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The day was nothing out of the ordinary and the usual routine took its course. I arrived home past 10 in the evening after my session with metal plates and bars. The laptop was still not booting up so keeping me entertained until shut eye became the desktop’s task. As orbs converged to form the familiar logo that signified the start up, I went to the restroom inside the master’s bedroom to freshen up.

A figure of a woman two years past half a century greeted me. She was curled up on a queen-sized bed, her hands holding her chest.

Ma, okay ka lang?

I kissed her cheek and sat beside her. She straightened up a little and began murmuring words.

Mabigat yung dibdib ko, parang may nakadagan. Yung mga braso ko ang hirap igalaw.

Alarm bells in my mind buzzed. This could be heart attack, I thought. She continued by pointing at her netbook, specifically to an image she re-posted on Facebook. It was a graphic about the symptoms of a heart attack.

Hirap ako igalaw pati yung binti ko. Lahat ng symptoms nadarama ko ngayon.

Her words sent chills through my spine. My face turned pale with fear and for a brief moment, my mind was blank.

Halika ma, pupunta tayo ng Medical City. Dadalhin kita sa emergency room.

Anak, huwag na. May pasok ka pa bukas. Matagal ko nang nararamdaman to. Bukas nalang ako pupunta.

Senses told me that I should not let that slip by. What if my mom was indeed experiencing a heart attack? And even if she wasn’t, I couldn’t just leave my mom suffering. Seeing my mom in such state ripped my heart.

Ma, hinde, magbihis ka na at pupunta tayo sa ospital.

I was very firm with what I said.

I changed as quickly as I could. Toiletries and clothes were stuffed into my backpack just in case confinement was in order. My dad was nowhere in sight inside the house. Apparently, he was asleep by the poolside. Mom woke him up and told him that we’d be going to the hospital.

Dad volunteered to drive us to our village’s gate, but not a kilometer farther. I was too worried about my mom to argue that he should bring us all the way to the hospital. Besides, cabs are abundant outside our village during the hours close to midnight.

The dimly lighted avenue leading to the hospital was free from the usual congestion it experiences during daylight. Thoughts about my mom’s condition raced through my mind as I stared outside the cab’s window. In the entire duration of our journey, I was holding my mother’s right hand tightly.

We arrived at The Medical City a few minutes past 11. The emergency room was filled with people but thankfully, my mom was accommodated immediately. Seeing that her blood pressure was high, the nurse got a wheel chair and brought my mom to the emergency ward.

She was held in a waiting area while her space in the emergency ward was prepared. A few moments later, we were lead to the other side of the room. The nurse asked her to lie down as tests will be conducted to determine the cause of her pains.

While waiting for the doctor who’d check my mom’s condition, the nurses took her vital signs. I tried calling my siblings but no one answered. They were probably asleep so text messages were sent just to let them know of our whereabouts. A few moments after, my brother replied that he’s on his way.

The doctor arrived and asked a few questions.

How intense is the pain?
Which parts of your body is painful?
When did you start experiencing this?

The good doctor was told that discomforts were first felt mid-February. Upon hearing this, I could not help but feel disappointed at myself since I didn’t notice her pains earlier. The doctor told mom that she would undergo ECG and that blood samples would be taken to determine what her ailment was.

My brother arrived shortly after the doctor dropped by. He excused himself from work and his presence lifted my mom’s mood.

After her signs were monitored and her blood samples (there were two vials) collected, the doctor informed us that the findings would be given to us once the analysis were complete. Seeing my mom weak and in pain filled me up with sorrow.

The doctor returned with the results at hand. Waiting for her press release felt like forever. Her words drowned all other streams of thoughts running through my mind.

Peptic Acid Disease.

In short, heart burn. It was not heart attack. They didn’t find anything unusual in my mom’s ECG and blood test results. My brother found it funny since it’s the same thing he experienced a week earlier, he even brought out the medicines prescribed to him. The doctor said that mom can go home and that she simply needs rest.

As for me, you can just imagine how relieved I was. Medicines have to be bought and I volunteered to shoulder the costs. I later found out that the reason why my mom is hesitant in telling us how she feels is that she is afraid the medicines might cost a lot. Given our current financial situation, she doesn’t want to add more to our expenses.

Sadly, her ailment forbids her to enjoy a lot of food and drinks that she loves. No chocolates, coffee, or milk. I have to find other pasalubongs for her.

I processed my mom’s hospital clearance then we headed to McDonald’s to have a quick meal. We dropped by Mercury Drug after to buy the medicines prescribed to my mom. She saw how much her medicines cost and told me that they’re too expensive. I reassured her that it’s okay, and besides, what’s the use of an emergency fund if it’s not used for an emergency?

We hailed the first cab that passed by and went home. On our way back, I couldn’t help but smile despite the tiring night we went through. A text to my manager asking for an emergency leave was granted and I was looking forward to a well-deserved rest day to be spent with my mother.

——

I’d like to thank an online friend who monitored the ordeal. Apparently, the online friend is a doctor at the Medical City.

Oh, and I found myself in the office that day. I texted my manager that I’d be working.

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