This Cray Cray Life

I’m doing a quick post because my brother and his girlfriend are going to pick me up in an hour or so for dinner.

Today has been quite a relief because I have been meaning to spend time alone after a long week of meetings, promotional work, flights to Manila and back here in Cebu in a span of 36-39 hours, training, catching up, etc.

In short, it was quite a long and tiring week which is why I’ve been looking forward to this weekend because all the other ones are jam-packed with summer activities.

I can’t wrap my head around the fact that my life is now a whirlwind of socializing events and activities. I’m not even sure I know what I’m doing, but I’m trying not to resist the current and just go with the flow. After all, YOLO. Haha. Yes, it’s funny that I still live by that mantra. Can’t blame me. It is true, after all.

Quick update:

For starters, I now live in the middle of busy Cebu! Yeeees! Maayong adlaw, buntag, hapon, gabii sa inyong tanan, wherever you are in the world! I’ve been here for about 3 weeks, or so. I’m still adjusting to this drastic change in my life, but I’m getting by.

I’m living with my former co-trainee and now colleague in a 2-bedroom unit in an area peppered with a bunch of our other colleagues.

Fortunately, I have had a chance to see the beauty of Cebu’s wonders in the form of Moalboal beach (which we visited before), Mantayupan falls and the beauty of the north in Tabogon, Cebu. All thanks to my brother and his girlfriend who have been nothing but supportive and helpful just as the rest of our colleagues. Unfortunately, as expected, I am now tanner than I’ve ever been, but I love it! I’ve always wanted to get tan and dirty. What?

Kidding aside, our “tour guides” also took us around incredible spots such as the Temple of Leah and Sirao Peak.

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taken from the Temple of Leah

There you go! I’ve been wanting to write after soooo long, but my job has swallowed me whole, I couldn’t find time to pour my heart out as I normally do. I’m really grateful to God, He’s given me time to breathe and relax after those long nights of drinking and working over time. I needed and longed for this “me time” away from the crazy world I jumped into.

Wishing for more days like this! Thank You, Lord! 🙂

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Life Lately / 12

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Gone were the days when I could write as often and as much as I can. At the moment, I am squeezing this teeny tiny time to write not because I have something spectacularly interesting to say, but only because my hands are itching to!

I used to always have all the time in the world to do whatever I want and I missed that since there is only so little that I could do with the free time I have off work (a.k.a. training). I couldn’t afford to slack nor to sleep longer than 4 hours, not even to go online  (yeah well not totally true), but just the same, I couldn’t do most of what a couch potato me has been doing for most of the time last year. I don’t even have the time to check my emails.

Today, all I want is time to relax, yet every time I think of getting a quick nap, I panic at the possibility that I could sleep through most of the day, therefore wasting time I should have spared for studying.

For this weekend, my goal is to completely memorize all 14 drugs in our division’s medication portfolio including their marketing communication and FAQ’s for our revalida on Wednesday.

I’m having doubts I can smoothly pass that test, but what the heck, I have something more to show them and I’m going to do what it takes to do that. Or not.

Lately, I’ve been having second thoughts, hearing mentors subtly and indirectly point out reasons why “I” cannot or should not go through with the training. I feel like I have made them lose their confidence in me and so they are somehow trying to discourage me by saying things such as “you have impressed no one with your awkwardness and dulling brain, therefore someone has been forced to take you instead of the other way around.” and “You have this weekend to think if this is the right job for you. You may back out if you don’t feel like being in this line of work and we won’t take it against you.” while looking directly at me.

Harsh. I know, but like what one of them also said, they might be actually doing me a favor.

I don’t think I can get those words out of my mind, nevertheless, I’m still determined to continue, (thanks to the encouraging words of my friend, Jan). I just want to believe in the fact that I am still here because God allowed for it to happen, this is where He led me to, where I should really be as I have prayed for ever so deeply; and so I trust that this is where He wants me to be.

I’m not happy with my performance as well, but with God’s grace, I hope I could do so much better especially on the final tests. I want this underdog to emerge a winner all for the glory of Him.

This is just one of the mountains I have yet to conquer. All for the glory of God!

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

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Life Lately / 11

I wasn’t going to say something until maybe after the training is over and done with. It’s not like I’m scared of jinxing anything now, because, you know, I’m YOLO-ing all over again plus, I’m surrendering it all to the Big Guy up there, but I guess I just really can’t find the time at the moment to actually lay it all out and spill the deets on this great, big turn my life has taken.

So I’m back in college or at least it feels like it, except that this time, we’re taking a crash course on what some of us have studied for a semester or two all in just about 2 weeks or so. For the past weeks, my co-trainees and I have been getting about 3-4 hours of sleep on a daily basis to pull off the pre-tests, post tests, learning checks and discussions also on a daily basis. I thought I was done with this stuff when I graduated 5 years ago, but I guess that was just a pretty dream that I now have to put behind me.

So that pretty sums up the last 2 weeks, not to mention the added physical training aka walking in heels with a big bag of weights in tow everywhere we go, which is actually a mental training in disguise (coz’ it’s all in the mind and when there’s no pain, none will be gained, ain’t that right?).

Had I known I was in for a treat like this, I would have taken off to outer space or as far as I could in seconds! Juuuuust kidding! So there, so far, I failed 1 exam which bums me out big time because I know for a fact that I have written enough info on those essays (YES, YOU READ IT RIGHT, ESSAYS) to get me at least a passing rate, but I didn’t. Plus, I was trying hard to keep my grades up, now that 75 is just going to pull down my first 2 90+ test grades. That sucks and to think that I’ve never been this grade conscious in my life!

I knew though that this wasn’t going to be easy so I had to reevaluate my self, my life and my faith in order to get going. I know that there would always be tough days, days when all I could do is cry and pray hopelessly and times when I could just do this all day long:

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But I also know and believe that there’d be days when I could genuinely feel as if I’m not constipated and heavy at all! LOL! I’ll be light as a feather and I could leap into the heavens, saying I survived!

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Until then, I’m going to have to take studying even more seriously. Gone are the days when I could just slack off, add more weight to my belly and watch movies and blog all day.

Though I have to say, I missed writing a lot. I missed this! I still have a long way to go on my Trip Down Memory Lane series, but hopefully, I could squeeze in time to complete that by midyear.

That’s it for now! I’ll leave you be!

P.S. I made a little somethin’ somethin’! It’s one of my stress busters! Thank God for Art and Photography!

 

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2016 Recap

I failed miserably to write about a lot of stuff that happened last year. For someone who’s unemployed for 11 months, I never thought so much can actually happen. My 2016 was so packed; I think it was more eventful than the last 26 years of my existence!

I may or may not be going back to work in a few days (keeping fingers crossed), so before my whole world turns around, I’ll be doing a recap of my 2016 and will be writing about those that I haven’t had a chance to write about yet over the next few days.

Pending posts: (hopefully in this order)

  1. resignation
  2. Tribute to my Grandma (part 2)
  3. a sad fling
  4. break ups
  5. depression
  6. Visita Iglesia Road trip with the clan
  7. Puerto Galera trip with my girlies
  8. Photography Workshop
  9. Mt. Manalmon (part 2)
  10. Japan trip (God knows how many parts there’d be)
  11. Mt. Pamitinan
  12. Mt. Pulag
  13. Driving School
  14. Hong Kong trip
  15. Christmas and NY with my family
  16. Celebrating Nikki’s birthday and graduation with SR
  17. Reuniting and Meeting relatives from La Union for the first time (Lolo Turing’s wake)
  18. What God has done for me and how I give back to Him! 😉
  19. People I met
  20. Things I learned
  21. Things I Look Forward To
  22. Things and People I Pray For
  23. What I’m Thankful for in 2016

Wow.

This only means that if I write one entry a day, minus all the unnecessary rants and random posts in between and while working out (weh), I’ll be over and done with in 3 weeks. Not bad. Doesn’t sound good either, but I’ll be optimistic about this! LOL! XD

On a serious note, looking at all the things that happened this year, I couldn’t be more grateful to Him up there. Not once did I ever feel neglected and even though there were tough times on that list, the happier times really did dominate.

Now, I’m ashamed that I have been dwelling on the sad stuff when God has been pouring blessings on me all along. I seriously have got to practice counting my blessings more, especially since we welcomed a new year once again!

Last night, I was chatting with my friend, Jan and I couldn’t contain the mixed emotions I was feeling. On the way home from LU last night, it started sinking in on me that I’m about to embark on a new adventure and I can’t help but panic a little. Last thing I remember doing was planning for our trips and booking stuff, and now all that is over, I’m here, having cold feet, feeling a little scared but getting excited at the same time. But what the heck. I just came home from my lolo’s wake and I just realized (yet again) that LIFE IS FREAKING SHORT! 

Although I won’t be riding roller coasters or jumping off cliffs anymore again (at least not anytime soon), I surely am braver to do more things that I don’t normally do like striking up a conversation with an aunt I have never met before, or entertaining guests (which I suck at most of the time). I wanna do things that even I will be surprised to know I can do.

I’m not listing any resolutions this year, but I promised God and myself that I’ll be kinder. Simple as that. I’m also done with thinking that people are bad. I welcomed the new year with a cleaner heart and I want it to stay like that for the rest of the year and maybe for the rest of my life.

P.S. I don’t remember listening nor hearing this song in the past days or even the whole entire year that has passed, but I don’t know why I was singing it in my head when I woke up this morning, so I looked for it and I was playing it on repeat mode the whole time I was writing this. PHEEEWWWW!

Can I just dedicate this song to God because I never knew love like HIS before and now I’m lonely never more, since He came into my life! 🙂 That is true and I wish it is true for you as well! God’s love is the greatest and they say that you only truly have experienced God’s love when you go out into the world and get to share this love to others as well! Make others feel that God loves them! Make them feel the goodness of God’s heart! Make them feel loved always by doing what Ellen always says, being kind to one another!

Happy New Year! Happy 2017 to all of us! 🙂 CHEERS! May God bless all of us more and may we always pray for each other, not only for those we care about, but most especially for those who are feeling hopeless in life, those in difficult situations, those who don’t know God, all the souls in purgatory and those that are losing faith in Him! Good Vibes all the way! 🙂

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photo from lil bro

 

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Saying Goodbye to My Lola (part I)

I can’t really say my grandma and I were close, because we were more than close. I owe her the first two years of my existence (along with my deceased uncle) when my parents sent me to live with them for fear of me catching this disease where my parents used to live; and even though ours was a cat-dog relationship, I loved her very much.

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It was back in February when she was admitted yet again in the hospital. It was normal for her to get Pneumonia time and time again that we all already know the drill on what to do, what to bring and how to stay calm and take care of her.

It was very timely that I just resigned from my previous job at the time so together with my whole family, I helped fully take care of her through and through.

It was weird, for almost half to 3/4 of her whole admission, she seemed totally okay. She was always complaining of the bland and cold hospital food. She was always very chatty too. In fact, on her first night, I was her only companion and we talked all night.

I remember bringing one of my film cameras that night and doing some selfies with her (that I still need to get processed in the lab). We talked about stuff she never told me before like how she took many jobs in order to help with the finances for her 8 children then. I let my guard down that night and listened to all her stories, both funny and sad alike. I usually hate talking mushy with my family, but that moment was an exception.

Though it wasn’t always like that.

As expected, the longer she stayed in the hospital, the crankier she got. She kept on asking us to take her home. One time, she got so impatient, she literally asked us to just give her the money for her commute home. Often times, we would just make fun of her like we always do, just to lighten her mood and to divert her attention, but there’d always be hard times as well.

When I graduated in 2011, she was diagnosed with ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease). She had to undergo surgery twice: first was for her IJ catheter insertion, which was a temporary dialysis access inserted through the side of her neck that was used until her Fistula (another surgery) on her left arm was ready for her lifetime twice or thrice a week Hemodialysis treatments. That was the start of her more challenging and even more unforgettable journey.

There’d be times that we’d go visit her in the hospital before I go back to work (also in the hospital) or when I’d spend my rest days with her in the Dialysis center. I can tell that my whole family was devastated during the first few years, seeing her go through so much pain in her late 70s.

But just like any other trial that came our way, we got by through prayers, helping each other out and by putting on brave faces for her.

In a year, she would normally be admitted in the hospital twice or thrice at the most. There’d be false alarms when we thought she would already be taken away from us, but luckily, she always survived. My uncle and my mother’s youngest sibling would always kid around and say “Nakaligtas ka na naman!(You survived yet again!)” or “Sumunod ka na kasi sa ilaw (Won’t you please go into the light already?)” then a burst of laughter in the whole room would arise. There were even a few times that the patients admitted in the rooms next to hers would code or would go into cardiac arrest. I think that happened a couple of times, so we would poke fun at her being cursed (or at least the patients next to her). You may think that those jokes were so rude, but they always cracked everyone up.

My family has the weirdest sense of humor, but it worked so well. We’d all always be huddled in my grandma’s small private room after work or on weekends, either teary-eyed or out of breath because of so much laughter when my uncle starts throwing the punches. I guess it helped not only my grandmother, but the rest of us too because it took our minds off the fact that we are in deep trouble. Who wants to take problems so seriously anyway? Plus, we all loved seeing our grandmother laugh so hard with no care in the world. She’d even answer him back and seeing them throw the funniest lines at each other was like watching a live comedic show.

During the last few days of her admission early this year, she started deteriorating, but despite that and the bathroom restrictions, she just couldn’t let herself grow weaker. There was a time I was so mad at her for wanting to go to the bathroom to take a dump. She was very uncomfortable in doing it on a bedpan or diaper (because who wouldn’t be?) so she insisted even though it took us a while before we got to the bathroom. Did I say she had bathroom restrictions?

There’d also be sad times when she would ask me what’s wrong with her, but I could only make up a reason because even her doctors took a while before figuring it out. There was one particular night when she couldn’t sleep comfortably and woke up every 2 hours. At 3am, she woke me up again and I saw that she was in distress and and couldn’t breathe. Before calling the nurse again, I elevated her head of bed and assisted her in sitting up straight. She dangled her legs on the side of the bed and asked me to sit beside her. Having almost no sleep at all, I was a bit irritable and refused to do so. So I was just there in front of her standing up. Her dentures were taken off so she spoke as if like a little kid and answered me when I asked her why she wanted to dangle her legs despite the doctors’ orders not to. She told me “Kasi gusto ko lang lumakas (I just want to get my strength back)”.

That scene kept repeating in my head over and over and even when I think about it now, I still can’t help but cry. She just wanted to be okay again and I couldn’t even set aside the fact that I’m tired and sleepless. She’s been through worse, but I had to be a complete ass to her.

When I realized how much of a douche I was, I wanted to make it up to her before it was too late, and boy, I’m glad I did.

Soon after, they finally figured out what’s wrong with her and disclosed it to us. Apart from Pneumonia, she was also diagnosed with Aortic Stenosis and so she was referred by her main AP (a Nephrologist) to a Cardiologist. The aorta is the major artery of the heart that pumps blood from the heart to the rest of the body. It has a valve that in this condition, narrows, thus restricts blood flow to the body causing breathlessness, weakness and sometimes even fainting. To add to that, she also started having absence seizures during her dialysis treatments that she eventually had to be referred to a Neurologist.

On the latter part of her admission, she started refusing her food and was advised to have an NGT (Naso-Gastric Tube) Insertion. My mother who is always overcome with her emotions, refused the procedure. We had to argue among ourselves with me wanting to get the procedure done. Still, my mother won. She talked my grandma into eating again to avoid having to put her through another ordeal and even though it was harder, we had to carefully assist her in eating. We exhausted all the techniques we could think of to encourage her to eat more including those that you’d normally use with kids and they worked. The NGT insertion was deferred a couple of times and eventually canceled.

Just when we thought that the hardest part was over, she started having episodes of disorientation, which was most probably caused by her prolonged seizures. The longest episode was the first time she had a seizure during her dialysis treatment. She couldn’t recognize any of us, or she just pretended not to because she was sulking. She was conscious, but she just stared at all of us with a weird look in her eyes as if seeing us for the first time. I even broke down in front of my relatives because I was reading about the worst case scenarios of her current condition which led to my aunt’s crying as well. The disorientation went on for the whole night and when my parents came to visit after work, she started uttering “‘Nay, ‘nay, kunin mo na ako (Mom, mom, please come and get me)” as if calling to her own mother. She said this in a childlike manner too. Our eyes swollen, I, surprisingly slept that night. The morning after, I was happy to see that itwas over and my grandmother was back to her old, chatty self again. You could hear the excitement in my aunt’s voice asking her whatever sinful food she wanted to eat so she could buy it.

After starting some treatments, she started feeling better. She couldn’t really stand on her own anymore, but she was strong enough to ask her doctors to let her go home. Soon, she was permitted to go home and continue her dialysis treatments outside the hospital.

I stayed with them for a few more weeks, going home only when I had no more clothes to wear. All of us still took turns in taking care of her. We bought more Oxygen tanks for her because she could consume about 1-2 big ones in a day. We also had to buy her own hospital bed, egg crate mattress, glucose monitor, new BP monitor and I insisted on getting her own portable pulse oximeter as well. Then, I taught everyone how to use the said monitors so they could observe her appropriately when I’m not around. I was very happy at how everyone, including my younger cousins were ready to learn and eager to help out even with diaper changes and bed bath. There was a time when I asked all my teenage girl cousins to help me in giving her a bath and changing her sheets. They all learned the proper techniques in turning and lifting our grandma and all I could think of was boy, all those night shifts taking care of bedridden patients in the hospital surely paid off.

We were able to take her back to the dialysis center for treatment, and force her the second time, but she was on close monitoring and hooked to an oxygen tank. Dialysis settings had to be adjusted as well so her heart can keep up, but still, she had episodes of absence seizures. She grew weaker and wouldn’t go back for a third treatment the same week, so we had to give up her slot, not knowing that it would be her last.

She didn’t want to continue her dialysis treatments. In fact, she didn’t want to go back for the third time so bad that week that even though she started sleeping for longer periods of time, she woke up just that one time we asked her if she still wanted to go and uttered a big “no”.

She then started having visual hallucinations as well, if you can call them that because there may be in fact, real souls of random people in her room, but only she could see them. There was a time when I just got back from our house to rest for a day. My uncle had to get the oxygen tanks refilled, so there were only the two of us in the house at the time. I had to do a bed bath for her and right before we finished, she uttered irritably, “Ang dami namang bata dito! (There are so many kids in here!)”. I know that she wasn’t disoriented at the time because we were talking and she even kept on asking me to make the bath quick because she can’t breathe well. I felt all the hair in my body stood and almost ran out of the house and left her alone in there. I turned the TV volume up before sending my mother a text message, telling her what happened, then shortly after, my uncle who went to get the oxygen called me. He was laughing and told me, my grandma has been seeing things for a while. True enough, she has been seeing a lady carrying a child, a boy that even sat beside her in the car one time and some other souls that give me the creeps.

Filipinos believe so much in the supernatural especially those involved in death and dying. Some of these I’ve heard from my senior nurses, like when a person’s death is at hand, you can observe them trying to remove their clothes. There’s also this belief that when you stare into their eyes, they stare back not at you, but at someone from behind you, as if their gaze goes directly through you. There’s the “Sundo“, which I know everyone knows is the entity that awaits the souls of those that are dying. There’s also this weird belief that those that are dying attract ants and you often see tons of ants underneath their sheets or body before they die. I’ve never heard that last one before, by the way, but I saw it happen to my grandma. It was so bizarre because we always kept her clean and comfortable so we couldn’t find anything that could have drawn the ants to her.

Right before she eternally closed her eyes and eventually became unconscious, I had a small talk with her. We just finished praying the Rosary together after she saw so many “people” gathered in her room, even though there were only 3 of us in there. I asked her if she knows we love her. She answered weakly, but in the sweetest tone I’ve heard and told me that she indeed knows. I told her we all love her the same and I felt that she was happy when she heard that. That was the last time I was able to talk to her.

During the next few days, she barely opened her eyes. She would nod occasionally when asked, but that was it. She couldn’t speak much. She couldn’t even eat anymore so we tried feeding her a supplementary milk, but could only consume 2 tablespoons.

The last weekend she was with us, visitors, close friends, relatives, family, co-Mother Butlers in Church and a Priest flocked to her. Even our household help, who was a close friend of hers, together with her sisters visited lola. I had to get out of the room when she cried, because I knew my eyes were going to fill up with tears again.

A final mass was held for her and was also anointed by their parish priest.

My brother couldn’t come home in time, so he had to talk to her one last time through a video call, which was the same for my grandma’s sister in Canada and our other cousins in Cebu and Ormoc. Their remaining brother was too weak to go on a long trip all the way from La Union so he never saw her too.

I had to come home after that and go back one last time. When I got back to her house, I greeted her in the most enthusiastic and scandalous way I could. I knew she wouldn’t respond anymore, but I also knew that hearing was the last sense to go in a person who’s dying so I made sure I was heard. This was the time my uncle (mother’s youngest sibling) and his wife went to get my grandma’s brother from La Union but had to go back because their children told us he couldn’t travel that far anymore. My aunt and I gave grandma one last bed bath and when my uncle and his wife arrived, my aunt and I went to get some groceries, and stuff for oral care and bed bath.

When we came back, we cleaned grandma’s mouth and left her in a high back rest position. We all stayed together in her room and watched a late afternoon show. She was very calm until shortly after, my uncle saw that she was drooling. She then started coughing hard and drooling even more, before finally passing away.

Two of my cousins came home from school just minutes after her passing. My aunt was already crying so hard while talking to her one last time, telling her that she’s now an orphan. My uncle (same one who always teased her and took care of her since forever) tried carefully jolting her a couple of times even though he knew that she was gone. I placed her pulse oximeter on her finger one last time and waited for the ECG reading to go on a flat line as I hold her still warm feet.

I’ve never seen anyone die in my life before, not even while working in a hospital. I wasn’t in shock, but I didn’t shed one tear either. I couldn’t understand what I felt then and I still couldn’t explain it now. I just knew that she was gone and it happened unexpectedly.

We didn’t try to revive her nor rush her to the hospital anymore because we knew that all she wanted was to rest and be free from all the pain. Had she been revived, she would just be hooked to a ventilator and no one in my family can ever stand seeing her intubated, especially my mother. She and all of her siblings agreed that the moment lola was brought home from the hospital, all we needed to do was to make her feel comfortable and wait for her final breath at home like she personally requested and that’s what we did.

My parents had to attend to my brother in Cebu at the time of her death. Before they left, my mother asked my grandma to wait for her to come back. She must have had a hunch that something might happen. I couldn’t tell my mother the news so I had to tell my father instead. I know how hard it was going to be for her and I know it still hurts up to this day.

My grandmother died peacefully on March 15, 2016. She was one of the most annoying, most makulit, most mataray, most maloko, most beautiful, most fashionable, most God-fearing, strongest and bravest persons I knew.

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And I loved her so much.

I love you so much. Thank you Lola!

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So happy she get to eat all the sinful food, every after Hemodialysis session;) (at Lydia’s Lechon LOL)

 

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