me t’was normal. My intestines by then were arranging themselves to go back to their original position because the operation needed to pull out my intestines. We will know if they were in their proper position if I farted. Then, the nurse gave me a painkiller after 3 or 4 hours. Afterwards, I farted but I still can feel the air in my stomach.
The hose inserted in my nose drains wastes from my stomach. The first day t’was inserted, I almost fill the half of the one-liter bottle. Then, at the second day, a new bottle was replaced. I enjoyed looking at the hose whenever I inhaled, for when I inhale, liquid rush out through the hose, out to the bottle. There were three colors of liquid, which came out. The first one, which came out from the moment the hose was inserted was black, with that of pepsi; second is water clear, with that of sprite; and the last, orange, with that of royal.
A doctor, which happens to be one of my doctors (for we’ve learned that every patient has group of doctors depending on what color they belong, so all the doctors which belongs to that color are all doctors of the patient), Dr. Canlapan, told his assistant to remove the cat titer and the hose in my nose. I was relieved. At last I can move quite well (quite because I still have my dextrose). When the doctor told me, I can drink water and a biscuit. Yet, after I drank and ate biscuit, my stomach got bigger, as if it’ll explode. Tita Aning, which happens to accompany me that day, because my mother went home to get some of our stuffs, but will also return that afternoon, hurried to call a nurse. The nurse told me I musn’t be eating anything yet, except drink a small amount of water. Afterwards, she instructed me to change position every time for me to fart, because I am still lying in my bed and still can’t manage to rise. Gladly and relieving, I farted.
It was only on the fourth day, Wednesday, when my mom knew that my condition was already fatal after asking the doctor why was my surgery done under my navel down (with that of a caesarian). My surgery was almost 4 inches (3.5 to be exact), and contained 15 staple wires. The diagnosis of my condition was Petripiti Generalized Ruptured AP and the suggested operation was Generalized Appendectomy, as stated in my chart. My mom told me no one was permitted to read the chart except the nurses, interns, and doctors. But because it really caught my curiosity, I read it when no attendant is around.
When my father and mother washed my hair and shampoo it, one of my intern-nurses (because I have 2 --- Mark Anthony, a 3rd year, and Melody, a 4th year from Angeles University Foundation), Melody, asked if I was the only child. Maybe, because I was too much taken cared by my parents. And I am very much lucky and happy for that --- having the most, MOST wonderful, loving, and caring parents in the entire universe! I can’t ask for anything more!
It was Friday, my 5th day at the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital, a.k.a., JBL, when my dextrose was removed. We were only waiting for our bill, and then we will be discharged. But because the doctor wans’t able to write in my chart, “for billing,” we weren’t able to have the bill and we’ll have to stay at the hospital until Saturday and wait for our bill.
Saturday. And I was too excited to get home. It was the very first time I felt bored staying in the hospital. I texted Elaine and told her I wasn’t home yet (for they are planning to visit me that day together with some classmates). I suggested that they would just come over on Sunday because we weren’t sure what time I will be discharged. But Elaine told me that I have to text Chez (my girlfriend) to tell her I wasn’t yet discharged. I don’t know what I felt at that moment --- too excited? Too happy? I don’t know! I then texted Chez and told her. Then she told me they wouldn’t go anymore. And I understand. They have loads of things to do. They have to rush dance rehearsals. I then texted Richie how was the practice going on, and told he me they weren’t yet starting. Afterwards, Chez what hospital I was in and asked why they were too slow in discharging patients. Later on, Elemer texted me too, also asking me what hospital I was in and told me he knew someone at the hospital.
While waiting to be discharged, I read my cell phone’s inbox. Suddenly, my father broke in, and told me my classmates were waiting outside. Tatay told me I can go outside since there were no visitors allowed on that hospital for SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) prevention.
By the time I’ve reached the door and outside, I was moved --- not because I was frightened or something but because I was shocked, for the people I saw --- my friends, especially my girlfriend. I felt by then that my world had stopped for seconds. I don’t know what to feel. Suddenly, my eyes were starting to secrete liquid. But no. I don’t want to be demonstrative. Then, my mom tapped and guided me outside. I then too a deep breath, and whalla…! I stopped the tears, which were about to fall. When I got close with my friends, who traveled from Manila to Pampanga just to see me, we just looked at each other uttering not even a single word. After seconds, they laughed and I smiled, ‘coz I still can’t laugh --- not because I don’t feel happy, but because I have to control it for it’ll hurt a lot to my surgery.
Chez, my girlfriend, and Princess, Jam, Elmer, and Richie were my good friends. I never expected they will come that far just to see me. God knows how I longed for them --- I missed them. Then, suddenly, I just see them right in front of my very eyes, took a lot of effort to find me (for they haven’t been to any place in Pampanga). I was too touched! I felt very much important. They really love me! And I love them too. Then, Jonas, also my good friend, called me and extended his apology for he weren’t able to go with them. Well, it’s okay. At least, he called me.
It was just when I was already discharged and got home when I fully realize what happened and might happen to me. I then reflected. I almost bid goodbye to the world; almost stopped me to see its beauty. Then I thanked God for giving me a new life. My mind was opened by then that it’s too easy to lose your heartbeat and lie in a casket peacefully --- but you barely know when, how, and where it will take place.
Now, as I start my new life, I always assess my actions. What if my tomorrow never comes and left things undone? Ah… I won’t let it happen --- this is my second, beautiful life…
July 31, 2003
1076 Trini St.