Monday, October 02, 2006

Taking Things for Granted, Learning in the Philippines

I skipped church today. I'm just really not feeling well. I thought I would have gotten rid of this cold by now, but this virus is more persistent than I thought. I've taken Benadryl, lots of vitamin C, water galore, Tylenol for cold, tomato juice, more liquids, but damn, this thing is just tougher to beat than I thought. What makes the situation worse is that I'm here in Phoenix visiting a friend, and I have tried my best to maintain sanity and look healthy.

He woke me up today at 8 am to get ready, but my body was just saying no. I tried to force my mind to make my body go so my soul can be fed with the spirit, but in the end, my body was unwilling to cooperate. Or maybe it was my mind. Was it mind over matter? All I know is that I really felt like I wanted to sleep more. I was twisting and turning last night because of this pestering stuffy nose and uncontrollable cough. I got up a couple of twice to eject the phlegm that was stuck in my throat. I had to pee as well. Too much information, huh?

I remember being sick in the Philippines last year while I was staying in Makati. Same thing, cold and coughing. I remember taking a lot of Neozep, which zapped me to sleep right away. I remember my throat being so itchy, it was almost unbearable; I wanted to see my doctor. Instead, I weathered it out; it was just a common cold, and I was acting too spoiled. I mean, most people weather it out, and here I was, being a big baby about it.

I clearly remember that first night when it hit me really bad. It was about 10 pm. I frantically searched for a Mercury Drug, but they were all closed in Makati. I walked to Mini Stops and 7-11s, and I settled for one finally. NeoZep. All it did for me was knock me out to sleep. Finding medicine at this time alone was a nightmare. I began to think of the luxuries I had back home. The 24 hour Walgreens or WalMart. My car. My doctor. My warm bed. 24 hr stores to buy soup.

Instead, I was stuck in the middle of Makati. Fortunately, the cold went away in a couple of days, and I could function normally again.

There are so many things we take for granted living in the US. The little things we take for granted because they are in front of us daily. Then we go to an underdeveloped country, and things change dramatically. For me, at least, I began to see how good I had it in the US. I began to be so much more appreciative of such luxuries as 24 hour stores, even my car.

I began to think, how do people live this way. You have to be really strong to make it through a life in the Philippines. Either that, or you really get used to that way of living. I wonder how the poor people get their medicine. Can they even afford it? Do they have any kind of health insurance? Even the workers themselves probably do not have adequate health insurance provided by their companies.

So today, I will just rest my body so that I can get better sooner. I will just reflect on how much tougher I had it back there in the Philippines. I will never forget how it's like to live in the Philippines during those times. I am going back to live there for a while now to start my own projects there. I am very scared, but I know that I have to take this step. This risk. This calling.


aurea said...

Humans do have an amazing ability to adapt to non-ideal solutions.

Hope you feel better.

Anonymous said...

yeah you are right, people just kinda adjust to situations. But i see it as a corporate world were everybody seems to be moving constantly racing against each other, because if you stop or pause, bigger things are going to hit you harder. The thing is... filipinos can't afford to get sick. i think that was their motivation. not only because they might loose their jobs but because they can't afford if their simple cough and cold to escalate.. a lot of them can't afford to be in the hospital.

i guess people in the philippines have read WHO MOVED MY CHEESE? then again not, because if they can't afford medicines, let alone a book. But i gotta give it to my race, we really strive everyday to find that cheese.

jef said...

...and to think that it's just a minor nuisance.

You are right, whatta bout those people who were being robbed with their basics--shelter, food or even medicine.

Americans for that matter are far more blessed and I hope that many of you pinoys who are still living in there will realize how much blessings you are encountering everyday, lest, insignificant as it seems, will be taken away at the most inconvenient time.

Betchie said...

Aww...I was trying to force myself to feel better when I was sick at the time we were in pnas, but my body just didn't let my mind most of the time. I just wanted to enjoy the very last week we had there. My relatives and even Mars told me to see a doctor already, but I refused. Even when I felt sooo sick, I waited it out till I got back to US to see a doctor, instead of seeing one there right away. I just wasn't sure if I could trust them to know what to do with my condition. Specially hearing some people tell about their experiences in hospitals there, about just following basic hospital protocols or having the oxygen off the whole time that's on the patient. I'm certain there are some excellent doctors out there. If ever I do decide to live there even for just a couple of months. My biggest concern is medical capability. It’s also disappointing that they don’t even have some kind of medical insurance assistance for the less unfortunate, like we have here such as Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. It would help so many people there that can’t afford to buy even just a cough syrup. Ok, I’m making myself feel sad and upset at the same time, so I’m just going to stop here. Hope you feel better!