|Sunday Morning with Mama|
After all the visitors left on Saturday night, Larry and I stayed in the hospital until visiting hours were over at 10 p.m. We went back to the apartment and for the first time since 1973 when I was 15 and he was 10, we were roommates again. I was too tired to do anything else so while he tinkered with his newly bought 3G (I’m guessing) internet connection dongle, I went to sleep right away amid 3 chihuahuas yapping away outside. The nightly yapping was going to be the norm for the duration of our stay.
I woke up at the usual 3 a.m. and just tossed and turned in bed while my brother snored away. Just like the previous day, I was out the door for my workout by 5:30 and this time I was determined to reach Western Mindanao Medical Center (WMMC) by foot. I started walking in the right direction that morning and pretty soon started jogging. The sidewalks are small in this city and sometimes you have to step off due to an electric post blocking the way, but at the same time dodge vehicles on the street in addition to ubiquitous stray dogs and their resultant poop. I made it all the way to the hospital, went upstairs to Mama’s room, saw that she was still asleep and motioned to caregiver Neneng that I would be back later. I powerwalked all the way back to the apartment. So how far was it each way? My best guess based on my walking pace was only about a mile and a quarter. Someone told me the previous night he thought it was about 3 kilometers, which is much less than the 1 1/4th mile I estimated.
|Satti with Larry|
When I got back to the apartment, Larry was already up and after I took a shower (actually, a pail and dipper type of shower), we decided to hit the satti place again for breakfast. We left for the hospital right after and when we got there, Mama reminded us that there was a mass in the hospital at 10 a.m. (it didn’t start till 11, more on Filipino time later). We got a call from the Pabellons informing us of a meeting we should have with the Tupaz Family (Mama’s landlady) at 3 p.m. to make decisions about Mama’s care, since Larry and I were finally there. Those two families have been the go-to people whom Mama relied on in our absence. I reiterate that we cannot thank them enough for taking care of our Mother the past few years and especially the last few months when she started ailing badly.
The meeting was held at the Pabellon residence and it was to plan for the inevitable. What do you ask was the inevitable? Sensitive as the topic was, it was a necessary discussion. What were Mama’s wishes? Where would the wake and visitation be (La Merced) and for how many days (2)? She already had a burial plot, did she also have a memorial plan (yes)? Will she be buried side by side with Papa or on top of him leaving a vacant plot aside (on top)? Finally, are we going to keep her in the hospital and continue treatment for what may or may not be pneumonia with no assurance that powerful antibiotics might help?
The first of Mama’s wishes was already fulfilled the previous night and that was that she, Larry and I were together again. Her second wish was to get discharged from the hospital, and the third being that she not die in pain. Another wish she had was to have a decent casket worth at least close to 100,000 pesos and proper religious rituals and services that she can be proud of. She had already set aside money for that. As usual, Mama had planned way ahead of time. Assignments were given to who was to foresee the prayers, masses, refreshments and other food. Larry was going to check on Mama’s memorial plan coverage, the funeral parlor, and the burial site requirements as well as the funeral mass. I didn’t have anything to contribute because I wasn’t familiar with the ins and outs of Zamboanga City. The final decision to be made was what to do with Mama’s hospitalization. We decided to meet Mama’s wish to go back to her apartment while continuing her maintenance medications and her pain pills (Morphine and Ultram or Tramadol). Out of respect for some people and because of their extreme kindness, I shall not write about the proselytizing which happened afterwards. Although it may help some people, it was just not for me. So sorry about that. So with all the decisions made, Operation Pilar was set in motion.
|Nurse checking Mama's vital signs|
We returned to the hospital to see Mama and let her know that we were going to ask her doctor to discharge her but not before consulting with the doctor the next day. By the way, the doctor started Mama on Morphine on this day because she was complaining of pain and the Tramadol was not helping much any more.We stayed with Mama until the hospital was ready to kick us out at 10 p.m.
*A side note – I don’t remember if I met the Tupaz family for the first time on Saturday morning or Sunday morning.
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