A Not-so-Happy Monthsary

Hello November! 

Tomorrow marks the first month since my unico’s accident at the dorm. To those who still haven’t heard — or read– about it, please see previous (trending) blog

I promised I’ll share with you how our weeklong, extended stay in Singapore went. So here goes (and with photos, too!)…

Okay, so my husband and I took an early morning flight that arrived in Singapore at 9:00am. From the airport, we checked in at the hotel really fast, just dropped our bags in the room, then rushed straight to National University Hospital. 

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First selfie for this trip… How sad is that?? 😦 

Patient B32 was taking a shower when we arrived. Don’t ask me how, I’ll probably just answer, “With great difficulty…” 😦 

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Tadah! 

We were told that the hospital is ready to discharge the unico. We waited for about half an hour for everything to be settled, and for the instructions regarding his medication. 

And then we were off… (to the Campus)…

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Goodbye photo-op with one of the nurses

Pushing unico’s wheelchair is Toto, one of his awesome roommates, who was there to pick him up and bring him back to the dorm in case we didn’t arrive. How sweet was that??? ❤ 

In the previous blog, I mentioned that my husband and I were really scheduled to go to Singapore to attend the Parents’ Orientation Weekend. Unfortunately, because of the accident, it became quite a challenge to join the activities.

For the most part of that Friday afternoon, we were just at my son’s dorm (which they call a suite), helping him settle back in, fixing his room (which looked exactly the way he left it when he was rushed to the hospital… meaning, there was still a pillow with blood on the floor, books strewn all over, etc.). Besides, we didn’t have an elevator pass, so we can’t just go in and out the residential college. We were pretty much stuck in the suite. 

At some point, the Residential College Vice Rector came to meet with me and my husband so we can discuss how the school can help my son in the coming days as he goes back to his classes. Can’t help but be truly grateful that my son is in a very supportive college

🙂 

Back to the Orientation Weekend… The activity for that evening was Performance Night. Students (and some parents) were invited to perform for the visiting parents. My unico, was supposed to be part of said activity. But because of the accident, they were not sure if he can (or will) still perform. 

Being the true performer that he is, well, of course he couldn’t pass up the chance… And so sans practice, the show had to go on… While in a wheelchair, too!

Song choice: Vienna, by Billy Joel

“Slow down, you crazy child…” as the song goes. How apt. 

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Success!

The Performance Night ended around 9:30pm. We brought him back up to his suite and planned for the following day before going back to our hotel. We decided to leave him at the dorm so he could already rest. My husband and I told him we’ll be back early enough so we can have brunch together.

The bus ride to the hotel took about forty minutes. I was craving for coffee but the nearby Starbucks was already closed. I was already getting lightheaded because of exhaustion and lack of sleep (been awake since early morning for our flight). It was a long day.

And I expected the following day to be another long one. 

Saturday…

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We got back to the campus in time for brunch! Yey! 🙂 

We spent Saturday planning how the unico will do his day to day activities while in crutches or wheelchair.

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The adventure begins…

We looked for easy routes going to his classrooms. We went to the laundry room so he can do his laundry. We walked with him to the dining hall. 

And so we walked and walked until we have covered practically most of the campus (some of his classrooms were like two buildings away). My husband pushed the wheelchair, while I walked behind, lugging the crutches, and a water bottle, with me. It was exhausting. I was exhausted. And to think I had feet to walk with. 

It wasn’t easy, believe me. It made me realize how blessed we are that we have functioning legs and feet. We really should never take any part of our body for granted.

At some point during our “campus tour,” I told my husband I believed it would be better if both of us would stay for a week — or at least, up to the unico’s first post-surgery consult with his doctor.

My son had shown nothing but courage all through out, but I wanted to be there to provide whatever support I can while he was recuperating. His friends and dormmates were the best and the school had been very helpful and supportive, yet I wanted to do my job as a parent.  

Sometime late Saturday afternoon, my husband and I were able and attend one sample class (it was still Parents’ Orientation Weekend, after all, and there were several sessions going on).

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Filipino parents, represent! 

Afterwards, we brought the unico to the hotel with us so he can rest on a bigger bed, at least for most of Sunday.

Couldn’t really do anything much at the hotel… 

And so school week came…

My son started attending his classes (crutches and all)… we would check on him whenever possible… treated him to Japanese dinner outside school so he can get a breath of non-campus air…

My husband and I spent the week not necessarily in school the whole time, but just close enough to be there anytime our son needed us. 

Traveled to school by Grab, bus, MRT… enjoyed the non-polluted walks, too.

 

 

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Yale-NUS at night… Or at least the view from Clementi overpass 🙂

At last it was Friday… day of the post-surgery consult. We were able to talk to the doctor who explained to us how they fixed the broken bone.

He checked the wire, checked the wound, had it dressed, told us that it’s healing beautifully and as long as my son takes care of it — make sure that it doesn’t get wet and infected, and that the wire inside doesn’t break — then they can remove the wire come November 10 (even earlier than original November 24 schedule). Doctor even added, “Nah, you don’t have to be here when I remove the wire. I’ll just tell him to look away as I pull it out.” Yes, he said he’ll pull it out. *Gulp.*

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That’s one tough guy you’re looking at!

So after meeting with the doctor and knowing that everything is well, hubby and I were ready to go back home. 

And so we did, the following day.

 Saturday, bye bye day… Can I just stay??

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This was the hardest part 😦 

So tomorrow –the tenth of November –the first monthsary of his accident, he is going back to NUH to hopefully have the wire removed. 

It was quite an experience. For all of us, actually, but of course, most especially for my son. It was a freak accident. He had a bad fall. Who would have thought that he would break his toe so badly? 

Accidents do happen. But then despite the accident, God’s grace shone through… and we felt it in more ways than one. We were surrounded by good, helpful people. People who assisted in different ways, people who reached out and who prayed with us. My son was blessed with caring, loving friends who still help him up to now.  

We were given strength, comfort and peace even when we were tired. My son was given the courage he needed while we were still away… and the yes, he still had the same courage after we left. 

And yeah, as bad as the original reason was, well, we were able to spend longer time with him because we decided to extend our stay. 

Though I am not really celebrating the monthsary — it was still an accident, after all, I guess I cannot say that I am not happy. Because I am. I am happy because he is now okay.

More than that, I am thankful. Things could have been much, much worse. 

But God is good. He is always good. 🙂 

WARNING!! The following is not for the faint-hearted… So stop here if you are not ready… You don’t have to look…

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

🙂

 Those who are intrigued about the “wire” that I kept talking about, let me give you an idea how it looks like…

My, what big foot you have! 😉

And the good doctor is scheduled to pull that wire out tomorrow.

********

photos were mostly mine…except for the foot which was unico’s (Don’t worry, i asked permission before i posted)

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Precious Moments

The moment I found out that their College had a quarter break in September and my son had five days to spare, I immediately got him a plane ticket home. (And because he is favored, I was able to get the ticket at a really good price!)

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My son’s home!!! 

We didn’t tell anyone that he was coming home, only my husband and I knew about it… but I scheduled a family dinner (with my parents, mother in law, siblings, brother-in-law, and nephews) at my sister’s house the day my unico was supposed to arrive. My sister thought I was getting depressed that’s why I was insistent on having dinner with the family.   Little did they know…

We told my son not to enter with us and to wait a few minutes outside the house so it will surprise them more when he enters. 

And so we were all mostly at the living room… my mom was saying it would have been nice if my son was around so we were complete, my dad kept asking me for updates on college activities… my nephews were just there hanging out with the adults, trying not to act bored…

On cue, my son knocked on the door — didn’t wait for anyone to open it — then entered and said, “Hi!” 

My older nephew let out a low, shocked, “HUH!!!” Followed by a high-pitched “What?!” from the younger one. My mom stared at his eldest grandchild for a good three minutes, not recognizing him, thinking we had another guest. Eventually she realized who she was staring at, stood up and hugged him tight. My dad asked me if I knew he was arriving — uhm, yes, father, I bought his ticket! 🙂  My sister who was slowly coming down from the stairs saw him and stared hard before realizing she wasn’t dreaming. 

It was a good surprise. It was nice night for a family reunion. 

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Act surprised, Leandro!

Family is 

The days passed in a blur. 

My son had homework to do, papers to write and submit, so it was somewhat a working vacation for him. Yet whenever possible, we took the time to go out and do things together. 

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Malling

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Hanging out with my dad 

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Buying groceries

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Eating some more… 😉 

He also spent a day at his old high school, visited his teachers and friends.

When at home, he would spend his hours reading or writing. We didn’t always have good, meaningful conversations because he had “stuff to do,” and there were plenty moments like this…

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Spongebob, how cute are you??!

I didn’t really mind much. He was home… that’s all that mattered! 

Besides, I can always pester him like this… 

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Me: Smile for mommy! Him: Why??! Me: Because I said so… 😉

It was a short break. Before we knew it, he had to fly back to Singapore. 

But then one thing I know for sure is that the moments spent together, no matter how fast — or how short — will always be precious.

Sooner or later he will be busier. He will be more settled in school or swamped with more activities, that staying at the dorm would seem like a better option than coming home. 

As our children grow older, they begin to need us less and less. And so we make the most of the moments when we can still hold them near. 

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Off to the airport. Again.

We make the most of the moments we share and spend with our loved ones because ultimately these are the moments that matter, right? 

Hello and goodbye…

These are the moments that put a smile in our hearts and give meaning to our lives. 

 

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This, to me, is the loneliest place on earth… 😦

 

photos are all mine

 

 

Dream a little dream

It was 12:30am and I couldn’t sleep.

I was tired of watching Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones reruns… so I thought of reading a bit ’til I fall asleep. I decided to reach out for the book nearest my bed side… 

Lo and behold, I got hold of MY book. 

20yrsBGO

my 12:30am companion

I didn’t start reading right away, though. Instead, I think I stared at the cover for a good ten minutes. I looked at the front, then the back… I took a couple of photos then posted them on Instagram.

I marveled at the thought that this book I had in my hands bore my name on it. I was the author. It was my creation. My thoughts, my ideas, my words, on paper. My childhood dream realized. 

So this was what my bestie-cousin meant when she said, “It is different when you have the actual book in your hand. Something you can reread and bring with you everywhere you go.” And to emphasize further, “Your work. In your hands.”

She told me that at the time I needed encouragement… at the time when I was full of self-doubt and a voice in my head kept asking, “Why am I doing this again?”

It has been a year since the book first came out — though it wasn’t until the latter part of last year when well-known local bookstores started carrying it. 

Looking back, it was quite an experience, really.  From the first rejection of my manuscript, to the time I met the special people who worked with me to improve the outcome of the book… And then there was the challenge of how to distribute the books once published  (thought balloon: I might run out of family members and friends to sell to)… And all throughout, I had to deal with internal struggles — basically self-doubt and fear of being unworthy and being criticized. 

The whole process was a journey with moments of highs, and not exactly devoid of lows.

I have had good reviews and I have had so-so ones. I have readers clamoring for a second book — and yes, I have had one reader telling me that the book’s “not for her.” Short of telling me that she found it so juvenile.

It was a form of rejection, but I have long learned to take everything in stride.  

No, I didn’t turn into an instant celebrity author. I’m quite far from it, really. But I consider myself blessed for having those people who read and appreciated my work.

You see, all I really wanted was to tell stories and to entertain the readers in the process. I wanted to make them feel something. I thought of all the novels I read that somehow stayed with me long after I have placed the book down. I wanted to share that same feeling with my readers. If I can make even just one reader smile and feel good while reading my work, I knew I’ll be happy enough.

Truly if we allow our fears to take control, we will never be able to do anything. If we allow one rejection to get the better of us, then our goals — our dreams — will forever be out of reach.  

The other day I received a sales report from one of the bookstore chains distributing the book. So far they have sold about half of their inventory (based on total sales from various branches). Not bad… At least this time I know people other than my relatives bought the book!  Not bad for a newbie nobody like me. 🙂  

I started feeling sleepy even before reaching Chapter Two… But I know I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

Leaving you with this excerpt…

excerpts20yrs

Together they waited for the night to end.

❤ ❤

Fellow writers, artists, dreamers, I read this article on ‘rejection‘ online and it really struck me to the core. If you have been rejected or are afraid of rejection, this article is for you!! Sharing it with hopes that it can enlighten you the way it enlightened me: Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year, by Kim Liao, Literary Hub.

Twenty Years in Between, available at select National Bookstore, Powerbooks and Fully Booked branches. Also available online at Bookbed.org.

To God be the glory always. Photos are mine 🙂 

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph.2:10 NKJV

 

 

 

Slow down, take time, breathe in…

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This book just turned 1!! 

Over the weekend we were at this popular bookstore near our place to look for my son’s assigned books/textbooks for college. I knew that the said bookstore carries my book (uhm, my published novella) —   I personally delivered their copies sometime in January of this year. Out of curiosity, I tried to check where my book was displayed and yes, I wanted to know how many copies were left on the rack.

I walked around the store but couldn’t find one copy, so I went and asked Customer Service. So the staff checked their computer, then asked me to follow her… and led me to a pushcart, not so far from the counter. When I asked where they were supposed to move or display the books, I was told, “Oh, these are for pull out.”

Okay, so my eyes opened wide, my jaw dropped (and yeah, my heart pretty much broke). Casually I asked the salesgirl, Who ordered the books to be pulled out – and why? Basically she couldn’t answer. She looked at the other clerks who at that time were all listening in and staring at us. Nobody could offer an explanation. They just said the books are to be returned to the supplier. When I told them I am the supplier and I was not told about the pullout, they just all gave me a blank stare.

Calmly I told the salesgirl that I will just get in touch with Purchasing department. Hopefully they have the answers. I turned to leave before I ended up saying something mean – or throw a fit, or have a meltdown.

A LOT of things ran in my mind… Only a few people bought my book… Maybe it was too expensive?… My fault for not really marketing it…  Maybe I suck as a writer?!… Why do I even write when no one reads me anyway?! … What a loser… And so on, and so forth.

On my way out of the bookstore, I told my son, “Now I feel bad.”

At that time, I pretty much allowed eight unsold books to define me… and to ruin my evening.

Don’t we all experience those days?

Nothing seems to be going your way… Expectations are not met… Prayers are left unanswered… People disappoint… You feel lost… You don’t know your purpose… People do or say things that mess up your psyche… Circumstances strip you of your confidence, make you question your worth… People are hurtful and insensitive… We don’t know the answer to our many why’s.

The world can be cruel. It can weigh you down.

That is if you will allow it to.

For the past several weekends, our Worship Team in Church had been singing the song “Take Courage” by Bethel Music.  Over and over.

It’s about taking courage, holding steadfast, holding on to hope. It’s about waiting and watching for your triumph to unfold.

I kept hearing the song in Church. Over and over.

It was when I started having those days — Those seemingly bad days… Those I feel like such a loser kind of days… It was then that I realized that the song was being played for me. Over and over.

My God’s reminder that something good is about to come. Just wait.

When I got home from the bookstore that evening, I found a message waiting in my social media account. From halfway around the world, someone was telling me how excited she was that she finally got hold of a copy of my book. I believe God sent this angel to cheer me up. I hope she knows she was my angel that evening.

And to further make me feel better, a few minutes later, I received another message from another time zone — from someone I hardly talked to — telling me how much my blogs inspire her and that she enjoyed reading them. Totally unexpected.

Right when my self confidence was starting to spiral down, it was like I was reminded to just chill.

It happens. We get tired and weary. The world can be mean. 

But as the song goes, Slow down, take time, breathe in… He’d reveal what’s to come.  

In the meantime, God sends angels to comfort us, remind us that everything will be well.

Sharing with you the link to the song ‘Take Courage’… Because someone might be needing it right now.

 

That Yellow Lab Named Bunso

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King of the Outdoors

Our 7 year old pet labrador’s death last week did not come as a shock. He had been ill for a couple of months already. We have gone to the vet quite a number of times and three times we had to leave him there so they can observe and monitor his condition closely. 

It started with hind leg paralysis caused by blood parasites. Then he had kidney issues. Both the blood parasites and kidney issues were resolved, but not the paralysis. Every time he tried to move or walk, he had to drag his right hind leg. Eventually he got tired of trying. He seemed to have lost the will to move, even to stand. His pressure points began having sores and wounds which we had to clean and dress twice a day, every single day. 

Maybe in his mind our dog was thinking labradors were born to run wild and free… that it goes against their nature to stay still and be immobilized by paralysis, sores and wounds. 

In our minds, once his wounds are thoroughly healed, we can send him to a dog therapist so his hind leg can regain movement. Because that was the plan. We would solve the blood and the wound issues first and then we can explore the leg therapy option so he can walk again.

But how do you explain that to a dog? Does he truly understand what you are saying whenever you give him the reassurance that everything will be okay? When he looks into your eyes with that loving, doggie look of his, is he saying, yes he understands what’s happening — or is he merely trying to tell you that he is in pain?

Or is he just trying to tell you how thankful he is for the love and care that you are showing him?

Eventually the vet discovered other complications. Supplements and pain medications can only manage whatever pain he may have. The meds may make him a bit more comfortable, but they won’t cure him. We knew that sooner or later he would go. We prayed it would be later — much, much later. 

Our dog never regained the energy that he had prior to his illness…Yet he had a way of showing us that he was happy and content enough just having us around him. 

I guess we will never know how much physical pain he was feeling all throughout. He would cry, he would whimper, he would bark and call our attention, but the moment someone is with him, he keeps quiet. Like he just wanted company.

Much like all those times he kept us company when we were alone outside. No frills, no expectations, just silent companionship, selflessness and yes, unconditional love.

Our dog’s death did not come as a shock… but that doesn’t make it any less painful for us. Our hearts are broken just the same.

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How do you say goodbye? 

I realized recently that I wrote about him years back, when he was still a puppy. The article came out in Action and Fitness Magazine.

I was a newbie dog owner then. I didn’t know anything about dogs, I never had pets before because — well, I guess I was afraid of the responsibility and the attachment. 

Thought of sharing with you said write up…

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He was a puppy once… 

A Girl’s Best Friend  

By: Betsy G. Ochosa

They say that a dog is a man’s best friend.  They are very loyal and they will love you unconditionally (yes, i am still talking about the dog). 

I, for one, never experienced such friendship with an animal because i never — ever — had a pet when i was growing up.  Oh, okay, so maybe i had a fish. But what relationship can you have with a fish, right? (especially when their life expectancy isn’t exactly that long)

The other day, we bought my son a labrador puppy.  We promised to get him one for his birthday and we searched far and wide to get the “right” one.  We were directed to someone who really knows about dogs and breeds champions.  After visiting her house and seeing her litter of 8, we ended up choosing the youngest of the bunch.  Youngest, and definitely biggest, of them all.  Welcome to our world, Mr. big, yellow, labrador puppy… We called him “Bunso” for being the youngest.

Yesterday, Bunso’s second day here, he was just content playing inside his crate… or sleeping mostly.  He almost never made a sound. He only barked when he needed to go (out of his crate to do his thing… he IS well trained for a two-month old).  Come early evening, my husband got a little worried that he was lethargic.  He seemed too laid back for a labrador! (Though that really isn’t an issue with me because I like being stress-free and laid back…But the hubby is type A, and he knows more about dogs…)

10:00pm… just about the time we were preparing to sleep… Bunso suddenly realized he had too much stored energy… and decided to bark… and howl… and wake the whole household up.  Maybe he’s from another time zone.  He was just so awake!  And worse, he wanted to play.  He eventually calmed down after an hour of playtime.

… and stayed calm until 4:30 in the morning… and then he barked… and howled… and growled… and gave this guttural cry that seemed to sound like he was begging for someone to wake up and play with him again – or at the very least, mind him.  Of course he had his way… we couldn’t risk having the neighbors reporting us to village administration for disturbing the peace at 4am.

It is almost 12 noon as I am writing this and Bunso, so far, has been pretty calm.  I have to thank my helper, of course, for simply being there because I know that I won’t be able to handle this guy alone.  I can only play with him while he’s inside the crate… or when someone else is holding him… and when i’m wearing jeans… I’m still a newbie puppy owner and I haven’t insured my legs yet so i won’t even attempt to pretend i know how to handle a playful giant of a puppy like this one.

But i know he already knows me.  He goes to the side of his crate and lies down so i can rub his fur, and he’ll just calmly stare at me… like he’s memorizing my face– and my voice –or maybe finding out a way grab my long hair.  It’s like he knows that he is stuck with me for the most part of his everyday – so he might as well know the face that goes with the hand that would feed him.  When i stood up to take a walk, he stood up as well, and started howling the moment i was out of his vision. 

It is a challenge taking care of another living creature.  But I believe the rewards are great.  Hopefully Bunso will be as loyal to me as he will be to the rest of the family. I pray that he grows up – grows old — with us, and will love us unconditionally.  Hopefully, my legs will never get bitten nor scratched… And that we get to share many wonderful years and memories with him. 

In time I will get to say that a dog can be a woman’s best friend, too. 

Bunso was with us for 7 years. He was our welcoming committee… always the most excited every time one of us comes home. He was too friendly to the mail and delivery men that we couldn’t call him a ‘guard dog.’  Several times we would catch neighborhood kids scratching his back, petting him, as he positions himself by the gate. He was happy enough just resting his heavy head on my feet whenever I was outside. I helped take care of him, I got attached, but I didn’t mind. Because of him I experienced the joys that come with having a pet.

Yes, he showed us unconditional love. 

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Goodnight My Sweetie 

Hopefully we were able to give him seven good years.

 

*****

Bunso, April 21,2010 – June 23, 2017.

Photos are all ours. Article “A Girl’s Best Friend,” first published in Action and Fitness Magazine, 2010.