Apologies are in order. I am sorry.
I mean, I had an excuse. Let me explain.
When was the last time I wrote and posted? January 29. Yeah, that makes sense. January 30 was when I started feeling some problems… and when I say ‘problems’, I mean pain in between the belly and chest, covering the stomach enough to let you know you ate too much, and affecting the chest enough that every movement seems to affect your heart for no reason.
I pigged out on the 30th. But well, when I think about it, I was pigging out as early as the 28th. My ‘One Meal A Day’ strategy was unravelling and becoming more of One Gorge A Day, and it was only on the 30th that I started seeing how I’ve been committing the sin of gluttony to the point that my body literally felt like breaking down.
Anyway after spending time with my team last Sunday I was already feeling that familiar feeling of overeating, and I thought I’d go home immediately and drink water mixed with baking soda. After two attempts the pain did not subside. I then tried to take hot water, after consulting Dr. YouTube. When that didn’t work I tried walking it off as was prescribed, and I thought, why don’t I walk and pick up some legitimate antacids?
No dice. The pain remained and I was left in this state of desperation (the thoughts I shall not forget in an long time), so I tried puking out whatever what left in my belly, down to the point that I was doing mule kicks which gripping the toilet seat. I remember the mix of tastes coming out of my mouth, disgusted that I was reduced to this construct of flesh which apparently found satisfaction in ‘food’ designed to make people make money more than keep their clientele healthy. Not that I blame them though, the burden to choose to eat more or less still lay with me.
It eventually came to the point that Sunday night transitioned to Monday dawn, and I was still so troubled that I couldn’t sleep from the pain, so I asked my mom to join me as we drove to the BGH Emergency Room (ER). We told the guard at the receiving area we needed to head to the ER. He asked, was I having trouble breathing? – to which I replied ‘yes’.
Wrong move. I was, indeed, directed to the ER, but the Hospital’s Covid ER. Though I was very grateful to have found parking, it took at least an hour for a doctor in the said ER to say that I wasn’t a Covid case, and it was to be arranged for us to be moved (by ambulance) to the non-Covid ER.
I was glad that I was immediately attended to by the doctor on call. Although up until this point, I was really in a hunched position and speaking in between fast deep breaths, telling the doctor how (1) much it hurts and (2) I’m definitely going to be behaving with regards to my food intake. What also sucks is that my Mom had to walk to the nearest 3rd-party pharmacy to pick up some antacids that the local pharmacies didn’t carry, and I had to wait because the doctor needed to observe me, if only for a while, after I took said meds.
Although not immediate, the pain did go away, and I was able to ‘rest’.
That is, until I started to feel pain – this time, not in my chest and abdomen, but in my head. The way I would describe it is like it was emanating from the center of my brain, so no matter where I positioned an ice pack – on top, forehead, back of my neck, cubes literally going as deep in the eye sockets as they could without harming me – it didn’t seem to reach the source. On top of this, I was definitely feeling feverish.
Wednesday morning, and the pain failed to subside. May I remind you that all this time I wasn’t even going through my phone – looking at any screens, hell, even reading was hurting. And it was worse Wednesday morning. I probably gave too much thought to the fact that I was barely getting any sleep, and because of this, and because of my suspicions that this may be Dengue fever, rashes began to manifest in my armpits and the crotch area. If anything, they itched, and they kept me from sleeping even more.
We went back to the hospital, wanting to go to the non-Covid ER, but were instead directed to the Triage area – but not before we were forced to buy face shields again (Mom was pretty pissed about this). We went through their registration process, and I got an official assessment from a doctor who spoke to me through a tent window.
You have trouble breathing? No.
Cough? Colds? Contact with anyone with Covid? Travel history outside of Baguio for the past 14 Days? No.
Can I see your rashes? Did you have a fever? What was the color of your poop? Tell me about that last visit you had in the ER.
Through all this it eventually boiled down to me having to have a blood test – but not a Dengue Test, because the rashes I exhibited didn’t seem to be those of Covid. After coming back 2 hours for the test results, Doctor explained my results. WBC ‘high-normal’ – indications of a possible bacterial infection. Platelet count ‘low-normal’ – indications of possible Dengue.. and a couple of other results which explained that my blood was thick, and I wasn’t getting enough hydration.
Final verdict: Painkillers. Same painkillers I was taking but wouldn’t ease the pain of this persistent headache. When I asked if I could have a stronger type than paracetamol, Doctor said she didn’t want me to take ibuprofen for risk of ‘bleeding’; we bought Mefenamic Acid on the side, instead.
Also prescribed: Hydration Salts, and some pills for the rashes.
Oh, also, since I said I had a fever… Doctor insisted I took a swab test. You could see that Mom was royally pissed by this as well. But, against her will, she watched graciously (I don’t actually know, my eyes were closed) as the lady in the testing area broke my nasal virginity (in both nostrils, mind you) before telling me I should receive a call or text soon.
This was Wednesday. Things were starting to get better, and I give credit to the Mefenamic Acid, the anti-rash pill, ice, and a continuous stream of Andrew Farley podcasts playing at a low level – I slept a WHOLE lot better that Wednesday night.
This is an ongoing story. I just got back from the hospital, but I just want to go ahead and complete the entire story so I’m all caught up and proper.
In between sleep Wednesday night, I was thinking, how was I supposed to go back for a Dengue test if they prioritized my swab test? I decided – we all decided in the household – that I would just keep recovering while I waited for what I hoped would be a negative result coming from my swab test.
By the way speaking of Wednesday night I needed to make some time-sensitive bank transactions. I don’t know, I guess I just wanted to mention that in appreciation of the online options we have today, compared to having to dress up and travel and show your face only to withdraw a paltry amount from one account to the other.
And speaking of transactions, that was pretty much all I was doing the next day – catching up on Facebook Messages, Instagram posts, Instagram scheduled posts, machine maintenance, etc. all while resting in between. I do have a post on Instagram which describes my ordeal, but only until the time I scheduled it, which was yesterday.
I ate so much more on Thursday, sort of ignoring the Doctor’s advice last Monday early morning – she said I should avoid fruits for their citric acid content so my tummy won’t be bothered, but I was here fruiting it up. Pears – oh, I had to do a remedial to recall my absolute love of pears – and apples, bananas, even cucumbers and carrots. Those were the most solid solids I had, followed by chicken lugaw (rice porridge).
I gave a call to the Minister who was senior to me at Church, told him what was up. He gave me the usual take care of yourself, and also some good news, that the meeting that I was so needed for on Friday was moved to Monday next week – very good news. I gave the people involved in the meeting a call to let them know my (improving) situation.
As you can see as early as Thursday I was making efforts to transition back to life.
I had a pleasant awakening on Friday morning when the folks at BGH texted me that I was Covid negative. Would’ve loved to do an ‘I told you so’ dance or whatever but I was still, and still am fighting off a slight fever. By the way I reached 38 degrees the night before.
Morning went well, I was moving and troubleshooting much more than usual – poor Manang had decided to hold off her own follow-up chiropractor appointment to next week to give way to me getting stronger. Eventually I told Mom the good news of my test result, and told her I planned to go back to the hospital to get it all settled once and for all – for me to have that Dengue blood test which I SHOULD have had along with the rest of the blood tests last Wednesday.
We were supposed to drive but the driver-back tire was flattish, so we decided to all take the same taxi, with me getting off at BGH. So I had my blood extracted, and then came back home, which was when I started typing all this – hence the ‘checkpoint’ indicated above.
And here’s what happened when I went back out and picked my results up: WBC high, barely within limits. Platelets low, below limits. Some of the other results came out a little different as well.
My next move was supposed to be to present these results to the doctor I spoke to 2 days ago, but it seemed like a whole new world in that triage area. Also, apparently it was a little later in the afternoon so they all needed to move closer to the covid ER – a place I’m not really sure I want to go back to.
So course of action for me now: Take pictures of results and send to my nurse-nephew who works in BGH for what he has to say, show results to nurse Mom for what she has to say, overall, working on that blood. Meaning more greens, and more beets, I guess. Blood for blood.
And here’s where I am now. Friday afternoon, fighting the temptation to drive out to shoot the sunset, seeing how I can wrap this up.
Again, I apologize. I mean, I was thinking, while I was going through all this, I don’t know if I could have mustered the strength to give anyone and everyone who was reading through all this drivel a piece of my mind while I was dealing with – how I described it in a previous post – ‘unmanageable’ pain.
Oh, let me talk to you about that. Because sure, most pain is followed with comfort, but I guess I have an idea of what it takes to be an expert torturer – you remove ALL signs and possibilities of comfort.
In formulating that last sentence, I also now have an idea of what it takes to be an expert in handling pain – find comfort in what lies beyond that which your tormenters think constitute comfort.
In my way, it was words. Words from the Bible. Repeating them as if they were eastern-asian mantras, I would repeat the following: In Christ I live and move and have my being. I have been made by Christ, and in Christ I am held together.
My God, even now, these words seem so sweet to me… and if anything, they were sure words for me to latch onto, even when I did not feel comfort or relief coming my way.
When encountering the pain, everything else lost priority. All my musings and curiosities, pushed aside. All my plans for church and myself, pushed aside. All my thoughts on transitioning from January to February, pushed aside. Even my phone was pushed aside.
I didn’t care. All that was left was pain. Pain, and prolonged pain, reduces our humanity. If that sounds too brutal, I will just say, it humbles even the proudest of people.
Today I could just imagine the great lessons my own father realized as he navigated through his own pain. As I’ve probably mentioned before it was either he didn’t let us know he was going through pain (only complaining every now and then of bed sores), or he wasn’t going through any of it. Considering the stomach trouble that dragged me down right now I am closer to accurately imagining what he would have been thinking if the case was the former for him.
In fact, I am compelled, more now than ever, to give much more respect to my elders – whether the pain they go through is physical and/or visible or not, the fact of the matter is all of them – ALL of them – have gone through pain, and the fact that they still stand, and the fact that those who believe in Christ STILL believe in Him in spite of all they’ve gone through… well, that deserves a little respect in my book.
Yeah I don’t know, I’m probably pushing for this to be a book. Hey, I was also thinking of the naming convention for this article/novel, and well, to be precise, I’m pushing to make up for all the backlog of words I’ve held off on since Sunday.
…and I’m up 2,300 words so far. Maybe I should rest.
I’ve been sweating all night because I’ve been dreaming all night. And man, all the trippy dreams I’ve been having almost makes me want to stay in this fever, but at least for now I want to paint a picture for remembrance:
- I dreamed I was in a classical church type of environment, with lots of exposed wood (when I say ‘exposed’ I mean more like varnished versus painted on for the natural beauty of the wood to show), and supposedly Jordan Peterson was speaking. At one point a children’s choir / musical orchestra began to occupy the areas I was wandering around in. I remember thinking they seemed famous because they were really clapped at as they were situating themselves and starting to perform. I remember thinking they probably wouldn’t mind me moving in the camera line as I moved away. Around this time I wake up.
- I dreamed I was in some sort of urbex expedition, and we were climbing what seemed like an abandoned tower or tunnel of sorts which was built off of a steep slope of a mountain. I remember reaching the top and then going back down, thinking if there was anyone to catch us, there would be no escape. Immediately following our decision to descend (by the way I can’t remember who we were with but I assume at least one of them was a female cousin) we encountered a famous urbexer (apparently not famous enough because I couldn’t remember who he was, he was Caucasian, brown hair jutting out of his hooded head, and oddly enough he had his daughter with him) on his way up. Around this time I woke up.
- I dreamed I was living for a little somewhere in what seems to have been the edge of Marikina or something like that. It was a high-rise sort of structure, and I guess we were in a high-class type of unit with large spaces included. I may be putting 2 dreams together here but the view was of the Rizal area and its ‘mountains’ (now that I think about it it could be Antipolo). In order for you to get to the Metro Manila area it was suggested by my unknown patron (who I assumed was my good friend Dox) to take the ‘McDo – Pateros’ jeepline, or at least that’s how I remember it. It doesn’t really make much sense because I remember getting off at one end (or at the very end) of the jeepline, only to find myself at what I assumed was the edge of Ortigas, which I saw and gathered from other memories was mostly residential, with the usual 24/7 store with agents from a nearby call center having a break (in this case, the ‘agents’ were African, it seems). Finally I remember walking around and eventually finding out that this ‘edge’ actually opened to what looked like a Times Square inspired complex. I say Times Square because that’s the first thing that came into mind as I saw all the screens. Funny, because I remember considering living there, thinking to myself about how much a unit in the area would cost, and my maximum consideration for number of people would be myself, my wife, my child, and a guest (presumably mom). Around this time I woke up.
If you’ve made it this far I thank you, and as you can see, I am approaching my backlog not by ignoring the time down, but by way of trying as much as possible to get back up to speed. As such, you will be seeing more frequent posts from me. Thank you.