2016: February

Funnily enough, when this month started, I was fully prepared to talk about love for this post. February being the “love month” and all that. (It really wasn’t.) I do go on a bit about love by the end of this essay, but as it turns out, here’s what I’ll really remember about this past February—long, long nights. The circles under my eyes have never looked darker.

There were quite a lot of school papers that were required of us, now that I think about it. So much that furiously typing on my laptop at two in the morning has become a thing. My brain doesn’t like coming up with coherent sentences while the sun is still up, so I force it to stay awake at ungodly hours of the night. Mostly though, it’s a testament to my stellar cramming skills. (I hope the sarcasm reaches you.) Yeah, I know, I should’ve gotten the hang of the student thing by now. I’m fully aware of how easier life would be if I learned to do things in advance. Sorry to report that there hasn’t yet been any character growth for me in that department. LOL.

I also swore I’d learn to delegate tasks to groupmates this time (I’m prone to shouldering the main bulk of group projects. That’s a pretty good gist of my entire student life). And I have! I thought I’d give myself a break—Nen, you’re not in school again to be an overachiever. Chill. So, you know. I’m not taking on anything I don’t have to take on. But as early as now, this plan has only worked out well for me maybe once or twice. The other times? Ugh. I don’t understand how some people couldn’t manage to put a decent amount of effort in the simplest of tasks being asked of them. It’s like, when you say to someone, Okay, I trust you to do this—and they agree—shouldn’t it be, like, a given that what you really mean is I trust you to do this well? Cus I mean—what’s the point of delegating tasks to other people if you intend to re-do them later?! Yet I always seem to have to do just that. See, I’m never gonna be someone who will submit something half-assed if I can do anything about it. And this isn’t me insulting the people I’ve worked with. I most definitely do not look down on them, and in fact, because of that, I expect them to be capable of producing decent outputs. Right? But man. On top of submitting their parts at the last minute possible (making me have to cram proofreading as well), the parts in question look like they were made at the last minute possible. If only it were acceptable to ask them straight-up: Do you even read what you submit before submitting it? Can you honestly say this is ~college student level~? But I can’t, because usually they’re not really my classmates classmates (ha, irregular student problems) plus I don’t know whatever shit they’re going through in their lives right now. For all I know, there might be deeply personal reasons why they only submitted their pitiful reports the night before the project is due, even though I’ve been constantly reminding them to do so for three weeks (!!!) prior. Other than the obvious. (Which is, of course, that they’re just plain lazy.) I try to be sympathetic and give them the benefit of the doubt. But that leaves me with the only option left: Re-do everything myself. Which is what I’ve been doing at two in the morning. Which is why I hate groupworks, really. I know the point is that students should benefit from collaborative work, yadda yadda. But there exist parasites in this world. Sometimes they’re worms, sometimes they’re protozoa, and sometimes they’re college students. Unluckily for me, I’m a host. While I tell myself I should be happy I’m giving them sustenance, it’s difficult to forget that they are Feeding. On. Me. It’s not a mutualistic relationship. It feels shitty to share a grade with a group when you’ve exerted pretty much the same effort as you would’ve done if the project was individual.

But wait. Why the hell has this turned into a rant? LOL.

Anyway. Yeah. Long nights drive the point home: I’m in school because I chose to be here, which means I know where I want to go and I’m prepared to do what it takes to get there, and most of all—I am aware, always and always, of the great value of time. But most of the other students? Well. Can’t say, can’t judge. It’s just really, really annoying is all. It’s taking more and more of me not to scream LOOK AT YOUR LIFE LOOK AT YOUR CHOICES at people. As it is, I have to be content with eye-rolling and exasperated sighing. (Seriously. The number of times I roll my eyes in a day has increased heaps.) All my prayers now includes this: Pahingi po ng pasensya. Repeat ad infinitum.

I realize that this wouldn’t have been a problem had I chosen to study a post-graduate program. But I didn’t. I’m stuck with kids. My choice, so I have to pay the price, yadda yadda. What is this blog for, though, if not for complaining about things I can’t complain about out loud in real life? Hee.

I should most definitely be sleeping now but maybe one more episode??? was another cause of long nights the past month. I blame Peggy and the gang. (I am so in love with the Jarvises!!!) And the Ponds. (Me full-on bawling because of The Girl Who Waited may or may not have been another thing that happened at 2 am.) (I am so girlcrushing on Karen Gillan, but I have to say it’s Rory [Arthur Darvill killing it] who’s become my second-favorite NuWho companion [next to Donna]. His character arc has been so fascinating but he only gets second place cus he kept being shortchanged by the scriptwriters.) Can’t really say anything more about this except I regret nothing.

Oh, and there’s my poor old vertebral column. Killing me slowly through pain and discomfort. So that’s another cause of long nights. Scoliosis continues to be a bitch.

But without contest, the most memorable long night would have to be that of late February 13th to early February 14th. I was at the local Heart Center (on Valentine’s Day, yes, how timely) with my mom and her siblings. My uncle (Ma’s sister’s husband) had undergone an open-heart surgery and he still hadn’t woken up for more than 24 hours after the operation. The surgery was technically successful, but things got complicated because he’s a candidate for a kidney transplant, meaning his recuperating heart and his failing kidneys were battling it out. He was still in the CCU at the time and they wouldn’t let people see him, not even his wife. We were there for about eight hours, but those were eight hours wherein phrases like “this is a very critical time,” “he had a seizure and had to be revived,” “out of fifteen, he’s at seven,” were being thrown around. Then there’s the fact that he didn’t really want to be operated on because he said he wouldn’t wake up afterwards. If he didn’t get a bypass surgery asap, though, he could drop dead at any time. So the choices weren’t really choices at all. 

That night, it was like I witnessed every kind of emotion possible in the faces of my relatives. My mom and her siblings, especially. Crying and laughing and laughingcrying (and eating, yup), and all through that, the acceptance of stark reality was never gone from their eyes—this is life. They have lived through their father dying, a brother getting shot and killed, and the still-fresh wound of my Tito Romy succumbing to lung cancer four years ago. It hurt to see them having to go through the same waiting game in a hospital again, but every word they spoke meant one and the same—whatever happens, we will get through this together. Such troopers. It was a privilege to see them like that, and it is a privilege to have inherited that same survivor blood in my veins.

To be honest, I have learned so many life lessons in that one night that I couldn’t ever possibly write anything that would give justice to it, but I guess I’ll settle with this: I felt like I was seeing love in what could be its purest form. Love is a mess. But it is strong and it is brave and it carries you through. It survives. I witnessed faith, too. I felt it in my own heart. In my short time working as a medical technologist, I’ve encountered many cases in the ICU similar to that of my uncle’s, and more often than not, the patients just go from bad to worse. My brain knew this. But for some reason, I couldn’t coincide the reality of those cases with the reality of my uncle’s state. My heart refused to budge. That’s faith isn’t it? Knowing full well how dire the circumstances are, how everything has gone outside the realm of your control, but you still feel this inexplicable certainty that things will turn out okay. You just don’t know exactly what “okay” will look like. But you know you will be able to accept it. For all our tears, our fears, our guilt and regrets that night, there was hope, always and always. “Let Him take over.” 

And my uncle has now awoken and is recovering.

Thank you for the long nights, February. 

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