Saturday, October 15, 2016

In Her State of Delirium (Second Part)

"Punasan mo lang ng punasan ang extremeties niya," my sister tells me. "Isama mo ang braso, pati na ang kili-kili." 

"Huwag ka lang mag concentrate sa noo." 

You can sense in her voice the grave concern as she gives the order to me. While she is a pro when it comes to taking care of sick toddlers, being away from home and from our mother who is at the moment burning up with a 40-degree fever makes it difficult for her. My lack of experience nursing people back to health doesn't help, and so is the absence of knowledge as to what my mother's cause of infection is.  

The maid returns with a basin full of cold water. Rinsing off the towel before pressing it against my mother's arm made her whimper. It has been almost an hour after she took a paracetamol and barely her condition improved. With her eyes shut tight, and her lips mumbling incoherent words, I asked the maid to get her blood pressure once again while pressing the emergency number on my mobile to ask our family doctor for the next step. 

"Hindi ba yan Dehydrated?" My Favorite Aunt inquired. The matriarch's blood pressure is below 100.

Her temperature dips slightly to 39.

"Pinainom ko po ulit ng tubig. Uminom naman siya ng kaunti" In truth, I was merely waiting for her to make the decision: to rush my mom to the emergency room so that doctors and nurses can actually attend to her needs. Aside from the reminder to have my mom drink her antibiotics, (which the Favorite Aunt prescribed without identifying the cause of the infection) and constant interrogation about the meds she was taking to keep her blood pressure in check, no decision to call Lifeline Rescue for ambulance transportation came.

In many ways, I was relieved.

I returned to applying cold compresses on my mother's sweltering skin until her sleeveless night dress was soaking from her sweat.


Throughout the entire ordeal, the feeling of hopelessness and resignation never really sunk in. I was surrounded by people who hardly rested while the matriarch did her best to recuperate. There was the maid who took her temperature and blood pressure and wrote down the figures on a notebook so we can compare notes. She was also the one who changed my mom's dress, (while I lifted her while she was sleeping) replaced the bag of ice cubes which she puts on her head, watched her during the day while I go to bed, and made sure she ate the food on her plate despite the lack of appetite.

Kuya O did much of the legwork - buying her medicines, bringing the urine sample to a laboratory not far from home, procuring everything that was needed because I could not leave home. Even the Weatherman, who for some reasons decided to stay over that Saturday, lent me the strength to carry on. He prayed over my mom when she was delirious before retreating to my room to resume building his town on Cities Skylines.

I have no complaints.

The Favorite Aunt dropped by every day to make sure she sees her sister. The clarity she provided, the blanket assurance that an emergency trip was not needed, and the mere fact she is there made the difference. We are indeed lucky to have a doctor in the family.  I would not speak of my place in the two sleepless nights she had her bouts of chills, fever, and stomach pain. But suffice to say, it scared me a little when she would tell me at 3 in the morning that she had no memory after the cold spells set in.


We still have no idea what caused her infection.

Sunday came and I was prepared for the worst. But instead of the recurring chills, a check of her temperature give away a slight fever. With the heaviness of her tummy eased by a pill, the matriarch slept without any discomfort that night.

The antibiotics might have already taken effect.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

In Her State of Delirium (First Part)

It all began with the sudden chills. 

There was no time to call my name, and only the maid, who happened to pass by her room and found her in a fetal position at the edge of the bed offered the much-needed blanket. As a precaution, I phoned the Favorite Aunt to report the developing situation. She is the family doctor. The Favorite Aunt assured me there was little to worry. It was already sundown and geriatrics like my mother experience the chills especially during this time of the year.

And so I thought.

Thirty minutes after the phone call, while I was with the Weatherman looking for a printing shop in Recto, my sister told me that my mother's temperature surged to almost 40. Another SMS message: she purged all she had eaten the entire day. I instructed the sibling to have someone check our matriarch's blood pressure before heading home without saying a word. 

When I got into her room, my mother was delirious.

Unable to speak a complete sentence or even recognize her surroundings, I was ready to dial 911 so I could rush her to the nearest hospital. Her blood pressure did shoot way above the average, but it was not as alarming as the last time it hit 200.  She complained of headaches and would have preferred to be left alone to sleep. But with the favorite aunt grilling me about the medicines she was supposed to take and with me unable to provide a concrete response, the mumbling of my lips hint of ignorance. If not for my sister who told me to calm down, I would have made rushed decisions out of fear and panic.  

Eventually, the fever had dissipated after hours of applying cold compresses to her head.  She was back in shape, without any memory of the events that night. So casual things had become that I even allowed my sister to go with her in-laws. Her family was supposed to spend the weekend in Tagaytay.  The next day, we assumed the worst was over and that the chills and the high fever were caused by indigestion. She was seen eating a cup of Taho before her guts expelled them in one nasty purge. 

It was the evening of the next day when my mother had once again complained of the chills. It was almost 10 pm on a Saturday night, and without my sister to tell me what to do, my mother's fever leap past 40. 

By then, we all knew it was an infection.