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The sixth floor

When times get rough, you just have to find the blessings in the storm

It’s during times like these when I wish I had gone to medical school rather than law school. I’ve always done well in science. It’s the blood that I can’t take and my precarious anxiety levels definitely will not prove useful as health care provider. I’m writing this as I sit on the bay window of Room 608. My five-year-old daughter R has been diagnosed with dengue fever syndrome while in Room 611, my teenager is fighting a viral disease.  Both kids have upper respiratory tract infections.

This is not my first rodeo at the pediatric wing. In fact, over the years, I’ve seen the changing faces of nurses who acknowledge us with smiles because they’ve handled our cases before. Even the cleaning man Nathan has witnessed my son’s growth from a baby to a young man. It is familiar ground. What is different this year is that I have both kids confined. I am at my wits end. Down on my knees. Begging for God’s mercy.

STRONGER TOGETHER There is no greater wealth than the love of the family /Manila Bulletin

STRONGER TOGETHER There is no greater wealth than the love of the family /Manila Bulletin

The doctor has assured us that my daughter’s dengue strain is not the hemorrhagic kind. (There are currently four known strains). There will be no blood transfusions. The nurses are all comforting. They tell me she looks better than the other patients on the sixth floor.  This consoles me somewhat. R’s bout with high fever has not abated in five days. My husband and I take turns in cooling her down with a damp cloth. Yaya A is also a big help in feeding her and making sure her IV does not get out of place. In the other room, our family driver is watching over M. I shuttle between the two rooms, pray the Memorare every hour, and hope that the nightmare will end soon.

How different we looked just a weekend ago! We had spent my son’s 13th birthday in a posh hotel in Manila. Who could have foretold that in just a few days, we would all be holed up in the hospital? The day we came in, there was literally no space to sit in the emergency room. Majority of the sick people were kids and everyone were waiting for the next available room. Sickness does not spare anyone. Rich or poor, young or old—everyone is fair game. That was five days ago.

Today, on our seventh day, my son’s IV line has been taken out and he will already be discharged. My daughter has been fever free for the last 20 hours. She is already very listless. “Mom, I can’t stand it anymore. The yucky food, the medicines…. I want to go home now!” I can’t help but smile at my little girl who was born with blood type “feisty.”  I am hopeful that her platelet count will go up by tomorrow. We are all tired. I look like a raccoon.

I’ve already asked our house help to clean the house, informed the teachers of the children’s conditions, and made a mental note to get the dengue vaccine. I’ve been told that clinical studies show the vaccine is effective until 45 years old. How I yearn for ordinary days! Simple days spent doing productive work, cooking for happy, healthy children, and waiting for daddy to come home so we can eat dinner together. I can already catch a glimpse of my rainbow. Thank you God for helping us survive another storm.

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