Have you looked at old photographs(for millennials, that’s a rectangular piece of paper with frozen images of humans trapped inside ✌🏼) recently? Take those dusty photo albums out and share memories with your loved ones. Try to remember the dates, occasions, the people(name,relationship, fondest memory about that person, last time you interacted with them), anything under the sun. This exercise will not just test your memory but it’s definitely a fun thing to do alone or with your family.
First photo is circa 80’s, a photo of my Tatay on a rocking chair with myself and siblings sitting with him. The time when bronchitis, emphysema and asthma were the leading cause of morbidity and polio then was an epidemic (remembering a childhood friend with the aluminum brace on his one leg). This was a trying moment for our family financially that took us all a while to recover. The virus filled landfill and public market was our playground. We were out of the house after breakfast and only went home for the remaining meals, an afternoon nap and at night. The world then was totally different compared to what my sheltered children experience now.
Next is an example of the photo album back 2007, curated and given to me as parting gift by my beloved special children, their families and my colleagues at Jose Reyes in Manila before I left for the USA. I took this with me there, read and looked at all the photos on a regular basis especially when I’m home sick. I still have it now at my new rehab to remind me why I do this for a living.
Last photo was of my wedding day, 2010. It was very casual that we never had matching clothes and a specific theme for all guests. It was very intimately spent with just our families and very close friends. I remember our special dance vividly though. My new wife then after gaining enough distance ran towards me and leaped high enough only to be caught by my hands waiting for her. I lifted her up horizontally by the waist over head and spun her for everyone to see. You see, for 10 years I’ve been with this woman and have two beautiful kids together. As a pulmonologist, standing on the frontline of this nightmare, I can’t help but feel bad sometimes seeing how people act so insensitively that they put other people at risk, for my wife especially. A lot of times I’m afraid for her sake, thinking that if something happens to her because of other people’s selfishness, I won’t be able to effectively care for my children alone. With how she positively deals with all this, being compassionate and so much more, it made me realize that all the hate I feel towards these individuals will never prevent my wife from being sick, it will not make everything right nor will it cure the disease. It is just hate and nothing more. The only virtue I cling on to right now is ‘HOPE’, to hope for people to redeem their humanity, to hope that we will all wake up from this nightmare soon and to hope that my wife would do well with her vocation of saving people safely to be home with us at the end of the day.