Posted by barrycyrus
I am an ammidyphobic, meaning I have a great fear of losing a loved one over death. Against death, my pretentiously strong, over-the-surface happy-go-lucky personality is threatened. Against death, I am left with no control. To put it simply, I hate hospital beds, my mother or father lying helplessly on these beds, my emotionally frail self leaning over these beds and all the shit that look like a sad snippet of Grey’s Anatomy. Assuming I even watch things like Grey’s Anatomy.
It takes some courage to watch your loved one lying helplessly in an infirmary. Two years ago, my father was hospitalized due to panic attack. Caused rather psychologically, he had a hard time to breathe till he was rushed to the ICU. An ICU is like a danger zone, and that’s not a place I wanted to see my father when I couldn’t do anything. I just had to watch him inhale oxygen via tank and cables, and greatly trying to not cry. The old man was holding on to me for strength, and the neurologist suggested that I weather a better setting to channel away any further ~negative thinking. I had no choice but to appear very positive even if deep in me, I controlled every pinch of my softness. If I was good in anything, it’s holding back my eye’s tear ducts.
Now my dad is good and well, and yet I hadn’t anticipated worse things to come.
Last Tuesday night, my cousins drove my mother to the hospital. She had reportedly a case of hypertension shooting some ominous 190/110 (in mmHg) for just the blood pressure. After barely two days when she was about to get discharged, when I was doing some “trial day” for a TV network, I got another call from my kins that I had to get back to the province since my mom’s situation had a brutal CVA ending. Ischemic stroke, a cousin told me over the phone, half of her body is unable to function…
I was petrified.
I then phoned my mom after a while and had to hear her… stammering. Then she gave the phone to the maid who was saying, Halah! You’re crying again. I shuddered as I heard my mom saying something I didn’t understand, as if I’ve just heard someone with ngongo or who just lost her dentures. While marching in the mall on my way back to Katipunan, I tried so hard to let myself not cry. Be ~strong, Barry. be ~strong. I then went home, packed my things, bid my roommate goodbye and left. At the cab to the bus station, I had finally burst some sporadic snivels. I had to tell the cabbie, “Manong, pasensya, umiiyak nalang ako dito (I’m sorry I couldn’t help tearing up here).” Worst moments of my life had had me grabbing some good friend and break down on their shoulders. Alas, no one was available. No one saw me at my weakest. To be fair, no one has ever seen me at my weakest. People surely had thought I was King-Arthur-strong.
See, admittedly, I’m a person with a lot of issues. But I always attempt to cover them up with a warm smile, effortless sarcasm, funny pointless anecdotes and faux-obsequiousness. Most of the time, I win. Few of it, I falter and creep to the floor. I didn’t like the idea of dying anyway. I hate when someone I love and truly need in my life says goodbye, or worse, when they don’t say goodbye at all but permanently vanishes. I love my parents so much I’d kill for them. If you really want to see the worst of me, toe-to-toe, hurt my parents. Any of them, and you will have to ride a time machine and get rather nibbled by some saurus in the Triassic era than getting butchered by me.
Six in the morning, as I entered the private room, my mom was in tears. She moved her right hand to a hanky next to her and hovered it all over her face. I’m here Ma!, I jovially told her. And I suggested that she’d stop crying. She did and later she saw me smiling. As if unmoved. I had to remain that way.
My mother is the strongest person I know. You can travel the Seven Wonders of the World with her in a day. Louvre Museum is too vast for an ordinary lady but if given the chance, my mom could glide through it in an hour. It’s been painful to look at how she cannot control both her left arm and leg that I tremble. She looked like someone I’ve been seeing in documentaries on health. It hurt, it hurt so much I couldn’t almost look. I’ve never imagined my Miss Marvel mom to be this like… this.
“Tell me when you feel like you’re out of balance,” I once told her when she asked us to situate her like she was sitting. Currently, she’s propped up on a lot of pillows for fear that her left part of her body tumbles.
“Of course I won’t let myself tumble,” she said, “I wouldn’t want to leave you alone with no one to call Mama, you know.”
As I attempted to switch topic, she made another hirit, “I’m still that strong Barry, aren’t I?“
“Of course, you are,” I replied, “You’re the strongest stroke victim to date.”
With great speed, tears rushed and tried to gush out of my eyes. Good thing, I controlled them enough that I finally changed the topic to something less dramatic. I couldn’t let my mom see me crying. I’m her only source of strength and I wouldn’t waste that being an option to get her well.
When I once got home to take a bath, and rummage some stuff, I found myself crying alone. For the past days, I’ve also constantly wept and talked to my God by myself, away from my mother’s vision. My Catholic school teachers might have imprinted on me that we should love God above everyone else, but even God Himself knows that Ive always put my dad and mom at the top of that Who To Love list. I know that unlike those religious but not righteous know-it-all’s, My God knows that my mother is my life and I’d rather be the one in her place at her moments of pain.
Now on her fifth night in the hospital, she’s getting better. Her BP has shot down to normal, her sugar’s stable, she speaks almost clearly, she eats without hesitation, she’s cheerfully bitchy like her usual (hence ME), she’s categorically… normal. The neuro and the cardio have told her to stay positive and physiologically and psychlogically strong for medication and therapy to be as effective as they can be. Her case is better than other people’s, they’ve assured her. With a maximum of six months to be completely locomotive again, alright, but my mom was told she can do it in a month! Yes, she can recover. And I know she will.
Right now, I’ve been my– yes– ugliest, with those eye bags and Chink eyelids reminiscent of a puyat session for a college exam. But all of these, kind nurses, prompt fast food delivery men, caring family and friends, and ceo’s psychedelic Everything’s gonna be alright in my head, I’m undying at my mom’s bedside.
Whatever this is, I’ve been really in touch with my faith lately. With all due gratitude, I’ve sincerely thought over that indeed, God moves in mysterious ways.