A Valentine | Inquirer Opinion
At Large

A Valentine

/ 12:10 AM February 14, 2017

From soaring over the “fairy chimneys” of Cappadocia to falling from a tour bus in Istanbul—I guess you could say that about sums up my recent trip to Turkey.

There are many stories and anecdotes between and after these two events, but there is one incident that took place here that should prove entirely apropos to today’s occasion.


The ever-loving hubby had refused to accompany me while I was being wheeled out of my hospital room for surgery on my broken hip, preferring instead to wait in the room and watch TV. I complained that he had deprived me of reliving a common scene in many a Koreanovela: lovers holding hands while one is on a gurney, then suddenly having to let go as the doors to the operating suite swing open.

But by then I was already partly sedated and could do nothing but silently bemoan my fate. Minutes after being laid flat on the operating table, with a small green tent between my torso and the rest of me, I felt a sudden, strong grip on my right arm. In my delirium, I supposed that the hubby had changed his mind and came into the operating room to comfort me. But then the grip became harder and firmer, and I realized that it was not my husband’s hand I was feeling but the vise of the blood pressure cuff. The cuff would stay on for the next hour or so, but strangely, the on-again, off-again mechanism proved comforting, assuring me at least that I was still alive and breathing.


Young lovers, take note. As you get older and romance turns into familiarity, novelty into daily experience, you learn to find the frisson of falling in love in the oddest places and occasions. And as one wise woman said: The beauty of being married is that you find yourself falling in love over and over again with the same person.

True, romantic love will fade with time. True also that boredom may and will set in, as well as resentment, impatience, restlessness, doubt. But sometimes life takes an unexpected turn (or fall), and you find yourselves seeing each other in a new light, or at least from a different angle.

Ask yourselves this: When surveying the lay of the land, as it were, and choosing who among the many prospects is worth spending the rest of your life with, what is it that you look for and judge? Good looks count, certainly, as do a modicum of earning potential, courtly manners, wit and humor, parental potential, a sense of responsibility.

But will he change your adult diapers for you when you lie helpless in bed? Will she drive you to and from your physical therapy sessions, braving the traffic and the interminable wait? Will both of you stagger through old age on walkers and canes, ignoring the young people who seem to blithely take their health and safety for granted as they flip and flop on their skateboards?

Indulge me while I thank a few people for their care during my days of confinement at the Medical City.

The fate of my broken hip—and of my mobility in the future—lay in the hands of Dr. Amelito Sia, who headed the team that worked on me. His associates were: Dr. Ericson Santos, Dr. Rina Madelar, Dr. Tristan Tan and Dr. Emman Mata. Since they had chosen to use an epidural anesthesia on me, I was conscious during the procedure, and to my astonishment they sounded like a team of sailors, with Dr. Sia calling out instructions: “You, on the left, start drilling. Okay, now you work on the other screw! Pull, pull, pull!”

But in my weeklong confinement, the staff at Medical City seemed to work like a team for me, a single patient. I hope to make at least partial repayment to all these professionals, if not here, then in my blog.


Finally, to Dr. Alran Bengzon, who spotted me as I was seeking admittance to the hospital and at once approached me and told everyone to look after me as “she is family,” my undying gratitude. Indeed, I felt very much a part of the Medical City family, and today, I send all of you my love!

For readers interested in the full story of my “fall from grace,” as well as other issues occasioned by the mishap, you may follow it in rinasblogatlarge.wordpress.com.

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