Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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Thank God there’s Christmas!

Politics sometimes envelops our lives as if nothing else matters. Throughout the year, we were preoccupied with unabated EJKs, the battle of Marawi, the resurrection of the Marcoses and PGMA, the relentless efforts to oust VP Leni Robredo, Metro Manila’s monstrous traffic and its woeful mass transport, impeachment complaints and impeachment threats, talk of RevGov and one-man rule, the systematic undermining of our democratic system of checks and balances, the methodical chipping away at our democracy. The list of concerns is endless. While we sought to carry on with our daily lives, these concerns consumed us to an overwhelming degree.

Then, in October, I was advised that I needed urgent surgery to address a condition called spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal nerve passages and causing persistent pain in my right leg. The affected nerves were deteriorating and the condition could become irreversible. After soul-searching and family discussions, and based on our confidence in my surgeon and the recommendation of my good friend, Dr. Rudy Soto, we scheduled surgery for Dec. 7 in San Francisco. Since recuperation would take five weeks, we also agreed that my whole clan, all 18 of us, would spend the Christmas holidays in San Francisco.

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Well, surgery was done and was an amazing success. I was wheeled out of the operating room one hour after surgery under full anesthesia, smiling, fully conscious and waving at my family. As the anesthesia wore out, my pain level on a scale of 1 to 10 reached a peak of only 3. My pain medication was mostly Tylenol! And the pain in my right leg was totally gone!

The next morning, about 20 hours after surgery, I got up from bed and walked around 100 feet in the corridors with the aid of a walker. The therapists stressed the critical need to avoid any BLT—bending, lifting, or twisting. And two days after surgery, I was back home. My surgery so far is a complete success and my recovery continues very satisfactorily. I give credit primarily to Dr. Ken Hsu, my surgeon, who heads the Spine Center at St. Mary’s Medical Center.

But the real story, I think, lies in how so many friends offered Masses and prayers for a successful surgery and quick recovery, and how my family made sure that my needs would be fully addressed at all times.

Sisters Anne and May and the Carmelites of Bacolod who have been kindly praying for our family for years, Sister Isabelita and the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary introduced to us by Vicky and Joey Cuisia, Br. Gus and the DLS Brothers and Fr. Anton Pascual and his Caritas network, and numerous friends and relatives just continued sending messages of concern and prayers, which made our hearts swell and assured us that all would be well.

And, of course, my family has fully risen to the occasion. Organizing ourselves for six weeks abroad from surgery to recuperation with Christmas and New Year in between took some doing, the key being at least one daughter and son-in-law to assist my wife and me, both in our 70s, during our entire stay. Danielle accompanied us traveling from Manila, and while their spouses Al and Denise watched over their kids, Nikki and our son-in-law Dr. Louie Jison came, too, for the surgery and were most helpful! Nikki even negotiated a large corner room with a view simply by telling the supervisor that the room would make her dad happy! Mo and Paolo came two days after surgery to relieve the first batch who could not stay. My recovery would not have been as quick and pleasant without my family by my side. And all throughout this period, my tower of strength and unparalleled caregiver, none other than my dear wife Marivic, has never left my side!

This Christmas reminds us that the things that really matter are faith in the Good Lord and the Blessed Mother, true friends and relatives who surround us with their love and concern, and loving family members who make our lives worthwhile. Politics, after all, doesn’t matter nearly as much.

A blessed and peaceful Christmas to all!

Ramon R. del Rosario Jr. (rrdelrosario@ gmail.com) is the CEO of Phinma.

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