Frankly, the most difficult patient to deal with is a relative, much less a parent.
As Mama’s “personal nurse”, I completely know!
Now, you might be wondering why. Wait, let me explain.
All of us had come to a clinic or hospital and dealt with a doctor or nurse at some point of our lives. In order to recuperate completely from our illnesses, we make sure to listen and follow, as far as practicable, our doctor’s or nurse’s orders.
Now, that’s the problem with Mama and most parents.
You see, when you are a parent, you tend to be a little authoritative on your child. And as a child, you have this tendency to yield to your parent’s moral ascendancy over you. Not that it is bad; of course not. It’s just that, you cannot be too blunt with them without being in the verge of borderline disrespectful. Well, at least, that’s the case in my family and my culture, where children are supposed to be respectful even though they are all grown up.
Mama is a public school teacher and does her duties and responsibilities as such diligently and dedicatedly. She finishes her lesson plans on time, conducts classes on the dot, and comes to school pronto. Until now, I cannot imagine how she does all these while caring for a husband and attending to three grown-up rascals, and still find time to do household chores, get her beauty sleep, watch her favorite telenovelas, and chill. I can’t even juggle my office work and law studies without billowing in a sea of stressors! She makes it look easy and makes me feel guilty of not working hard enough! Lol.
However, these incredible qualities are the very reason why she sometimes suffers the “bad health days” (I came up with this word pun especially for her!). And since she is quite obstinate with skipping work, she will go to her classes even when her sugar and blood pressure are sky rocketing.
Yes, Mama has a long standing Diabetes Mellitus Type II. In some occasions, she would feel unwell and irritable, perhaps because of occasional hyperglycemia. In others, she will have high blood pressure readings. These make me worried all the time — oh so worried that I’d argue with her just so she would skip work to get some rest.
So, when Mama had a surge in her blood pressure two days ago, while she was conducting her usual class session, I know it’s going to be difficult for me to employ my nursing skills.
What happened was Aunt Jo, Mama’s colleague and best friend, went to her aid when she felt dizzy. At that point, Mama had to dismiss the class. Then she was rushed to the school clinic for first aid treatment. There, the school nurse took took her blood pressure, which read 150/90. This is higher than her usual 120/70.
Good thing, Mama got prompt aid because, luckily, the school nurse was not out that day for some field work. Papa, who is a professor in the same school, was also there to the rescue. I got the news only after her blood pressure readings returned to normal after medication. So before leaving for law school to study for my Tuesday class, I dropped by to check on her.
“Naku, Ma. ‘Wag ka kasi masyadong dibdiban diyan sa pagtuturo mo. Paano naman kasing hindi ka ha-high blood-in eh ang init init dito sa room ninyo. Bawal buksan ang bintana, walang aircon as usual, tapos ang sikip sikip. Nakakasuffocate; puro building naman dito”, I said. (Ma, please don’t be too hard on yourself. Well, I wouldn’t be surprised. How are you suppose to have normal blood pressure in this hot, cramped, and poorly ventilated environment? This area is suffocating.)
(Note: Most public schools here in Manila are overpopulated. Teacher-student ratio are worse than in other parts of the country, which is why classrooms and halls would usually be jampacked with students. And I’m not even exaggerating!)
“Okay lang ako. Hindi na lang ako papasok bukas para magpa-check up at pahinga”, she said. (“I’m okay. I will just skip work tomorrow to rest and have myself checked by a physician.)
That night, Mama slept early. And, just like she said, she didn’t go to work the next day. However, before the skipping-her-work part had attained finality, I first had to argue my “case” to defeat her. The nurse in me should prevail because I know that in times like this, I should be the one in control. I also thought I could use some law school argumentative skills to persuade her not to work the next day. I know she felt bad succumbing to my nurse’s instructions because she wants her accumulated leave credits untouched. She has this “vow” to just use them for “highly important appointments”, “urgent situations” and/or other exigencies. As if what happened to her earlier that day did not fall to any of her categories.
That night too was another opportunity for me to call God once again. I prayed for the courage, strength, and endurance to finish my Juris Doctor degree and be a lawyer as soon as possible. I pray for great opportunities to come my way so that , by then, I can earn decent money as an attorney to cover situations like this. Health care here in the Philippines is costly, you know. And finally, I prayed for the ability to accomplish these things as soon as possible. I prayed and surrendered everything to the Lord.
Again, Mama is and will always be my most difficult patient.
Yet, she is my most delicate and beloved one.