Oh yes, your Chair Wrecker is back! Those news about my extinction have been largely inaccurate and over exaggerated. But then, in our media milieu, does that still surprise us?
Last May, when I asked STAR President and Editor-in-Chief, Miguel and Isaac Belmonte, respectively, to be allowed a month’s breathing space little did I realize that I was going to face a serious kidney crisis. Shortly after my leave started, I started feeling the tell tale signs of a kidney rejection.
There was the loss of appetite, which is unusual for your normally voracious eater and Chair Wrecker. There was the noticeable drop in urine output. There was that general feeling of ill health when your body tells you that you’re undergoing a serious health crisis.
I was confined at the Makati Medical Center from June 12 to 20 to avert the threatened kidney rejection, the second serious threat I’ve experienced since having been given a kidney transplant close to 10 years ago. It turned out that the threatened rejection was caused by another treatment I was being administered for another ailment. The treatment triggered my transplanted kidney to reject.
Under the close care and supervision of Dr. Claver P. Ramos, my lead doctor, my transplanted kidney was saved, the rejection was averted. There is now a need to seek an alternative treatment for the other ailment - one that will not pose a threat to the kidney.
Loving friends and kin eased our burdens, my wife Mey and I, throughout my recent health crisis. My sister Dorothy immediately took leave from her job in Singapore to be at my bedside with her husband Tito during the crisis. The rest of our family members were always there to visit and boost our morale.
Those friends especially from the Focolare Movement went out of their way to express their unity during our time of need. Fr. Scinti Arsi, head of Focolare Tagaytay came all the way to Makati Med to visit me. Accompanying him was former Manila Zone head Leo Ganaden. Manila Zone heads Mariela Floirida and Ray Asprer were there to express Focolare unity. I was in the prayer intentions of the Focolare communities worldwide.
Ray Asprer had observed that “In good health, you Billy were able to push a lot of people to move on the various causes that you’ve consistently advocated. In sickness, you’ve pushed a lot of people to love.” Ray was reacting from all the concern and affection expressed by our friends and kin.
Fellow Scot Andy Braid and his wife Flor went all the way to our home in Las Pinas from their Horseshoe Village home to express their unity even leaving a generous check. Andy’s quote from my Clan Gregor “MacGregor, despite them, shall flourish forever” was especially morale boosting.
We also had the morale boosting support of our dearest friends including Fishing Magnate Bobby del Rosario and his charming wife Moleen, Johnty Lammoglia, Tokayo William Tieng of Solar, Mila Alora, Luz Benigno, Louie Kierulf, Macie Imperial, Maria Montelibano, her Girl Friday Jan Tan Co Chua and Baby Arenas.
Media friends Ramon Jacinto of DZRJ, Bro. Jun Banaag, Willie Nepomuceno and Boots Anson-Roa of DZMM-TeleRadyo were great sources of televiewing and relaxation during those boring moments when you’re the prisoner of an intravenous machine hooked up to your blood system. I have been a loyal follower of their nostalgic TV programs Ramon’s Sunday Jam, 9 to 12 noon, Sunday on RJTV, Dr. Love, Monday to Friday, 1 to 3 p. m. and Music and Memories, Sundays, 3 to 5 p.m. on DZMM TeleRadyo. Bong Osorio of ABS-CBN sent us some greatly appreciated edible goodies at home.
The merienda festivals that Pastor “Boy” Saycon sent to my hospital room confused my endocrinologist who was trying to keep my sugar level within normal range. My insulin was about to be upped when I admitted that the sudden rise in my glucose level was induced by irresistible guinataan, lumpiang togue and turon.
We must commend my childhood sweetheart Rosie Montenegro for the wonderful improvements her presidency had already injected in Makati Med. Our rooms now have handicap bars. The showers can already be moderated to your desired level of heat or cold water. Rosie even paid me a visit but not before she sent some delicious grapes - to ease my aches and pains, as it were.
My highest commendation to Rosie was in the area of the improvement in their dietary department - food glorious food! Part of the protocol to prevent a kidney rejection is to pump the patient with steroids that in turn revs up the appetite. No doubt the steroids promoted the extreme food craving but definitely the quality of Makati Med food had also gone up several notches higher. Rosie, my dear, take three bows.
Contrasting with my appetite when I was being pumped with steroids, my post hospital experience was the exact opposite. I hardly taste my food these days. It is the cumulative effect of all the medications I received during the crisis and the medicines I am still taking.
I see how much have happened during my leave from Chair Wrecking. My, my what tales have Zaldy Ampatuan and Lintang Bedol narrated. What makes the Zaldy and Bedol tales most damaging to Madame Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri is that the tales that they are now singing happen to jibe with public perception or at the very least public suspicion over what really transpired in Maguindanao during the 2007 elections.
My, my what a mess some folks from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), notably its old board and management have also found themselves in after a series of Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearings. During the last hearing of July 18, Manoling Morato found himself explaining some very tough questions that were raised regarding his Best Western Hotel in Makati and his Dial M program on the government channel, the then PTV-4.
You have to give Manoling Morato an A for effort and cheek, of course, but I seriously doubt if he left that hearing with reputation intact. Senator Jinggoy Estrada was especially oppressive to the cause of Manoling.
Then, of course, there was that wayward Marine Colonel, Generoso Mariano, who went on the Internet to try to bring down the President Noynoy Aquino administration. My, my some bad habits are indeed hard to curb.
Our group was told about this misadventure two weeks before that Col. Mariano video was posted on the Internet. Our sources said that the promoters tried to peddle it to Reuters and other local media but nobody wanted to bite. That should serve as an indicator to the usual suspects just how relevant their issues are to most Filipinos at this time.
It is the previous Malacañang resident that deserved to be ousted and not the present sitting, popularly elected, president who is largely perceived as trying to straighten out the country’s mess. Are they surprised when public reaction to the Col. Mariano Internet posting tended to associate it with the previous Gloria Arroyo regime?
We live in interesting times and it is nice to be back.
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