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Archive for April, 2017


Who ends up with the blood samples you routinely give for tests? What else are they being used for? Why don’t you know?

I am in the middle of reading Michael Palmer’s book,  The Fifth Vial. I read three of his books before, accidental finds while looking for more Robin  Cook’s books. Like the latter, Michael Palmer was also a doctor and Robin Cook was two years ahead of him at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. That is according to his biography. He asked his younger sister and I quote:

“If Robin can write a book and has the same education as I do,” why can’t I write a book?”

He died last October 2013 with nineteen books to his name.  I was lucky enough to find The Fifth Vial,  a story about a  disgraced medical student, a scientist and a private eye. Put them together and you have The Fifth Vial.  Just like  Robin Cook, Palmer wrote medical thrillers.  I have enjoyed reading Robin Cook’s books since I read my first book of him. I have collected his works over the years. I remember this started when I read about the famous Lea Salonga’s short bio that  she wanted to be a doctor and that she read Robin Cook. I was intrigued so I looked for his books at Booksale.  When I found one, the others followed.  By the way, going back to The Fifth Vial, it is my 80th read so far since I started with Goodreads’ 2017 Reading  Challenge  last January. Seventy more books to go before I finish the challenge. I am ahead of schedule though by about thirty-three books. Reading is getting lovelier and more interesting.

The medical field is such a rich source of those medical malpractices, new discoveries on medicines and such stories that  appear so true in real life.  When I got sick almost eight years ago, I researched and read so much about the effects of chemotherapy, how cancer could be treated the natural way.  I was afraid though so I chose to have chemotherapy every three weeks and took oral chemo drugs too. Some doctors would really suggest  for you to try new medicines like you are a guinea pig or a  white mouse According to my oncologist,  there are as many as two hundred chemotherapy drugs in the market.  It costs an arm and a leg to have one small bottle  of Oxaliplatin. The oral drug is just the same.  The first time I saw the drip  encased in a black cloth, I almost freaked out.  The nurse explained to me that the drug should not be exposed to the light. You know that thinking that you are taking poison in your immune system. I wonder if having a low immunity is still the effect of taking those chemotherapy drugs.

Oh yes, why not Michael Palmer? Why not The Fifth Vial?  I am sure you will also enjoy reading this as I do.

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It seems like it was only yesterday  and yet it is Sunday again. Time travels so fast.

I miss reading  the Sunday papers,  I used to subscribe when dad was alive. Early Sunday mornings would always be a cup of instant coffee and Philippine Star. I don’t subscribe anymore since I always don’t get to read it anyway. Besides, when you eat an early breakfast at Jollibee, the morning paper comes free.  For so many Sundays now, we always attend the 6:30 am masses in town.  There are always online sites for national dailies if one wants to be updated with the headlines which almost always deals with extra-judicial killings. It’s not really good to be reading those news reports that only make you feel that the present government is doing nothing.  I pity my country, in nine months since their president occupied Malacanang, it’s one big ride downwards.

Today we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast day in the Catholic Church.  It is celebrated on the Sunday after Easter, the Octave of Easter. I will always remember my former boss at the bank, she was the one who initiated that we pray the 3 O’clock Prayer to the  Divine Mercy every day. I’ve come to memorize the prayer. This hour of Great Mercy  promises tremendous grace in our lives.

So yesterday was a  family celebration  of Mom’s birthday.  It’s one of those day worth-remembering again not so much of the food (though we have plenty of it) but more of the camaraderie and the laughter when our baby Nate is around. I think he will always be the life of a party.  I have some food magazines here and Nate pointed at one of the covers and told his dad that he wanted something similar to eat soon. It’s a colorful array of veggies and meat on the side. We laughed while he pointed at the photo.  Sometimes kids are taken by colors  although they are the first to figure out that a certain taste is not to their liking.  I am glad that Nate eat his vegetables more than her daddy does 🙂

Have I told you that I finally changed my Aldiko e-reader to Moonreader?  Moonreader seems the better option for my e-books, it is easier to navigate  and to follow.  Since I started reading e-books a few years ago, it has always been Aldiko but I guess it is no longer that user-friendly on my tab. I wonder sometimes that despite an outer device with a 10 gb to boot, I still get the message, the space it not enough to upgrade apps. The only apps I installed earlier when I didn’t have  my computer before was the BPI and WordPress. The tab comes with all those pre-installed apps that you cannot delete but are upgraded from time to time Facebook included.  never mind, I only ever use it for reading and for paying household bills online. I want to buy a camera first before changing my tab.  One of these days, maybe.

 

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Had good chats with two of my close friends last night. One of my friends who is a third order Carmelite attends mass daily at Sto. Domingo Church.  He was in doubt but he asked me if Fr. Lovell was the one who officiated the mass. He said the latter’s homily was a breath of fresh air.  So I asked Fr. Lovell later, he said yes. He  even mentioned my plight as a cancer survivor, how  having a grave ailment would someday be an inspiration to others to get well.  We talked about life and survival, we talked about our families and moving on. We talked about how life seems so hard sometimes.

I do agree, there are times when you feel so alone in your struggles.  There are times when you feel like giving up but it is not an option.  There are always instances when  you feel so down. Life is all about our struggles and little victories we gain from being brave and strong.  It’s hard sometimes to show strength when you really feel so weak. It is easier to show how you’ve become saddened and disappointed with what is happening around. Problems are part and  parcel of this thing we call life.  It may get a little  complicated at times  but trying times are not always here to stay. Our attitude towards vicissitudes in life spells the big difference between living and existing. It’s survival of the fittest as people often say. I do believe though that one’s weakness becomes one’s strength  in the long run. We learn, oh how we learn to survive. Staying positive may be hard to do but it is one moving force for us to survive and accept a particular situation not to our liking. I remember one writer (the name escapes me now) who said, “When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back”.

 

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Had to wake up early to go to the supermarket to buy ingredients for the  birthday celebration we are planning for Mom tomorrow. SM East Ortigas Supermarket opens early at 7am every day. So convenient for early shopping. When it comes to a simple celebration, we always prefer home-cooked meals.  Sirloin steak, chicken lollipop, barbecue, baked potato marble and Filipino style spaghetti.  When we celebrate birthdays at home, there is always Chines bihon  (pansit) or spaghetti on the side. Yesterday, I cooked pansit  for mom, for the two of us actually, had it for lunch and merienda.

I wanted to bake some cookies since I have those M & M baking bits given by a friend last week but I feel so lazy to jot down what to buy, maybe when Mom goes home, I will.  We’ll just have store-bought cake for dessert.  I haven’t done any baking lately, trying to avoid sugar and too much carb. I have been to my internist for my month follow-up check-up the other day. No more lab tests, thank God but my medicine for BP was changed to a higher dose. Though the doctor’s fee is free because of my JP Morgan health card, the cost of medicines is sky-high.  I have to take four kinds of medications every day for I don’t know how long but I feel good.  Gone are the earlier days of always making a mistake when I am in front of the computer blogging. My fingers are quite steady now.

I talked to Nate last night. He was shouting that we will see them again soon. Yes, they are coming over for lunch tomorrow. Nissa offered to cook spaghetti.  When we cook spaghetti, it is not just from a can, we make sure that we buy fresh ingredients to go with it.

Looking forward to another family bonding.

 

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I am greeting my mom early for her 88th birthday. It is her birthday tomorrow but we will celebrate it properly when the kids are around this coming Saturday.  Sometimes I wonder if I’ll be able to reach that ripe old age of 88. She is the youngest of four sisters and the oldest is almost a hundred years old now.  Their generation  is quite different from ours. They were not able to enjoy the age of technology which we call the internet nowadays. I remember though that we used to have that manual Underwood typewriter where Dad typed most of his correspondence at home.  My parents both studied shorthand writing. I was intrigued. When  I was in college, I took up six units of steno but that was all.  I never learned to appreciate shorthand. You need patience and skill to use it.  I don’t know if shorthand subjects are still offered until now. Here’s a picture we had earlier with mom, my eldest brother  Roy and my son Josef. The pinkish color in the background was because of the overhead lighting.

Some say you are totally blessed when you reach  80. The added years are a bonus to one’s age.  Maybe so, but those times are the times you feel your age. Pains and other illness crop up and  you need maintenance medicines for longer life.  They grow a little forgetful. Mom is hard of hearing, oftentimes, I write messages to her so she will understand and will be able to read them.  We don’t get to talk as much as we used to because she always says “I don’t know, I could not hear you“. What she hears are garbled sounds on her right ear. The  left is totally deaf.  Years ago, we bought her hearing aid upon the advice of  an otolaryngologist  but she never adjusted to it. Maybe old age has contributed to her hearing loss.

Happy birthday Mom, we love you. Good health and happiness always.

 

 

 

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I just received this  message from WordPress a few minutes ago with this logo:

“Congratulations on writing 100 posts on Gardens and Empty Spaces!”

Haha, it’s my 100th blog post on my other blog  Gardens and Empty Spaces. I have long neglected this blog because for the last six months I haven’t taken  pictures of my garden  until today. I have to use my tab to take photos. I am glad that for every milestone in blogging,  WordPress has always a reminder so we  won’t forget.

Come visit me there if you have time.  Would love to update it at least once a month.

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I’ve read somewhere about those seven signs when you are seriously broke. Seriously, I don’t think there are just those  seven signs for you to realize that you really don’t have enough to tide you over until the next pay-day or until your next pension.

My goodness, there must be something wrong with people who try to live beyond their means. Nowadays,  gadgets are always updated almost every six months and there are people who just can’t help themselves, they need to buy the newest and latest model of cellphones, tabs, lap tap or what have you maxing out their credit card limits in the process.

Since I started working at the bank back in 1978, I also started keeping a small notebook of  my daily expenses religiously updating it at the end of the day. Why, even a twenty-five cents worth of candies was written there. I kept a tab of my monthly budget and summarized it yearly when my two kids were still at university. I had several envelopes marked for marketing, for groceries, miscellaneous, Nissa’s and Josef’s allowances and for small indulgences now and then. That only stopped  a few years after my optional retirement from the bank where I worked for more than twenty-one years. Since then, I’ve been conscious of how and  where to spend wisely.Sometimes though, I am an impulsive buyer too. There are those things that we just want but don’t really need. Economists always tell us, save first before you spend. That seldom happens though. By the time the 15th or the end of the month is near, you are using your credit card to buy things.

I learned a lot while I was working at Bank of PI. You learn to save money the right way, you learn to invest in some funds the right way. They will teach you how. You will learn to curtail a little of those unnecessary expenses. You will learn to handle money. Money  per se is not evil, it’s how we handle it. There  are people who think money is their  God, the more they have, the happier they are.  You are rich when you have enough but you are richer when you have peace of mind, you can get up in the morning without worrying,  when you could admire simple things that give you happiness.

Is living beyond your means an ideal set-up? I don’t think so.  It would probably gives you more problems than you presently have.

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