Welcome! I'm Brad, a retired American high school teacher who has been living in Cabanatuan City, the Philippines for more than three years. My adoptive/adopted Filipino family, the Javier-Aldonza-Guevarra-Academia clan, the kind staff at the hotel across the street where I used to live, and the Raguindin family, under whose roof I now live, have been friends and helpmates to me during this time; thanks to them for letting me describe here their trials, successes, heartaches, celebrations, passions, so that American readers can get an idea of Filipino life. It has, for the most part, been a very enjoyable stay. I post every four to ten days, y'all. Tap the lower floors above for earlier posts, and, as ever, click the pics to embiggen them!

        You can reach Brad Smith at boan.song@gmail.com

Jheng has the car today, a special day for the family. I'll just take a short trike ride to a sausage and egg breakfast sandwich.

6.24.21

Yes, Americans, We Have Vaccine Controversies, Too

The cyber-shenanigans heretofore mentioned triggered a good deal of ire on my part. It was also a little frightening. Who was messing around on my board, and how did he/she gain access to the editor's page? I changed the password; hopefully, that was all that was needed to ensure an end to such trespassing . . . .

We're off to the races. So far more than 12 million doses of various vaccines have been delivered to the Philippines, with the above numbers already injected (as of a few days ago). The government is prioritizing areas of the country to which vaccines will be delivered as they arrive; so far the Metro Manila area has received the bulk of the shipments, but innoculations are taking place throughout Luzon now. Interestingly, there seems to be no prioritizing regarding whom should get the vaccine early and whom later on.

There are "vaccine deniers" in the Philippines, people who will refuse to get the vaccine -- mostly, as far as I can tell, for the same reasons many Americans are refusing to get the vaccine. I've chatted with a few "deniers" over here about this. Now, in a recent meeting with Covid response officials, President Duterte, in his blustery and hyperbolic way, said the following with regard to these abstainers: "Magpabakuna kayo or ipakulong ko kayo sa selda (Get yourselves vaccinated or I will put you behind bars)." Plenty of Filipinos got pretty exercised upon reading or hearing those words. But the justice secretary, as well as Duterte's own spokesperson, said that the law would not allow such a thing to happen. A health department undersecretary opined that the president's words were  “borne out of passion and need…to emphasize the point that we need to get vaccinated to protect one another.” And I agree with her. The president is anxious to achieve a herd immunity for his country that is likely unachievable. As it is likely unachievable in the U.S., thanks to the, what, misinformed, unenlightened, ignorant?

Jheng's brother James is picking me up in his trike this afternoon and taking me to the duplex so that I can help celebrate a little man's birthday. There I'll talk with Jheng about hooking adult family members and me up with the shot(s) that will allow us to rest easy, coronavirus-wise. 

https://www.rappler.com/nation/no-duterte-you-cannot-arrest-filipinos-refuse-covid-19-vaccines

https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1444902/the-shifting-sands-of-vaccination-in-ph

 

 

 

Michael (in glasses, cut off), Michael's wife Marie, Michael's mom (and Mama Luz's sister) Des, James, Mama Luz and family friend (both obscured). I sure can take a photo.

Back from Aaron's birthday party. About twenty people were there, almost all of whom I knew, and a few of whom I got to know. Larry had come down from San Jose City with Lori and great-grandchild Ted Napoleon, and it was fine to get back together with him. Aaron showed off his new toys (I got him a Lego set), and we all sat down to a big buffet-style meal.

When I asked Jheng about getting the vaccination, she corrected something I wrote above: they are prioritizing according to age, at least in this province, and only seniors (over 60) are getting innoculated in Nueva Ecija right now. Larry has already gotten the first of two Sinovac shots. Lori says she is waiting for the Pfizer vaccine to make its way to San Jose City. With Larry's help, through a friend of his in this city, I'm getting signed up for whatever they're giving in Cab City. And Lola Denna, Jheng's grandmother and the oldest of us, is consulting with her doctor in the first week of July about whether she should take the vaccine (she is currently dealing with high blood sugar levels and low blood pressure).

Mama Luz, Des, Sonny, and all their progeny will have to wait -- hopefully not for long!

PiDump

Birthday boy with a birthday treat: grilled wiener with a marshmallow at either end.

The Aurora road just outside the duplex.

Colorful display, wot?

Larry and I having a post-feast smoke.

Home.

Self-portrait with madly purring person-climber.

6.22.21

Now That's Funny . . . .

A blog entry I wrote a few days ago -- concerning a topic some Filipinos consider sensitive -- has been mysteriously deleted. I prefer to be my own censor here: it is time for a new password, for sure.

6.10.21

Independence Day

We're on the cusp of the rainy season here. Mango trees in the neighborhood are laden with yellow-orange fruit. Some afternoons are simply hot, somnolent; others, made dark by low-hanging clouds, are punctuated with the distant burblings and closeby (or overhead) rattapallax of lightning storms. About three quarters of Cabanatuan's yearly rain falls in the second half of June, July, August, and the first half of September. The city receives on average 73 inches of rain per year (Boston receives 42 inches), so these hundred-odd days are very wet indeed. Right about now is the time to make sure one has a sturdy umbrella as well as a backup umbrella!

Independence Day in the Philippines, June 12, commemorates the day in 1898 when Emilio Aguinaldo and several other revolutionary leaders proclaimed the islands to be a free and sovereign state no longer under Spanish rule. Then, of course, thanks to American machinations, it all fell apart. Behind the backs of the revolutionary leaders the United States paid Spain 20 million dollars, and Spain ceded the archipelago to the U.S.: Filipinos found themselves in the thrall of yet another colonial power. Near the end of his instructions to his emissaries in the Philippines at the close of the Spanish-American war, President McKinley wrote, "Incidental to our tenure in the Philippines is the commercial opportunity to which American statesmanship cannot be indifferent. It is just to use every legitimate means for the enlargement of American trade." England had Singapore and Hong Kong. France had much of Indochina. Now the U.S. had its own foothold in the Far East.

Many back in America, among them William Jennings Bryan and Mark Twain, were strident in their protest against a land grab they considered to be most illegitimate. The Filipino revolutionaries, for their part, fought a short and futile war against the American expeditionary force. And for the next forty years of American "older brother" rule, and five years of very unpleasant Japanese rule, the Filipino people waited for the chance to govern themselves. 

Ah, I was going to write a few words about the upcoming holiday and descended into thumbnail history! Anyway, the sloughing off of one colonial power, and the declaration of a new state, were deemed to be the crucial turnaround in Filipino aspirations; the proclamation read at Aguinaldo house in Kawit, Cavite at the entrance to Manila Bay on June 12, 1898, would mark Independence Day in the Philippines, it was decided. U.S. politicians determined that the Treaty of Manila, in which the U.S. relinquished control of the islands to the Filipino people in 1946, would be signed on July 4; Filipino politicians had the chance of sharing an independence day with America, but they would have none of that.

The flag of the Philippines, first unfurled on that June day in 1898, is out in abundance now.  . . . There are no festivities, however, and there were none last year, thanks to the Covid pandemic.

6.4.21

Bits & Pieces

. . . are all I have to offer you this time round. There was a kerfluffle between SimpleSite and me, which apparently involved a third party in the form of a hacker; if you have not been able to log on here over the last few days, that's the reason. I'm back, new security code and all.

* Warnings that Cab City might be hit by a tropical storm a couple of days ago came to nought as Dante (int'l name Choi-wan) broke apart as it proceeded south to north up the islands. We experienced little more than a dank and drizzly day. It did reform north of Luzon and at this writing is at the southern tip of Taiwan.

* New cases of Covid are increasing outside of Metro Manila; the large Mindanao city of Davao has been placed under GQ (General Quarantine). News about the vaccines has been scarce, but it seems there is a move afoot to provide at least the indigent of the country with vaccines free of charge.

* Due to the demands made on Luzon's power grid in the hot summer weather, rolling brownouts are occurring across the island. In Cabanatuan we've been inconvenienced twice so far; during one I went to the mall (which has a generator), and during the other I read in the car.

 

* Cabanatuan is about to get its first Domino's pizza joint at the WalterMart in the center of town. Such news would not be worthy of notice in this blog, were it not for the fact that Jheng's cousin, our good buddy Mich, will be the general manager of this establishment! If you've been reading at this site forever, you may remember that she was a manager at the Chatime teashop in the SM Mall, then was a traveling overseer of managers for the same company. Early in the pandemic Chatime started to have big trouble paying its employees on a regular basis, and Mich broke cleanly from them. She has been selling tea concoctions since then from the duplex, always with her ear out for the right hire notice in food services. She passed some sort of test Domino's wanted her to take, and is now training for a month in Bulacan! Domino's Cabanatuan opens at the end of June.

Mich and her main squeeze Noel.

*  Mariel, Jheng's sister (and her junior by 13 years), was awarded "Cream of the Crop" status by her high school for her academic achievement during 11th grade. Only a very few students in each grade receive this honor. Mariel? Huh? That easygoing, joshing romantic? The family and I take real pleasure in the dedication she brings to her studies; we're proud of her.

* And a-way over there (I point eastward), across a gob-smacking expanse of salty water, one T. Rump works increasingly hard at undermining an increasingly fragile-looking democracy. Unlike the news here, the news there is startling, and increasingly frightening. Uckfay that ickdhead. Sincerely.

At the resort.

I spent a solid hour on my back in the water, sculling here and there. Aaron, Janniah, and Michael's daughters occasionally steered me. Shallow pool, but it had been well over a year since I'd been in the water, and I wasn't complaining.

At the resort I made the acquaintance of Mirasol's baby boy Amira, a very serene presence throughout my time there. The head pork, fish, and noodles were delicious. Lola Dana was down with a stomach bug, and so the wife of the man we were commemorating could not join us, unfortunately. The hours with these people who had befriended me long ago sailed by. Jheng had a meeting with Lara's teacher in the middle of the afternoon, and I took the opportunity to catch a ride home with her.

And yesterday Jheng ferried Sonny and Jasmine back to Solano in the Avanza -- a more comfortable ride up than they had down.

5.18.21

Breathlessness

Jheng's last two weeks have been difficult ones. A cough turned into a wheezing cough, a shortness of breath, and a tightening in the chest. She finally went to the emergency room; seems she has not only a bronchial infection but also a resurgence of the asthma she had as a child. She has meds, nebulizer meds, and an inhaler for when she goes out now. Every morning is a fight to cough up . . . the gunk.

She is still helping the children keep abreast of their schoolwork, but Mama Luz has forbidden her from doing any housework. This morning, returning from a breakfast run, I found her and Lara in my room: there was no electricity at the duplex due to an electrical substation mishap in Barangay Bantug Norte, and she needed a nebulizer treatment, so she and her daughter had come where there was electricity.

President Duterte's announcement several months ago that the Covid vaccine would be free for everyone, it seems at this writing, has been walked back to a promise that agencies procuring the vaccine will not make any profit from their efforts. Now that's a big walk-back. The Philippine Red Cross has completed a deal with Moderna for 20 million doses of their vaccine; the cost of a two-dose treatment for a Filipino will be P3,500 (about $72). The average annual salary for a Filipino is P182,400, which puts this one treatment at about a week's pay. As for the millions of Filipinos who make significantly less than the average salary or who are indigent, the government has not announced any program to get these people vaccinated.

Which makes me think at this point it's better than even money that this country's effort to vaccinate its people could turn out to be a colossal failure. If developed countries don't step up in a very big way, it seems to me, Third World countries, countries whose governments cannot afford to vaccinate their citizens, may well become vast breeding grounds of Covid variants for decades to come. North, the South is gonna need big help if you really want to snuff this thing.

 

https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1326929/phs-p15200-average-salary-among-lowest-in-110-countries-survey

5.9.21

Getting Tired of Biding Time

Oy, it's been a while. Sorry about that. We haven't been placed in Enhanced Community Quarantine (lockdown) as a city, but new cases are rising here, and one street in my barangay of Bitas has been locked down: 20 cases among the residents there instigated the measure. Food is trucked in. In Manila, on the other hand, the number of new cases has decreased -- which may bode well for us to the north. Manila has grown stricter in enforcing the mask mandate; violators can now be arrested and detained by the polisya. Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar "said he will not allow arresting officers to parade the violators around or require them to do push-ups," the Manila Times reports.

My hard drive "got fried" a few days ago; my downloads were all lost. Bought a new box from my friend Michael, who sells computers and cars, and was happy to find out that my speed has improved.

Don-Don has told me that 10 cats are way too many, and that my place smelled (gee, and I've been using air freshener). As I write this Jheng and Mariel are cleaning the place from top to bottom. Jheng is all business, while Mariel swings about to the beat of the contemporary Filipino music I'm playing as she sweeps and sponges. On a notecard I've written what will go on a sign that Mariel and maybe Lara will prepare, offering free kittens (aged 9 months and 10 weeks) to good homes. With the loan of a cage by Don-Don, I'll put them on display for the residents of Bitas. Hopefully there will be a number of takers.

It's high summer here, about a month away from the rainy season, and afternoons are steamy and hot. Temps over the next two days are expected to reach 38 degrees C, which is a little over 100 F. Indoor weather, for sure; I feel for the construction workers, linemen, et al who have to work in this stuff.

Happily, the latest falling Chinese space debris did not squash an African village. Russia has not invaded Ukraine. And Joe Biden looks like he has a chance of making some very positive and lasting changes to benefit average Americans. Never thought he would be this progressive a POTUS.

The women have returned to the duplex after enjoying a bucket of chicken with me (yes, American reader, we have KFC here). No tutoring session today; I'll continue my march through episodes of "Star Trek the Next Generation," a series I had no time to watch during its seven-year run. I do like that Picard.

 

 

https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/05/10/news/top-stories/pnp-to-book-charge-mask-rule-violators/871981/

 

4.27.21

The Republican Party Has Fallen, and It Can't Get Up

Johnny Depp as Donald Trump (Variety)

All's well here. High school junior Mariel made the honor roll again, Jheng still ferries longganisa up to Talavera, the children are busy at their modules, and the cats all seem to be doing well (each morning I tell them, "It's your mess. Pick it up. And they don't). As for me, I seem to have all my strength back after that weird bout of pneumonia.

Lockdowns in various parts of the country continue; they have not yet been imposed anywhere in central Luzon, but the surge in cases of Covid has not slowed down. In my province of Nueva Ecija, police bureaus have set up dozens of food pantries to help mitigate the effects of the pandemic. Cabanatuan City had 258 active cases of the virus on April 24  -- a record number, I think. The family and I are "taking all precautions."

 

https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1423270/three-more-cabanatuan-city-elderly-die-from-covid-19

https://businessmirror.com.ph/2021/04/26/doh-logs-8162-new-covid-cases/

4.16.21

A Surge in Cases

In this country, the first real surge in Covid-19 cases began about five weeks ago. Since that time, the number of daily cases reported has roughly doubled. Some areas south of Cabanatuan have been placed back on Enhanced Community Quarantine restrictions; the South African and Brazilian strains of the virus have been identified in and around Manila, and since these more communicable variants are likely to creep north, as the original virus did a year ago, it would not be surprising to see Cab City go under ECQ in the near future. Ah, quarantine passes, police checkpoints, and canned-food meals again!

The total death toll of the virus in the Philippines is 15,594 today, according to worldometer. The total death toll in the U.S. is 578,993. Deaths per million of the U.S. population stand at 1,741; the figure for the Philippines is 141. I hadn't punched up the worldometer numbers for quite a while; they are really driving home for me what a calamity this virus has been for my country. It seems right to me that the country that has suffered the most from this pandemic should have dibs on a lion's share of available vaccines and get them into arms ASAP. And once supply outstrips demand in the U.S., one senses the current administration in Washington will be generous in its efforts to get the world vaccinated.

Speaking of vaccinations, shots for the general population in the Philippines now won't be available, we are told, until sometime in July. When we do start the shots for everyone, the government expects to provide 300,000 doses per week. Talking with friends, I've learned there may be a considerable number of anti-vaxxers here; I hope the government will get the media behind it and educate the public about these vaccines . . . .

 

 

Pasay City, Metro Manila (Interaksyon)

4.10.21

Thanks Be

It's been a while. I'm okay now.

3.30.21

Yuckety-Yuck-Yuck

Was there for no more than two hours. Friendly doctor and nurses.

According to the doc, this x-ray suggests I have pneumonia, but not yet in a big way.

After ten days of discomfort -- headaches, coughing, tight chest, fever -- I decided it was time for the full monty checkup at Good Sam: ECG, chest x-ray, dengue and typhoid tests, a CBC. Negatory on the dengue and typhoid, thank you on high, but too many white blood cells nonetheless. Then the chest x-ray came back, indicating pneumonia.

I walked into Good Sam with walking pneumonia three and a half years ago, on my second full day in the Philippines -- Jheng accompanied me, as she did today. The long plane flight had worn me down, or I had caught something on the flight: at any rate, the doctor prescribed an antibiotic called cefuroxime in horse pill form, and I notice that is what today's doc has provided me with, in addition to another antibiotic, something else I have to dissolve in water, and vitamin B-complex pills.

My recovery three and a half years ago was relatively fast: if memory serves me, within three or four days I was feeling close to normal. Of course, I'm hoping that proves to be the case this time around, as well.

3.25.21

Ah Yuck

I've been slumming for nearly a week now, thanks to a one-two punch. Contracted what apparently was a ronovirus, which I guess weakened the body's immune system and put me in touch with another malady. This one offers headaches, a tight chest, and a low-grade fever. Ah the tropics!

I did have two errands to run today, and this morning I sat my surly self down next to Jheng, who kindly chauffered me to a veterinary clinic and to the post office. I carried in a cat-carrier the white male Ubo, who is in need of a castration. He's coming of age, as are his sisters, and the last thing I need are more litters! I knew he would get a blood test first to determine his eligibility for the operation; then we would schedule an appointment for the neutering. Well, a CBC showed that Ubo's platelets are too low. He eats well! Anemic? The vet wanted me to come back in two hours to pick up medicine that would boost Ubo's platelet count. Later, after getting home, I realized I really wasn't up to that. Sleep. Hopefully Jheng can pick up the medicine for me tomorrow.

Went to the post office to mail to the Massachusetts Department of Education an affidavit testifying to my status as a living person. Public school teacher retirees must do this every two years in order to receive their pension.  . . . And I do need that pension.

We're rapidly moving toward the Philippine summer here, which starts April 1 and continues until the rains arrive in mid-June. Afternoon temps are already well into the 90's F. Jheng wangled air conditioning for one room on her side to the duplex; you go, girl!

3.17.21

A Few Virus Snippets from Phlipside

**The "new case" line for Covid-19 in the Philippines has been climbing pretty steeply for the last 6 weeks, and the government is putting a halt to all international arrivals starting on March 20. Filipino overseas workers will also be denied entry.

**Vaccines for the general population will start at the end of April, according to the government. Vax for front-line workers have already started.

**A new variant of the Covid virus was discovered recently in the Central Visayas of the Philippines. Its virulence, transmissibility, and possible vaccine-resistance have not yet been assessed. Two cases with this variant have already been identified in the UK.

**In other virus news, the African swine flu, a bug which cannot be transmitted to humans, is decimating the hog industry in many parts of Southeast Asia, including the Philippines. Yesterday, the Philippine Senate appealed to President Duterte to declare a state of national calamity over the issue, so that relief can be directed toward the nation's hog farmers. Seventy percent of this industry is comprised of small, backyard operations.

----------------------------------------

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all. 

I did get my new camera a couple weeks back, another little Sony.

3.9.21

It's Why the Ancient Egyptians Worshipped Them

The Four, from left to right: Ciao, Ubo, Bocci, and Cuba.

I was going to wait until the above kittens were weaned before getting Boudicca spayed. Had read that spaying could damage mammary glands and wanted none of that. Mammals don't get pregnant while lactating, anyway, was my thought, and so Boudicca was in the clear while the milk still flowed. When she started getting large again, I worried about tumors. A couple of days later, when I noticed her teats had turned dark, I tapped into Google "mammals/lactation/pregnancy." Turns out a very few of the large mammals can get pregnant while lactating. Giraffes, for one.  . . . And cats.

There was nothing to do about it but wait; about two weeks ago I started hearing the telltale mewing under the king-sized bed. Boudicca had grown very large indeed during her pregnancy, and I was expecting at least four or five little critters. When I came in the door after shopping one day last week, she had them all feeding on the bed, and there were seven of them. Seven. I cleared out the large bottom drawer of the wardrobe and found a couple of old shirts to lay down in it, then transferred the family to the drawer. Boudicca seems to like the arrangement.

Boudicca allows only Ciao to visit with the new litter in the drawer. Ubo, Cuba, and Bocci receive angry growls and ready claws if they try to butt in.

I didn't notice that one of the kits was badly losing in the sucking contest, and overnight a few days ago that kit died. Perhaps it died for some other reason, who knows? Sad day. The six remaining kittens will need homes; I'm already putting feelers out. And Boudicca will remain in the bedroom until she gets spayed.

In other news, Aaron and Mariel are feeling fine now. Both are busy with their schoolwork. Jheng drove up to Nueva Vizcaya a few days ago to ferry Sonny and Jasmine down to Cabanatuan for Sonny's forty-first birthday; it had been a more than a year since I'd last seen Jheng's uncle and aunt. As I type this, Jheng is on the road bringing them back.

 

3.1.21

Ninong Brad

Mariel and Aaron are comfortable; all symptoms of dengue have disappeared from both of them. Mariel is busy making up schoolwork, while Aaron is kept to a slow pace making up his modules, with the blessing of his teachers, during the two weeks of bedrest ordered by his doctor.

Twice the Health Office has thoroughly fogged the duplex and sprayed its surroundings. We hope the dengue-carrying mosquitoes, along with any hatchlings and eggs, have been eradicated.

The beautiful young lady above is Jazzlyn Denice Domingo, and she was baptized the day before yesterday. Traditionally in the culture here, those baptized into the Catholic Church are assigned three godparents (ninong/ninang) by their families: if it's a boy, two godfathers and one godmother, and if it's a girl, two godmothers and one godfather. But there is no limit to the number of godparents a child can have, and Jazzlyn's mom Des and her grandmom Lola Cita are not traditionalists: Jazzlyn has 14 godfathers and 14 godmothers. I'm one of the godfathers, and of course I attended her christening at Dambana Church in Barangay Magsaysay Norte.

Lola Cita and Des have been friends of mine for years now. An intersection in Barangay Bitas has Fred's Hotel on one corner, the function hall of Fred's on another corner, the Raguindin family home where I now live on a third corner, and Lola Cita's sari-sari store and eatery on the remaining corner. Lola Cita's given name is Rosita and before last year I called her Dona Cita (tilde on the "n"), but when she became a grandmother the honorific changed to "Lola" (after Mirah was born last year, I became a "lolo.")

I was to pick up Lola Cita and a neighborhood friend of hers at 9:30 am. Parked in front of the closed sari-sari at 9:30 sharp, wearing long dress pants and my best shirt, and waited. Waited twenty minutes. Had forgotten to take into acount we're on Filipino time here. Des, her husband Jrm (I'm spelling that right), and little Jazzlyn left in their own air-conditioned ride, and finally Lola Cita and her friend (one of the 14 ninangs) showed up.

The Dambana Church (more formally known as The Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church) is a large wooden pavilion-style church, very much appealing really. We sat two to a pew, as instructed, and after a while a prayer lady came out with a microphone. "Prayer ladies" are one aspect of the 72 Philippine diocese that set them apart from all the other Catholic diocese in the world. These very pious women are usually attached to churches, wear normal clothes, and are respected for their ascetic lifestyle and the quality of their prayers. This prayer lady leaned on a table next to a pew in the front row and spoke at times lightly, at times fervently in Tagalog for the better part of an hour. Then there was a break during which we all waited for the priest to arrive.

My pewmate, a young man who was a friend of Jrm, introduced himself to me as John, and then asked me if I were Catholic. I said no, and he said he too was not a Catholic: he had converted to the Baptist belief at the age of fifteen. I asked him a question or two about that but didn't want to have the appearance of prying. It seems his conversion did not raise a major ruckus in his family. I spoke of my own Episcopalian childhood, and he had some questions about Episcopalianism. The Episcopalian Church is quite small in the Philippines, whereas the Baptists here have made the greatest inroads among the Protestant faiths and number about 600,000. Catholics make up 83% of the church-going public, far outnumbering Protestants, Moslems, and Buddhists combined. 

After about 45 minutes the priest arrived, and with his fine stentorian voice he delivered the ritual of baptism in Tagalog. Little Jazzlyn, sleeping now after a warm bottle, got dowsed, woke up, and grimaced at the world. Then it was time for photos.

 

http://factsanddetails.com/southeast-asia/Philippines/sub5_6c/entry-3862.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_of_Philippine_Baptist_Churches

2.20.21

It Could Have Been Much Worse

Aaron had "severe" dengue; that is, he had been bitten by two different species of dengue-carrying mosquito. The mosquito genus responsible for dengue has four species, I've read, and if a person is infected twice with different virus serotypes -- that is, virus from two of these mosquito species -- the result is a dengue with a special wallop, known simply as severe dengue. Mariel did not have severe dengue, but she was in much pain (as most are with either form of dengue); Aaron appeared to have the symptoms of a flu bug, did not seem to be in much pain. I certainly have more respect for a mother's intuition now than I had last week: Jheng sensed there was something other than flu affecting Aaron, acted on that sense, and may well have saved her son's life.

The severe dengue caused Aaron to go into shock, which may be the reason he did not seem to be in much pain.  If Jheng had been later in getting him checked, this "compensated shock" could easily have cascaded into "decompensated shock," a condition that is very difficult to treat and that fairly often, if I've read this medical verbiage correctly, results in death.

Aaron was released yesterday. Due to Covid, only Jheng and her mother had been allowed in the hospital during Aaron and Mariel's stays there. I saw him today, and we had a good hug. Saw Mariel too; she is weak but pain-free. Aaron is consigned to bedrest for two weeks, after which he will see his doctor for a checkup. Little man. And the duplex and its surroundings have been "fogged" twice now by the Health Office.