Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What went on in my week of silence

One reason I haven't been able to blog over the past week is that the DSL service in our office has not yet been restored. For someone who managed to survive on dial-up at home for years (we only emerged from the Stone Age and got DSL this year), I am really getting frustrated with the lack of convenient and quick Internet access at work. Not only is it doubly difficult to check and reply to email from our overseas correspondents, I don't have YM to distract me from the tedium of checking reports, and I can't blog or blog-hop during lunch break.

Another reason for my blog silence-- which is actually thanks to reason number 1-- is that I've been busy at the office. Ever since we moved to our new building, I've been quite productive (and I'm guessing this is owing largely to the absence of YM messages popping up on my computer screen every 10 minutes). Because our work spaces are so much roomier now, I tend to do a lot of walking around (whenever I need to get something or find someone). Also, there's been so much stuff to pay attention to aside from the usual workload, like rearranging desks and chairs, checking to see what additional supplies are needed, taking note of new office procedures, etc.

However, there was the third and more important reason for not blogging in a week: my guakong (maternal grandfather) has been confined at Cardinal Santos since last Thursday. Over a month ago, he had an accident while traveling with friends in China, and he sustained some very nasty injuries, including an ugly bump on the head. CT scans of his head showed no internal bleeding, and after his bruises healed, we thought he was ok. Then last week he started getting disoriented, and his feet were swollen, so he couldn't walk. An MRI showed that he had a blood clot in his brain. Luckily, the neurosurgeon my parents found was a man of action (and not one to mince his words-- reminds us of House, actually), and he scheduled Guakong for surgery immediately.

The night Guakong was checked into the hospital, we had a mini-crisis of sorts. We needed type O platelets for the surgery the following morning, and Cardinal was all out of type O, and so were other major hospitals in the metropolis. Apparently, donating platelets is more complicated than whole blood, because they use a bigger needle, it takes 2-3 hours to extract the platelets, and their shelf life is shorter (hence, no ready stock). One by one, possible type O donors in the family were eliminated: my cousin Amuy for having high white blood cell count; me for having small veins (who would have thought anything about me could be small??); my brother for having had 3 glasses of beer for dinner; my dad for taking cholesterol medication; my cousin Kev for having low hemoglobin; my uncle for having had Hepatitis B. Finally, past 1AM, I managed to get hold of my cousin Norman, and he qualified for the platelet donation. After the procedure, they rushed his platelets to St. Lukes for radiation (a precaution taken when the donor's a blood relatives), and they got back just in time for Guakong's surgery.

After the surgery to remove the clot in his brain, Guakong was kept in the ICU for 2 days for observation, and now he's in a regular room resting. His vision is still blurry, his sodium levels are low, and he has coughing fits from time to time, but otherwise he's showing encouraging signs of recovery. A sure sign that he's getting better: tonight when we went to visit him, he was telling everyone to go home because it was late. I had just arrived barely 2 minutes, and he turned to me and said in Chinese, "Ailee, you go home too." I laughed and replied, "But I just got here!" That's Guakong for you, always in a rush, to the extent of rushing others around him (Ma and I got that from him).
I was actually glad that he was shooing me out, and showing some of his old impatience, and that he recognized me. I don't think I've ever been so relieved to hear someone say my name.

The doctor says he might be able to discharge Guakong by Friday. We all know that he will never fully regain his strength (before the accident, he was such a vital 82-year-old), and perhaps his mental faculties as well (armed with an abacus, the man could outdo anyone with a calculator). He'll probably need constant care from now on, and he definitely won't be traveling alone anymore, even on his frequent trips to Ongpin. He may not be able to walk for the next month or so, he may not be able to play solitaire with his trademark deck of Bicycle cards. But it doesn't matter. What matters is that he'll be back to being the same impatient, stubborn, proud man we all know and love.

Get well soon, Guakong.


At Wednesday, October 18, 2006, Anonymous jen ong said...

I hope you guakong gets better soon :) Oh yeah, and you wrote maternal grandmother instead of grandfather when you introduced the term guakong...I know you have anal tendencies so I figured I'd spot that typo for you.

When are you getting DSL???? Come back to civilization puhlease. :)

At Wednesday, October 18, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

This is what happens when I blog at 2 in the morning. :p Thanks for pointing out the error, Mini-me. You know my anal tendencies all too well. Haha.

P.S. You'll know our DSL is up and running when you see me online during office hours. ;p

At Wednesday, October 18, 2006, Blogger Dr. Emer said...

His physical rehab is of vital importance in the weeks to come. Yes, 100% recovery is not possible, but with proper care and attention, he can probably achieve 90-95%. I'm glad he had that surgery.

PS. Should you need another pheresis SOS, let me know. I'm O+ and a veteran donor.

At Thursday, October 19, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Thanks. That's really nice of you to offer, especially considering I don't even know you. Haha.

At Saturday, October 21, 2006, Anonymous Mojo said...

Sorry for the late reply... You and your grandfather are in my prayers :) Glad to know he's going to be OK.

At Saturday, October 21, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Thanks Jo! :)


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