Sunday, September 7, 2008

swallow

I have been working for over a year now. All this time, I never really had the time to just stop and look at the things that have happened to me. It's always been about my career and getting to work on time and making sure I don't screw up in a major way.

As things started to slow down at my new job, I felt the zeal slowly getting sucked out of me. There's a part in my introduction where I say "training is my passion because it's the perfect marriage of my two worlds." I always talk about how I finally have the chance to do what I want since I never got to teach at a real school. Lately though, I can taste the insincerity as the words come out of my mouth. It's like I stopped believing that my life had finally reached a peaceful state. I couldn't swallow my self-formed ideals. Deep down, I wondered where the happy boy that was once inside me went.

This time last week, I took some time off to relax and got myself a foot spa at the friendly neighborhood salon. On my way back though, the weather was not quite as friendly. By Monday morning, I had a high fever and a splitting headache and (unknown to me) the beginnings of tonsillitis.

Armed with a bag full of Bactidol, Strepsils, and Bioflu, I went to the office that night. Sometime within my shift, I felt weaker and weaker. I wasn't eating much and taking water was too much pain. At the ninth hour, I promptly checked out and went home but I wasn't feeling any better. I slept, sans brushing my teeth, washing my face or even changing out of my street clothes. When I woke up, I sensed that it was no longer just my introduction or my job that I couldn't swallow. I was now unable to swallow food, water, or medication. I had to see the doctor.

I checked in and got some time to rest and think about things. By Friday, I can honestly say that I had a new found appreciation for the work that I do. I just really needed to rest. I felt like I had a new lease on life. Not only that, I started to look at things differently. Ladies and gentlemen, Thoughts from Semi-Private 4.

I need new slippers. My slippers are so dirty, it's not even funny. They look nothing like the pair I bought years ago. When slippers are dirty, they have dirt marks. When slippers are really dirty, they have clean marks. There's so much dirt on my slippers' surface that instead of keeping them clean, I had all sorts of dirt under my feet.




Makati is really pretty. I've been a resident of this city since July of last year and I've also worked here for longer than that. True, Makati is nice at night but it's f-ing gorgeous in the early morning. Even through the hospital's dirty windows, I could still see it, taste it, feel it. It's a cool city and I'm glad we finally made peace.

Pulp = Fun. I had my first taste of Minute Maid thirteen years ago during a lengthy visit to the States. We were in a grocery and I asked my mom for some money because I wanted to try the Coke vending machine (ever the usi). She didn't give me any but that didn't stop me. I pushed the buttons repetitively till a can of Minute Maid came out (or was it a little bottle?). Recently launched in the Philippines, it was one of my closest companions in the hospital. It gave me so much pleasure that I started to worry that it may run out too quickly. How could I find such contentment over a bottle of juice? I guess when you're always in a hurry, you never really stop and think about the small things that make you happy. I had this epiphany halfway through the bottle. I made a quick resolution to pay more attention to whatever is at hand.

IVs suck. They're painful and they make your hand swell up. Since my tonsils were so big that I couldn't take my meds orally, I had to take them intravenously. I always thought taking meds was really easy until I had three syringes full of co-amoxiclav shot up my left arm. Now that's pain. With that in mind, I swore to take better care of myself and that I would never again push my limitations. Tired? Rest. Hungry? Eat. Seconds? Maybe not.


I wasn't wasting money when I bought all those things for myself. For about three-quarters of my entire hospital stay, I was alone. I didn't have anyone with me at night and I had a total of nine visitors and only three (yes folks, count 'em) of them were not related to me. So for all the hours in between Friends reruns and blood tests, I took lots and lots of pictures. I listened to lots and lots of songs. I played Chuzzle, Monopoly, 20 Questions and a lot more. I read books that I bought months ago but never got to read. In between pages of Sputnik Sweetheart and the third hour of songs on shuffle, I realized I was having a blast and I didn't even have to spend for it.

So what started as a step to save my life (and tonsils) ended up becoming an impromptu vacation. I look forward to working tomorrow knowing that I've had my goals realigned and my outlook refreshed. Now if I could just get my left hand to stop looking like a prosthetic...

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