Saturday, January 17, 2015

As one and not aswangs

CTALK By Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star)

One thing that caught my attention regarding the Papal visit is the fact that the CBCP and representatives of the national government could actually work together “As One” and not like aswangs or energy vampires sucking away each other’s strength because of their differences over the RH law and other political issues. The same can be said in terms of the bigger picture as Filipinos go to “Pope mode” led by no less than President Noynoy Aquino who has called upon all Filipinos to welcome the Pope with love and open arms.

Yes we can, like Maximus and his allies in the movie “Gladiator” defend each other “As One” and fight “As One” IF we choose to do so. Consider how Pope Francis has become the glue or the catalyst that makes people work together, cooperate and speak as one. Pope Francis is not Filipino. He is not a one-man Vatican peacekeeper, or a third party political mediator. He certainly did not come to Manila with the intent of becoming the glue for our rent social fabric. Yet his life, his countenance and how he engages people, parties and religions reflect a high degree of respect and consideration for others sometimes controversially above his own. But that choice has made him effective, popular and above all respected.

If anything, all of us, especially our political, business and religious leaders even those in sports should reconsider our individual and collective attitude, character and approach to others. In the last decade we have imbibed so much of the “fighter” or “what’s in it for me” mentality that so much violence has come upon us whether in real life or in TV. Our young people either shoot each other or beat up each other like MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter who don’t stop hitting until blood, skin and teeth are splattered on the floor. Athletic coaches openly insult, defy and question authority, promote violence on court while referees and officials tolerate this with their “how much” or no-broken-bones-no-foul style of officiating.

Sadly, things are worse in the political arena where the politics of righteousness has become the mask for vindictiveness and vendetta. Those who would lead us on the path that is straight and narrow, demand that we abide by their doctrine that dictates, “you are either for us or against us.” Without a doubt happy Filipinos have become angry Filipinos who are not ashamed to show it to each other. But the question is: what has our anger achieved?

More than anything it has undressed our righteous countenance and exposed our self-righteousness. It has exposed our just causes to be nothing more than mob justice, our Christian works and acts as lacking in true love and true charity because “with the same tongue we praise God and with the same tongue we curse men.”

There is hope for each of us beginning from the President down to you and me to be able to work together, live together and help each other. But we can only do so if we make the choice, that choice being to be willing to hear and listen and consider, to set aside our real or imagined stature or entitlement and place others above ourselves. Yes we can “As One” if we choose not to be aswangs.

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Dengue has hit home!

After reading all I can about dengue in the news, the disease hit home infecting my wife Karen. The reason I write about it today is because I learned a few things from the experience that you don’t normally read or hear in the news.

First of all you think it’s just the flu but here is where the difference lies according to our experience and those shared by others. If the patient is the only one who is sick in close quarters, you have to wonder as I did because the flu spreads quickly between couples, close knit members of the family and in close quarters. The fact that no one else was getting sick after 4 days had me wondering especially since we were in an “isolated” location.

Then there was that “headache.” With the flu you feel crappy all over, but I don’t recall ever having skull-cracking headaches. And just about everyone I knew who had dengue talked about those hated headaches as well as the down to the bone pain which is why they used to call it “bone break fever.” The problem is that if you take the wrong type of headache medicine unknowingly you could end up speeding the process of breakdown and internal hemorrhage. Fortunately, Karen has always been the grin and bear it type so we avoided that. On the other hand there was no escaping the daily fever for four days that kept coming and going and registering at very different degrees morning, noon and night.

Now we get to the part not many people know. One of Karen’s friends warned her that “It is when you begin to feel better after 3 days that you could be at most risk.” As we all know fevers are also the body’s way of fighting infections. So the first three to four days of the fever, the body is still coping but after that is when the dengue virus has gotten past the defenses and begins to wreak havoc on your blood especially your platelets level. Karen felt better on the fourth day but I brought her for testing and she came out positive for dengue. From there her platelet count started going down. Fortunately our good friend and neighbor Doctor Mike Sarte monitored and advised us what to do and when to see a specialist.

I will confess that since there is no pharmaceutical product to fight the dengue virus, I applied all known cures from “tawa-tawa” brew, camote tops and papaya leaf tea and omelets, nightly servings of Wagyu steak, oral rehydration preparations, zinc tablets and vitamins etc. What everyone agrees on is hydration, zinc, CBC-platelet check every three days, and tawa-tawa. The best is kill all the mosquitoes specially in isolated locations. Use repellant.

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