When the unexpected happens

So, it has been a month since I last posted a blog entry. Time flies when you’re having fun a lot of things are happening. 

If I can remember correctly, my last blog was about my son’s short visit from college. Yey, good times! Though unplanned, and truly short (it was only five days long), it was a fun reunion with the family. 

After that Quarter Break in September, the plan was for me and my husband to fly to Singapore to attend the College’s Parents’ Orientation Weekend from Oct. 13-15. I was really looking forward to that trip. For one, we would see the unico again after only three weeks — no chance to miss him too much, right?

Also, well, I love Singapore. The flight is just 3 1/2 hours, so it’s bearable. The country is safe, it’s not polluted, the commute is easy. I can go places by myself and not get scared out of my wits. Then there’s Sephora and Victoria’s Secret (aren’t these good enough reasons to be excited??!).

And of course we go back to the fact that my son goes to college there — so yes, I was looking forward to the trip.  So I booked our flights early, even decided to extend our stay for a couple more days (for shopping, what else?!).

Three days before our scheduled departure, I received a message from my son saying he had an accident in his dorm. His foot and leg went numb while he was walking, he had a bad fall… and he broke a toe.

Yes, he broke one of the little piggies — to be more specific, the one who didn’t go to market, nor stayed home, nor had roast beef. It was the little piggy who had none (the ring toe). 

If you can’t imagine how he broke it nor how it looked broken, well, you are not alone. I couldn’t imagine it at first either. In fact, when I called him up to check on him, I was even quite cool and dismissive, I told him that the hospital will probably just pop it right back — like what people normally do with dislocated shoulders or knees.

We respond to accidents differently. On hindsight, I believe I was cool and not panicking because I was a thousand miles away and I couldn’t see the extent of the injury. Plus, when I was talking to him, I couldn’t quite tell if he was crying or laughing. Mom, I broke my toe!! *giggle*giggle*giggle* ” And I could hear laughter in the background, as well. Apparently it was one of his room mates who was making my son laugh to keep him from passing out. (When I saw a photo of the broken toe, I thought I was going to pass out.)

My son’s dorm mates had the presence of mind to call an ambulance right away. One of them placed pillows under my son’s leg to keep it elevated. And despite the scary, icky sight of his broken toe, they kept him conscious and alert. God bless them for being there!

The ambulance came right away. He was brought to the emergency room of the nearby hospital. And then we didn’t hear from him for quite sometime. At this point I surmised that the doctors were cleaning the wound… or popping the bone back in. 

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Do you see the fourth little piggy? Of course you don’t… because it’s bent. 😦 I have a photo of the broken toe, but I will spare you. Believe me it’s not a sight to behold. 

When we finally got to talk to someone from the hospital, we were told that the bone cannot be just popped back in (actually they tried, but it was much too painful and it didn’t really work). So my son had to undergo surgery. Right away. That same afternoon. 

The doctors will have to put a wire to straighten the bone again and correct the alignment. And they had to stitch the open wound up. Everything had to be done in a rush also to prevent infection.

And so my son had to undergo surgery, in another country, without us there beside him. 

Thank God he had such great dorm mates and friends who waited for him at the hospital. Thank God for our Singaporean friends who rushed to the hospital the moment we informed them about the accident.  

Patient B32

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Not at all related to B1 or B2

After about three hours, my son was awake, and back from surgery and recovery room.

He was able to text and update us. Told us he was asleep the whole time, and that when he woke up, his toe was already all stitched up, with a wire holding it straight. He was to stay in the hospital for the time being so the doctors can monitor him, xray his toe and check the outcome.

At this point we all decided there’s no need anymore to rebook our flight to an earlier day since the surgery was over anyway. We told him to just rest and relax in the hospital and that we will go straight to him the moment we arrive on Friday morning. 

The following day — which was a Wednesday — we were told that the xray showed that although there’s already a wire, the bone was still not perfectly aligned. The doctor explained to my son that they could leave the wire as is, but the bone will still be a little crooked when it heals and there’s a risk of the joints experiencing some pain eventually. So my son was given an option to have another surgery, this time a ‘not rushed’ one, to fix the bone properly. The hospital called in their best orthopedic and trauma surgeon to do it. 

My son being 18 decided for himself. He said he opted to have the toe fixed. Yup, that very day. And we were a thousand miles away still.

Two surgeries in two days. How’s that for independence and adulting?

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Post 2nd surgery. Little piggy has a wire sticking out. 

To say that I don’t feel bad for not being there for him from the moment of the accident to the surgeries (both of them) will be an understatement. For a mom who prides herself on being “always there” during important moments, well, this time I wasn’t there. I couldn’t be there. 

Yet I believe that the accident showed my son’s independence. It gave him the chance to make mature decisions. It made him decide on certain matters that concerned his physical well-being.

It gave him a taste of the real world — a world where mom and dad are not always there to make things easy. 

I can say he was able to hold his own pretty well while we were still away. I couldn’t be more proud. 

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Welcome to adulthood. 

We arrived in Singapore –and the hospital — Friday morning, as originally planned. 🙂 

❤ ❤

More stories to tell… About the accident, our visit, and our extended stay. Do stay tuned! 

 

photo credits: Most of the photos were sent to us by my son…Because truly, why wouldn’t one want to document something as exciting as this?! 😉 

 

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In case you missed it…

college-graduation

Start of something new…

I wrote this piece for Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s online site brewyourbestyear.com just recently.  It’s something I wrote especially for this year’s graduating students. I thought of posting it here in my blog for the benefit of those who missed it. 

Read on and ponder… 

❤ ❤

Nuggets of Wisdom

Ahh, graduation.  It’s that time of year once again. A time to close another chapter of one’s life… a season ending.

It is during this time when parents listlessly ask, Where have the days gone? How did my child grow up so fast? Is he ready for the real world? While the students probably think to themselves, What is in store for me? What will life offer? Am I ready?

Don’t we sometimes wish that life comes with a guide book where we can find solutions to our problems or directions to follow so we can avoid getting into trouble or sticky and hurtful situations? Unfortunately, there’s no “Manual for an Easy and Perfect Life” available.

We learn from our own experiences.  We also learn from our peers. More so, we learn from our elders. We gain wisdom from the ones who went before us, simply because they have “been there” and yes, they have “done that.”

To the graduating students who are just about to go out into the real world, allow me to share some insights on life.  These are learnings that I have gathered through my years of having been there and having done that.  

Hopefully, these nuggets of wisdom can help guide you in this journey called real life…

Girlfriends

#Girlfriendsgoals

On Friendship

Friendships do not happen overnight. We all know that. It took days, maybe even months and years, for you to form a bond with your childhood, high school and college friends. I believe the same thing goes with people you will meet in the work place – or in the great ‘out there.’  Remember: Trust is earned.

Hold on to your old friends. You will meet new people. You will have new and exciting relationships. You may even not see your old friends for years.  Yet neither time nor distance can erase real friendships. Value the ones who were there when you were young, pure and innocent. They will remind you of who you really are, no pretensions needed, and they will love you just the same.

True friends are those who stick by you through thick or thin.

Not everyone can be your friend. So, you are Mr. or Ms. Congeniality… and yet there is someone who rubs you the wrong way. Or maybe you rub them the wrong way. It’s okay. You don’t have to be friends with everybody. But be nice.

brokenheart

People can sometimes break your heart…

On Dealing with People

People are not always appreciative so don’t expect them to be. You don’t have to please everybody.

You cannot expect everybody to always agree with you or think the way you do.  You don’t always have to agree with someone else’s opinion, but you can learn from the differences.  Besides, life will be boring if we all think the same way.

There will always be people who have a lot to say. The “know-it-alls.” They have something to say about you, about the government, about other people, about the weather. If you think and feel that what they say doesn’t do you any good, then by all means, shut them out. Constructive criticism is different from just plain criticism. Don’t let the negativity get to you.

Stay away from toxic, negative people.  They will suck the energy out of you. And check yourself, too. 

You cannot please everybody, help everybody, make everybody happy.  But being one person’s hero is enough.  Be that hero.

Happytobeme

I am the best Me

On Being the Best You

A person’s true character is revealed during difficult or trying times… not when things are good. The same applies to yourself, too.

You cannot buy breedingNor can you buy character.

Keep evolving. Is there a skill you want to learn? A hobby you want to begin? Then go for it. One is never too old to learn something new. You’ll be surprised at what you can actually accomplish if you just put your heart and mind to it. Don’t be afraid to surprise yourself.

Respect. Yourself. People. Their Belongings. Don’t be rude and self-absorbed. The amount of respect you expect from others is commensurate to the respect that you give.

It’s all about perspective.  When you feel like the world is closing in on you, step back a little.  Find a better view.  Breathe.  You may not be able to change the situation, but you can change your outlook.

Learn to forgive yourself. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we make small slip-ups, sometimes we do major tumbles and fall hard. When you do, don’t wallow nor condemn yourself. Own up to your faults, dust yourself off, then move on.

Learn to apologize. Know when to say sorry and know when to forgive. Be the bigger person.

Stick to your non-negotiables.  They define who you are.

Be kind.  A little kindness, a heartfelt smile, a generous act, selfless actions go a long way. Some people need to see light shining on them. Be that light.

In everything, give thanks.

Lastly, share yourself, share your wisdom. Share what you know. Allow others to learn from you.

As you get older you will realize that one of the best compliments that you will ever receive is when people say how proud and fortunate they are that you are in their lives and that you are indeed a blessing to them.

So, go and be that blessing. ❤ 

***

 

All photos were grabbed — or borrowed — from google images. Thank you clipart, Sex and the City, and Sesame Street.

Write up originally published at CBTL’s brewyourbestyear.com. You may find the original link here. For more of my write-ups on this site, please click : Betsy Gacutan-Ochosa

 

Hellos & Goodbyes

My mom’s sister and her family live in Virginia, USA. I remember when we were very young, their family would come and visit the Philippines every two years.

I also remember babysitting my two younger, adorable half-Italian, half-Filipino cousins E and GP, whenever they were here. From teaching them nursery rhymes when they were very little, to bringing them to arcade games… I would truly spoil them to their young hearts’ desires.

As we got older — when they turned teenagers, and I was already a young working woman,  I would always tag them along, bring them with me to my office. We would walk around the mall, hang out at Starbucks during my free time.  

We were always happy just hanging out. Most of the time, E and I will make fun of GP (because he is the youngest)… Or we would all make fun of everyone else — like other relatives, strangers, etc. Yes, we could all be pretty immature when we were together.

We saw each other grow up — grow old — well, every two years.  But I can say that we always made the most of their time here, however long or short their vacation may be.

Goodbyes were always, always difficult. 

I remember when I was much younger, I would lock myself inside my room and cry my eyes out the moment my cousins say goodbye. I would cry until I start feeling sick from crying. Maybe that was just part of my teenage drama, but I really hated goodbyes.

It was just so lonely and whenever they left, it felt like they also left a hole in my chest. Though I knew that they would be back in two years’ time, I still couldn’t help but feel bad.

Nobody likes saying goodbye. Nobody likes being left behind. 

In time though, I have come to realize that people do come and go. Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes… and hellos once again. I often say that friendship knows no distance.  I believe more so with love.

I have not seen my cousins in quite awhile. One has gotten married and is now residing in China with his lovely wife, while the other is in Virginia living la vida loca.

We may be living in different continents, but I know that the care, the love will always be there. Our shared history and stories bind us.  

I do miss them dearly, but I know that when we see each other next, it would be like no time has passed. We would hang out, have coffee, reminisce. They would still be my adorable little cousins and I will always be the cool — and gorgeous—  big sister that they never had. 

And we would still be talking and making fun of everybody else…. Because we are immature like that. 😉 

With GP then & now… 

I got older — he just stayed adorable. 

For some reason,  I couldn’t find a photo with E… But I am sure he knows that he has always been my first favorite… 😉 

Photo with baby GP from my treasure trove of memories. Photo with adult GP taken about three years ago… 🙂

Stages and Seasons

It used to be our daily practice when my son was much, much younger… I would bring him to school in the morning, and then pick him up after class.

Just another regular school day…

Our drive to and from school gave us the chance to bond more. Morning travels were spent preparing him for the day… while I spend the afternoon ride home listening to how his school day went.

Morning car ride to school, elementary days

When he was very young, I would walk with him to his classroom and would only leave once I see that he’s all settled in. In time, I would just drop him off at the door of the building and will just watch as he walked the hallway to his classroom — or up to how far my eyes could reach him. 

I think he was in Grade 5 when he told me that I didn’t need to accompany him anymore even up to the gate… Though he said he still wanted me to be in the car with him so we can still chat on the way to school. 

Eventually, it would just be the driver who would bring him and pick him up.

Classroom. Hallway. School gate. Car.

Stages. Seasons.

❤ ❤

Last Thursday, my husband and I brought our son to the airport. He was to fly to another country for a College Weekend. As part of his college applications, he was invited by a university to visit the campus and for several interviews.

Car ride to the airport

It was his first trip abroad alone. 

Being a mother, I was overjoyed and excited for him. I was happy that he is getting all these opportunities. 

I was melancholic, too.

My heart was overflowing with joy and pride, yet at the same time it was melting and breaking, too. My son is not a baby anymore.

airport scene

Off to College Candidate Weekend!

It was a prelude to letting go.

Stages. Seasons.

❤ ❤

Immediately the morning after my son left, a good friend of mine, K, called up to check on me. She asked how I was, asked if I cried — or if I was still crying.

She knows I don’t cry easily… Yet she also knows that my heart breaks just the same. 

That same afternoon, I was at the mall running errands. Just as I was about to go home, I thought of what snack to buy for my son. He always comes home from school hungry and I make it a point that he has something to eat when he gets home.

And then I remembered he was out of the country. All I could do was to let out a huge sigh.

❤ ❤

Our children are not ours. Yes, we give them life, we raise them, we teach them… but we all know that time will come when we will have to let go and let them live their lives. Eventually they will have to spread their wings and live according to their purpose. And we allow them.

It is scary for us parents. Somehow don’t we all wish we can hold on to them, keep them near all time? Yet we also know that in order for them to grow, we have to let them go.

We just have to trust that we have taught them enough so they are able to stand on their own when the time comes.

We have to have faith in them, too.

❤ ❤

So spend as much time with your kids while they are young… while they are there. 

Like what I told my other friend who claims to be a ‘clingy parent’: Yes, be clingy. Cling as much and as hard as you can.

Because time flies. Life is fleeting. Our children grow up so fast. One day you are bringing them to nursery school, singing ABC’s in the car… Next day you are on the way to the airport to send them away for college. 

Stages and Seasons. Try not to miss the many good moments in between.

A few of our mommy and son dates

First day of Nursery School… First day of HS Senior Year

❤ ❤ ❤

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”           Prov. 22:6 KJV

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photos are all mine 🙂 

#patience

long line

there’s forever…

Pa·tience
ˈpāSHəns/
noun
1. the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

I have always thought of myself as a patient person.  

Long line? I can wait without fidgeting. Call on hold? I will even hum along with tune playing.  Waiting for a health report? I just pray. Giving instructions to someone who just cannot follow?  I try to keep it simple and I speak slowly to give the other person the chance to process what I am saying. Listening to someone share a story that was told and I have heard a hundred times? I still listen, I nod and I try to show interest. I don’t yawn. I don’t show boredom. 

See? I am patient. Forbearance is my middle name.

But then there are days… Days when my patience is tested — when it is just so tempting to lash out, then use the “Sorry, I’m only human” reasoning/cop out after.

Days like yesterday.

***
I started the day waiting for a document that I needed, something that was supposed to be given to me last Friday.  Person concerned did not give said document last Friday, promised to send it by email over the weekend.  Come Monday, I still didn’t have it.  
It took a great deal of self control on my part not to tell the person off.  I tried to be patient.   
Got the document at 4:30pm.
***
My son came home from school not feeling too well, complaining of pain in the lower abdomen, so I brought him to a clinic for consult with the pediatrician.
Everything went smoothly.  The doctor was there, we were next in line.  The consult was thorough but brief.  We were done in less than half an hour.
The doctor however suggested that my son have an xray of the abdomen, just to be sure.  He can have it done in the same clinic, so it wasn’t really a hassle or anything.  And we saw that there was no queue outside the xray room so we thought we would finish fast.
I told my son to proceed to xray and give the technician his doctor’s request, while I go to the cashier to settle the bill.  Instead of going to xray, my son stayed with me for two seconds to clarify what he was supposed to do and what to tell the technician.
Two seconds.  In those two seconds, another person appeared from nowhere and knocked at the door to the xray room, handed the technician her doctor’s request. 
Two seconds and thirty minutes later, my son and I were still at the hallway outside the xray room, waiting for his name to be called. Waiting for his turn.  That one patient before him just took too long. 
My son and I just entertained each other while waiting by telling each other stories.  But inside, I was like, “Really?! Forty minutes for an xray??!”
Patience.
***
When we finally — FINALLY — finished at the clinic, I had to go to the pharmacy to get my son’s meds.  
There was a queue.  The number being served was #26… my number was 35. 
After about 5 minutes, I checked the number being served… Great, still at #26.  Somebody must be buying half the pharmacy. 
I was getting fidgety but still I tried to keep my cool.  I sent my son (who opted to stay in the car) a text message: #forever. 
The next numbers got called eventually.  I saw an old schoolmate come in and got a number.  Hers was #43… when we both looked at the counter, the number being served was #33.  I gave a sympathetic shrug.  Join the club, sister…
We just ended up chatting.
***
Things don’t always go as we planned.  There are situations we cannot control, people who are not always reliable.  There are trying moments.  Patience truly is a virtue. 
But when we don’t give in to that urge of lashing out, or allowing our emotions to get out of control, I believe we will be better off in the long run.  
I won’t say, though, that I was not on the verge of a tantrum yesterday, because I seriously was.  But then, exhibiting patience is more mature.  
And so, I decided to take the high road. #chooseyourbattles
*****
photo via google images
Patience definition from google