About Me

When not at work with students, I spend my time in my room either reading, calculating something using pen and paper, or using a computer. I read almost anything: from the pornographic to the profound, although my main interests are mathematics and physics. "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." -Erasmus

Sunday, November 21, 2010

a night at the hospital

I went home last night around midnight and swapped places with my brothers, an in-law, and a soon-to-be in-law. I took a taxi and spotted one of MGE's. It cost me only PhP 100. One of the nice things about that taxi company is their good service; I've never been disappointed by them. Their meters are honest, and their drivers will choose the fastest way of getting you from here to there. As luck would have it, the driver was someone who lived in our neighborhood, and also knew my Mom.

I'm spending the night at the hospital as my mom's minder. My brothers and I haven't talked about the schedule we'll be keeping; for now it's ad hoc. I volunteered for tonight's duty because I won't be free the rest of the week. If I do spend the night here during weekdays, it will be from 8pm to 4 am only, to make sure that I get to work. For Monday, my youngest brother will be here from 5 am to around 2pm, and then another brother for the next few hours.

There will be hours that all of us need to be at work, and we need to plan for it. We have some relatives on my Mom's side (a lot of them, in fact), and I hope that we could get some of them to volunteer for the gaps in between.

I brought some clothes, a towel, and papers to mark, and a laptop for browsing the net. I've transferred music files into my laptop so that I can have some music to listen to. I'm not a fan of cable television, so the tv in this room is wasted on me.

So far, I was able to do one out of the two problems that I need to submit on Wednesday. I haven't begun the paper-marking; that's the part I dread because it's boring and repetitious. (Students should be grateful when their professors give them homework, most especially if the professor actually checks the student submissions.

The reason we ask for homework is to help students get ready for examinations. Eric Rogers ( a physics teacher) has said (although it's probably from someone else who thought first thought of it) that the exam is the dog and the student is the tail. It's also one way of getting students to achieve the objectives set in the syllabus, and if you actually do the homework, without shortcuts, then you will learn something.

Unfortunately, there is another class of professor who assigns homework as a form of make-work. On the other hand is the professor who gives no homework at all, and you are left to guess what you actually need to learn to pass exams. That's why we have a detailed syllabus; there is little or no ambiguity as to what students need to be able to do if they want to get a 1.0.

I digress, of course. Let me get back to a description of our room. )

The room I'm in is approximately a cube with an edge of three meters. The WC is shared by two rooms; when you need to use it, you have to lock both doors. Afterward, you have to unlock both doors so that the other room's occupants can also use the WC. An hour ago, the people in the other room forgot to unlock the door. I knocked, but there was no answer. Figuring there was only one minder, and making allowance for extra-long dumps (it happens), I looked for another WC. I had to go from the 5th floor down to the 2nd floor just to find another WC. We later called on a nurse to find out why the door was locked.

My brother Russ's fiancee is a doctor, and I asked her to give me an explanation of what happened to my Mom. (It's wonderful to have a second opinion!) The doctors of this hospital have not completed their tests, but it seems likely from the tests (so far) that a small area of my Mom's cerebellum was damaged by the stroke and the areas affected have to do with her sense of balance. My Mom's right side is now weaker than the left. She cannot lift her right arm or leg, but can do it with the left. It's not paralysis on the right; my Mom can move her fingers and toes, but she will need to work with a physical and then an occupational therapist so that she'll be able to walk on her own. We hope that the damage was limited and that she'll be able to get back to routine living.

Tomorrow, I'll need to finish some paperwork. I plan to sleep around 10 pm; if there's anything my Mom needs, the nurse or doctor will wake me up. I'll leave the hospital when Harold, my youngest brother, gets here at 5 am.

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