Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Doctor's Visit and Another Answered Prayer

Due to the hectic schedule that I had the past weeks, this one is yet again another late post. I know that in some posts in this blog, I have mentioned being diagnosed with glaucoma and being on treatment for almost five years now. Since the diagnosis in 2009 and religiously taking the medication that the doctor prescribed, I really have not gone to see any doctor for follow ups and monitoring mainly because of again, my schedule with work and setting appointments don't sync with it. 

When I went to see my optometrist late last year, I was advised to have my glaucoma checked. And just like any other person, I had these fears of doing so -- simply because I was afraid to hear that my condition is progressing. But my optometrist had a point as she told me that I rely on my eyes to perform most of my duties at work and so I should invest in taking good care of it.

I decided to look for possible doctors specializing in glaucoma and found American Eye Center. As luck would have it, the clinic is accredited by the HMO provided by my current employer. My first appointment was last February 13 (yes, so it was technically a pre-Vaentine's date as how my officemates say). Setting up the appointment was easy as I only had to register and book a date and time through their website. It also gives you the option to choose your doctor. In my case, it was with Dr. Norman Aquino. I'd say that I made the right choice when I opted for American Eye Center for my consultation. My condition was well-explained to me by my doctor; from what the cause is to how it can be treated. And while he had informed me that what I have is not curable at the moment, it can be managed and controlled delaying the prognosis. During my appointment in February, Dr Aquino had my medication changed and asked me to return a month after for some tests and to see if there had been improvement. And just like any waiting game, I would go through times of fear and worry. But when those would strike, I try to believe on something good and seek the brighter side.

March 13 was exactly a month after the first appointment. I left work early and decided to meet Mama in Shangri-La where their clinic is. After going through routine procedures, Dr Aquino asked if I would like to have the procedures done that day of have it re-scheduled after a month. After verifying that my HMO provider would cover the costs for the tests, I decided to give it a go. Besides having  intra-ocular pressure evaluated, I had to undergo three different tests: HRT, OCT and visual field perimetry. All of the three tests lasted an hour.

It was a lengthy one hour. When the results were being read and interpreted by my doctor, the results showed that they are mostly in normal levels which meant that the treatment is working and that it should be managed and maintained so that the glaucoma won't worsen. While there were no happy tears, I was indeed happy and relieved. A couple of weeks before the March 13 appointment, I only prayed for a "good news" and when the results came out that day, it was good one indeed.

Of course, the appointment did not end without the doctor's advice; the do's and dont's which I even wrote on my planner. The tests repeated after a year to about a year and a half and regular check-ups at least twice a year, and that if something comes up that I can just call up the clinic (which saves me time as I won't need to set an appointment).

For now, it means taking the prescribed medication and loads of prayers. There are three "miracles" I am praying for, two of which concerning my condition and I know for sure, God will work out something about it.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sunday Morning at Kanlungan ni Maria

She's somebody's mother, boys, you know,
For all she's aged and poor and slow,
And I hope some fellow will lend a hand
To help my mother, you understand.

                                  -Mary Dow Brine, Somebody's Mother- 

I first learned about Kanlungan ni Maria from reading Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio's blog, Wanders & Wonders. Since joining Microsourcing's iVolunteer team last year, it has been one of my secret wishes to volunteer in an orphanage or in a home for the elderly. So when our CSR team had announced that this year's recipient of the fund-raising activity was this humble home, it was something I could not miss for the word.

Last Sunday's trip to the hills of Antipolo was also nostalgic. I spent a good four and a half years of my life fulfilling one of my dreams as a write for one of the offices located in this area -- it was also where I first got acquainted with the value of corporate social responsibility. So despite nursing a cold, I still pushed through and participated with the weekend activity.

Our group was composed of employees from branches in Eastwood, MDC 100 and  Two E-Com Mall of Asia. Besides the turnover of donations, part of the activity that morning was spending time with the lolos and lolas of the nursing home.

Kanlungan ni Maria is a nursing home run by Fr. Darry Dioquino and currently, there are 22 lolos and lolas in their care. Each of them have different stories to tell. Most of them have lost touch with their families or they no longer have family members or relatives who can look after them.

On the left photo is Nanay Bing, During our visit, she sat next to Yaya Cita, who was the first resident of the nursing home. Nanay Bing served as the "interpreter" between me and Yaya Cita, who since suffering a stroke last year, had difficulty in speaking. I tried to ask Nanay Bing why Yaya Cita preferred to be called that way rather than "lola" or "nanay". She told me that it was because Yaya Cita did not have any child of her own thus the absence of grandkids.

The lady with me in the middle photo is Nanay Remy. She's in her 70's and is a widow. Her husband died just a week or two after being diagnosed with cancer. I had spent quite an amount of time having conversations with her talking about realities of life which included marriage. Just like my parents, Nanay Remy was married to her husband for 30 years before he passed away. And for someone like me who is considering the idea of settling down in a few years, her advice proved me that the words of wisdom from the elderly are still the best reference to some of life's questions ( and that's despite the emergence of things you can just read on the web).

Nanay Puti. That was what's written on her name tag and it made us all curious. When I asked her about it, she just pointed to her white hair making me nod and smile. In the middle of our conversation, her carer approached us and said that she just turned 90 years old the day before our visit. She reminded me of my paternal grandmother who is living with us as she is now 93 years old. Her family was killed during the Japanese occupation making her the only survivor. She is also a widow, and did not have a child of her own. They adopted two kids (a boy and a girl) but sadly, both abandoned her.

Before we left, we mentioned our plan to return to visit them (even as a group or on our own) to which they said we are most welcome. Nanay Puti said that the shelter welcomes visitors and volunteers daily from 10 am to 4 pm. and help in any form is greatly appreciated. We were only visiting them for just a few hours, but it was time well spent. What earned my admiration was that despite of their experiences and circumstance, the lolos and lolas still remained and chose to live a happy disposition.

Kanlungan ni Maria 
#17 Lanzones Road Nayong Silangan
Antipolo City 1870


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Two Blessed Years

Standing at the edge of the Earth with a wonderful view.

"What on Earth am I here for?"

Even before this line became popularized in Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life, this has been something that I had asked myself. For years, I was trying to find my place under the sun career wise and looking for it was no walk in the park. But likewise things worth having  are worth waiting for.

When I was 23 years old, I was offered a job that would send me to Australia. But it was something I had to let go out of my own reasons. My parents, despite not saying any word were disappointed with my decision.There are times I regret it but then I also thought, it may not be the right time.

Yesterday was my second year in the Australian law firm. I had the chance to talk to my boss on Skype and upon hearing the words "Happy anniversary", he followed it with the expression "how time flies."

I tried to think of it. Time flies fast indeed. But it is a great thing that when I think of it, a couple of thousand case files, court documents, phone calls and appointment schedules, I am still here. I may have missed the chance of flying to Sydney Australia and work there for good, but God made up for what I have missed six years after.

In my two years of being in this job, I had learned a lot of things. Numerous things had been added to my job description and seemingly, I could be called different titles, and yet I don't mind. I'm happy serving not only my boss but other people as well. Two years of observing Australian holidays, learning when to use the terms arvo, donatio mortis causa and knowing what a bloke is. My job has taught me patience and to not sweat the small stuff.

The people I work with are not just colleagues. They are my second family. My boss and his wife, despite just being some years older than I am are like my parents.

What I have now is more than just a career. For it is in the same place where I go everyday, I also found the fulfillment of some of my wishes, of some of my heart's desires. And each passing day, I can't let the day pass without being thankful. To be grateful that God is giving me the feasible life that I have always been praying for.