Caring For The Hands That Cared

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. (Exodus 20:12)

Dear Manoy, Jiji, & Mabeth,

Thanks be to the Lord for always being with us and for being the source of our strength especially in trying times.

Nanay's condition is much better now. The fever that she was frequently experiencing at dawns has already ceased. The darkening of one of her fingers and of one of her toes is almost gone, and also the lump near her wrist has shrunk significantly and is almost gone. There are medications (antibiotic, two types of multi-vitamins, & steroid) the doctor instructed to be continued at home for a week and after which there shall be a follow-up medical examination to be made.

There were various examinations done to Nanay. Her blood is generally normal though her blood's salt level is a little bit low. She has a healthy urinary system. Her chest x-ray shows no signs of abnormality. Since Nanay is on steroid maintenance, the doctor wanted to be sure that her bulging belly is not due to fluid retention which is a common side effect of patients taking steroid medication. The ultrasound examination confirmed that it is indeed not retained fluid that causes the bulging of Nanay's belly but rather it is simply belly fats. The ultrasound also detected some fats accumulating on a portion of her liver that is why she is given a medication for her liver.

Unlike before where she could sit up on her bedside and do some sort of very minor physical activity such as light sewing, lately, Nanay is all the time just laying in bed. She watches her favorite television shows most of the time when she is awake, while the rest of the time she just sleeps. The doctor demanded that in order to combat her tiredness and feeling of weakness, she must be taken for a "walk" on her wheelchair for some minutes everyday in the morning outside the house to help her regain some level of mental strength and alertness - her steroid medication could only do the job artificially and temporarily.

It was few months ago after that accidental fall (when Tatay's grip on the improvised stretcher-bedsheet slipped while we were lifting Nanay from her wheelchair to the bed) that she no longer is able to sit up without enduring considerable pain in the lower half of her body. And since then she developed strong hesitance against getting up of bed. The doctor instructed that she must be compelled tactfully to sit up assisted on her bedside even for just a few seconds everyday so that her endurance to hold the sit up position increases little by little each day until eventually it would become less painful for her to sit up (being aided) from lying in bed. When she could already sit up without much pain, that's the time she must be taken for a daily stroll outside the house on her wheelchair so that her orientation and bonding with nature will be restored slowly and thus gradually regaining her mind's alertness and lucidness and she will no longer always feel tired, weak, and sleepy.

With that instruction from her doctor, there may be some adjustments at home that needs to be done in order for us to be able to comply with it diligently. One significant thing to be considered is how to bring Nanay from her room in the second floor down the stair to the living room and out of the house with minimal risk -- since she is not still able to stand nor walk. Occassionally before, we do it by letting her lie on the improvised stretcher-bedsheet on her back. Then two persons, grasping very tightly the four corners of the improvised stretcher-bedsheet, will lift her carefully from the bed and then place her properly on the wheelchair pre-positioned very close to the bed. The very risky and difficult part is at the 4-step stair that connects the second floor and the ground floor. One person holding very strongly the wheelchair's back handles, carefully lowers the chair one stair step at a time while two other persons down the stair hold each wheel firmly to prevent the chair from tumbling down. The same risky and difficult method is used when returning Nanay to her bed up in the second floor. To think that we would be doing it everyday to comply with the doctors order, is not a very safe proposition.

Perhaps to avoid this risky method, maybe it is good if Nanay and Tatay will move temporarily from the second floor to the ground floor. I will vacate the small room I am occupying at the ground floor. The other small room adjacent to my room we will renovate and the wall division we will remove to join this room with my room to make one bedroom with a bigger space for them to occupy. The rooms' two small doors will be changed to just one door big enough to accommodate for easy passage of the wheelchair. I could stay at the room in the basement which is directly below Mabeth's room, since it is already vacant. The original master's bedroom may remain as is -- in case for some reason they would like to stay there for a while, or in case they will move back there when Nanay recovers.

I observed in those times before when Nanay was still relatively active, that though her condition prevents her from doing what she used to do, she always enjoys conceptualizing and designing things. For instance, she enjoyed doing actually with her own hands the bead works of Jiji's bridal gown which she designed herself, and that sometimes she delayed taking her meals because maybe of her enthusiasm to finish a particular portion of the work and see its beauty -- a simple soothing reward for the labor of an artistic hand that brings great fulfillment and satisfaction to the soul that no material food can provide.

So, since Nanay's artistic instinct still is not lost in her being and she still loves designing and decorating things, we are planning to revive Nanay's flower plants, for she loved this hobby so much. But this time, she will no longer tend the plants herself since she could do it no more due to her physical condition. We know she's very keen artistically, thus it could be considered a success if later on we will hear some of her usual comments and corrections regarding flower plant care and artistry. Every morning we will bring her to visit the flower plants for a while to engage and stimulate her artistic mind before we will take her for a stroll outside the house. This may help her reorient and bond with nature quicker. Since her mind is easily attracted to things of design and beauty, perhaps it will also help her recover faster if she sees the house in a new appearance and ambiance -- maybe it's not a bad idea to start "coloring" the house already. I can imagine her enthusiasm about the idea, busy thinking and proposing of color combinations. These ideas are some simple ways of reengaging Nanay's mind to make her savor and enjoy the golden days of her life.

All of us were filled with so much worry and anxiety when Nanay was brought to the hospital. But despite all those worries and anxieties, as the days and nights in the hospital unfolded, there in the quiet refuge of the frail body, weary souls were uniquely and unsupectingly led to a peaceful retreat from the mundaneness of daily life.

Indeed it is true that in weakness we see strength -- a strength not of the flesh, but of the spirit. Oh the marvels of the workings of the Mighty Hands, how unpredictable, how unknowingly unique.

Nanay's hospitalization was a spiritual medical retreat.

Love & Prayers,
Bro - The WindChime


I will be sending some pictures on Nanay's spiritual medical retreat to help keep you all feel in touch with home.