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A few months have passed and I am walking along the same dusty path again. This time, it’s to accompany my brother’s best friend to his grave.

The mango trees are as grand as they were last time, still bearing fruit.

The sky is all white now. I can’t distinguish the clouds from the sky.

We pass through the maze of tombstones. The ground is still damp from the recent rain. I hear my brother weeping softly beside me, so I begin to cry too. I can’t stop my tears.

I always thought they would both stay friends until they reached senility.

My heart is heavy. It feels like an anchor, dragging me, slowing me down.

My mind is still in the church, replaying the eulogies. I’m touched by all the stories people have told. My heart is breaking for his own brother, who stood at the pedestal with his head in his hands, at a loss for words. I couldn’t bear it when he broke down crying. Everyone else did too.

My mind is still in the funeral home, where his mother held a framed photo of his in her hands, posing for a photo with the family. He should have been there, standing with them.

They lay him down beside his father inside a small mausoleum. When they seal his tomb, we say our goodbyes. We walk away, we part ways with wet eyelashes. He’s gone.

Last night, I went to the wake of my brother’s best friend.

He died at 23 due to pancreatitis.  Most of you know it as “bangungot.”  I couldn’t believe it.  The news was unreal.

I’m sad beyond words.

He and my brother have been friends since kindergarten. He’s really close to our family and was like a second son to my mom and dad.  Only 23.  23 is too young to die.

Death has always been so sneaky.  He comes into your home when you least expect him, undetected.  He steals lives right from under your nose, snatching people away while they’re sleeping.

I’m sad. Aling Marie, the old lady who helps sell flowers in church, doesn’t go to church anymore. I used to visit her every time I went home from duty in the hospital. She reminds me a lot of my grandmother, who passed away a few years ago.

Aling Marie has a condition which I suspect is deep vein thrombosis or DVT.  She often complains of pain on her right leg, which gets swollen from time to time.  She also has hypertension. She cannot afford to buy maintenance and pain medications, and barely earns enough to buy food. She simply relies on money handed to her by those who buy flowers (she does not own the flowers she sells, nor does she get any commission from selling them. She relies on the kindness of the buyers and other churchgoers). She has been told to get an ultrasound in order to correctly diagnose the DVT, but again, she cannot afford it. She has no children and no one to support her. She walks very, very slowly, with a lot of difficulty.  If a parishioner was not generous enough to buy her a cane, I don’t know how she would’ve gotten back and forth from her home to the church.

Despite her situation, she is always cheerful and is never afraid to share her blessings. When another parishioner gave her two rosary bracelets, she gave the other one to me, saying that she had been waiting for me to come by just for that.

Another time, she gave my mom a poster of Mother Mary. This generous quality always makes me think of my grandmother, who was sometimes too kind for her own good (I mean it in the best possible way, of course). I guess that’s why I’ve become somewhat attached to her.

Well, this is a perfect example of “transference.”  Transference is “the phenomenon whereby we unconsciously transfer feelings and attitudes from a person or situation in the past on to a person or situation in the present” (Patricia Hughs, Ian Kerr).  In nursing, we were taught that patients can experience transference towards their nurses. This is common especially in a hospital care setting. At the same time, nurses can also feel transference towards their patient, and we use a term called counter-transference to describe it. That’s what happened here, although Aling Marie is not really my patient.

I’m sad because ever since I started working for another hospital and in different hours from before, my visits became less frequent.  Today, I discovered that the church had removed the table and station where she usually sits to sell flowers.  It’s been a couple of months since I last saw her, so I’m a little worried.  I hope she’s okay and comes back soon.  Say a prayer for her.  Thanks.

My friends, what follows is a list of all the things that I will never do (in no particular order). If you see that I’m about to do something that is on this list, stop me immediately. Thank you.

 

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I will never:

  1. Eat cake/chocolate/sweets/whatever unless I have a valid reason (celebrations, free food, low blood sugar, and being happy or depressed are valid reasons. Eating due to boredom is not a valid reason)
  2. Forget how awful getting a hangover feels like
  3. Stop learning
  4. Let minor things come between friendship or family
  5. Do drugs
  6. Let anyone else make my choices for me (unless they know better than I do)
  7. Hurt a child or helpless animal
  8. Become an alcoholic
  9. Become obese
  10. Make my kid’s education a financial investment (that is, if I have any kids)
  11. Marry a condescending/abusive/unkind man Marry
  12. Hold a grudge against anyone
  13. Fail to stand up for myself
  14. Forget to be thankful to God
  15. Neglect relationships with other people
  16. Eat yellow snow
  17. Spend more than my means
  18. Get addicted to a video game ever again

This list is going to get longer.

I have to review and reorganize my life goals and priorities again. I think I may need to do this more often. Like, every month, if necessary. I feel like I’m making very little progress with my life in general. It’s been the same for a few years now. I’m currently 26 years old with no plans of settling down. I don’t even have any plans of getting into a relationship.

The only change I’ve made is a career change. Many people questioned whether it was the right thing for me to do. For me, it was a necessary choice.

Should I go back to being a nurse and pursue a life abroad? That’s usually the goal of people who have studied nursing here in the Philippines, and I’m not sure I really want that.

My biggest problem? Uncertainty.

I’ve clearly been avoiding this topic for awhile now. I don’t even feel like blogging about it, but I just had a talk with my aunt and it’s been eating away at me. She wants me to get my immigration papers processed as soon as possible.

I said I would start. I said I’d take all the necessary exams next month. I say a lot of things.

Damn my big mouth.

There’s a lot to be done, and I’m not sure I want to do it. I’m a little scared.

I need to figure things out fast. But if I do do it (migrate, I mean), I’m not going back to being a full time nurse.  It was a rewarding experience that I’ll always be thankful for, but honestly speaking, I’m done.

I may not know what I want, but I know what I don’t want.

I’ve become more interested in money and financial planning lately. The reason for this is because of a conversation that I had with a friend, who mentioned investing and how your money loses value because of inflation.

Oh dear, inflation. Economics and charts and *shudder* numbers.  Boring, right?

That’s been my general outlook on financial matters for a long, long time.  I admit I’m not very knowledgeable when it comes to finance.  I avoid it because of MATH, which caused most of my suffering throughout my academic life.  However, I’ll forgo the differences between math and I because of something my friend pointed out.  The truth about money that most of us (or at least, ignoramuses like me) aren’t aware of.  And that’s the existence of inflation.

According to Wikipedia (I never listened in class so yes, all of my knowledge comes from Wikipedia), inflation is “a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy for a period of time.”  Read on if you’re still interested.  (If not, click here for a beautiful photo of the salt flats in Bolivia.  At least you still get something out of this blog).

Inflation is the reason why a meal costing Php100 now will cost Php135+ after 10 years. It eats up the value of your money. Even keeping your money in a bank (specifically a savings deposit account like I do) won’t protect it from losing its value. Why?  Because the inflation rate is bigger than the interest your money gains in the bank.

Right now, the average inflation rate is 3%.  The most you could get out of interest from saving is a measly 0.250% to 1%.

Let’s say that by a great stroke of luck and awesomeness, you obtained Php10,000,000 and left it in the bank for a number of years.  You will still have Php10,000,000 in the future.  However the real value of this P10,000,000 will only be Php9,700,000 because prices have gone up (due to again, inflation), and your money has lost a value of Php300,000.

Holy freaking hell. That’s Php300,000 down the drain.

Sleeping with the Fishes photo sleepingwithfish.jpg

Your money sleeping with the fishes.

Okay, let’s redo that using more believable numbers.  Your Php 100,000 will only be worthe Php 97,000 in the future.  You waste Php3,000 just by letting it sleep in a savings account.

How do we safeguard our money from the thief called inflation?  Everyone tells me, make investments.  And that’s probably another topic I’ll write about.  Maybe when I’m bored and decide to write about trying to escape financial illiteracy.

The way to cry

Quietly

Undetected

Is not easy.

 

You must control your breathing.

 

You must know when to do a large intake of air, soundless

To keep yourself from sobbing.

 

Do it slowly to keep your lips from shaking.

 

Hold it all back.

Blink your tears away.

Use every ounce of energy you have.

 

When you do

 

You will feel the shudders travel from your shoulders to your knees.

You will feel your throat burn as you swallow over and over.

It will burn so much, you won’t be able to breathe.

It’s really pathetic that I enjoy my job more than I enjoy dealing with my family.

She liked this photo of  our gumamela.

She liked this photo of our gumamela.

 

My cousin, Ate Riza, passed away yesterday at 8:45PM.  She was severely injured in a motorcycle accident that left her unconscious in the ICU for 6 days.  Her condition deteriorated and we received news that she had hydrocephalus.  CSF was quickly building up inside her skull, compressing her brain.  She was supposed to undergo surgery.  I don’t know all the details yet, but it was cancelled when her blood pressure kept falling.

It took me awhile to process the news.  This is the third death in the family this year.

Although we live apart from each other, she kept in touch and gave me and my family support through trying times (as much as one could over a distance).  It was always her reaching out towards other people.  We all loved her dearly.  Even if I haven’t seen her in person for years, her absence is something that will take time for me to get used to, and I’m going to miss her.

I find myself coming back again and again to her Facebook page.  I go back to her posts before the accident and those of friends and family afterwards.  I don’t know exactly what to feel about social media and death, but I can’t stop reading and re-reading her page.

I don’t have much else to say.  To anyone who cares, please pray for her, and to anyone who travels on a motorcycle, please be careful.  Stay safe.

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I’ve forgotten all about this little WordPress blog of mine.  It’s been two years since my last post here, and I’m surprised at the fact that this blog still exists, and that it even gets any hits.

The last time I was here, I was still working for a prestigious hospital in Metro Manila, doing my rounds as a float bedside nurse in a different nursing unit everyday.  There were major changes in my life since then.

For one, I still work for a prestigious hospital in Metro Manila, but it’s not the same one as before.  And I am no longer a bedside nurse; I work as a clinical systems analyst (or nurse informaticist, if I really want to use “nurse” in my job description).  I moved out of the apartment that I was renting with my roommate, Lyza, and I am back at my childhood home.  Then I went through an ordeal with my family which I don’t want to get into details of.  I still have the sneakers in the picture of my blog header, but I don’t wear them anymore.  I still write poems and do sketches, but have not done any crafting for a long, long time.

I don’t know why I’m writing this (I’m pretty sure no one is reading), but I thought this blog deserved an update. I admit that I began using tumblr shortly after I stopped blogging on WordPress, and after two years, I miss WordPress.  It was, and will continue to be the place where I map out my thoughts.  With that said, I’m going to revive this blog.  I plan to migrate some of my tumblr posts, just to keep a somewhat “complete” record of all my posts for the past years (so I guess it will be safe to assume that any posts between February 2011 up to March 16, 2013 came from tumblr).

For anyone who’s interested, my tumblr is Salty Scribbles.

Hi.


This is the personal blog of teskaraptor aka bananatree. Yes that's me, a 20-something nurse working in the IT field.
If you ask me to choose one word to describe myself, I would choose "weird."


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