For days, I incessantly debated against myself on whether I should write about this. A part of me wanted to tell the whole story as it is. On the contrary, the other part of me wanted to fall silent and just move on with my life, for fear that others might perceive this as a grave attempt to aggrandize myself. P****** lang. Three days after and yet, I am still jaded as of this writing, and the last thing I wanna do is deal with any social media turmoil that could possibly erupt hereof. But for the sake of MY EQUANIMITY and PUBLIC INFORMATION, I am exterminating my reservations re: the matter and telling it all. My account is as follows:
March 12, 2017, 10AM: Event of a lifetime
Big brother’s last birthday as a bachelor.
The family and I attended a joint birthday party held in a resort somewhere in Imus, Cavite. Prior to this, my father and I were sorta having a discussion because of my defiance to come along. I am not a social butterfly, so my refusal was given whenever opportunity presents itself. Add to that, I was determined to finish the tagalized medical book I was writing that same day and I couldn’t afford any distraction— no matter how grandiose and festive that was.
In the end though, I succumbed to my father’s requisition.
We left home around at 8AM and arrived at Roselanie’s resort past 10AM. The place was serene, so much so that I regretted not bringing any swimwear. The catering service, however, was a flunk by itself. Granted that the foods were exquisite, but to have the guests wait around from 10AM until 1PM for something that SHOULD’VE BEEN PREPARED all along, was unacceptable to say the least. Although I will not go further into that, as I will completely adrift to what this entry is about.
March 12, 2017, 1PM
As shown above, I had a massive lunch that day which caused me to feel drowsy. I had not slept the night before, and so I fell asleep quite easy as soon as I hit the bed in one the rented rooms at the resort. Despite the scorching hot weather, I managed to sneak in a solid 2-hour sleep.
March 12, 2017, ~3PM: The unexpected happened
This is where everything started to go downhill.
In the middle of my deep sleep, I suddenly woke up. The suffocating atmosphere of the room prompted me to go outside. I headed toward the veranda (see picture below) and stood there while I watched my cousins playfully teasing each other in the pool. Then all of a sudden, people started rushing to a nearby pavilion (see picture below). I knew something was wrong. I then started scanning the surrounding to know what it was, until I saw my uncle sprinted like a lightning bolt and grabbed a 4-year old boy out from the adults’ pool.
The boy had drowned. And NOBODY KNEW HOW LONG.
P*cha naman, why me?!
I rushed to the scene. And as soon as I got there, I had to step back, lest I do anything stupid.
“Ikki, Kaya mo ‘ba?“, my balik bayan cousin asked. For a moment, his question bewildered me. Then it hit me. He was asking if I knew how to do CPR!!! Of course, he knew (and everyone else in that place) that I am a pre-medical student! If anyone else can do it, I would be it.
I stared at him blankly before I give him my unintelligent reply, “Hindi, kuya.” H-how can I say yes when all I have with me was mere book knowledge?! W-why should I say yes?! I haven’t done any of this! W-What if I ended up in jail for this?! My mind was playing tricks on me. Fearful. Always fearful.
At this point on, the scene was very chaotic, that even the word chaotic itself was an understatement. There were people screaming loudly, “Tisoy! Tisoy!”, adults were panicking, afraid to do anything, and on top of that was a dazed mother hysterically crying her lungs out. I knew I needed to do something. Time was running out and I had to act fast. So with no real life experience but the lessons I learned from my 5-year in pre-med and the tons of Grey’s Anatomy episodes I had religiously watched over the years, I put my best foot forward. I quickly recalled all the things I learned from the past and took over the emergency response. Fearlessly.
It is now or never, I told myself
“Hayaan niyo na kay Ikki ‘yan!”, my uncle instructed the others to move away from the kid. My mind was clear. My hands weren’t shaking. I knew what I needed to do. Everything else in the background became a blur. My focus, directed to the boy, and to him only.
“How long has he been under?” No response.
I was not getting any response from the boy either. Pulse, negative Breathing, negative. Color, bluish. Tone, stiff. Stomach, bloated. Sh*t! The kid had been underwater for too long. And as if the scene was not horrendous enough, there was water coming out of his ears, nose and eyes. The scenes in movies were protagonists look oh-so-beautiful even when drowned? Those were all BS. In reality, you have to be ready for EVERYTHING that the human body can possibly throw at you, that for sure was not emphasized in school.
I cleared the airway. Lifted his chin. Administered rescue breathes. Began CPR.
Still no pulse. Chest, not rising. I continued with chest compression, while instructing the others to prepare for the car. I admit though, that at this point, I didn’t think he’d survive. “He’s too far gone”, I told myself. While at it, I resorted to the best weapon I have, something that transcends even the most skillful doctors combined, I began praying. “Lord, this is not up to me. This is up to you. Please heed my prayers. Even one last time.”
All of a sudden, I had this surge of hope, that maybe, he’ll make it, even if ’twas against all odds.
YOU ARE NOT DYING. NOT ON MY WATCH.
After what seemed like forever, he gasped. He seemed to be exhibiting signs of life. I checked for his vitals. Pulse, faint but otherwise palpable. Chest, rising. I knew better, the fight wasn’t over yet. I cuddled him as we quickly drove to the nearest hospital. None of us knew the way to the nearest hospital, so we had to stop midway and ask for directions. The kid, on the other hand, was unstable. His VS were fluctuating. His mom, hysterical.
“Mahal na mahal ‘yan ng papa niya.“
“Anak, gising kana. Please. Please.“
“Anak, ‘wag kang matulog. Hinde… hinde…“
“Iniwan ko lang siya saglit. Katatapos lang namin mag-picture.“
“Anak, please. ‘Wag kang matulog.“
Lord, please. Not today. Not on my watch.
I wasn’t ready to lose. NO, NOT THIS TIME. So, I began tilting the boy head down, squeezing him, tapping his back, hoping that he would soon vomit whatever water he had ingested. Then again, after what seemed like forever, he vomited, lots and lots, and began mumbling words I couldn’t comprehend.
“Paki check ang bunganga. Paki siguradong walang nakabara.” I couldn’t see his mouth because I was holding him upside down, so I had his mom do it for me.
Deliberately, he faintly opened his eyes to gaze at his mom. Still lethargic, but otherwise responsive. At last, the critical part was over. I heaved a gigantic sigh of relief. When we arrived at the ER, the nurses and doctors on call were attentive to our needs. They began administering oxygen through a nasal canula, which irritated Genesis. I knew everything was going to be okay when the he finally screamed,
“P*tang-ina!”, and a nearby patient bursted out in laughter.
Haaay. Close call. Had I slept more that day, it would’ve been too late for Genesis. Buti nalang. When I got home that night, I locked myself inside my room and cried myself to sleep.
Thank you father for a life well-saved. All glory belongs to you, and you alone.
Live up to your name. Live a new beginning. Fly high. Be brave. Paint beautiful portraits. Capture every moment. Have an awesome life. Soar high on mountains even if it scares you, because only then you will know that you had lived a full life .
I hope to meet a fine, young man should our paths cross again in the future.
Now, you wonder why the title?
Because once upon a time, I asked for life to surprise me. And oh boy, how it did! At siniguro niyang ’twas a surprise of lifetime! Just when I thought my life couldn’t spiral any further, then this happened. A validation that perhaps my existence wasn’t so bad after all.
*insert cue music*
🎶 Be careful what you wish for… because you might just get it all… you might just get it all. 🎶