two weeks :D

I have wondered why I wasn’t able to write journal entries all these time. I had so much time on my hands. You should understand that the reason I’m made to wonder about this is because I have this journal article I need to be working on this weekend and so far, I haven’t made progress. So as usual, I resort (it took me quite a while to remember that word!) to blogging as hopefully a warm up activity for the more serious writing I have to do.

It’s been two weeks since I returned to work and so far, there’s no episode of weakness –chest pains, gasps for breath, dizzy spells, and the like. I also haven’t experienced any sign that may cause the neurologist some concern. So I guess, I’m adjusting fine. I still need to go to regular checkups to monitor the blood thickness which reminds me I have to schedule a visit to the doctor later this week. I’m able to commute to the Philippine Heart Center on my own – a great achievement and source of convenience. I appreciate having people to accompany me but the task of arranging the schedule of the doctors and the companion can be stressful. Plus, I believe I’ve already taken so much of their time the past six months.

I still cook my food, some of the more edible-looking ones you’ll see in some posts. The quality of my cooking is the reason why I look forward to Thursday lunches I have with friends and the Friday dinners with the sisters.

I continue to worry about the new monthly expenses. The first time I did a grocery run, I went below the maintaining balance for an ATM account. Heart-friendly products don’t exactly come cheap. I have yet to gauge how much I’d be spending for utilities and groceries so I can draft a more realistic budget.

I’ve increased my physical activity by clocking in more walk-jog time. The new apartment location makes jogging more convenient. The only excuse I have for not taking the jog would be the rains and the scheduled Friday dinners.

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Tonight, I managed 5.95km and I didn’t have to worry about the running shoe soles peeling off during a jog ( like what happened last Tuesday 😐 ) Aesthetically, they’re not as pleasing as they used to be but the fast (and cheap) repair extended this pair’s life.

enjoying the rain

 

This weather was perfect for some spicy hot soup. I was dying to try the chili paste I got in the last grocery run. Been seeing this ingredient at 3 Meals a Day Season 1. (I just love that show! It’s a good thing the local cable company has Channel M 😀 )

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Mushroom and chili paste soup

The soup only lasted until late afternoon so I had to cook something for dinner (and tomorrow’s breakfast, I hope.)

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Veggie patty in mango cucumber sandwich

 

non-practicing

Attended the afternoon mass today – and actually enjoyed listening to the sermon.

I didn’t really like attending the Sunday mass. The aunts forced me to attend the mass from elementary up to high school. If I failed to attend the Sunday mass,  the aunt would soak my uniform during Sunday evenings to prevent me from coming to school the next day. Too bad for her, I had already ironed another set of uniform by then. Later on, my defiance to attend the mass caused too much drama in the household so every 4pm, I would dress for church and then go to a friend’s house until 6pm. That would give me a peaceful Sunday evening – my uniform all dry and ironed and more importantly, no drama during supper.

During college, I learned about non-practicing catholics from one of my professors. That applies to me, I thought. I was a region away from the aunts so I had no problem skipping Sunday masses. The sisters would joke about me combusting spontaneously if ever I attempted to enter the church.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in a Higher being but I had a lot of issues and unanswered questions with the Roman Catholic Church.

The night before my heart operation, the hospital chaplain paid me a visit. he offered prayers and the holy communion. I told him that I may not be qualified for the communion since I haven’t gone to a confession for a long time. He said it was okay. Then I realized, perhaps for a person with a high probability of dying, meeting the requirements isn’t really a concern.

I still don’t think I deserve the prayers – or even this extension of life – but I’m deeply grateful for it. I honestly don’t know what to do or how to make me deserving of the next years. And so I thought maybe I’d start with expressing my thanks and to keep that promise I made before the operation. I made this deal that if He decides to give me a few more years, I’d make sure to attend at least the regular Sunday masses.

No one’s forcing me to go this time. I came because I hope that somehow it would me more deserving of the additional days I have been granted. I’m far from being a devout nor do I think I would aspire to be one. For now, I’m just happy working on transitioning from a non-practicing status.

In an alternate world, I have ceased to exist that particular eve of February 23.

The week before recorded the most number of absences I have incurred at work. I had classes I wasn’t able to attend and I have failed to arrange for colleagues to meet these classes.

I may have died with a bunch of doctors hovering over me in that rusty stretcher planted in a corner of the  emergency room together with a pile of used mops. The undoubtful smell spoke of a comfort room nearby.

Perhaps, I may have had a major stroke during that first week in the public hospital ward. I may have had a major seizure during my two-week stint at the intensive care unit. I was considered toxic. Or maybe I may have had a heart failure during the 4-5 weeks at the payward section of the hospital. I could have died in the hospital table from blood loss. My lungs could have remained deflated and I could have died from complication.

Since February, I could have died in a lot of ways. But in this particular world, my mother bought me several more years – and nothing would ever compare to the enormity of the gratitude I have for her – her constant nagging considered.

There’s that pressure to make the next years matter and to make the most of each day. I am more conscious of moments passing and sometimes I have to keep myself from overthinking if I’m making a particular moment matter.

There’s also that balance to be maintained on recovering some form of normalcy and making sure that I do not overexert myself. I still get irritated when people treat me like some tower of sand that’ll crumble with the faintest of winds. I keep reminding myself that it’s their concern I’m getting.

I’m alive. No complaints there. I’m deeply grateful and I’m sure hell-bent on making the next years matter.

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Cucumber, tomato, and cilantro in fermented chili paste

This would be the first meal that I prepared in the apartment. It’s sinking in. All the changes I’d be making for a new lease in life. Food, being the most challenging one to cope with.

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Pasta in sautéed garlic, onion, and mushrooms

I’ll be preparing most of my meals now. It’s cheaper. I don’t have much choice. Healthy meals in Los Baños can be quite expensive.

Had lunch at 3pm after I finished the grocery run which left me broke. Moving into a new place can bleed you dry.

I’m back to worrying about my expenses. It feels normal already.

“fit to work”

IMG_0077In movies, there’s always that scene when bits of your life comes in flashes projected on an empty space in front of you.

The moment the cardiologist handed my the fit to work certification, everything seemed light. I was relieved to finally have tangible proof that I can resume some form of normalcy.

It took half a year to get to this point. Three hospital admissions, seven hospital rooms, more than a dozen doctors’ appointments, a number of CT scans, MRI, MRS, x-rays, and only God knows how many IV needles these hands and feet survived.

Half a year of crazy schedules for the sisters taking turns in keeping me company in the emergency room, ward, ICU, operating room, surgical ICU, and at home. It’s half a year of some serious hospital expenses, draining the mother’s retirement fund.

It’s half a year of surviving acute infective endocarditis, stroke (a mild one), and an operation for heart valve replacement.

I’ll still have more doctors’ appointments to set and keep. I’ll still have more needles pierced into my veins for blood tests and vaccinations.

But for now, I am relieved. I’m thankful. I’m relieved.