How I Get By (In Sickness and in Health)

Writing, they say, is a form of therapy. True.  Almost half of my life, writing has proven to be my only solace amid the darkest night.  A string of metaphors or a pasture of reverie helps me get by whenever I’m encumbered by fears, doubts, and even ennui.  But sometimes, scribbling and groping for words are not enough to summon my nightmares and even fighting the monsters that invade my thoughts.  When that happens, I feel like a hapless fugitive that keeps on running until I reach the cliff and the only choice left is to jump.  Or else, face these monsters and die.

I haven’t written for weeks and it seemed like I lost another part of my soul.  For a moment, I almost succumb to the monsters.  To my nightmares.  I’ve been sick for almost a month.  Yes, the nightmare is making his comeback.  I am left in the middle of a decision.  Should I run from it?  Should I face it?    I always consider myself a valetudinarian, someone who is a sickly or a weak person who is constantly and morbidly concerned with his health.  And the irony is that, I hate going to the doctor.  I hate the smell of the hospitals.  The thought of entering the emergency room freaks me out.  Two weeks ago, I gathered my resolve and went to visit the doctor.  He’s also an acupuncturist.  After a series of nosy interviews, he told me I had bronchitis, but I need to complete my medication to clear out the possibilities of tuberculosis.  The bad thing about being too honest with doctors is that history always bridge connection to your current condition.  His assumption of me acquiring TB rooted from the fact that I had a direct exposure to my grandpa who actually died of the disease when I was still a child.  And again, my history of having a GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease surfaced which I actually forgot although I’ve been suffering from it until now.  Yes, that’s how sickly I am.  Years ago, I was admitted to the hospital for a work up and I swear i will never go back in there anymore.  From that moment, I always told myself I’ll be better.  I’ll be OK. At least, people think I am fine.  I guess, that helped because whenever I feel sick, I always shove away the thought that it’s getting worse and I forget about it.  I’m trying to extricate myself from being a valetudinarian.  And I did, almost successfully.

Lately, while sickness tried to knock the hell out of me, and when I realized that writing has proven unhelpful, I turned to painting, which is actually my first love.  So every night, I get hold of my paintbrush and expunge my worries through strokes and colors.  Somehow it alleviated my condition, considering I can actually finish an artwork overnight.

I am always worried about my health, but in a way, I can get by with it as long as I carry the burden myself.  It’s fine with me.  And my family and friends don’t have to worry about my concealed agitation.  I’d be worrying a lot if I know people close to my heart suffer from sickness.  Because i know, when that happens, I’m not sure if I ‘d be ready to lend a helping hand. Financially, that is.  A friend told me one time how he wanted to find a job so he could save money just in case a family member gets sick and he has something to at least pull from his pocket.  The same question lingers on my mind.  And I know, with the meager salary I receive from my job, help is always insufficient.

Sickness has been the IT thing for me these past few days,  Not only for me, but for the people around me. It’s probably because of the weather.  Or maybe, hereditary? Yesterday, my mother and I took my younger brother to the hospital for a cardio check up.  After undergoing ECG and 2D Echo test, he was diagnosed with a rheumatic heart disease and cardiomegaly.  It’s quite unthinkable how this disease develop in him, knowing that he looks healthy (although lately he has been losing a lot of weight).  You know, facing this situation as a family member (and as a brother), poses a lot of question.  Mostly why’s. How’s.  And it gets me worried even more, because this time, it is not I who am dealing with the condition.   My friend was right.  Money is the immediate solution to this kind of situation.  And when you are faced with that dilemma, you get to set aside your own concern and help that person.  I’m quite tight especially when it comes to monetary matters and the thought of independence superimposes everything especially when other people asks for some amount.  But this time it’s family.

I still try to make sense of everything.  And it seems like things are taking a different path.  Fear and worry won’t stand a chance, I will make sure of that.  Fear that I might possibly acquire the same condition.  Worry for my brother.  I am beginning, again, to become a valetudinarian.  But now, there is a good reason to be one.  And health is something that we should not just take for granted.

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