So, I admit that I am used to being cared for. I am 31 years old and my parents still worry about me constantly. Even when I was already teaching at Ateneo de Naga University, they would still call me everyday. Okay, they still do. They live in Dominica, a Caribbean island, and long distance calls are frightfully expensive. Calls are not even five-minute hello-goodbyes. They last for several minutes to an hour. So yes, each call should be a big deal but has become so commonplace. Thankfully, Skype has made things a lot better by making calls kinder to my parents’ telephone bills. Through Skype, they also get to see – and not just hear – their grandson.
When my son was born, I learned what it was really like to take care of someone else. A little baby is delicate and fragile. It was difficult not to feel some level of fear every time I hold him in my arms. I was so awkward and clueless. Eventually though, I learned how to care for him. My previous experience of caring was less physical: ensuring that my brother gets his allowance on time (my parents deposit the money through one account for convenience) and that he has all the things he needs. Even today, I still make sure that my brother – now aged 28 – has all the things he need. He is so cerebral and busy, a Magna Cum Laude graduate from the UST School of Medicine and now a medical intern at the UST Hospital that he has no time for grocery shopping.
I am a Cancer woman. You may say that horoscopes don’t really mean a thing but somehow, the description of a Cancerian woman fits me perfectly: sensitive, a homebody, caring, domestic (though I don’t know how to cook, wash clothes, etc.). So, caring for someone should be easy. I was tested when I had to care for my husband during his three days at the hospital just this past weekend when he was admitted due to a potentially life-threatening asthma attack. I was used to him caring for me and not the other way around, and I guess it felt weird. We are married for almost six years. He had never in his life been admitted to the hospital. It was difficult when he did end up hospitalized but somehow. I did not know I was capable of sticking around for all three days and nights with a clear enough mind (at least most of the times) but I was. I cried all night and all day when our son was hospitalized at the tender age of one, only about a year and a half ago. I don’t think I was a perfect carer and watcher during those three days, but I was able to play the part during an unexpected weekend at Manila Doctors Hospital.