Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Room 718


She would bring pack lunch to work for everyone to share. The mistress takes pride at her cooking and whatever dish she puts on the table becomes an elegant masterpiece. Sometimes its creamy Kare-Kare. By special request, its tangy Pork Binagoongan. If budget permits, she would cook Cream Dory in Butter and Lemon sauce. I do not remember the colleague who requested the dish, but the first time she forced me to taste it, a pangaean lover was born unto me.

The boys in the QA Department would enjoy the food heartily. Hers is a bacchanalian feast aimed at destroying attempts to cut down on calories.

"You're so thin, kumain ka nga!" She would scold me as extra rice passes from one plate to another.

"Busog na ako mami." I would say. Of course, she would get annoyed.

Meanwhile the three big boys who work in the department would just eat and eat without any care in the world. With an efficiency of a vacuum cleaner, everything's devoured on the table leaving the team leaders with scraps to enjoy.

Then she would force everyone to swallow fish oil capsule for dessert.


There was a vicious debate between the boss and my superior a few days before she complained of headache. The issue was about performing a diagnostics to assess the leadership capabilities of the junior officers. The concern was that some agents are doing better than their superiors in terms of grammar and product knowledge. To level up the field, the superiors would be given short training to be at par with their best subordinates. The boss raised a situation where a Team Leader fails such enhancer. What would become of that officer? Would that officer be sacked or demoted? Nobody could give a straight answer.

The debate went on from Tuesday to Thursday. It was said that some officers merely became muted spectators as the two stalwarts traded barbs at the conference room. Emotions ran high, I've heard, but in the end, the boss was satisfied with my superior's defense. On the third day, she was visibly exhausted. With her earnings from a raket delayed, pressures began to build up at the home front as well.


"Mami I bought you cupcakes." She was at the floor when I interrupted her talk with a team leader. It was raining outside and I handed her two cheese cupcakes I brought from the office canteen. Beset by pressures at home and a series of long meetings at work, she forgot to eat anything during the day.

"Thank you." Her sweet smile was heartwarming. There she was, a very tough woman defying odds thrown against her. Much as I would like to stay that evening, I had other errands to do.

Who would have thought it would be the last time I would see her at work before she was brought to the hospital.


"Nandiyan na yung Neuro ni Tina." Kuya Eddie, her husband said. "Ikaw na ang kumausap sa kanya.." He was looking at Phomela, Mami Athena's daughter-in-law.

Having a background in Nursing equipped her to speak the same language as the doctor.

She went to the ICU without a word.

Everyone feared that the patient, the mistress, my superior and my friend would require a brain surgery to take the clot out from her brain. Budget constraints aside, prognosis would be hard to categorize.

It was August 11 when the true cause of her illness was found. It was also the feast day of Claire of Assisi. Being her devout follower, Mom and I went on a pilgrimage to Katipunan to say our prayers to the patron saint. It was also to give thanks and request for intercessions about matters only our heart speaks.

The nurses in the ICU said that had she arrived a day late in the hospital, the clot would have become a major stroke. Minutes passed while everyone held their breath. I was waiting for Daniel to arrive when Phoemela emerged from the ICU. There was a family talk

and I chose not to be privy in their conversation.

While you were in pain, we were there holding you hand.
We wish for your suffering to end. You even joked seeing goats in the ER
I know you were just trying to amuse us.
But what I saw that evening was how fragile you could be.

"Start ka muna tumayo sa bed bago ka magsimulang maglakad sa banyo." Her Neuro instructed. It was Mami's first week at the hospital.

Despite the tubes finding their way into her skin, she was already far from our worst fears.

"Bukas ititigil na natin ang IV mo. Pero you still have to be strict with your diet."

Perhaps she was just plain lucky. Maybe she is still called to "wreck havok" on peoples' lives to change them for the better. We may never know the plan for her. What was hinted is that something transformational was at work during the worse days of her illness.

For if everything merely happens without reason, the gloomy premonition of the unloved HR officer could have come true.

But praise be, it didn't.

"Pagaling ka kaagad. If all goes well, you may be discharged by Monday." Said the highly esteemed doctor before slipping out of the recovery room.


red the mod said...

Send my regards. Seems like Mami Athena was born with a ladle. Sad this might be underutilized with her new dietary regimen. Welcome back to the goddess of gab. :)

maginoongbulakenyo said...

sana mas maging mabilis pa yong recovery nya,ipagdadasal natin yan

~Carrie~ said...

speedy recovery to your mami.

Guyrony said...

All's well that ends well.

Felipe said...

hoping for her speedy recovery. :)

Gerardo said...

I hope she recovers fast and well. I'll include her in my prayers.

Alterjon said...

your mami will be fine. :)

lee said...

hoping that she recovers well and soon.

Nimmy said...

wooot! pagaling na sya. :)

Désolé Boy said...

of course she'll be fine. am definitely praying for your mami athena.

and for your kuya...


don't wori much na ha?

Lalaki Daw Po said...

without even knowing mami athena, I starts to empathize with you. She seems to be a very nice person..

sana gumaling na sia..

blagadag said...

can't wait to see her hot legs with that knee-high boots in your office again. kisses to you and your mami.

orally said...

sana nga tuluy-tuloy na paggaling nya.

daniel said...

: ). She's always in my mind. Ang ating inang Reyna.

paci said...

we pray.

and don't stress yourself out okay. =)