Wake-up call | Inquirer Opinion
In the Pink of Health

Wake-up call

What lies ahead?

Head trauma. A septuagenarian aunt of a friend was visiting from the United States and accidentally hit her head when she slipped in the bathroom. There was no loss of consciousness or visible contusions. Five days later, she complained of severe headache. A CT scan was done and revealed intracranial hemorrhage, which required neurosurgical intervention.


Reunion. She surprised her best friend by showing up. She was visibly in high spirits and was, without trying, the star of the party. An hour after the celebration, they heard a loud thud from the bathroom. Three doctors were present and managed to bring her to the nearest medical facility. She had suffered a massive stroke.

Fiftieth wedding anniversary. Everyone excitedly was preparing for her golden wedding anniversary. She had numerous health challenges and was the poster girl of her clan for surpassing age 65 despite being a known case of polycystic kidney disease, a hereditary disorder that involves multiple organs such as the liver, is notoriously progressive and may require measures that can be extreme to address the eventuality of renal failure. It was barely a month before the joyous occasion and all was set. A physician relative received a phone call from her helper who said they were on their way to the emergency room as she had complained of severe headache which was more than alarming.


COVID. “Would you happen to know where we can avail of blood products?” The hospital had run out and a relative was in need. He was in critical condition and suffering from complications after having been diagnosed with severe COVID. Doctors had already appraised the family.

All these are perfect examples of just how easily one can slip into oblivion and be just a memory. Beginnings inescapably will have endings or near endings, and no one can control the inevitable. If one survives and is given another chance of rejoining the carousel of life, then there must be a reason.

Wake-up call. One need not go through a dramatic experience to have one or have several. Regardless of the number, that one moment hopefully will serve as a reminder of the importance of realizing why we all have been given the opportunity to “rent space” in this world. Too often, our focus is directed within the circle of family, ensuring that daily needs are met and plans for the future are set, with the goal of always being able to live comfortably. There is nothing wrong with this if we are constantly aware of the danger of excess and how our pursuit of providing the basics or more than the basics does not come at the cost of someone else.

What does it mean to have enough? When is enough, enough? What does it mean to have been truly of help? What is your definition? What I can share is a little bit of mine and hopefully, this will provide that needed space for added reflection.

Having enough is when you are able to meet the basic necessities and capable of indulging occasionally on a reasonable “want,“ whether it be material or an experience. Help may come in various forms and be of your own version. It could be material, a kind word, a thoughtful gesture, a compassionate look, a light hand on someone’s shoulder to convey what words cannot express, or simply be the gift of your time. Being of help will always be more meaningful if given freely without a thought of personal gain, extended beyond the confines of family, and most especially if given to those who are completely clueless as to who you are and the part you played as an individual, or a member of a group who succeeded in making their lives a little better. Your help may have been the very thing they needed most at that instance and you were made an instrument in making them believe that goodness still abounds.

Wake-up calls are second chances. In our insignificance, we should always strive to be of relevance. Life will always go on without us. What lies ahead is in the hands of our Divine Editor in Chief. Let us all remember that.

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