When a decade or two in one’s life has ended and another begins, the person usually welcomes this new milestone with a bang. Some people do stupid and crazy stunts to commemorate a turn in their lives, others do wild things to indicate their openness for new experiences, while others embark to a journey to embrace the freshness as well as the thrill of the unknown which they are about to discover. Mine however, was just different.
My birth month usually opens with strong winds and rainy days while midterm examinations and storms usually fall on the week of my birthday. Literal typhoons are mostly always part of my birthday celebration which I take as a shower of graces from above. This year though, there was no literal typhoon that visited the country early this month which I find a little odd. I had been used to having thunder storms and rain showers as my welcoming committee, but this year a different kind of typhoon had hit.
Exactly ten days before the 10th of August (my birthday) I underwent an emergency operation. It was so unexpected, so sudden, that I had no choice but to try to prepare myself mentally and emotionally in the span of less than 24 hours. The turn of events was so fast that I had to take in everything in split second. One day I was just sitting in class listening inattentively to boring lectures and chatting animatedly with my seatmate. Next day I was in the medical arts building getting checked by my uncle who after knowing what was causing me pain smiled and said, “I have to call your parents”— which was a definite sign that he was bearing bad news.
I pretended to smile but my tears betrayed me while he dialed my father’s number. “It doesn’t sound good. What is it? Tell me, why do you have to call papa?” I asked my uncle desperately. My father was not picking up so he tried phoning my mother. While her phone rings my uncle spoke and told me I might need to undergo surgery which resulted in me having a little panic attack.
After speaking with my mother as well as with my father, who were both here at home [which is six hours away from where I was], he called the admitting section of the hospital and told me that I would already be admitted— then and there. I could not keep more tears from flowing down, the image of needles and open wound start to float in front of me. I felt so weak and so alone without my parents beside me that moment especially when my uncle revealed that he might cut me open in a few hours even without my mom and dad if the situation called for it. Apparently I had no choice.
Without any companion I felt the desolation worsen after my uncle left me in my hospital room with no one but the nurse and his resident doctor who became my temporary “buddies”. He had other patients to attend to and I did not want to bother him any longer simply because I was scared. It was already enough that I took some of his time and that he made sure that he left his most trusted resident doctor to watch over me.
My only source of comfort that time was the phone call I was receiving from my parents every now and then, telling me to just relax and that my mother was already on her way to the hospital. I did not want to concern other people with my case, so I silently kept all the fears on my own.
Luckily, Mandy’s intern duties ended quite early. Coming from another hospital, he went straight to where I was confined. I felt better having one of my bestfriends by my side while I underwent some laboratory examinations in preparation for the operation. A few hours later Laurenze also came and soon I was able to feel less fearful.
My mother came late in the evening, I went under the knife early morning the following day. I cried even more when the nursing assistant fetched me from my room. In the operating room I was greeted by my uncle’s team of doctors and nurses as Beatles’ “Come Together” played in the background— which definitely was Uncle Dan’s playlist. When the song changed to a musical, “Wicked”, I knew the operation would already commence.
Everything became a blur and my legs started lose its sensation. Next thing I knew my eyes were already open but everything were moving so slow, my appendix was waving me good bye and I was calling for my uncle— making sure that he took a picture of my poor appendix before I bid it farewell completely.
Five hours passed after the procedure before the nurses delivered me back to my room and from then I realized life will never be the same again. If I was consulted by fate, I would have decided another way to leave behind 20 and embrace 21. No, I would not choose this one— one where I had to become an incomplete human being with my missing organ, one where the catheter took my virginity away, one which exposed my bare body to people unrelated to me, one which subjected me to physical pain, and one which will leave me a scar to remind me of my two decades and a year of existence. I would surely have chosen something less excruciating but more adventurous if fate gave me an option.
I have been home for two weeks now doing nothing, feeling annoyed that I cannot do the things I want to do. My every movement is limited that I am almost handicapped. It might take a few more weeks before I can go back to my normal life. My birthday which was compensated by a family dinner and get together made the ill disposition I am currently in better. Nonetheless, it does not change the fact that I will forever carry with me an ugly mark of my 21st.