Family

Chiclet Onyx Apitana

project-life-1
Say hello to Chiclet Onyx Apitana. She’s our nearly 6-month old baby and she drives us crazy!

In has been four years since we gave up Zune for adoption, and he has since passed on to the Rainbow Bridge. We weren’t sure about getting another puppy  but when we first saw photos of Chiclet and her siblings, we were captivated. She had us.

We took her home when she was still two months old, and quickly we learned how playful her personality really is. She easily learned to play catch, but her favorite was getting up on the couch and licking whoever human happened to be sharing space with her.

When she tires of the licking, she’d go find herself a comfy position on top or in between pillows. Then she’d snooze right there. Like a boss.

Oh we love our little baby. She’s a mix of a Pomeranian dad and a Poodle mom. We are crossing our fingers her coat will be more curly, hehe.

Family Bonding: Watching a Boxing Match

The truth is, I could live without watching any of Manny Pacquiao’s matches. I would rather enjoy the traffic free streets of the city (although today was the exception, or so I hear), but when your entire family stays home for the Live show via Pay-Per-View, you stay put.

Oh yes you stay put lest you miss out on this:

Three generations – Grandpa (my Daddy), Amir (aka Beloved Prince), and Vlad (aka brother bear, or Amir’s Daddy). This was before the match started and we were patiently watching the undercard. Or just hanging out. Or singing and dancing to whatever Amir was singing or dancing to.

And then when Pacquiao was finally being introduced to the crowd, Amir had quickly changed into his Manny P shirt, but refused to pose for pictures:

Oh he was playing with us. His dad placed him in front of the TV and he just kept laughing! He then posed with his hand raised showing Number 1, but he was right next to me and I couldn’t get his arm in with the photo.

Though Amir wasn’t watching so much as looking at the TV from time to time, he sure knew how to cheer on with the rest of us – he echoed most every “Oi!,” “Sige pa!” “Go, go, go, Manny!” At the end of the match – he celebrated too. “He’s a winner!”

It was so cute. Haha.

So what I’m trying to say is that, boxing fan or not, I’d still stay home to see the match if it meant bonding time with the family. And I still couldn’t get through a match without thinking of my grandfather who was the certified boxing fan.

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

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We celebrated Mom’s birthday a day early, with a big family lunch at Vikings, SM North The Block.  Just like last year, Amir’s antics made it an even more fun and interesting lunch date. Hehe.

The party had the same attendees as last year: my parents, Alfred, Amir and his parents, with the addition of Eia, Diane’s sister. Except for Alfred and myself, it was everyone else’s first time at Vikings. We didn’t get to reserve a table in advance, but we only had to wait about 10 minutes to be seated. Amir was under three feet and was in for free, which was a good thing because he hardly ate anything really. He did seem to have a lot of fun dancing to the waiters who sang happy birthday to all the celebrants. Before we left, he also had the chance to walk and run around the restaurant.

We all had food that we liked, nothing was wasted because everything tasted really good. We also got to talk about other buffets and agreed that Vikings is definitely a cut above the Kamayan/Dads/Saisaki buffet. The ambiance was also what one would expect from a hotel buffet area, except they didn’t have custom tablecloths with logo on them. The decor was nice and mostly elegant, and the chairs had nice upholstery.

It would have been a good time to take a complete family photo for my journal, but we didn’t get the time to do that before the table was cluttered with empty plates and glasses. After lunch, my brother took Diane and Eia for some school supply shopping, while Mom and Dad watched Amir. I finally got myself a bottle of Novuhair and some cold medicine for Alfred. Amir only stayed still while nibbling on some Mrs. Fields cookies, but he wasn’t even done with the second one when he got off the chair to run around again!

I had a really boring weekend, if not for today’s lunch. Sometimes though, boring is okay specially when you have colds, cough, and headaches. How was your weekend?

Halalan 2013

May 13, 2013 was mid-term election day in the Philippines. Of course, I went out to vote.

We were pleasantly surprised not to see long lines at the voting precinct. I had registered only in 2009 and ended up in a different precinct from the rest of my family. But because Comelec implemented a cluster system since elections were automated, we still vote in the same precinct.

Barangay Kalusugan Voting Precincts

Barangay Kalusugan Voting Precincts

Just like in the 2010 elections, we went to vote as a family, except for my brother who went there straight from work so he was very early. Since the line was short, I decided I didn’t need special treatment (recovering from an operation and all) and waited patiently in line. We were all done in perhaps 15 or 20 minutes. My cousin says we’re lucky because they had to wait a lot longer. They were already done when we arrived. I guess the rain, and it being lunchtime, discouraged people from voting at the time we did.

But we really had it good. There were apparently many places in the country where voting didn’t go as smoothly as it did for us. I pray this is the last time it happens. We seriously need to have improved systems and a COMELEC who will work on it all the time, not just the year before the next elections.

Two days later, we still don’t have any of the senator-elects being proclaimed. I only voted for 9 candidates, and not everyone made it. But that’s democracy. And instead of complaining about Nancy Binay making it to the top 5, we should focus our energies on mapping out how we’ll make all 12 accountable to the people in the next six years. Instead of blaming an uninformed electorate for making Grace Poe number one and Dick Gordon teetering from number 12 to 13, let’s look at what we should do to ensure that the people can become better informed.

Political ads on TV, and the campaign sorties, were mostly how the people got to know their candidates. But those shouldn’t be the only sources of information. Netizens had some online resources, but not all of us actually took the time to review 3rd party profiles and analyses of the platforms or fact-checked debate responses. I’m just saying that no matter how sophisticated or un-sophisticated we are, the resource first has to be there, and then we need to take the time to refer to it. There needs to be an uninterested party (not affiliated with the political parties) out there who would do round-table discussions with the common folk, or maybe bring out laptops and tablets so the people can browse at material available online. But who would do it?

A group of child-rights NGOs came up with Bata Muna which was a campaign to engage with candidates to find out their stand on child-sensitive issues. That’s a good idea, I think. But then they would also need to distribute the information they gathered. In the end they did not seek to endorse any particular candidate, but they did present the candidates’ responses on critical issues. I took note of that and it helped frame who I would vote for.

Leading up to the elections you would see a lot of push to go out and vote. That’s good. COMELEC sees voter turnout at 70%. So 70% of registered voters cared enough to make their votes count. Kudos to us. But it’s not just how many people vote; what’s important is the thought-process behind those votes. Sorry, but do I make sense?

As for me, I continue to be hopeful for the country. I did my best to vote for the candidates that I feel would ensure that the future is secure, and that we learn from past mistakes. More candidates who didn’t get my vote are actually winning but that is no reason to be sad or jaded. That is democracy after all.

253rd voter

253rd voter

 

 

Hi May! Where’s April?

Well  hello there. How have you been?

Since our last conversation, I went back to the hospital and stayed there for 2 and a half weeks more. This time, with no bathroom privileges too. That was tough. Skip this post if you’d rather not hear about it. This post is about where April’s at so it may run long.  Thank you for dropping by. 🙂

The first part of my Staycation was already for pain management and bed rest but I still forced myself to get up when I needed to do number 1 or 2, and to take showers. Of course it meant also crying out in pain after about 3 minutes out of bed, but nature calls and what can you do? The doc sent me home after 7 days with medicines and a rehab schedule. I only lasted three days at home.

Every morning I would cry out for extreme pain. It was so bad we talked about just seeing my old doctor and ask for an operation. It was really bad. On the second day we went in for a therapy session. It didn’t happen. The rehab doctor looked at my MRI plates and she was of a mind to refer me back to the Orthopedic doctor. The bulge was so big. Since the doc wasn’t due in until the next morning, she sent me back home with stronger medicines. The short ride to and from the hospital was not fun.

On Saturday, 4/13, my dad went back to the hospital with my records to consult an orthopedic surgeon. My old doctor wasn’t in, so we had to get someone else. He made arrangements for me to be admitted via the Emergency Room. Oh my gee did I make a scene when we got there. There was only a wheelchair at the ER entrance when we arrived and that was useless for me, we went straight in looking for an empty bed. Within two minutes, I was crying again. There was immediate relief once my back hit the stretcher. Not sure why it took so long but it took another four hours before we reached my new accommodations at the 5th floor. Pain medication was given intravenously while we were waiting. With the hyped pain management plan, the doc wanted to give conservative treatment another chance – let’s give physical therapy one last chance, he said. If I really don’t respond, he’ll operate.

Arm Candy

Arm Candy

I was to have bed rest, no sitting up, and no going to the bathroom. It was difficult for me to use the bedpan, so it was diapers for me. There was no room to be embarrassed, my Mom and boyfriend took turns cleaning me up. By then I knew I wasn’t interested in admitting visitors, it would have been a little awkward, and I’d look like crap. Hehe.

I asked for strong medicine almost every 6 hours initially before I started to feel better. Therapy was continued bedside. I could get on with only oral medication. I was somewhat pain-free for two full days, I was happy! Maybe I didn’t need an operation after all. I got daily calls from my brother, but the best thing was that he brought the little guy over to visit me. He had his iPad time of course, but we also had cuddle time 🙂

Amir visits me!

Amir visits me!

Having Amir over was so refreshing. He was his usual self, bright, smart, and noisy! He had his breakfast there, and then asked for two cookies from my stash. Takaw!

But then I had a very, very bad attack. Not sure if it was that afternoon, or the next day. My entire left leg and lower back seemed besieged by muscle spasms. It was so painful I harassed the boyfriend who was the only one with me that afternoon. The medicine kicked in after 30 minutes, after I’d cried my lungs out already. Hot packs from my therapist were a huge help too. It was so bad. Because of that episode, the doctored ordered for a continuous traction for when the pain subsides. My bed was replaced with an older model fitted with a Balkan frame.

Balkan Frame on my bed

Balkan Frame on my bed

We didn’t get to maximize it though. The belt for the traction wasn’t big enough for me and it took days to get a new one. By then the doc had decided to do the operation. The pain may have subsided, but I wasn’t improving. I started to feel numbness from my thigh down to my toes. There was some peace between that worse episode and the actual operation. Watching movies distracted me. The nurse was right to tell me to focus on something else. Sometimes it just wasn’t easy, but most of the time I would wake up to a good morning. Oh I did use the thing to hoist myself up for shampoo time!

Shampoo time

I availed of the service only twice in my entire stay because I learned a week late that it was available for a fee.  By then I had lost a lot of (falling) hair and I had so much yucky dandruff! Yes, I get them but only if I don’t wash my hair everyday. Ugh.

Once in a Lifetime - Cathy Kelly

Once in a Lifetime – Cathy Kelly

Reading the books I had brought with me helped. I finished Cathy Kelly’s Once in a Lifetime pretty quickly but I couldn’t go type up a review just as fast. Even blogging on the iPad mini wasn’t so convenient when you had to lie down on your side all the time. Later, I picked up A Game of Thrones, book 1 of the series A Song of Fire and Ice. I alternated watching season 1 and reading the book. I’m done with the book, and still a couple of episodes left for the first season. Can’t wait for the next.

And of course, I crocheted. No photo of the work in progress though. Maybe next time.

The operation took place on the morning of April 25th. I was wheeled in to the operating room already drowsy. The last thing I remembered was having difficulty breathing, and passing out. Next time I was awake my mouth was parched dry and my chin was sore. I was out for close to five hours. When I was transferred to my old bed I realized there was a catheter attached to me (thank God it wasn’t painful).

Amir is back!

I was wheeled in to my room and my special visitor was there, all cute and charming. He said my name a few times, and referred to ouchy (IV line). He was upset when the nurse came in but only because he thought I would get hurt. He touched my toes, my hands, and he gave me kisses. He walked all around the room. I wish I could stay awake and just watch him. But it was time to get more sleep. Sleep was vital to recovery after all.

I appreciate the good job the doctors did. I was not in much pain after the operation. Almost none. I am vaguely aware of a plate on my spine though. Strange feeling, that. Hehe. What I didn’t like was the shot of Demerol. Before knocking me out I felt it wash through my body like it was some poison. It made me extremely uncomfortable and I threw up. And throwing up after you’ve just been cut open could be an ass. So I thanked the prescription for keeping me pain-free that day, but I told the nurse not to give me another dose. Please, no.

The doctors expected a fast recovery because I was such a good patient. I didn’t meet their expectation of sitting up by that same evening though. I didn’t even try to stand up the next day, did I? But once I started sitting up two days later, it got easier and easier. What really surprised and upset me was that I still have numbness on my left foot – until today. It felt weak and I didn’t trust my leg to carry my weight. Doc says its normal because the nerve that got caught between the discs was damaged really bad. It was flattened, and only time can tell if it recovers fully. It better.

But really, there’s almost no pain now. And that was what the operation was all about. So I am happy now. Still taking it easy though.

So if anyone asks me what April 2013 was about, I’d say it was about pain and overcoming it. It was about keeping a positive attitude even when the world is reduced to one bed, and a room. It’s about how lucky I am to be born into this world as daughter to Laura and Danny, and sister to Vlady. It’s about knowing the love and support of a good man even though he can be a dick some times.

It’s not about becoming neck-deep in loans because I used up and exceeded all my medical coverage. Not even. I will have to payoff April 2013 for a long time yet, but I don’t mind. I gained more than I lost.

So hello there May! You kinda crept up on me. Let’s go. 🙂

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