I decided to share the following text exchanges with my nurse daughter over the weekend with the hope it would relay a lesson or two to fellow seniors.

(Am I really a senior? The lady nurse in my doctor’s office, who saw me four times in the last four weeks, couldn’t believe that I am already one).

And I believed her.


After catching the flu after visiting the West Coast recently, and while recovering from its dizzying colds and intense coughing, which prevented me from attending a number of community events, including the “surprise” birthday party for Dr. Linda Pelayo, Associate Publisher of the Filipino Reporter, I felt sharp pain on the upper left part of my abdomen by the rib cage.

(No, it’s far from the heart. I have a different problem with my heart. Hehehe. Joke. I’ll get “killed” by a Waray if I do.)

The pain could be felt only while I was lying down.

There was no pain when sitting down.


That was exactly what I read in the Internet.

It was a weekend.

So, I went to the Internet and started my own “diagnosis” and my own medication.

(My CFC brother Roger who, like Che, called daily to monitor my condition. Bro. Roger, at one point, suggested that I try kneeling down position to see if there would be pain. He was joking. Thank you guys!)

Apparently, because of the pains and the accompanying anxiety, I forgot that I have close relatives who are physicians who I consult whenever I have a health problem.

I was not surprised when I received the first text from my daughter who was in the West Coast knowing how fast stories go around my family, especially from the younger to the eldest sibling.

Here were our exchanges:

Daughter: daddy stop looking at the Internet and go to the doctor please. at your age, (ouch!) you should never take any meds even over the counter without talking to your doctor first.

Daddy: Ok Anak. Thanks.

Daughter: ok dad.

Daddy: (I should have stopped there. But, txt addict that I am...) I just came from my doctor 4 days ago for my bi-annual check-up. The doctor said normal in all, including EKG (not EJK). I had ultra sound 2 weeks ago, all normal. Part of the check up is blood work which will be done tomorrow.

Daughter: ok but you cannot diagnose yourself with pericarditis and take an anti-inflammatory med without seeing your doc. That is a serious condition and very rare. only doc can diagnose and treat. that is what I mean do not let internet diagnose you.

Daddy: What I felt Sat. night is improving since I started taking anti-inflammatory med. Now, I can lie down without 80% of the pain. No pain while sitting down.

Daughter: why take anti-inflammatory med if you don’t know if anything is inflamed? that is what I mean. you could do more damage than good. you need to see your doc when you have symptoms like that. (I suddenly realized she must be correct. But, the pain was reduced.)

Daddy: Tomorrow, I’ll see my doctor. Your brother made the appt. (I was unaware, but I would have done it.)

Daughter: that was very good of andy. he did the right thing. ok dad in the future I’m just saying you have to talk to your doc about stuff like that.

Daddy: Ok Anak.

Daughter: u have there ar and ate lisa and me. ask us at least. (Well, at least, I start my sentences with caps, and I use commas...that’s for me only...hehehe.)

Daddy: Thank you Anak.

Daughter: ok dad.

The following day, (completely no more pains), when I went to my doctor and narrated my weekend experience, I received another round of lecture when I mentioned about my self-diagnosis.

He castigated me saying, “That’s why there are medical schools...etc., etc.”

He examined the pain area and I was sent home without medication.

My self-diagnosis was wrong.

(But, my medicine worked I suppose...don’t tell this to my daughter.)

I hope there are lessons learned from the above exchanges.

I guess even young people should not self-diagnose by Internet.



President Rodrigo Duterte

Lamentations of a President, a Vice President and a Chief Justice

Let’s talk of three Filipino officials’ lamentations.

Lament, in the English language, is a deep expression of sorrow.

According to a recent news report, President Rodrigo Duterte laments that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has started to examine whether he could be indicted for crimes against humanity because of his anti-drug war.

Mr. Duterte is being subjected to examination by the ICC for possible indictment and trial if warranted, not because of anti-drug war, but because of the thousands of suspected drug addicts and traffickers allegedly killed extrajudicially associated with his bloody anti-drug war.

It is not bad to solve the drug problem in any society.

What is bad (and wrong) is to treat drug addiction as crime per se and not as treatable health issue.

The other top official who recently expressed lamentation was Vice President Leni Robredo.


Vice President Leni Robredo

She laments that she could not speak against certain questionable policies and decisions of the Duterte Administration, as head of the opposition, because if she does, she will again be accused of inching her way to the presidency.

So, according to her, she just keeps quiet in most instances.

The third top Filipino official who expressed her lamentation was the beleaguered but unbowed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Maria Lourdes Sereno who, according to The New York Times, stood up to Duterte and is now facing impeachment.

At the same time, she faces a case of ouster from her post filed in her court by Duterte’s solicitor general for allegedly not completing all the required documents when she was named Chief Justice in 2012 by then President Benigno Aquino III.

Speaking at a conference at St. Scholastica’s College in Manila, Chief Justice Sereno lamented what she branded as “impromptu, extemporized, unprepared and un-thought of plans of action” that violated the Constitution and its mechanisms for accountability under the current Duterte dispensation.

“We cannot be reckless in our actions because the Constitution told us to strengthen the institutions of democracy, transparency and accountability and not to weaken them,” she said.

She accused the Duterte Administration of employing legal “shortcuts” in violation of the Constitution.


Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno

The chief justice-on-leave also criticized the administration for its “persecution of enemies.”

“The current state of the nation is one where perceived enemies of the dominant order are considered fair game for harassment, intimidation and persecution; where shortcuts are preferred over adherence to constitutional guarantees of human rights, including denial of due process,” Sereno said during same forum on women’s rights at St. Scholastica’s College.

The above Sereno accusations are extremely serious and sensitive and deserve attention from constitutionalists and lovers of democracy.

The growing army of Sereno backers is noticeable in social and mass media in the Philippines.

Since it is Lent, perhaps, all three need to undergo reflection and listen to the silence of their hearts and seek guidance through their respective lamentations.

One of them may need Ezekiel 36:26 — And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

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