Posted on | October 9, 2016 | No Comments
In a matter of one week after we joined the FB group DMD Moms the meeting happened. On Saturday, October 8, a couple of members made it to Waltermart Makiling and it probably was one of the few times, if not the only time, this Kuya J resto location witnessed a meeting of kids in wheelchairs with their moms and dads.
Since we learned about our kid’s condition more than a year ago, this our first time to come face to face with other parents who have chosen to meet the challenge head on. These are parents, moms especially, who stared at their young boys’ dystrophy straight in the eye and commit to make the lives of their kids better against all odds.
It was a surprise that Marcus was relatively behaved. Days prior to this meeting he was so anxious, he has lots of questions. He also expressed that he plans to just wave, say hi, and shut up. But he didn’t. He interacted with almost everyone, parents and kids alike. There were some awkward moments though like when he cried when he saw the cooked shrimps—he doesn’t like to learn about animals being killed and cooked but he eats fried chicken. SSShhh. He also refused to answer some questions referring to our constant reminder not to talk to strangers. After some explanations, he got along well with the others.
We hope that this isn’t the first and the last meeting. Like any other conditions, it pays to have a support group, a group who perfectly understand what the others are going through and could possibly help one way or another. At least Marcus now knows that after all he is not alone and that he could actually have friends aside from those in school and his cousins. Kudos by the way to the crew of Kuya J for being accommodating and understanding. They even honored the individual PWD cards that we presented. Facility of this branch is also great besides tables that could have been much more wheelchair-friendly.
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Wifey solved my network problem. Two heads are better than one.)
Posted on | October 6, 2016 | No Comments
This blog rarely contains political posts as I would avoid doing it as much as possible. I see such as one that usually contains rants and more often than not it is similar to any drunken social media post that anyone would regret the following day besides nurturing a bad hangover. But sometimes it has to be done on a whim especially when there is a challenge to do so.
In the recent days since I started being confined in a cold room at work–so cold I swear it feels like below freezing–with nobody else but one person I realized I am not totally introvert after all. I need to talk to someone, anyone, and so Facebook became the perfect place. My then dying MyPhone Rio didn’t deter me from answering “What’s on your mind?”
Little did I know that I would do more than just catching up with friends. I discovered that news and posts on my timeline has become more political. (There’s still a fragment of adults who continue to believe in copy-pasting hoax and requesting to type amen on comments but it’s another story.) Soon I would find myself getting so involved in the discussions.
I do not consider myself yellow, neither I’m a big fan of the current President who has continued to take an aggressive stand against the drug trade. I like this guy’s vision for the country but I don’t like his methods. Recently he and his loyal fans cry foul over the media that they accuse as biased, as an organization who openly take the President’s words out of context. Yesterday his allies crafted another defense. They called for everyone to open their minds and have a creative imagination so that the nation would understand our main guy. I heed the call so I made a pop quiz for my Facebook friends.
Pop quiz! How well do you know the guy. No cheating. #digong101
1. When he says “Go to hell”, does he mean:
A. Go home
B. Go to hell
C. Go to hill
D. A and B
E. None of the above. It’s just his bipolar ego talking.
2. When he says “For the life of me, I’d rather kneel before the king of Brunei or Thailand but I will never before the Americans”, does it mean:
A. He loves the King of Brunei.
B. He loves kneeling in front of the King of Brunei.
C. He was once a Brunei beauty in his past life.
D. He plans to one day kiss the King of Brunei.
E. A and B
F. B and C
G. A and D
H. All of the above
I. None of the above. It’s just the media getting him out of context.
J. An American once broke his heart.
3. When he says “… there’s three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.” Did he mean:
A. He owns a slaughter house.
B. He will personally slaughter all these addicts.
C. He needs help to slaughter all addicts.
D. Not really all, it’s just a figure of speech.
E. It depends if he finds friends wrongly included in the list.
F. All of the above
G. None of the above. Blame the biased media.
H. F and G, depending on which bipolar trait is currently in control.
4. When he said he will “ride a jet ski while bringing the Philippine flag”, is it because:
A. He plans to show defiance and aggression towards China.
B. He plans to surrender the island with a Philippine flag on it like an icing on a cake.
C. It’s pure propaganda composed by a paid troll who is now likely part of the cabinet.
D. Our country does not have any decent boat he can use.
E. All of the above
F. None of the above. Misquoted.
5. When he swears, does he really say “F*ck you!”?
A. Yes, but it’s just a harmless expression because he was once poor.
B. No, PI is the preferred word because he is Filipino.
C. Nope, he does not swear. The media is only using bleep in the news to make him appear as if he swore.
D. A and B
E. Next question please.
6. When he said he will get rid of the drug problem within 3 months, does it mean:
A. Yes, 3 months only.
B. 3 months x 2
C. 3 months x 4 x 6 years
D. It depends as there are 3 million addicts.
E. Did he say that?
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Some light bulb moments could get us in trouble.)
Posted on | October 5, 2016 | No Comments
For the second time, I got a new phone courtesy of wifey. While I’m waiting for the MyPhone store to replenish its Rio batteries, wifey had secretly ordered something from Lazada. So here’s me with a new Flash Plus 2 which is more than enough to run my Kindle. Well, it made me discover the benefits of the Facebook and Messenger apps. Oh, I tried some selfie while alone at work but camera didn’t make me look good. I wonder if there’s like Photoshop or the popular beautify setting like what most of my Facebook friends use. You’ll know when I found it. Out of the box, it’s a good phone so far.
Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Pain on my right back is almost gone.)
Posted on | September 18, 2016 | No Comments
My current focus has been on the path of being a minimalist. It’s not that I live a complicated lifestyle, full of stuffs to flaunt or experiences worthy of a Facebook or Instagram post. I’m not one of those but I feel that there are still opportunities to declutter and make my life simpler yet fuller—the basic philosophy of minimalism. Thankfully, the transition is made easier as there seems to be a trend and resources to face this challenge as what I have found mostly on Becoming Minimalist.
Do not be fooled though, for decluttering is a big word. It does not only mean disposing physical objects like decades of magazines, baby toys, used clothes, gadgets, etcetera, but it also means dealing with emotional burdens like grudges, lost opportunities and anxieties, whether due to attachments to things we cherish the most or for some other reasons, that hold us back from moving forward and achieving a life that’s less stuffy.
The need to face this challenge head on started to become more serious when we decided to transfer to another house. I was hit with a realization that we have things at home that have either never used or that we will never ever need. This despite giving away clothes regularly when we hear on TV about people needing some due to typhoon or fire. We’ve also given away some of our son’s old toys on trick or treat days or on Christmas seasons. Still it seems that those weren’t enough.
So when we eventually got settled in our current house, I made sure that more unnecessary stuffs will have to go—having no shelf or extra cabinet helped in the decision making. So far I have given away paperbacks that I once find hard to dispose due to sentimental reasons. Marcus has also agreed to say goodbye to some of his old McDonald’s happy meal toys and Duplos. Wedding gifts like tea sets, plates, glass bowls and the likes were also given away with wifey’s permission. Every one of us did our part in clearing the tangibles and make the house clean and wheelchair-friendly.
Clearing the mind of anxieties, however, is a tougher enemy and is an ongoing battle. To let go of what-would/could-have-beens is often hard to shake off. While I have started to get used to look at Marcus straight in the eye when I reassure him that not being able to walk shouldn’t be a big deal, I would sometimes catch myself seeing images of him once walking naturally and him running around and enjoying an active life as an adult. But maybe it’s the life that isn’t meant to be and acceptance means changing sail and let fate take its course.
Yesterday, during the homily the priest made the perfect reminder. He said that human as we are, we tend to easily forget that what we currently have are all temporary; worse, we become so selfish that we refuse to share to those that need the most. That was spot on.
I know that what I try to achieve in a world of consumerism and self-centeredness is a feat full of obstacles. The temptation to give in is always present so focus to the goal is key. Honestly, I do not know when I would achieve minimalism or if there is even such point, but I am willing to take on the challenge and see how far I could let go of clutters so as to live life as it should be lived.
This was tough parenting week for us. Marcus has been playing this online Minecraft game called Skywars. He claims that there are banable offenses like hacking and teaming up that results to him getting killed unfairly. When it happens he get so frustrated yet the more he wants to get even. And one frustration leads to another—me included. To prevent this from happening again, I uninstalled his Minecraft PC application in front of him and eventually his user account just to realize soon that I shouldn’t have done it. Anyway, it surprises me that he recovered sooner that I thought and it’s as if nothing happened to the game he loves the most. Maybe he would be a better at letting go than I would ever be.
Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Letting go of my comfort job.)
Posted on | August 28, 2016 | No Comments
There is a turtle in all of us. Well, at least that’s how it now appears to be in our case. More than a week ago my wife and I watched on Umagang Kay Ganda a segment wherein they featured turtles for pets and when we told Marcus about it, the next days that followed was filled with questions “Where do I get a turtle?”, “When can I have a turtle?”, and similar other questions with the word turtle in it. So yesterday was the day we found and bought one and achieved peace. How happy was Marcus? We got a couple of goodnight hugs from him which rarely happens.
Somewhere in Bacolod, however, one was obviously not a big fan of turtles. Over the phone this morning, I told my mother the good news that we finally got a pet for Marcus. A pet that doesn’t have a fur that could trigger allergic reactions. But to confirm the suspicion I had since I was in high school, she immediately advised that the turtle shouldn’t be kept inside the house as people say it makes the life of anyone who has it slow. That flashed me back in time when I found one crawling in our backyard that I kept in our toilet while I try to find the right box for it. That turtle which was about the size of a saucer disappeared without a trace when I returned to check it. My mother said it must have escaped but our toilet had walls of slippery white tiles and a small window above five feet plus I knew I closed the door just before I left. I wasn’t given the chance to name the turtle Houdini.
To entertain my mother’s opinion on this innocent reptile and just to make that mother-knows-best notion true, my career path has been indeed a drag. Could be the effect of keeping, while briefly, a turtle or could be due to me being contented of what I have or could be due to the workplace environment where I am currently at. The safest to blame would be the turtle. Anyway, after years of trying to move on and positioning myself on the next step of the career ladder, I landed the job I least expected to get. It was turtle-pace movement but I’d take it. I learned about the good news just a day before our account celebrated its fifth year this weekend.
Oh, yes, Marcus named the turtle of course. It’s now called Raphael. It costs us 450 pesos to get it so we need to save before we get another of his cowabunga friends.
Among yesterday’s mall itinerary was to watch a movie and the perfect film on the day we get a new pet is no other than Secret Life of Pets. It is about the story of what pets do the moment their busy owners step out of the door to resume their busy life in New York. As an adult I would say that this is among those many films with its trailer far more entertaining that the full movie itself but looking at how Marcus decided to stay put in his wheelchair—he gets an unimpeded view of the screen from the isle—instead of on my lap during the entirety of the movie tells me that he enjoyed it. And as usually the case, an animated film for kids is meant to be just that. For kids.
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Expecting a long day with the turtle.)
Posted on | August 23, 2016 | No Comments
Behind every absent employee is a happy kid and a worried spouse. – Me.
As our young boy puts it, ”Daddy, you have an extra Saturday!” This he said after learning that I won’t be able to report to work because my car’s air conditioner conked out on a high noon yesterday. This is why children, no matter how annoying they could get, are little angels—or clowns—who possess the ability to make us smile whenever we need to have some. It wasn’t the extra Saturday I wished I had but there was no choice.
After having nightmares about car repairs and empty wallets, start of the day today I faced my fear head on. I went back to the aircon repair shop anticipating a long day ahead, another day of waiting for a Pandora’s box from the car’s hood to be spread its ugly surprise. But God must have heard our bedtime prayers and must have checked my bank account balance. The mechanic made a quick bypass of the compressor’s wiring and voila, cold air from the vents.
Returning home a lot earlier than expected, I found myself seated across wifey who was then busy with her regular task of cleaning Marcus’ Legos and other building blocks. Besides being impressed by her patience to place everything back in order despite knowing that it would be a matter of time when our young boy disassembles everything according to his own liking—which did happen—I noticed something that captured my attention. A nice Lego hack. There’s no need to wait for the next Mothers’ Day or Valentines’ Day to give compliment for this one little trick…plus the fact she paid most of the car’s repair.
This is the first time the car’s air-conditioning got busted. It was due to a loose compressor bearing that eventually resulted to the wheel grinding on the magnetic coil set. Repair costs us Php 6,000 plus. I might need more carpool passengers or those who could pay more.
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (I was expecting to take public transpo for a week but I’m not.)
Posted on | August 21, 2016 | No Comments
Suicide sucks. One way or another we know someone who ended his own life. They may be a family member, a relative, a friend, a co-worker, or even a celebrity. Suicide is far worse than someone dying from an accident because it takes the lives of people close to us when in fact there could have been someone who could have done something to delay if not totally prevent it. People who die of suicide are those who needed support of someone. Someone who could have talked them out of the situation, someone with a clear state of mind who could have made them realize that life if far more precious than they think. Back in the days, lack of access to suicide hotlines or a close friend who is willing to listen and give advice would often be one of the causes of people ending their own life in such tragic manner.
The good news is that nowadays we have something powerful on our side. The social media. With its broad reach, such network of like-minded people ready to support a particular cause could positively impact or even save someone’s life. So when I read on Facebook about #22pushups for #22kill, as US-based campaign, I just know that this is something I can contribute to. I shunned the ice bucket challenge that went viral years ago but I recently heard that it wasn’t just all about the hype as it actually resulted to more awareness on ALS and for its research and support to progress. This is the same hope that #22pushups for #22kill aims to achieve. Clearly it isn’t the solution but it is worth the shot. So on a Sunday afternoon while Marcus’ cousins invade the house, I retreated in his red room and made my own 22 push ups. I ended with a flared nose but I am just happy to be part of it. As of this writing, the site’s counter is at 8 million push ups over the 22 million goal so make yours count now.
Mood: 3/10 Honks! (First time to see the form, need to go deeper.)
Posted on | August 15, 2016 | No Comments
Ever had one of those days when that bulb inside your head lights up and you believe that you just struck the best idea? Then you smile and feel good about yourself, you feel smarter than the rest. But sometimes, things do not come out as planned. It is not because you happen to be one of the regular joes who lack the resources to get your light bulb idea materialize. Even corporations who probably have the right research and development budget are not spared from such failures. Countless of seemingly promising products have flopped just because it missed to deliver its intended purpose.
In July, besides Pokemon Go, another company revealed to the world their design of a toilet plunger that they think would be effective and at the same time make the task fun than it is supposed to be. I was already skeptic at the latter despite the product’s integrated poop shape and emoji-inspired design but I smirked more about it being effective. Called the Poo-Plunger, it promises to solve the crappy job of sending that thing down the drain in no time. The article says that the product’s designer are into crowdfunding to support the project. I salute their effort to donate some of the proceeds to charity but my fascination of their idea stops there.
Why such hatred? Well, we had a similar product at home. One of the links I marked as favorite was an article 18 Everyday Products You’ve Been Using Wrong which I read three years ago and when we finally transferred house I made sure that I buy the right toilet plunger. Marcus wasn’t a fan of drinking water so every now and then we would encounter that problem in the toilet. We’ve tried fibrous diet but we keep on being face to face with that thing. So I thought that maybe there’s a solution and I seem to finally have found the right tool. I was wrong.
Theoretically the plunger should work. Create a good seal, pump the plunger and let the air in its bellow send the hideous stuff down the drain. Simple, right? Yes, if and only if you get the thing pushed down in the first try. Miss it and you will soon realize that when you retract the plunger, everything that’s left is sucked back in the empty space of the plunger—think of an empty medicine dropper that you dip in a bottle. The gurgling sound it makes is nightmare material. The description ‘as scary as shit’ would be technical. We’re now back to encouraging Marcus to eat oatmeal and vegetables.
So do not feel bad if ever you failed to make your bright ideas come to life. Do not rush. Be happy to push it back and go back once again to the drawing board unless you secretly plan to make someone other people’s lives more crappy as a result of your half-baked light bulb moment. Now I wonder if the makers of the Poo-Plunger have their own nine-digit number. I might check later.
Mood: 4/10 Honks! (Blame the article on the weather.)
Posted on | July 31, 2016 | No Comments
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. – Carl Jung, Swiss Psychologist
I love driving. There’s something about being behind the wheel that makes me relax. My daily commute allows me to be just on my own and be in control although every now and then my patience and tolerance of other drivers would be tested. When I’m inside, the car becomes my personal space—my mobile man cave.
Don’t get me wrong though. I also love driving for other people. In fact, I have driven several times for friends or relatives without me charging them. Sending anyone to the airport are my favorite trips—looks like I enjoy sending people away. There were also countless times I offered to help people who were stranded or in need of road side assistance and there were even instances when I have helped people reach the hospital.
The idea of a carpool, however, is a different matter. It’s something I find difficult to commit but it’s also something that seems inevitable. So I think it is about time I set some rules that would make our trip bearable to avoid any awkward moments, especially those I encountered from previous carpools.
Let me make it clear that my car is messy. You may find shoes and socks, blankets, and books in random places. To make it worse, I stopped using car freshener as the doctor advised to prevent our kid’s asthma from being triggered. You are under the mercy of the power of the baking soda that has been around since January. You may use mask, I won’t mind.
My days of reckless driving are over. I drive so slow that I seldom hit 100 kph. And in this era of social media and dashcams, I don’t want to be that one bald guy in a car with a handicap sticker recorded crisscrossing the expressway and be featured on either TopGearPH’s or James Deakin’s Facebook page. I have my own bashers so let’s not add more to it anymore. If we leave late, we will be late.
I am no Uber driver—not yet—so don’t trust me to check my phone for your whereabouts. The rules making it illegal to use the phone while driving was also recently approved and I don’t want to get a ticket just because I picked up your frantic call. If I don’t see you around, I go. I bet you’ll find friendlier jeepney drivers to drive you to work.
Contrary to popular rules of riding shotgun, I prefer my passenger to be less chatty or better yet stay asleep. The AM station feed should be enough to keep me up. I warn you though that I sometimes sing along when I hear my favorite song on FM stereo so deal with it. Try to stay or pretend to be asleep nevertheless. Don’t sing along, you’re not in James Corden’s show.
Sick people will not be allowed. Please don’t show up if you have any hint of infectious disease. Do not add up to the existing molds inside the car. I may have become immune to these but not to the common cold. Don’t worry, it’s more likely that your seatmates at work would likewise appreciate your absence.
My ageing sedan sits only four people, me included. Extra baggage will not be allowed entry. If you plan to bring bulky stuffs to sell in the workplace let me know so we can go through the process of Big-Brother-like eviction of people in the carpool. Bags of herbal supplement or whitening soap will be reconsidered but talks about me joining your multilevel network will evict you out immediately.
Lastly, if you don’t see it in me, I’m also broke. The only difference between you and me is that I have my own car and you don’t have one for now. Maybe your networking business will get you one soon but until then I would be very glad if on your way out you leave something monetary. My car has several compartments and cup holders where you can place your bill discreetly.
Like any other, driver or not, I know you understand that feeling of resentment when your personal space is intruded. Come to think of it, this must be the very reason road rage happens when people feel that someone crosses that line into what they perceive as their own space or comfort zone. I would love to give you a lift but if you find any of these carpool rules hard to follow please let me know. Driving alone is always an option.
Electricity was out yesterday so I took the opportunity to practice backing in and out our very tight parking space. Wifey was my coach. Of all people.
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Cool and gloomy Sunday.)
Posted on | July 28, 2016 | No Comments
The results of the blood test made last weekend is out and there is good news. Both CK & CK-MB levels are down compared to the previous results. This third test has the lowest so far. The baseline for the normal values vary from one online source to another but I made the graphs below to illustrate how significant the latest results are.
According to Mayo Clinic, the normal CK level within the age range of Marcus is 150-499. Using the highest limit, Marcus Creatine Kinase (CK) level is just 2000% this time. Relatively high but it’s way better than the result prior to it.
CK-MB level follows suit. To explain what CK-MB is I would liken it to a story most of us have probably heard when we were in grade school. Remember The Leak in the Dike? CK-MB is basically a measurement of a leak which means that ideally there shouldn’t be any level of it in the blood result. Normal blood test results should show almost zero. Mayo Clinic says that males would have a reference value of < or =7.7 ng/mL. That’s 7.7 nanograms per milliliter–a lot smaller than a single tear drop. The CK-MB test results we got from Hi-Precision Diagnostic Clinic are in Units/Liter (U/L) and internet sources say it cannot be directly converted to ng/mL unit which means the percentage on my graphs could be off (those are rounded off figures anyway).
My wife and I could only assume which factors attributed to the improvement in the blood test. It was after the second test when the doctor prescribed to double the dosage of the Co-Q10. Marcus has been taken 200mg every night since then together with an intake of Alpha-Lipoic. It was also during this time when Marcus began to have frequent sessions with the manghihilot. The skeptic in me couldn’t see that there’s a direct benefit but there’s nothing to lose.
And there’s one thing that could highly likely affected the results. The doctor’s advice prior to taking each test was to minimize Marcus’ physical activities and we just realized that sometime in February this year he totally lost his capacity to stand and walk on his own. Since then, he has remained seated either playing games or watching TV. In this case, being immobile was both a bad thing and a good thing. Sigh.
We are yet to see the doctor to interpret the results but for now we are thankful that it wasn’t the result that we were expecting. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.
Hi-Precision Diagnostics has been accommodating us very well so far. The closest clinic to us now is their branch in Sta. Rosa, Laguna wherein the same professional and friendly personnel took good care of Marcus. Kudos to this company.
Mood: 3/10 Honks! (If miracles come true…)
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