Feb 28, 2016

Mateo at 8: "Extra"

I was ready to have my fallopian tube cut after the 2nd c-section to deliver Meg. I was waiting at the operating table with an open tummy when the medical staff came back, and told me they could not proceed with the ligation because my very smart husband did not sign the consent. And I could do nothing but silently cursed my husband while the medical staff stitched my stomach back.

Two years and a half after, I was back at the operating table. This time to deliver yet another "unexpected " baby (as I was really planning to have no-more baby or at least wait for another 5years). And, this time, the husband got wiser and "broke-r" and so he signed the ligation consent. 

I was supposed to name this boy Barachial, he's an angel. But MIL thought that the baby might have problems later with immigration officer because of a terrorist-sounding name. So we picked up the most convenient name, Mateo, in the most Bisaya spelling. Not Matthew or whatever other variation so as to easily spell it out. But unfortunately, people tend to spell it the "American" version or Italian - Matthew.

We were already preparing for 2 years of "horror life" of raising a baby -- no sleep and all the grumpiness that comes with it. But fortunately, either because of experience of winging out babysitting or Mateo came out to be a not so horrible baby. He's somewhat "calmer" compared to the older ones. He's quite an enjoyable baby. Somehow Mateo made me re-think of my ligation decision (Though, in medical sense, it's not really safe to stretch it to more babies when you have c-sections.)

Being the youngest and a bit of a gap with the 2 older siblings, Mateo can be sometimes "taken for granted" in this family. Sometimes, he's treated as that "baby" and sometimes we forgot that we have a baby. He's kind of like that "extra" family member that "oh yeah, we have that family member" that needs to be considered in decision makings (Mmmmm like selecting appropriate video games). Anyhow, he is that "enjoyable" who happens to just do well with the set-up, and no hang-ups. 

In the world of the "older kids," he's the wallflower. But he's also the master in his age group because he knows more video game tricks; thanks to the older people who think he's a "flower."

But his being "extra" was kind of re-think last last year, when this "enjoyable" kid said he wanted to "die" because he felt useless while he was crying. I felt I was/am such a horrible mother. Honestly, it was my fault. I was really in this made-up busy-ness at that time that this "extra" member was somehow totally forgotten. I guess he was also struggling with his reading skills big time (and probably felt bad that he's left out among his peers). I thought being the "enjoyable" kid, he could just wing it out. Unfortunately, not.

Fastforward, I believe he's an "enjoyable" kid again. I actually forgot about that "sad" incident until he showed me a note from his teacher:
I welcome this with a grateful heart that the teacher is truly being nice. And, I'm really hoping that this is a sign that that part of Mateo is "healed."

Teacher Leni has been with Mateo since his prep days. Honestly, I'm not impressed with her teaching skills especially being a fresh graduate when she started. But she was/is always sincere. Once, she was teary-eyed telling me how worried she was with Mateo's reading skills. And, weird that I had to calm her that Mateo will be fine and assured her that she's doing a great job (Having 2 other kids, those kind of "delay" happens. I mean kids will survive one way or another. Plus Mateo was just like 5yrs old at that time. Boys tend to learn to read later than girls.)

I think Mateo and Teacher Leni has some sort of a love-hate relationship. Mateo sometimes speak fondly of her, and sometimes not; it's probably the same with Teacher Leni towards Mateo. And, I believe this is one of those things more than all those "sun-is-the-center-of-the-universe" kind of learning that I treasure most in a school, teacher, or wherever. (By the way, teacher and I are not friends.)

Anyway, he turned 8 this month, Feb. 18.  Finally, he got a decent strawberry cake this time from @keihlasmom (For orders, look her up on IG with that username.). Strawberry is a favorite flavor of him, and so most of his birthday, he would ask for that cake flavor.
It did not occur to us that we have a "boy" who likes pink, until some people would ask if are we sure with pink strawberry cake. Oh yeah, we sometimes don't put much thought about that "extra" family member. 

Feb 17, 2016

7:01 PM

My celphone registered 7:01 pm, upon checking it, when I no longer hear any breathing after somewhat a long sigh from my nanay. It's a month now since that last breath.

I never knew she would have her last breath a month ago. 

Our conversation the night before were the usual casual exchanges of her complaining about pains. She developed new pains in her legs. I was telling her that it could be because she's no longer moving much as she was bed-ridden. But in my mind, I felt that it could be the cancer already spreading to her bones.

She told me, "ganahan na kaayo ko mopahuway, 'day." 

It did not surprise me. She had been saying it for the nth time. My default answer to her was that I would pray harder for it, and let's make our faith and trust in Him stronger that he has the best plans for her and us.

That night I decided to change her colostomy plate when I noticed her lower abdomen was hard (I did not know that would be the last time I had to deal with her colostomy plate and bag). My heart was crushed a hundred times when I sense the hardening in her lower abdomen. It could mean a huge mass in her intestine again, in her kidney, in her ovary, or all over there or I don't know where. Gawd, that must be so painful.

So while cleaning her colostomy, my mind was debating if she should undergo another surgery or just resort to high-dosage pain relievers as a way to relieve her from the discomforts from that big mass in her lower abdomen. 

But I doubt if she could handle another operation. The last time she was hospitalized, her body barely reacted to the strong vials after vials of antibiotics. 

Then, maybe it would be the time to really get her into high-dosage of pain reliever.  But A cancer patient in pain and a pain-free cancer patient but is drugged is equally painful to look at. Though, there's a bit of assurance that at least she's not in pain but still they're very sad to look at it.

After I was done with her colostomy, I told her we would go to the hospital after Sinulog, which she said no to. So I told her I needed the help of the doctors to sort things out. It was the night before Sinulog. In her situation, it's really hard to move her around so I'd rather not risk getting into the mob of Sinulog, and prayed for the Sinulog to be over soon.

And so the best I could offer to her were pain relievers and downers. 

I was weighing what should I pair to prescription sleeping pill: should it be arcoxia or algesia or biogesic or buscopan or others. As lately, they did not do much on her pain. And I was also scared of experimenting because sometimes the effect could be bad. Also, I had not much room to experiment since she was having difficulty downing any thing solid.

So I was praying hard that the pills would get her straight to sleepingville, to being too knocked out to feel the pain. :(  

In an hour or two, she was gibberish. Either she was in so much pain that she just talked nonsense, or the pain killers worked and that was the effect on her.

It was probably around 4am when finally, her eyes closed, and I believed to myself she was sleeping. Finally, we're able to rest.

Throughout the day of the Sinulog, she was asleep. From time to time, I would catch her with eyes open, and conversation would be about asking her if she would like to eat, drink or she would want oxygen. Either she would go back to sleep before I finished talkig or she would simply turned her head to signal No. 

It was 3pm, I could sense her breathing was harder this time. But I told myself that it's probably nothing. 

We went out and bought snacks.

It was 4pm when the Lay Minister Bro. Warly came for her "kalawat." I woke her up, and her breathing was really unusual. I already had to push the pinch of the "hostice" into her throat so she could take it.

I got a feeling that this must be it. I asked the kids to hug her, say I love you, and their farewell. Then my turn. She replied "I love You" in a very whispery voice.

I did not cry. I did not want her to have a hard time leaving. So I just sat down beside her, and prayed. 

Her breathing went from hard, to long ones. The kids went out to the other house for dinner. It was just the 2 of us when I heard the last breath. I continued praying, I did not dare look at her to confirm until Mark came back, and confirmed it.

Then, I cried... for sadness but more of happiness. Kapahuway na jud sya on the night of the Sinulog celebration. The Sinulog did not end so soon as What I prayed for; THEY had other plan, which was somehow we're prepared for.


Every time I think back, I wish I had more "meaningful conversations" with her instead of about pain relievers and hospitals and oxygens. 

Feb 14, 2016

Badian One-Night Stand: A Probinsyana Mother's Pains

You know when you're a "promdi", and how you silently laugh at a cousin or a friend's relatives who were city kids who vacationed for awhile in your "probinsya" and they look so awkward: from drinking water from the "puso" (deep well), to catching grasshoppers, to climbing and playing tag-and-it while up in the trees, to  swimming in "irrigation," how frogs and haunted-looking giant trees scared them, and how you dared them to eat kanding2x and otot2x "wild" fruits. But of course, the city kids had shinier stuff: they have more game and watch units, they have more tricks on video games, more pairs of mighty kids, and they have better access to m&m's and combos (which I only got to taste when city kids were around). To be fair, the promdi kids have probably worse stereotypes from the city kids.

So basically, this is one of my secret fears for my kids -- that they will be that awkward city kids when they get to my "turf."
And as Murphy's law said "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." The thing I fear most is happening to me. I kinda have kids who perfectly fits the city kids stereotype. What can you expect when their father is also one. 

So city kids be like:
I will bring all my thingmajigs Just in case, something goes wrong in this 5-minute adventure.
Oh look, goat, chicken, cow! I'm seeing them in real life, and not in heyday!
"I conquer you, Fruit!" Does PVZ have coconut?
Oh will we get lost? Is there a restart button?
That was a lot of hardwork, we deserve refreshments: siakoy,
(Spot the twins in this photo.)
Ice cream!

Actually, city kids are not that bad! A longer overnight next time!

Feb 12, 2016

Wallet Size

We packed nanay's stuff into a box, which we will bring to Badian this weekend. I checked her bags and wallets, which were almost empty except for a few memorabilias, prescriptions, pharmaceutical discount coupons, and wallet-size photos of her grandchildren.

I put everything into the box except for these. 

Feb 9, 2016

Sprain Specialist Ankle

My right ankle is already a sprain specialist. I keep a diary of posts here of its "experiences."

Anyhow, the last trip it had was last Friday. It was after a wonderful day with #titasofcebu and great coffee from Kapehan Ceferina, on soft opening at their coffee shop in Cabancalan, Mandaue, cebu (beside Europa Hotel) when it decided to make its presence felt in the early part of 2016. I was on my of getting a cab from a good night at Kapehan Ceferina when I dived into the "sidewalk." Thankfully, Friends were nearby and thankfully more franee and karla drove me home.

So back to the sprain specialist ankle, amazingly, it healed fast this time (BUYAG! Knock on wood.). Maybe after a lot of trips, it somehow learned a trick or two in healing itself fast. Also, I gathered a few tips and tricks along the way from the bystanders, who were unfortunate to witness my accidents.

So here are some tips for your sprains:
Before any thing else, when you fall down from the unexpect sprain, don't move or do any thing until the pain subsides or you're able to control it. Because moving or getting yourself up right away can alleviate the pain, and might result to fainting based on experience. So it can be humiliating to be down on the floor or dirt sprawling but just embrace it until you get a better hold of pain. Then,
1. Ice it right away, then elevate it. As corny as it is, RICE (rest, ice, elevate. I forgot the C) works. This tip I got from a school nurse who once rescued me.
2. Apply vicks on the affected area, stick some "atis" leaves on it and wrap a bandage around it. I usually do this overnight (and daytime if i feel like it). This tip I got from a bystander, who was scared looking at me wrenching with pain on a dirt alley. It seems to work on controlling the swelling or maybe it's just placebo effect but they perfectly worked on me.
Repeat icing (15mins), and step 2 as you like it.
3. And chill with coffee. For no-frills handcrafted good coffee, please drop by at Kapehan Ceferina.

Feb 3, 2016

Movie Review: Everything About Her: it's not you, it's me

It has all the element of a Pinoy typical box-office movie: romcom with a bit of rich-guy-struggling-girl, a bit of slapstick, child-parent drama, crying, shouting, singing. 

The movie made me cry in some parts, which means it has its good moments. But overall, I'm disappointed (and i really wish i don't need to say that to think i have low standards, and in support of local movies.).

But I guess It's not the fault of the movie but more of mine. I had just set the wrong expectation. I was expecting its quality to be at the level (or more) of Vilma's previous movie, Anak, with Claudine Barreto. Plus, I was greatly motivated to watch this as I thought I could relate to it with my nanay's recent experience.

On actors, I felt it has all the wrong actors. The movie story kinda lack of depth (it feels like star cinema wants to meet all the Pinoy blockbuster requirements of crying-fest drama and slapstick humor making the movie mediocre) for Vilma Santos' talent. And Vilma's brand just made Angel Locsin and Xian Lim's great acting moment so-so. Vilma swallowed them without even an effort. It would be nice to see Claudine and Jericho with Vilma but they will be an overkill for a "not so developed / lack of depth" story.

They can replace Vilma instead with some so-so mature actor or a great actor whose aura is not so strong to compensate for the so-so story. 

I can sense Vilma Santos role her is kinda inspired by Mayumi Nanjo of Atelier with the pencils on her table. Her assistants lack character though.

Angel Locsin, this character I was really looking forward to. But putting her on a 24/7 caregiver duty is just unrealistic. If Vilma's role was supposed to be smart, she would employ at least 3 shifting caregivers and put angel as the "care manager." But it's a movie... Her character is just not that calm and relax for a caregiver on tough situations of Vilma.

Xian Lim. I'm not a fan of him. The way his character is created is just too "not manly" therefore just fit xian lim.

And the story of kids being left by parents churva is so-so. Actually this kind of Pinoy storyline should take a rest. It's causing more damage to the Pinoy (making the parentless kids feel like a victim) but they won't let it rest because it's the perfect recipe to make the audience cry. 

I love Joyce Bernal's romcom movies. She definitely was able to pull-off the romcom parts, but the rest which probably need more depth than romcom just ended being romcom. 

The best part is that Vilma's final diagnosis was sensible. The only part of the movie I was able to relate.


One of the main attractions I look forward to when I get a chance to be in another country is their smooth public mass transit system (For someone who has to memorize jeepney codes and climb windows to get a seat in a bus...). When I first tried the mass transit of SG, I wonder how do actually the 1st world tourists survive our kind of public mass transit? Definitely, our public mass transit is also an attraction to them.  

As much as I love 1st world's smooth public mass transit system, there's that different appeal of our own public mass transit: the being squeezed in jeepney rides, the corny jokes from AM radios of taxi drivers, the chitchats from the my "suki" tricycle drivers about neighborhood's latest "chismis," the "drug-addict looking" habal-habal drivers who are actually harmless.

Until Cebu's traffic get congested, not even your favorite music play list can save, happens. Not to mention, seeing people lining up the streets waiting and waiting for a jeepney which can accommodate even just one butt-cheek. Somehow, you get to ask that maybe there's a better way of doing it? Is it the public mass transit or the increasing population or the lack of planning from the government / us and business sectors? 

Though, it would be romantic to just suck it in, learn to be tough, and enjoy the exoticness of our existing public mass transit, but providing a better mass transit is a way of giving respect to the hardworking Filipinos. I mean hardworking people already spend a bulk of their time on their work, in which government is making money from, is it not right to at least make their home-office-home ride smooth and fast so at least we still have time for their family or theirselves?

Anyway, enough of my sentimental woes. Let me just post photos of my selfies of my first experience riding myBus, operated by SM. I need to go to Minglanilla to visit my mother's new crib. Ate Mona and Ate Doreen said that there's a customary 9-Monday after the 9-day Novena that I should visit my nanay's grave. I thought dedicating a mass or a prayer will probably be a better way of doing it, but sometimes, I feel the need to see something physical of that of my mother. So I'm just happy to do this 9-Monday.
(So 1st world, though the mobile net is so?!?)

It might be all for profits of Henry Sy, but still +8 for him. Let's hope it gives a clue to us / government or even private sectors that if some mall mogul can do it, why cannot a mafia LGU do it who has all the powers to make it happen. The mafia government can definitely twitch the arms of businesses, public agencies, as well as the people to make it happen.

Honestly, the myBus is not that cheap. It was P25 / ride. I need to make a total of 4 rides to and from my destination. So basically, I spent P100. I'm not sure if the "masses" can really afford P100 on a daily basis. But of course, there's always a way: government or the employers can subsidize it. (I mean KMK is only P30 SM-Minglanilla, there's definitely a way of making it affordable.)
On the other thought, let's not discount the many private cars are definitely is the other main cause to the traffic. Guilty. @.@ It got also me thinking can the new middle classes just give up our newfound American dream of driving cars?

For those "middle class" wanting to try myBus, their schedule is every 20minutes. Their pick-up / loading points, SM Cebu, somewhere in the entrance of SRP (near the Cebu Malacanang), SM Seaside, Lawaan (Talisay). (There's also somewhere in Laray, Talisay.)