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.