All things work for good to those who love God (Romans 8:28)
Last July of 2013, I got confined at San Lazaro Hospital and Medical Center Manila because of a life-threatening health situation. My hemoglobin have been continuously dropping, from a mere 10.6 last April, to 7.7 by June 7, to a very alarming 2.8 by June 30. (Take note that normal hemoglobin level for male is 14 to 18). And so when I found out from a hospital here in Bulacan that I am advised for transfusion with 6 to 10 blood bags. Whew! What a great amount of blood! We went back home, contacted my former doctor in Cagayan De Oro City, and asked for advise. Then he told me that I must really be confined because of this critical condition. And so me and my family planned our course of action very well – who will bring me to the hospital, who will be my watcher, who will stay at home. Then I got in touch with my healthcare provider, a benefit extended to me by my former company in Cagayan De Oro even though I have already resigned since March. It was a good timing that my health card have not expired yet and so we can save a lot from possible hospital bills.
Do you know how it feels when your hemoglobin starts to deplete at a critical level (from 8 and below)? You feel so dizzy, you have to hold on to the walls as you walk. It’s so difficult to walk and my brain processes are so slow and my world seems to move so fast. I can’t even relate to what the TV commercials are saying because my brain, my ear, my eyes can’t catch up. Add up the fact that I have been taking high dosages of different medicines (about 10 tables or capsules per day) for two and a half months already because of several major illnesses. I used to vomit every 2 weeks, every time I eat more than the previously prescribed small but frequent meals. And so aside from depleting hemoglobin level, my had weight continuously decreasing as well.
And so that night of June 30, at around 11pm, my sister, my nephew accompanied me to the accredited hospital, with my brother-in-law driving for us. Unfortunately, there are no available blood in the two hospitals that we went through, one in Bulacan and one in Caloocan. In Manila Central University Caloocan (MCU Caloocan), we had to stay for a couple of hours because several blood tests had to be done, and it took long for the nurses and the resident doctors to extract blood from my veins. Several attempts were done to get a good vein with enough amount of blood flowing through. Upon confirmation that they don’t have enough blood for me, we decided to transfer (again) to another hospital.
And so with no hesitation, I told my companions to bring me to San Lazaro Hospital in Manila instead, so that my Manila based doctor can take care of me first hand. Even though this my health card is not accredited in this hospital, we took the risk, expecting that this government hospital will charge me a bit lower compared to the private hospitals we went to. At San Lazaro Hospital, it took me several hours again in the emergency room, to answer several questions, to insert IV that took them several attempts, and to arrange for my room. While feeling weak since it is now dusk, I managed to “cheer” the nurses and the resident doctors so that they can successfully insert the needle to a vein with good blood flow.
I spent two days at San Lazaro Hospital, but unfortunately, no blood is available too, and I had no donors yet from my friends. While in the hospital room, I was crying because I am faced again with another health challenge and we haven’t recovered yet from my 30-days confinement in Cagayan De Oro from March to April of this same year due to Meningitis. During the second day, my doctor advised me to transfer to another hospital (MCM, a private one) because they have a blood bank and this doctor also holds consultancy practice there. And so I made the decision right away and when my sister arrived, I told her the plan. Thank God despite my condition, I can still sharply think, plan and decide. We paid the bills, and my doctors arranged the transfer for me to ensure that I will be covered by the health card that I have. Thanks to this great doctors who have helped me in facilitating the transfer.
That night, together with my young watcher, we took a cab and transferred to MCM, comfortably received in the emergency room since the resident doctors there were already expecting for me. Again in the emergency room, it took us about 6 hours before finally getting into my private room in the 8th floor. Same scenario happened while in the ER. The nurses and the resident doctors have had a hard time inserting needles for my IV. I got weaker and weaker, I could not even decide what food to eat (my brain started to function slowly), and this time, I could not event stand to pee. It was the first time at a young age of 30 to wear adult diaper (shhhhhhh)!
Finally at 2am of July 3, I was transferred to my room and 3 of my siblings were with me. While battling against a very low hemoglobin and high fever, I still had the strength to crack jokes to the attending nurses, and to have a selfie mode with complete get-up: Cool Fever pad on my forehead, face mask to protect me since I am immuno-compromised, and needle insertion for my IV and blood bag. Thank God because that first blood bag has started to be transfused to my body. At 3am, my siblings left me and went home, leaving my nephew to serve as my watcher.
I was able to sleep for 3 hours, from 3am to 6am, and miraculously I was able to rise up again and to to the comfort room all by myself. Thank God the blood transfusion has started. Oh by the way, the diagnosis of the doctors: ANEMIA and MALNUTRITION! Lol at malnutrition, haha! weighing at a mere 36.5 Kgs (80.3lbs) for a 5’4″, 30 year old guy!
Being a Melancholic as I am, during the course of my confinement, I can’t relax fully because I want everything organized – my food, my notebook and pen, my medicines. Also, I’m very particular with customer service and so I had to train my watcher/s to always keep the room clean, organized, and for them to do the “standards” when there’s a guest who visits me. (Sorry I thought I was in a hotel and so my term for visitors are guests, lol). And so, all guests should be greeted, be given with face masks, and should be asked to sanitize as they enter my room. During that confinement, I was busy training my watcher/s, contacting people for prayers, support and/or blood donations, minding the guests, and the nurses. During meal time, I see to it that we give some food to my nurses as a form of gratitude. Please don’t blame me, being so busy, organized and detailed are part of my personality, *wink.
Pain struck me in different forms during my 9 days stay in the hospitals – physical pain due to needle insertions, blood transfusions and fever, emotional pain because of some relational problems, and of course, “wallet” pain because our family is in financial lack. While on a life-threatening situation in these hospitals, I was not in good terms with some of my family members because of misunderstandings, and probably because I was very hyper, uhmmm maybe because of the effect of the 6 blood bags being transfused to me.
I remember one midnight that I cried, missing my deceased father, remembering our few great moments together. I called my spiritual mentor at 2am, just to cry for 3 minutes and talk to him for another 7 minutes. I had many realizations, and the strongest one was that – I should live because many people will cry. That may sound too overconfident for you but I realized that you may miss a lost loved one even though there’s only one or two great moments you had together. What more if you’re the type of person who had played a significant impact to the lives of some, if not many people around you.
Despite these trials and the feeling of despair during my confinement period, the glory of God still emerged and won over my negative thoughts and feelings. Blessings really overflow in my life, to name a few:
– Financial support from family, classmates, friends from the spiritual community, among others. Some donated blood, some helped in the text or SNS brigade. Financial support continued up to this month, coming from friends, former co-leagues and former companies.
– I got prayer warriors WORLDWIDE. Some I had to call because I am feeling down and they took time to listen to me.
– I met some of my relatives and friends whom I have not seen for one to ten years.
– Met new friends, some even donated blood.
– Most of all, I felt the love of God as through the people around me. Through you, Jesus embraced me!
Some challenges were faced when I was ready to be discharged – my Philhealth payment has not been updated and so my health card ALMOST did not matter.And I overstayed for 3 days because the courier was not able to deliver my package from CDO, with documents in it. Whew! Of all all packages in the world, mine took 4 days because of the courier’s negligence. This added stress to me.
Finally, the package of documents arrived – my Philhealth payment receipts, my Employment certificate, among others. Thank God we were able to arrange everything. I just had to pay extra 5 digit amount because my Philealth was not honored. Yet, my healthcard + donations from friends helped me to fund my confinement, amounting to P60K++, take home medicines not included.
My mom fetched me on my last day, upon discharge and thankfully need not to pull borrowed and solicited money to pay for my bills. I went home in Bulacan with a renewed strength, uhmm maybe because my appetite increased, and my hemoglobin rose up to 13.1, and the blood transfused to me came from bouncers, atheletes, presidents and great leaders, scientists, among others. Hahaha!
Truly, All things work for good to those who love God (Romans 8:28). I have been in the spiritual ministry for 3 years only, planting seeds of love and service for just a short time and yet abundant blessings and miracles have come into my life enormously. The seed have grown tremendously up to this day and I know more blessings will come and miracles will do happen until the end of my life.
This has been my nth life already. Days after discharge, I encountered two doctors, one from Bulacan and St. Luke’s Medical Center and one practicing in the USA. They were amazed that I’m still alive after having a very low 2.8 hemoglobin level. One of the doctors even told me, he haven’t seen any live person with that blood level. And so I softly said, “I” with a grin. Hehehe. He even asked me how do I looked like during that time. Huh? It was then that I realized that this incident – my Code Name 2.8 experience is indeed a huge miracle story.
I further researched online, and found out that a hemoglobin level of 8 is life-threatening already. Huwahhhhtt? 8 vs 2.8? Truly amazing! I survived. And close friends from my spiritual community playfully called me DaRock Ramsey (derived from Derek Ramsey, a Filipino celebrity hunk) because I was able to withstand such great trials yet I am still standing tall, fighting, and with faith as small as a mustard seed that is steadily starting to grow. Let’s add the fact that in a span of 5 weeks, I have gained weight and exceeded my dream 100lbs. Hahahaha! I reached 105 lbs that time. “I had to reach my lowest point so that I can appreciate my highest peak.”
I don’t claim that all these things happen because of me and me only, but these are all because of the unending love of God for me. I experienced salvation while still on earth. I did not have to wait for a physical death to prove that God’s salvation is real, because salvation is here, right here on earth! I was saved by grace.
Thanks to all of you who have been Jesus to me. My Family and relatives, my classmates, friends, acquaintances and my to peers whom I can’t fathom the love that they have showed me despite knowing who I am. And of course, to my spiritual community, the Light of Jesus Family who played as a huge instrument in my transformation, particularly to my ever dearest Feast Cagayan De Oro where I’ve been serving for more than three years now. Your love inspired me to move forward, to do more and to continue to be a blessing to the world.
Yes, Jesus restored me. I pray that my story shall bless the world.
And for you, I pray that your mind, soul, heart and body be always conscious to all the miracles that are happening in your life, with arms always open to the abundant blessings that God has in store for you.
God is with you.
Bro. Aben Garlan