Sunday, September 30, 2012

Missing Caregiver, Irene Hassan, Ateneo High School and Zamboanga Malls

Wedding Pic in Mama's Room

Larry texted me Tuesday night to expect a new caregiver Wednesday morning who would be taking care of mama on the day shift. Well, she never showed up or called to give a reason. I even prepared a few basic interview questions which I never got to use. Neneng, the night shift caregiver hadn’t had a day off since she was hired a few weeks before but never complained about it. She pulled me aside briefly and told me that the helper – Andrea, hadn’t been paid for the month. Well, Larry and I didn’t know her salary and Madie mentioned an amount. We decided to ask Mama, who of course gave us the correct amount. The helper got paid from money found by Madie in Mama’s handbags and other hiding spots in the apartment a few days before (more were found later).
Also on Tuesday evening, I sent a text message to Kuya Vic Pabellon saying that Mama had gone home. Well, gone home was ambiguous so he texted me back to clarify what I meant. I said Mama was back at her apartment.
When Mama was having so much pain on Wednesday, she told us to call Irene Hassan. Who was Irene Hassan? Mama never mentioned her to me in our telephone conversations and Madie didn’t remember meeting her either. We searched the Zamboanga telephone directory and a few of Mama’s address books but couldn’t find Irene’s name. It was Madie who found Irene’s number in another address book later. I gave her a call and it turns out Mama wanted her because she knew what to do with pain since she took care of her own mother who also had cancer. They were able to keep her painless to the end. Irene came to visit Mama the next day and gave us guidance about how to handle the pain and some spiritual advice as well.
                When Larry found out that the new caregiver didn’t show up, he contacted more people in Zamboanga by phone and managed to find another one. He was able to do this despite having to work that day.  Thankfully, Joanna showed up the next day and got to work right away. Finally on Thursday - Sept. 6th, Mama had round the clock care in her apartment.
There were hardly any houses in this new housing subdivision

          I cut my upper lip shaving Thursday morning and when I went to see Mama, she asked me why my tooth was bleeding. I told her it was a shaving accident. That same morning I rode with Caloy while he drove his son David to Ateneo De Zamboanga High School. He also showed me the new housing subdivisions in the area. I was surprised at how sparse the housing was, because the way they advertised it on the internet gave you an impression that there were a lot of houses there already. Caloy said that people were wary about buying land and building houses there because they might be considered wealthy and thus a target of kidnappings. On the way back, I asked him to drop me off at Western Mindanao Medical Center so I could get some copies of Mama’s medical records. I put in the request and the clerk said the copies would be available the next day after 2 p.m. I took a long walking route back home via Governor Alvarez Avenue, Canelar Street, downtown, then back to Mama’s apartment. On the way, I stopped for lunch at Savory Restaurant. I had a bowl of lomi noodle soup which the cashier said was good for 3 people. Well, he didn’t know how much I was capable of eating and finished the whole bowl myself. I needed the fluids and calories after all the walking I did that morning. Their lomi was not as good as the one Larry and I had at the Aristocrat a few days before.
                I met Joanna, the new caregiver when I got back home (Neneng texted me that she showed up while I was at WMMC). She was a recent graduate of practical nursing school and was just waiting to get her license. Mama hadn’t complained of pain since the previous night and it appeared that the round the clock dosing of painkillers finally took effect. From that time on, she never complained of pain again. That made a return visit to the doctor unnecessary. We couldn’t say the same about how much nutrition she was getting because even though we encouraged her to have more intake, the next several days it was just mostly Prosure and medications.
                I continued my search for Tramadol and for a pill cutter. None of the pharmacies had a pill cutter. We also took a thumb mark of Mama for an authorization letter giving us permission to buy medications for her using her senior citizen card. Whenever the caregivers ran low on supplies, I did the shopping. That’s how I found my way to Southway, Gateway, and Mindpro malls.

Public comments below, private comments: E-mail Me!


Noel DLP said...

This was sent to me via email by my sister in law Ninette,regarding the caregivers that Mama had: "I am grateful to another friend, Danny Nuevo who recommended Joanna. And of course, a high school friend Tessie Carzada, who found Neneng. I will make it a point to call them up and send them cards of gratitude when I get back to Manila. Neneng,most of all is God sent, I didnt expect to see Tessie when I went to Zbga last Aug, but fate intervened."

larrydlp said...

That was strange. That caregiver I spoke with who never showed up. She gave an excuse that she was ringing the doorbell repeatedly but no one came to let her in. Then she had this litany of reasons why she could not commit to the job. Hello?! Then why agree to go for an interview in the first place?
It was a good thing that Danny Nuevo, who owns and operates a home care facility had someone to recommend when I called him up. And Joanna, from what I've heard since I was not present during this time, fitted into the system of caring for Mama almost immediately.
Prior to Neneng and Joanna, Mama resisted the idea that she needed a caregiver. She said all she needed was a helper, someone without any training to help her move around the apartment as well as do simple house chores. It was just the right time when Ninette and I were able to convince Mama.