One Happy Ward

If it’s a Christmas celebration inside the hospital ward, it could one of the happiest Christmas ‘parties’ in my entire life. The father of the Weasleys in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (if I got it correctly) had Christmas inside the ‘closed ward’, we have our own – though we may not call it the December holiday.

Christmas is not in our religious doctrine. It’s a grave sin. Preachers have always stood and proven Christ isn’t born on the the 25th but on another day. It’s biblical and believable. However, our family couldn’t let the year pass before it ends without getting together one single day. The next holiday, New Year, is not perfect for gathering – each of our small families would welcome new year in our respective homes; barely without time for dining with the rest of the members, we rely on phone calls.

We had one great family bonding inside the female ward at New Era General Hospital where my 54-year-old aunt spent the last weeks (and days) of the year today, December 25 — and all together, it is different.

For one, it’s a different happiness. Second, we have never seen my aunt laughing that hard despite dextrose wires attached at different parts her body. Like a party hostess, she welcomed guests coming from her side of the family and her husband’s.

Perched on the white bed, she told stories not of her sickness, heart complications, but stories where everybody else laughed, leaving no one sitting silently.

A days ago, at 2:45 a.m., while my mom was still asleep and most are munching Noche Buena and singing at the top of their voice, her husband sent a text message informing us she was sent to the hospital for not able to breathe with ease. There were no cabs so they had to take one jeepney ride to the nearest hospital traveling for almost half an hour. If not of my auntie’s striking words, her husband wouldn’t understand her feelings.

“Ayokong mamatay dito sa bahay, kung mamamatay man ako, gusto ko sa ospital,” few words she said urging my uncle to rush.

We visited her today. With my mom and my uncle, we saw her seated on the bed with my uncle and my other auntie Marissa beside. She was in the middle of telling her interesting stories (that’s when I knew of the jeepney ride). Tita Marissa told me when she arrived there an hour ago, she wasn’t in her high mood. Tita Marissa saw her lying on her bed, frail. And that was an hour ago.

Also present were three of her siblings with their children whom I saw for the first time. Two of our families aren’t that close, hoping this could be the beginning. One of her siblings brought in a box of Krispy Kreme containing six lovely donuts we shared except my aunt. He’s working in the doughnut shop and it was from him that I got a green Krispy Kreme cap today. I’m also wishing for the Krispy Kreme shirt which he gave to my uncle. I knew he prepared for this.

All of us had a share of three kinds of pancit Malabon and Coca-cola, not to mention the Christmas-inspired doughnuts.

We’re one great happy family. The word is enough. It’s a different way of showing how we love her. In turn it helped for quick recovery  – joy, laughter, little tears. It only comes true by making a patient special, like it’s her birthday, that we’re always here for her in times we never expected. It’s more than a family reunion today. I remember a Reader’s Digest story of an elderly patient alone in a hospital ward. The doctor said she didn’t need medicines and treatments, what she needed were care and undying love. It was the doctor who became her company.

We left the female ward with goodbyes and kisses much similar to parting in family celebrations. It’s a different fragrance outside the ward. Happy and contented, we left. Aunt Marissa, while climbing down the stairs even commented, ‘She looks like she pretending to be sick.’

We know she’s not.

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