Archive for the ‘Family’ Category:
May 15th, 2013 / 16 Comments »
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.
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.
May 3rd, 2013 / 9 Comments »
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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).
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.
April 10th, 2013 / 32 Comments »
I have long wanted to go on a staycation. To book a weekend stay at a nice hotel in the city, have a fancy dinner, order room service, and veg out on comfy beds and luxe sheets. Inside a cool room all day long. Well, Alfred would say that I finally did it, and for an entire week too.
Problem is, I didn't spend the week in a hotel. I've been a patient at the Capitol Medical Center.
My rehab doctor advised bed rest, stronger pain medication and twice daily therapy to manage the pain. They also did an EMG and an MRI. Both tests basically confirmed an impinged nerve due to slipped disc. That's no news to me. I am going home today although I can still hardly sit up nor stand for too long. I guess they can do nothing more for me and they haven't advised surgery just yet. I go for two more weeks of thrice weekly therapy then I'll see the doctors again.
I will also need to seriously lose weight. Being heavy is making matters worse. Like that's easy, no?
Alfred is my bedside nurse, though he sleeps a lot, he's been helping me get a proper bath.
My parents have kept me company here, too.
FaceTime with my nephew was a regular happy event.
Hospital food wasn't bad at all. Actually, I feel like they should have deprived me a little.
The bed and the room does not feel new. But the A/C works just fine and I have a refrigerator, cabinets and my own small toilet and bath. The nurses have been nice and friendly, so is my therapist.
But they don't have Wi-fi so I rely on Globe for connectivity. Rather than spend so much time on my gadgets, I read books and crocheted. Mostly though, I'd been sleeping.
So anyway, that's how and where I've been. How about you?
June 25th, 2012 / 29 Comments »
This weekend was all about celebrations. On Saturday we celebrated the christening of my newest goddaughter Iverre.
Sunday, the 24th, was my Mom’s day. It was her birthday and we celebrated over lunch at Cyma in Trinoma.
See Amir turning on his charms for Grandma on her birthday
It was a filling lunch and we walked it off right after. Alfred, Kuya and Diane, all had somewhere else they needed to be that afternoon but Mom, Dad, and I, stayed at the mall with the little boy for a while. We had to either take turns carrying Amir around, or chasing after him. He wouldn’t walk because he wanted to run around!
Catch me if you can Grandma!
He was all tired out by the time we got in the car and headed home. He slept without asking for milk, nor any of his favorite pillows!
How was your weekend?
June 10th, 2012 / 30 Comments »
Tuesday was payday and I asked the boyfriend out to lunch. I told him I’d pay for anything but he couldn’t decide where to go. We settled on an old favorite: Steaktown.
My family has gone to Steaktown for family dinners since I was a kid. It used to be located along West Avenue, then it moved. Next we knew, it was along Quezon Avenue side by side another local restaurant. They served the same meals we had known and loved. I took the boyfriend there a few times and we celebrated some of our anniversaries in that restaurant. They moved again, this time to a more secluded spot, at Sgt. Esguerra. In that last location the restaurant upgraded its look. But the menu still carried the same old familiar fare. They still had the salad bar too.
We were looking forward to a nice Steaktown lunch to kick off Alfred’s birthday week.
Imagine our surprise when upon entering, we found the place to be different. Everything was changed. The biggest surprise of all?
It is now known as Wil’s Steaktown.
Willie Revillame bought the business. And the entire building it was on apparently. The place was being renovated into Wil’s Events Place. It’s also now a resto/bar where a band plays at night. They don’t just serve steaks now. Imagine my surprise when I saw Kare-kare on the menu. Good thing for Alfred though because that’s what he actually wanted for lunch that day.
Now Wil isn’t on my list of favorite people, and the last thing I wanted to do was to make him richer by patronizing his products. But we were there already and the serving staff were nice enough. So we stayed. It was also very hot outside and I’d rather not go out right away.
They served this very soft bread for starters. I actually wanted more. They offered more but didn’t get to actually serve it. I guess that was okay because I got stuffed with all the food we ordered anyway.
We don’t normally order appetizers, but I’m happy we ordered these potatoes. They’re baked and stuffed with sour cream, cheese and bacon. I think it was called Boston Potatoes or something. Hah!
The big bowl of Kare-Kare was supposed to have Ox tail. I’m not sure that’s what was in it. It also wasn’t very special, but it tasted okay.
It took me a long time to decide what to order because I wanted something to complement the Kare-Kare. But since I couldn’t choose any, I settled on Jesse James steak. That used to be Alfred’s usual order. Actually he was looking forward to ordering the 1 pound steak, but it is no longer on the menu.
My steak was well done and was served with garlic mushrooms and buttered vegetables. I had rice too.
We had refillable Tanglad Iced Tea that we actually regret ordering. It costs 150 pesos a glass and the boyfriend didn’t like it so much. It was too spicy for him, for a drink. I liked it, but couldn’t drink too much of it. A glass would have been enough.
Though we were quite aware of our running bill already, we decided to have dessert.
Alfred ordered the frozen Leche (I did not write down the actual names, sorry), which is a lot like Brazo de Mercedes, but frozen.
I got the Mango Torte, which is very similar to Contis’ Mango Bravo minus the layers.
We ended up with a very hefty bill. The food was okay, but the cost is a big consideration. Because of it, we’d already decided that this would be our last visit to Steaktown. Don’t get me wrong, we’re all for paying good money for good food, we just didn’t feel like this was worth it. Add to that, it’s Wil’s restaurant now and no longer the good old familiar place that my family enjoyed.