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� April 2005
April 16, 2005

One whole month jammed in a story that happened in just one day.
The post is long. Don’t say you weren't warned. c",)

The Long Journey Home.
April 14, 2005, 5:30pm. I said goodbye to my boss through Ivy, excusing myself because I was having fever and was not feeling well. I went pass the bookstore to the front entrance, smiling weakly at people whose names I haven’t memorized just yet, and said “Thanks, Manong,” as the guard opened the door for me. Off I went. The long journey home.

I stepped out into the sun from the air-conditioned bookstore, and braved the agonizing summer heat through my skin, trying to decide if I should take a cab (which will cost me about two hundred bucks), or endure the two train rides (both MRT and LRT) I’ve gotten used to taking in my first week of training at OMF Lit. With just a few hundreds in my wallet, I decided to take the train.

Practicum at OMFLit.
I am currently taking practicum at OMF Literature. I could still remember how thrilled I was when the company’s Marketing Director took interest in my request. You see, Ivy and I, when we were kids, once dreamed of going to the same office so we can play all week long. We never thought that a tiny childlike wish such as ours shall be granted, even for just a few weeks. (Playtime, yeah!) Even so, I wanted to hold my practicum in a Christian organization and OMFLit just happened to be at the top of my list. Being there right now is, in every way, an answered prayer.

I was put under the Creative Section of the Marketing Department (under Kuya Aleks), and so far, I have started writing blurbs (that I failed, by the way, hehe), made phone calls to update the company’s database (my three month stint in the call center paid off, hehe), was made to attend an out-of-the-office booklaunch to observe, and well, answered phone calls (“OMFLit, good morning” yeh!) in between. The real research work comes next week, they gave me my assignments already. The people are great, and the food too. I’m sure to enjoy the next few weeks with them.

As I walked the long route to the MRT-Boni Avenue Station, I whispered to God a silent prayer. All I need, Lord, is one touch, just one touch from You and I will be ok. Please breathe your strength on me and carry me home. I never felt so physically weak in my life. Must be because of stress, I thought. For the past three weeks, I’ve been spending all day in the hospital with my Dad and Mom, and by the time I got home everyday, it would be already way past midnight. This went on top of the Ethics exam I was so ranting about (which I passed, by the way, yey!), final submission of my thesis, other final requirements, and a final class presentation.

Last Day in School.
Towards the end of March, we had our Media Research class’ final presentation. Our team was assigned to come up with a marketing strategy for Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, resulting to our own creation of advertising prototypes across all media. We were successful with our presentation, and the panelists chose our marketing strategy as the best in the class.

Maam Kate Mirandilla inspired me so much this whole semester. It was through her class that I felt my inclination towards the qualitative aspects of marketing, advertising and media research. Maybe God will send me off to a job that has to do with this field in the future. And if that happens, I shall look back to Maam Kate, and our one-semester experience of hands-on media and marketing research.

My muscle pains were getting worse by then, and I was getting more and more dizzy I felt my body scream for rest. When I finally reach the top of the stairs, I slowly walked my way through the entrance, sliding my electronic train pass as I went through. I felt the humid wind on my face, and started to chill. The stress, my dizziness, and the pain in my thighs and knees made me feel so weak, I wished to have someone I could at least hold or lean on to. Then I tried to divert my attention away by thinking about the things that God allowed me to go over with in the past month because of His grace.

Almost a Graduate.
The completion of my undergrad thesis was indeed, a product of His amazing ways. Writing the acknowledgement portion of my thesis paper was a surreal experience, I had a grand time typing out my appreciation to those people who had been a part of my college life, and of course, to those who contributed to the completion of my thesis. And most of all, seeing the pile of crisp papers I’ve worked on for nearly a year bounded by a thick maroon cover was an unparalleled delight. I am almost a graduate.

Dad and Mom, I’m sure, will be so glad by the end of this summer when I finally graduate. Their dream to have all three of us (my brothers and I) finish college is at long last, realized. I share their joy and relief, and I take pride in congratulating them both for a job well done in supporting and providing for us.

As I waited for the train along with several others, I felt my mobile phone vibrate through my shoulder bag. It was a text message from mom. “It’s time. Dad’s going to have his angiogram taken. Please continue to pray.” A wave of fear washed through me, being aware of the risks that the procedure entails – it was, after all, something we heard so much about from the doctors in the 4 weeks Dad was in the hospital.

Daddy’s Hospitalization.
Our family’s month-long experience at the hospital is loaded with so much miracles, grace and provision from God. Dad collapsed four weeks ago because of some complications in his heart. He was held captive in the Intensive Care Unit of UST Hospital for more than a week, and was made to stay in the Cardio Vascular Unit for two more weeks. Some doctors claimed that his heart was too weak already and could stop beating anytime. At worst, heart transplant could be the only cure. Surfing through his condition (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) over the net was not encouraging either. Words like "arrythmias", "ventricular tachychardia" or "VTAC", "PVCs", "multiple-bypass", "angiogram", among many others, became an instant part of our vocabulary. It was terrifying. Dad’s case was seemingly impossible. And for our family, financially impossible, and emotionally draining.

It was on the fourth week when God sent us his very own instrument – a very competent Christian cardiologist by the name of Dr. Wilfredo Dee, no less than God’s own child, who’s practicing Cardiology at the Heart Center. God indeed, is the God of perfect timing. Seeing his ECG, 2D Echo, and the other tests Dad underwent at UST, Dr. Dee perceived the urgency of Dad’s case and made him transfer to Heart Center right away. Not less than four days after his admission, he’s already on his way to go through the angiogram (a diagnostic test taken to determine if there are any blocked arteries in the heart that prevent it from functioning normally) to know what surgery or procedure had to be done next. (Ergo, Mommy’s text.)

Thinking about these makes me see God’s hand over all things. The support of our extended families (SBCers, ATAS Family, Sanchez Clan, etc) was overwhelming. Everyday we get texts, and phone calls from people from both here and abroad (literally!) expressing their prayers and support to Dad. Somehow, the experience made me see in a larger picture all these people whose lives my Dad touched in one way or another. Some even gave Daddy free medications, others financial support.

Our family may never be able to express the extent of our gratitude to these people in this lifetime. Our appreciation is beyond words. Most especially, God’s miracles, and God’s ways are not just beyond words.. but more importantly, beyond our comprehension.

Squeezing myself through the jampacked train was even more stressing. I hobbled myself in, chilling even more. A part of me felt so tired and sick I just wanted to go home, but another part longed to take the opposite route that would lead me to Dad and Mom in the hospital. A tear rolled down my cheek. I got a mental picture of Dad, on a moveable hospital bed, clad in a hospital gown, monitors all over the room and surgeons in blue pajamas crowding the view. I thought of Mom waiting in the lobby, with my brother and some church members, heads bowed down, and hands clasped in prayer.

I prayed. Lord, my pain is nothing compared to the agony Dad must be feeling right now. All he needs, Lord, is one touch, just one touch from You and he will be ok. Please breathe your strength on him and carry him home. I know that You are right there with him as You are here with me. Bring us safely home. We’re in Your hands.

My Hillsong Story Still Not Over Yet.
The unexpected turn of events call for some changes in our family. The day I got the final results of my Ethics exam was the day we heard from the doctor the severity of Dad's sickness, hence the day I started dismantling my plans of pursuing the Hillsong Conference this July. I had been looking forward to it all semester long, but that was before Daddy was hospitalized. It was a dream that inspired me and kept me going all throughout the semester. I’ve always believed that God shall complete what He started, and I cling to that promise that someday, perhaps not this July, attending the Hillsong Conference and flying to Australia shall stop being just a dream and start becoming a reality.

Reflecting on this, I realized something. What God gave me October of last year when Ate Dots talked to me was the dream of going there. And well, come to think of it, if God purposed this dream to be something to keep me going until the completion of my college education, then His purpose has already been completed. As for now, perhaps, the completion of this dream is a story for another time.

I started feeling better. I have seen too much miracles already that it’s impossible not to believe that God’s capable of doing more. And so I continued my journey home. An interrupted train ride, a taxi ride, and more agonizing limps later, I was home. I heaved a sigh of relief as I plopped down on Dad and Mom’s bed (that night I chose to sleep in their room), whispered Thank you Lord to the heavens, and in an instant, fell asleep in His embrace.

But the story didn’t end there.

When I woke up that night, still with a fever, I automatically grabbed my mobile phone from the side table and found two missed calls from Kuya Nikos, and a text message. “Ok na si Daddy. Tapos na operation. PTL!”

Another Miracle.
I have lost tract of the number of miracles God allowed us to witness in the span of one month. Like I said, the angiogram was just a diagnostic procedure. We were expecting that the results of the angiogram would be deliberated upon first, then a cardiac surgery would come later, if need be. Apparently, Dad’s heart was too weak for any heart surgery, he might not make it. They found four blockages in his heart, two of which about to break. What the cardiosurgeon did was implant two angioplasties to try to break the blockages, using the same tubes that were used in the angiogram. To make the long dramatic story short, the procedure was a success. Dad’s heart, what we thought and what most doctors thought was an irreversible case, is now functioning normally and on the way to complete recovery.

To most of you, perhaps, this is too long (hehe) to make sense. But to me, to us, this month is another testimony we shall forever live by.

Right now, I’m home with a flu. But I know I will be ok. I have proven in the past weeks that indeed, nothing is impossible with God. That in whatever situation we’re in, His will shall always prevail. And we only need to trust that He knows what He’s doing, that He knows what’s best.

I got home safe that night. Next Monday, upon the doctor’s release, Dad’s coming home too. c”,)

Riz Blabbered @ 3:20:00 PM.

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