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

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Strokes and Charlatans

I'm in the hospital (Manila Doctor's) as I write this. My Mom had a stroke last night, and I learned about it only when I got home and checked facebook-- my brother's wall post was about my Mom's stroke. Signals from my phone provider do not reach the junior faculty room-- and by the time I got to an area with good reception, my phone battery went dead.

I later learned from my Mom that she called my younger brother; my brother then relayed to our neighbor that she was in distress. They brought my Mom to the nearest hospital (MCU). Later, they had her transferred to Manila Doctor's hospital. It happened around 1pm, while I was in school.

I looked up strokes on Wikipedia to check on what it meant (it has something to do with the blood-deprivation of the brain, as I vaguely recall, but confirmed via online search) , and then I visited the website of the hospital to find out how much the rooms cost, because I know how budget-busting medical emergencies can be.

One of the staff members of the Institute had a stroke, and I recalled that they had to raise money for her. I needed to get some idea of how much we needed so that I could plan. My recent acquisition did not help matters because it consumed almost my whole holiday bonus. I still have some refunds coming in, so it didn't mean I was totally destitute.

My guess on the cause: a bad diet. My Mom is much like Tom Sawyer's Aunt Polly :

"She began to try all manner of remedies on him. She was one of those people who are infatuated with patent medicines and all new-fangled methods of producing health or mending it. She was an inveterate experimenter in these things. When something fresh in this line came out she was in a fever, right away, to try it; not on herself, for she was never ailing, but on anybody else that came handy. She was a subscriber for all the "Health" periodicals and phrenological frauds; and the solemn ignorance they were inflated with was breath to her nostrils. All the "rot" they contained about ventilation, and how to go to bed, and how to get up, and what to eat, and what to drink, and how much exercise to take, and what frame of mind to keep one's self in, and what sort of clothing to wear, was all gospel to her, and she never observed that her health-journals of the current month customarily upset everything they had recommended the month before. She was as simple-hearted and honest as the day was long, and so she was an easy victim. She gathered together her quack periodicals and her quack medicines, and thus armed with death, went about on her pale horse, metaphorically speaking, with "hell following after." But she never suspected that she was not an angel of healing and the balm of Gilead in disguise, to the suffering neighbors."

What saved Aunt Polly was, I think, the fact that she stayed healthy, so she never needed to try the latest nostrum on herself. My Mom however already has hypertension, and the latest charlatan that she listened to was a Dr. Navarro on AM radio.

What was really bad about it was that quack's notion of a good diet: eat lots of eggs and beef. Bulalo was, in particular, a wonderful thing to have on a regular basis, a cure-all for almost all kinds of unsavoury conditions. Although I have remonstrated, time again, against the fad diets and practices that she periodically introduced, I could not convince her. All my protest was plain negativism according to my Mom.

As luck would have it, that diet I described is the stroke-inducing diet. Lots of cholesterol to clog the carotid artery, and eventually guarantee brain-death by blood and oxygen deprivation. And so here we are, staying in the hospital.


Helen Mary Labao said...

hello physicist turned nurse for the night! how's your patient? kaya pala. hope she gets better though. thank God for refunds.

Mike said...

She's still in the hospital; tonight (Nov 23), my younger brother will be the watchman, and he'll be staying all day as well to find out what therapy she'll need. I'll be spending tomorrow night there.