I was in 2nd grade on my way to school in our 3-year old car when my mom handed me this plastic pencil case with an aluminum button with which to open and close it. It was a Hallmark Shirttails thin plastic pencil case that had a flap that in those days was sold cheap. It was reminiscent of those plastic cases nerd engineers use which was really small and handy that they could keep in their shirt pockets to store their drawing instruments and writing pens. I was given a pencil case because 2 weeks prior, I kept bugging my mom about buying me a Beautiful Sunday pencil case. I wanted a pink one with lots of compartments which now that I think about it, were completely useless except for maybe one where I could keep my eraser. It was really just a fancy thing that girls my age wanted to waste money on to make us feel like we were part of this exclusive club who had fancy pencil cases. It was like the iPhone of our generation, the Prada or Louis Vuitton of my age. Anyone who had one felt special. And I wanted to feel special. I wanted to be part of that group who had fancy stuff. Alas, as I found out soon enough I would never be part of that group. Yes I was the daughter of two doctors. One was a pediatrician and the other one was a general physician/internist. They were doctors but they were not rich. They became doctors because that’s what their parents wanted for them. So they went through the motions and fulfilled their parents’ dreams.
I remember my childhood as happy and sad at the same time. I was happy because I knew my parents really loved me and that gesture of my mom giving me that pencil case told me that she would do anything for her kids just to make us happy. She knew I wanted the Beautiful Sunday pencil case and I’m pretty sure she saw my initial reaction when I took the pencil case from her hands. I’m not going to lie. I was extremely disappointed but I knew what it took for my mom to get that for me. She knew I’d be disappointed and I tried really hard not to show it (Well that’s how I remember it. I hope my memory isn’t as bad as I think.) I knew she really wanted to give me the pencil case I really fancied but I also knew that during that time my parents we’re struggling to make ends meet. Imagine, there were 4 of us in school, one in college, 2 in high school and then there was me. All of us were studying in exclusive Catholic schools which meant that the tuition fees were not cheap. They struggled but they persevered. I just remember my parents putting us first in everything. They put our needs and wants ahead of their own. ALWAYS. I know they would have given us everything we wanted if only they could afford it. They provided for us and gave us what we needed and that’s enough. Of course now when I look back and think about it, I can understand but at the time, I really couldn’t. I didn’t resent my parents but I think I was really envious of the other kids having cooler stuff, being able to go to Disneyland during summer, having chauffeurs and having more than one car. I think it was one of the reasons why I was so introverted as a kid. It was really hard for me to make friends. I thought that I had to have what they had because that’s just how you make friends and not having any of the things my peers had made me so self-conscious. I guess I just couldn’t relate and most likely I just didn’t develop my own personality until I was 10.
When I turned 10 years old, my mom transferred me to a different school and this gave me the opportunity to re-invent myself. I still didn’t have what others had but I was tall, I was athletic and I had wit. Suddenly I was the cool kid who was great at playing volleyball, I knew a lot of the cool new songs and I was just the new kid who everyone thought was cool. I’m not really sure how that happened but it just did and I made lots of friends. This lasted for three years and then came high school. My mom realized she had made a mistake by transferring me to this other school and thought that my old school was still the best so she transferred me back to my old school. Of course when I came back, most of my peers had skipped a grade because at the time I think the school thought my schoolmates deserved it. So I became friends with those left behind and with the ones who were a year younger but who had also skipped a grade themselves. My high school years were fun but also miserable. I was lazy and was just focused on enjoying myself. My mom still thought I was doing okay and was able to adjust pretty well but in truth, I had a hard time. I still felt pretty lost and my parents couldn’t figure out why I was not doing so well when they thought I was really smart. I guess I just didn’t have my priorities straight and all I was focused on was having fun without any regard for the future. Not even thinking about how hard it was for my parents to send me to that private Catholic girls school. I was boy crazy. I had my first boyfriend when I was 14 and the guy was a lot older. I just wasn’t thinking straight and my parents probably didn’t know how to handle me. I was rebellious, moody and difficult. I didn’t make it easy for them. I was a very quiet child so it was hard for my parents, especially my mom to understand me or relate to me. They didn’t know how to talk to me and I felt the same way. I regret all of that now. Sometimes I wish everything was different. I wish I had opened up more. Maybe my life would be so much different. Maybe I’d be more successful, maybe not. Who knows?
I just know now that I have a kid of my own, that I can’t control everything and what’s bound to happen will. I know that I would do my best for my daughter, always be there whenever she needs me and guide her every step of the way. I would not necessarily do things differently because I think my parents did a hell of a job raising me and my siblings given the circumstances. It’s really scary sometimes when I think about what my daughter’s going to be like when she grows up, if we’ll be able to keep up with rising school fees and the ever-increasing standard of living. Everything is so uncertain and I can’t tell you how extremely daunting that is. My only hope is that my daughter grows up to be a confident, well-rounded, down-to-earth, smart and kind person with a great sense of humor and a big heart. I think if she grows up more successful than me or my partner, that would just be icing on the cake.
Came home a few hours ago from the hospital. Had to bring my sister there because she was having an allergy attack & the hives on her body were getting out of control. Anyway, she didn’t get any better so there goes her P2500. It’s so disappointing because we’re pretty familiar with that hospital. We didn’t know any doctors there personally since the last time any of my family members got hospitalized there was when I was still in high school & I’m 39 years old now. When my mom was still alive, we used to bring her there often because of asthma attacks. I don’t remember exactly when we stopped going to that hospital & started going to this other one which was much closer to where we lived.
About a month ago, I had to be brought to the ER because of acid reflux. We went to the hospital which was closer to where we lived & the treatment was so bad that i had to leave in a huff. I was so riled up that I thought the pain I was feeling had gone. Turns out it hadn’t. So I had to go back out but just didn’t want to go back to the same hospital. I remembered about the other hospital, went there & “rediscovered” it. The treatment was an improvement but not much better.
So earlier when my sister was trying to recuperate in one of the hospital beds in the ER & I was trying to get some sleep, a mother carrying her daughter burst in & shouted in a panicked voice, “My daughter is having a seizure!” And nobody moved, they just looked. The mother had to repeat herself & this time the interns “skipped” into action. I don’t want to say jumped because they didn’t. I don’t know if it was sleep deprivation or they were all in a trance but everyone moved in slow motion. I wasn’t a doctor but it made me want to jump. The panick in the mother’s voice seemed like an electric shock that was forcing me to move.
At that moment, I felt angry. Angry because first of all, we arrived at the ER at around 3:30am & there were 2 interns slumped on the table & another one on a chair, asleep. I understand they were probably tired but c’mon! Do you have to do it there where you’re the very first people that the patient (who’s feeling horrible most likely) is going to see? The intern who accommodated us didn’t even bother to wake the others up. Neither did the resident doctor. Is this how hospitals operate now? No more respect for the profession, no more honor? Yes there weren’t many patients at the time & they’re probably really tired but don’t hospitals have sleeping quarters anymore? Do you have to do that in front of patients? Both my parents were doctors & I doubt if they ever did that during their time.
Next was the drinking water. After they checked my sister & made a diagnosis, they gave her a tablet that they wanted her to take right away. One of the interns handed it her & when my sister asked if they had water, the intern looked at me as if I could magically produce water out of my ass. If it weren’t so infuriating, it’d be comical. I just looked back at her & mentally told her ” I am not Jesus.” She got the hint & fetched the cup of water herself. I mean if you’re going to ask the patient to drink medicine, at least have the common sense to think that they’d need water to be able to pull that off.
Third. The doctors weren’t able to make my sister feel better. If anything, the medicine they gave her even brought out more hives. They put heplock in one of the veins in my sister’s hand & it bled. As far as I know, it wasn’t supposed to do that. Also, i felt that the resident doctor could have been more articulate. Yes, I know she’s a doctor & not an English teacher but if you can’t speak English properly then just speak in the vernacular. We’re all Filipinos after all.
My sister just asked to be discharged since she felt that being there wasn’t doing her any good. In fact she felt so uncomfortable, she wanted to leave right away.
It’s really frustrating to get treatment at hospitals these days. What’s really sad is that you get substandard care & service & you even have to pay a ridiculous amount for it too. Wow.
Last night, as my daughter and I were studying for a quiz today, I saw that she accidentally brought her classmate’s book home. I asked her if the owner of the book was her friend and she said no. I asked why and she said “because she doesn’t like me”. I was a bit surprised because ever since she started school, she’s been telling me about the friends she’s made and she’s made a lot. It was the first time I heard that someone didn’t like my daughter. I asked her “How did you know?” and she said, “because she told me.” That caught me off guard. So i asked her a series of questions like “How did that make you feel?” “Are you okay?” “What did you do when she said that to you?” “What did you say to her?” and all this time my daughter was acting like everything was hunky dory and it just didn’t bother her at all. I think it bothered me more than it did her and she’s only 4 years old. She told me she didn’t say or do anything and that she’s okay with it because she has lots of friends who like her and that I and her Dada like her very much and that’s okay. I guess I shouldn’t be worried either because the last time I talked to my daughter’s teacher, she said that Una’s very friendly. I just didn’t really think that anybody would not like my daughter. I mean, how could anyone not like that face? Of course you can’t please everybody and it’s amazing that my kid understands this better than I do. Kids are awesome!