Sunday, March 4, 2018

My Bout with Pneumonia

   I’ve heard of pneumonia, of people dying of pneumonia.  In January, a 90 years old associate died.  She was in the twilight of her years but it was pneumonia that killed her.  I attended her wake and we all marveled at how her fingers remained soft while she laid in her open casket.  I touched her finger with mine.  It was tender indeed.  A well-meaning friend reminded me of the Bible Book of Numbers 19:11, which says “Anyone touching any dead person will be unclean for seven days.”  I was familiar with the verse.  I dismissed the warning in carelessness and in total disobedience, rationalized that there were no hand sanitizers during biblical times.  Food was served and I had ice cream without washing my hands with water or the sanitizer I had in my purse. 

   Two weeks later, I had cough and running nose.  Typical of Filipinos, I did not go to a doctor.  I self-medicated with the cheapest cough syrup and had my daughter put Katinko on my back.  Katinko had been a home remedy I trusted in the Philippines and have taken with me to California.  The cough turned really bad, like I never had before in my life.

   During my dialysis treatment, the nurse practitioner, Ruth Ramos, happened to be doing her rounds.  That was a blessing despite my disobedience to Bible advice.  Ruth immediately gave me antibiotics, Gentamicin and Vancomycin intravenously.  She was afraid I might just stop breathing.  She was getting ready to call an ambulance to take me to the nearest hospital Emergency Room.  I refused the ambulance.  I was afraid of what it would cost.  She got Ashraf, the Social Worker to come over to me to explain, it won’t cost me a dime.  I still would rather die than ride an ambulance alone.  She insisted that after dialysis I proceed to the nearest hospital Emergency Room.  

   I called my daughter to come with me after her shift at work.  I sat in my car waiting for her for five hours.  I was slumped in my steering wheel when the Social Worker got into the car parked next to mine.  He sat for a while deliberating if he should ignore me and go on his way.  He decided to go back in the building to inform my dialysis tech, Brian B. Reyes that I was still out there.  Brian came out to check on me.  I told him I was waiting for my daughter and I’ll be alright.

   The nearest hospital, Seton Medical Center, took an x-ray of my chest and back and gave me a discharge instruction that said I had pneumonia.
  My primary doctor, Dr. John Lai, forwarded a prescription of antibiotics to a pharmacy for me to pick up.  As I said, I have never had pneumonia before in my life and always thought it was a game ender.  For two weeks, I wondered if I was going to die.   When I had taken all the antibiotics, I went to see my primary doctor as per the discharge instruction.  He said I’ll be fine.
   The saga of the Filipina who can’t shake off the rebelliousness she got from the streets of Pasay City, Metro Manila, continues. 

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