November was rough on my health. I started taking pills to get my circadian rhythm under control but the meds didn’t help at all. The side effects even made things worse, actually.
There was one time when I had to wake my parents up in the middle of the night because my chest hurt so bad and I felt like I was having a heart attack. I drank water, I tried meditating and breathing to a certain pattern but none of them calmed the pain. I told my parents I couldn’t sleep and when Ma gave me a hug, I bawled like a baby. It was bad.
But that was two weeks ago and I’m obviously still alive, so it probably wasn’t a heart attack. I still get those chest pains though — I’ve been having them for quite some time now.
This morning I finally decided to see a doctor to get my heart in check. I figured if I have to pull all-nighters for my exams then I might as well make sure that my heart can handle the work.
The doctor gave me a prescription for a puffer (I have asthma) and antibiotics (apparently I have an infection in my tonsils too). I also asked him to set me up for a blood test just to confirm that I have no other medical condition to worry about. I left the clinic with a prescription and a bunch of lab request forms for an ECG, a urine test, etc.
I went to another clinic to get the basic tests done. A Filipina med-tech took my blood sample then led me to the ECG room. She told me to take my top off; she needed to place the electrodes directly on my skin.
“Are you Filipino?” Tita Med-Tech asked while I was lying topless on the clinic bed.
“Opo,” I said. “Nagtatagalog po kayo?”
“Oo,” she said. “Gaano ka na katagal dito?”
“Mga five years po.”
“May anak ka na?”
Awow. Anak agad? It was probably a harmless question — a standard remark for any tita talking to a woman in her late twenties — but I was topless, man! I guess my breasts look like they’ve already fed infants?
Anyway, of course I said, “Wala po.”
“Pero may asawa ka?”
Awow, tita, ano ‘to, family reunion?
“Wala rin po,” I said. “Nag-aaral pa po ako.”
“Ah, ka-edad mo kasi panganay ko.”
“May asawa na po eldest n’yo?”
“Meron na, oo.”
O e di s’ya na. Charot.
“Relax ka lang ha, hija,” she said once she finally finished setting up the computer and the ECG thing was about to happen. Salamat sa dios.
After the ECG I went to another clinic to get an x-ray. The technician asked me when was the last time I had my period and I told her I didn’t know. She showed me a calendar to help me recall the date — said she needed to put a date on her form — and so I told her some random November day (I honestly don’t track my cycle).
“Have you been sexually active since then?”
I knew she was only making sure that I wasn’t pregnant but I guess the Universe just has its own way of rubbing it in. O e ‘di ako na. Charot.
After the x-ray I went to the pharmacy to buy the meds. This was my last stop. I had done all the tests, and it’s worth mentioning that I didn’t spend a dime for any of them. I even have an appointment with a lung specialist set this Sunday, which implies (I am guessing) that the x-ray results will be ready before then.
The only time I took my wallet out was to buy my puffer and the antibiotics, and part of the cost was even covered by my university insurance. Grabe ‘no? Universal health care is a right, kids. Every human being in every country should have access to hardworking doctors and nosy med-techs and meticulous x-ray technicians. #SanaAll talaga.
Anyway, this is just to let you know that I have started to address some of the issues I had in November. I still have to hustle to get my marks up and I am also thinking about seeking professional psychiatric help.
One at a time, kids. One at a time.