Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Journalist’s New Year’s Lesson (A real-life story of our instructor in Journalism, Filemon Viduya)

I never thought that I would come up in this peripeteia of my short story that I need to set you free.
You could be old, timeworn, outdated, deteriorating and near on the brink of your ebb, but I still have this love on you. And in this turning point that awakened me, I confess, I can’t imagine I will come up bidding my earnest goodbye to you.
However how thin your soles are, however how slimy the rubber is whenever I paced through the frictionless floor, however how old my sandals are, I still exploited it until the day that these titanium plate braces were implanted to me after a fall that I consider as an awakening from a deep slumber that had stirred me under the false delight of the pretty nightmare that I am still with you.
It has been a long time that I had been fond of wearing worn-out sandals until the night it was halted as these pairs of rotting footwear brought me to an accident that had impaired my right wrist.
It may look like a petty part of my body but still, it is the wrist that I can’t live without, the wrist that had kept my living afloating, the wrist that had assisted my hand to write through the years, inspiring many people, instilling lessons to my students being a professor in the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.
January 6, 2013. It was still fresh in my reminiscence, it was just a customary night wearing my slippers, and I don’t think that this night is a life- changing peripeteia that will thrust me to decide a simple yet emblematic decision.
It was 7:30 in the evening when I come inside of our thrift store to have some cleaning job. Equipped with wipers in my hands and a mop to scrub the floor with my feet sheltered with my favorite, old pair of slippers, I carried out my evening habit.
Yes, a habit and I never anticipated a possibility of having an accident along the way. I never really thought… that tonight I will fall, I will stumble, and I will break my wrist.
I endeavored to protect my skull but unconsciously, my wrist, my profession, my life, was dislocated or fractured or just injured or whatever. After I fall, I do not know what to do.
One thing is unambiguous in my mind; I slipped because of the slick floor brought by the drenched mop lubricating the slippery slippers I wore.
I sprinted toward Milagros, my wife, to tell her the mishap. She then conveyed me to the Philippine Orthopedic Hospital for this is a foolproof bone injury.
I kept tranquil as we trekked from our home place in Antipolo toward Quezon City where the hospital is situated, until the very time I had confirmed by an x-ray examination that I need to undergo an implantation of titanium plate braces after eight hours.
I insisted to have the cement treatment but the orthopedic specialist said that it’s no longer apposite to my 65-year-old bones and joints.
The 20,000-peso surgery plus the 15-000 worth of the said metal will be entrenched to my wrist after an eight-hour of patience by an injured patient. He said that I need to empty my stomach first before the operation.
With the hope of abridging the discontinued portion of my life, I prepared myself, even though my expectation was twice deferred because of postponement. As soon as the anesthesia was introduced in my body, I feel numb yet confident.
Inside the operating room, I see the surgeon, whom I thought was also an academician like me, with his helpers that seemed like his students. I also see my hand, my whole arm that had ballooned.
I had prayed to have my hand back again; I want to write more articles, I want to continue my life as a journalist; as a writer and as a teacher.
The operation lasted after two hours; it was 7:30 pm. After the surgery, I was discharged of the operating room. I stare at my wrist already stabbed with that braces, the numbness was incessantly ceasing, it was excruciating.
The mob of men and women in white brought me to the ward where all other patients are suffering. I then realized of how minute my case was. My injury is just a soft nip weighed against to the hundreds of patients continuously arriving along the white walls of the medical center.
There is one patient, a score elder than mine, that was going to face a hundred thousand worth of spine surgery and another child that cost his family P50, 000 for his medical treatment.
Yes, it’s kind of expensive to undergo a treatment for bone injuries now that I discovered that the institution where I am confined offers ‘free’ services and only charges some fees for much more costly medicines and tools like braces used on operation.
I realized that I am still fortunate that I only sustained a minor injury (except that it almost impaired my living) and cost lesser. I feel really blessed.
But should I have forgotten the main reason for this unexpected hospitalization. I know that all eyes are prodding my petty slippers, but aside from my dying sandals is my obstinacy. My stubbornness that I continuously using those stuffs in spite of its filthy state. I must have not used it that night or I should’ve not used it anymore. I may be stubborn with such petty things and I am full of regrets.
But above all of those regrets that had sprouted out of me (sounds too late) because of obstinacy, I had learned my lesson. And this is to yield on things that are proper and this is to let go of things that were old and be open to welcome something new.
The experience could be a great New Year’s message for me as I start 2014. And this is to acquiesce and to halt harboring the aged ones that bring heaviness and weight in my heart and to be permeable enough to absorb new stuffs, new possibilities, and new opportunities that will inevitably come.
2014 may have set the rage of new surprises that will come. And this experience I had been into may have been instructing me of how I must be absorbent for new matter.
 I think it’s time to unload the old and employ the new. That’s why my wife and I decided to get rid of my old slippers, which once had threatened my life and lead me to a life-changing disposition as we distributed it to those who need it more.

Thanks to my wife for helping me put out my slippers but I will be more thankful if you will buy me a new pair to put on.

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