Disabled

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“Sayang ang ganda pa naman nya.” The officer who processed my ID told that to my Ate. She kiddingly OR not replied, “Hayaan nyo na po, panget na sya ngayon.”
I didin’t know that time how to react. I just smiled. But I know I was just trying to be OKAY. Okay as in okay, PWD ka na.
She handed me my PWD ID when I was still in the hospital and said, “Wag kang madedepress ha. Kailangan mo kasi yan.”

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At times I get sad because of that label, person with disability. My mother usually say, “Hindi ka na kasi normal. PWD ka na.”

PWD—- Any Filipino citizen with physical or mental impairment that restricts him or her to perform daily living activities either continuously or periodically for extended periods.

People have different reactions when they found out that I’m a PWD. Most of them, even if they don’t say a single word, are so confused as if I am playing a joke on them. I would say, “Ako yan” with a smile. Some would laugh about it. Wait, what’s funny? Kasi ‘multiple disabilities’ nga naman.
The rest… they feel sad. And it’s okay. I’m okay. I can’t be mad just because they don’t understand what’s really going on. Because they weren’t in my shoes.
If I am feeling down because of this, what more are those persons who can’t walk, hear or even see? I look perfectly fine physically and still can do almost everything but with limitations because of my heart and lung conditions. The word AWA has no room. Ain’t helping actually.
I read an article about the 5 things You Should Never Tell a PWD. And surprisingly, the num 1 is: Sayang ang (compliment) naman nya.

In my case, to that officer, it is never SAYANG. I am not sayang ’cause I’m still alive. That, I should say is the most important thing now.
Things may never be the same again but there would always be something to be grateful for. Like the privileges— discounts on fastfood chains and fares. 😛

Just sharing this story so that whenever you are facing some difficulties, always remember to look at the brighter side of life. That some things really do change and you’ve got to live with it.

Always have a grateful heart, no matter what.

Blessed Tube-d Heart

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They say that not everyone is given a second chance. And I guess, I am lucky I did. I am blessed.

It was just an ordinary day except for bagyong Ruby that I’ve decided to bring clothes because I might not be able to come home. But something’s wrong… my throat and chest were in pain; had slight fever too so I chose to go home in LB. It was December 08, 2014.

After 11 days, I raised my white flag, told my Ate to bring me to the hospital because I can’t breathe. I can feel my heart pounding as if it was going to explode. I could hardly catch my breath.

I was in the ER when my heart rate was 160bpm. They gave me a medication thru IV to lower it down, and it was 140 when they decided to admit me in the Step Down Unit- ICU to monitor my HR, RR and everything.
I never felt scared that time.
Until December 20 came. It was lunch time when I was busy eating spicy tuna salad from my nurse. Nagkakagulo na sila. My mother approached me and I asked her, “ano yun?” Sabi nya, “wala yun. Wag mo sila pansinin. Kung pwede ililipat kita sa Heart Center.” Then she walked away. My Ate who was on duty at Dialysis that time was also there. So I raised my eyebrow. Something wasn’t right. Everything wasn’t right.
She approached me and said, “ooperahan ka mamayang 5pm ha. Lalagyan ka ng tube sa heart para madrain yung water. Saglit lang yun.”  It was massive pericardial effusion that  I have to undergo what they call tube pericardiostomy.
They said that Dr. Baracol was the only surgeon in LB who could do that and he’s really good so I don’t have to panic, whatsoever.
I felt a little scared but I prayed. I prayed to God that He would guide us. I tried to calm myself until 6pm…

“Pagtapos ng operation,  babalik ako dito ha. Makikita pa kita.”  That line I told my nurse and he said, “Oo magkikita tayo bukas pagkagising mo.” Maybe I was trying to make sure na magigising ako. Na buhay pa ako after. I even waived to my family while I was being transferred to the operating room. They were all smiling.

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Credits to my cousin who’s a nurse in the hosp for this photo. That was Dr. Baracol and his asst. And of course the tube in my heart. 😉

“Arriane, Arriane….” I looked at them but I couldn’t recognize their faces. I closed my eyes again and after a few more minutes, I saw my Tita Ne. She was wearing a mask but I could see in her eyes that she was smiling.

I was back in SDU but I woke up with an endotracheal tube and a noisy ventilator machine besode me. I had a nasogastric tube and I felt this urinary catheter in me. And the tube in my heart, stitched in the skin near my tummy. Oh I wasn’t informed! I was so sleepy and couldn’t talk because of the tube so I didn’t have time to question everything.

They transferred me to ICU. That time I felt scared. I thought everything would be easy but why did they transfer me? And what are all these tubes doing in my body?

My oxygen level went down that I couldn’t sustain my own breathing during the operation so an endotracheal tube was put. There was no available machine that time but thanks God for the people behind who made everything possible.
My kidney wasn’t functioning well too and they have to monitor me.

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CT scan was performed and this was what my  lungs looked like. Left lung atelectasis.

3 days after the operation, the tube in my heart was removed. They didn’t remove it right after the operation because there were still fluids to be drained.
I spent Christmas in ICU. And learned from my SDU nurse on Christmas eve that they were actually worried and panicked last Dec 20 because if the operation wasn’t made, I wouldn’t be here.

My 7 days stay in ICU was unexpected. I had a left lung atelectasis indicative of community acquired pneumonia. And it took me 5 days to finally breathe through a cannula and not with an ET tube and a ventilator. That, I could say was the worst part. I couldn’t talk, cry and scream. I felt helpless.
And everytime my respiratory rate reaches 40, the monitor would make a loud beeping sound.
I can’t cough so they would suction me and I wouldn’t want to experience it again EVER!!!

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And again, thank you to my cousin for the photos. That was me sleeping. Perfect stolen shot of my stay in the ICU mehehehe.

Looking back, my story always bring tears to my eyes. I never shed a single tear in my stay at ICU. I was brave, they say. But my mother wasn’t. She couldn’t afford to see me that she visited me only twice. I couldn’t blame her. I am her baby girl.

One of my pulmonologists said, “Arriane Merry Christmas! You are so loved! Ang daming tao sa labas because they want to see you.” Yes, my family— aunties, cousins and of course friends. One of the many reasons why I continued my fight. Why I was strong that time.

I was transferred to a private room December 27. Spent New Year with my Ate and Mariel. It was fine. I never lost hope that one day I could finally go out.

But I guess God wanted me to be the strongest that I could be.
Another problem arrived… my gastrointestinal system. I had to go back with kabiven, the “food” that they were giving me in the ICU for days through IV. My nasogastric tube was also put back that I wanted to cry.

And worst,  my hemoglobin went down. I needed a blood transfusion. My Ate travelled to PGH just to get 2 units of blood because there was no available here in Laguna.

I wanted to give up but realized that I have come a long way to recovery. Few more days and I know I will be okay. My amylase and lipase were high, indicative of pancreatitis.

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I remained hopeful and my faith, still strong. That every single morning I opened my eyes, I utter the words, “Thank you Lord ginising Nyo pa po ako.”
After 28 days…. I finally heard, “May Go Home.”

I can’t remember how many blood tests, radiologies, ultrasounds, 2d echos, CT scans, IVs, medications and tiring nebulizing sesh I have experienced. I can’t recall how many sleepless nights I had to endure just because I have to drink meds and I wasn’t feeling well. I never thought  I would be amazed with the kabivens I “ate” through IV. 😉

But I must say….
I was strong that time. I was at my strongest. I never imagined I have surpassed every painful thing I could experience in my entire life.

One reason….
Like what I always say, I am keeping my faith. That I didn’t worry but instead PRAY. That when I was about to give up, I prayed.

Maybe it’s true. That…

God gives His strongest battles to His toughest soldiers.

I cut my HAIR

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I cut my hair because….

He told me to do so.

Weeks ago I was planning to have my hair ‘curled’ again. I want to maintain my brown curls instead of bringing back my not-so-straight one. And besides, it’s just 9 months since I took the courage to go to the salon and said, “magpapakulot po ako.”

Like all other girls, hair MATTERS a lot.
I quote Jill Scott, “For me, hair is an accoutrement. Hair is jewelry. It’s an accessory.”
Well as for me, my hair represents who I am. BRAVE. Brave enough to do whatever I want to.

Then another courageous episode to the salon of cutting my long, brown hair and changing it to short and black.

Because he told me to do so.

I cut my hair…

Because I thought he’s going to love me if I do so.

But I saw her

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She was instantly wiping the tears running down her cheeks because she knew that someone would see her crying.
Someone, even for a second, would stop and think, “why is she crying? What happened to her? Is she okay?”

Something happened to her for sure. Something that breaks her heart that even if she’s outside the building in the smoking area, she don’t mind.

Actually, she won’t mind at all. Maybe she can’t contain her sadness that she needs to let it out.

Her heart is breaking into pieces.

 

I saw her walking while wiping the tears ran down her cheeks. She was avoiding to look at me even if she knew I noticed her. I thought for a second, I hope she’s okay.

I didn’t mind seeing her cry. But I could hear her sighs and her heart’s breaking into pieces.

I know what it feels like….

I know because at that moment in the smoking area, I wanted to cry myself too.
I want to let it all out. To somehow feel okay after crying.

The past few days have been hard for me. It’s been really tough for three weeks already.
Sometimes I find myself crying on my way home, or even when I am walking and suddenly remember every shit that’s happening.

And every shit that isn’t happening.

Today, as I saw this girl crying, I was reminded of myself. Of how brave I am for not hiding what I feel. That maybe, I am not afraid to let everyone know that yes, my heart is breaking. I am crying but eventually, as I wipe the tears, I know I will be able to survive. In God’s time.

Take your FINAL bow?

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They say you have to face your fears. But what if my fear used to be the reason of my happiness months ago? If this fear of seeing him and talking to him should be faced, then I must say, I really can’t face my fears.

That was weeks ago.

Finally, I have decided to face it. Met him last night. I was patiently waiting for almost 2 hours. He came…

I couldn’t explain how I felt when I saw him standing there. It feels like all the memories came flashing back when we used to see each other once or twice a week. I greeted him with a smile.

And he said sorry for being late (parang dati palagi din syang late sa usapan namin hehehe :p). Me, always forgiving. Charot :)))

We talked for an hour or so. And I admit, everything was so relieving.

I told him everything.

I didn’t ask him questions because I wanted him to speak up, to clear things and to be courageous enough to stand up like a real man. And I guess he did a good job.

I told him everything. Except for one… That I miss him so much I could cry all day, all night, because I can’t contain it anymore. 😦

But there are some things that should be left unspoken.

Like what I’ve been saying, this time I won’t let my guards down. I will be the protector of my heart because I own it. DUH. 🙂

I didn’t hear him say goodbye. I was expecting an ending, a dramatic scene maybe. But all I got was a smiling man who stood beside me waiting for my ride. “Okay na ha… :)”

I know we will see each other again. And who knows? It would be different. It would be what I am hoping for. Maybe it would be the perfect time at the perfect place.

No doors to be closed for now…

 

 

Keep Your Head Up

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Keep Your Head Up

Thought Catalog

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When you’re on top of the world the warm sun hits your shoulders just right. All of your worries are carried away with the wind at your back as you exhale, taking in the serene mountaintop view. The ordinary becomes the extraordinary as colors appear more vivid and music sounds sweeter. In those small moments everything is right and good in the universe. It seems as if nothing could ever bring you down.

But what do you do when you’ve hit your rock bottom? When hot tears spill out of your soulful eyes, stinging your cheeks, and leaving your vision even blurrier than it was before. You’re gasping for air between sobs, not sure if you could take another step without falling to your knees. You feel exhausted but you can’t sleep because you can’t escape your own mind. Even in your dreams you feel trapped, weighed down by…

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Love Will Knock You Down

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Thought Catalog

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One day you will kiss the wrong person hello because you are eager not to feel alone. The kiss will be plastic and there will be no spark but you will stay anyway. A hand held remains warm for a while, even if there is no fire. You are tired of being cold.

One day you will fall for the wrong line because you are a lover of words that weave their way through your soul and make themselves at home in your heart. You collect these words in clips and phrases so they fit into your memories until they have grown sour with time. You will try to tear them out of your past and out of your mind but you cannot keep them from their home. This is something you will learn to understand because you know words are more than “just words”: they are moments and…

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