More About Fred and His White Fright
- 0.1 More About Fred and His White Fright
- 0.2 Make No Mistake the Philippines is Very Different
- 0.3 After He Stopped Over-Reacting Fred Turned Out To Be a Nice Guy
- 0.4 Nothing is More Precious Than Your Health
- 0.5 Where Were Fred and Martha?
- 0.6 Big Time Medical Emergency
- 0.7 Evacuation May Not Be The Answer, Anyway
- 0.8 After All The Arm Waving and Shouting, Someone Finally Cared For The Patient
- 0.9 All’s Well That End’s Well?? With Fred, Not So Much.
- 0.10 I Guess To Fred, White Will Always Be Right. Wonder Why He Married a Filipino Lady?
- 0.11 The Filipinos Are Always Out To Get You Too.
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OK. OK, I know I left you hanging long enough … time to find out more about my new friend Fred.
If You Missed Part One, it’s here: Blinded By The White
After I settled Fred down enough that we could talk for a while I found out that he was from a North American country, had been married to my neighbor’s sister for a little over 4 years and had arrived the night before in the Philippines for the very first time.
He went on to tell me how un-nerving the nighttime drive from the airport to our little town had been in the Manila traffic, and I certainly sympathized wit him there.
You can learn to drive over here quite easily and there are times, in my case anyway, that’s actually pleasurable … but make no mistake, driving here is an experience for lack of a better word.
Make No Mistake the Philippines is Very Different
So was his first night in our neighbors home, I guess … number one issue, air conditioning. Here’s a guy who literally shoveled his car out of a snowdrift on his way to the airport, paid money to the airlines to abuse his mind and body for 20-odd hours of travel trying to sleep in a strange bed in a strange house with half-a-dozen people he never met before, pumped up on adrenaline caused by watching the car he was in fit through places he didn’t know a car could fit and then trying to sleep with an open window and a fan at 26 or 27 degrees.
It’s not the way I personally recommend adapting to the Philippines …think I’ll have to write another separate article on that subject soon.
After He Stopped Over-Reacting Fred Turned Out To Be a Nice Guy
Fred and I wound up having a nice conversation after all until I had to leave to get on with the chore I had originally gotten the car out for.
While we were out an about that day we, (my wife and my sister-in-law) discussed my surprising meeting that morning and looked forward to meeting Fred and “Martha” later that evening or perhaps the next day when they were a little rested.
We were even plotting places to take them and things to show them, and of course things to cook for them to make them feel more at home.
Nothing is More Precious Than Your Health
But when we got home that evening the neighbor’s house was dark … even when our usual bedtime rolled around, no one had shown up. We went to sleep (in our airconditioned bedroom, BTW, I ain’t no pioneer ;-)) wondering, and a bit uneasy, because our street is pretty much a street of homebodies … people don’t go away overnight that often, especially without telling their neighbors so we can watch out for each others homes.
Where Were Fred and Martha?
In the morning I got up, did my morning on-line routines, drank most of my usual pot of coffee and then wandered out front to see what was going on that day.
First thing I noticed was that the neighbor’s car was in the street in front of the house and standing next to it was Fred, looking like a man who had seen a ghost.
He rushed across the street towards me as soon as he noticed me and started telling me the story … it turns out our vague uneasiness the night before had not been groundless.
Big Time Medical Emergency
The evening before Fred’s wife had complained of feeling dizzy and not being able to see.
They took her to the hospital … Nazarenus, the same local hospital I’ve mentioned before where we’ve taken mamma and where my own doctors practice).
The ER personnel there had taken one look and recommended sending her immediately by ambulance to Fatima University, 15 minutes away … again the same second level hospital that we’d been sent to on Christmas night.
They suspected the same thing I suspected as soon as Fred told me her symptoms… less than 24 hours after getting off a trans-Pacific flight … a DVT blood clot had migrated to the brain … in effect she was having a stroke.
They could not accurately determine the extent of damage going on without a CAT scan, readily available just a few kilometers down the road.
But apparently, from what Fred said himself and from what many others who were there that night later told me, Fred, understandably stressed by the severity of the situation didn’t handle it very well. If fact, he handled it pretty badly, apparently, getting into a shouting match with his wife’s 79 year old mother, screaming at the doctors and nurses that they were not to touch his wife and demanding they get his embassy on the phone. (Hmm, there’s a thought, I wonder how many Embassy’s keep a brain surgeon on call?)
After a considerable delay they did reach the embassy and Fred demanded that the duty officer there organize emergency transportation for his wife back home, insisting that “they” wouldn’t be allowed to touch his wife.
It’s my impression that a lot of other angry things were said, but the folks I talked to who were there are Filipino and they wouldn’t repeat what was said verbatim, they knew that Fred wasn’t himself, even if he didn’t.
What they do do is what they did for Fred, they faxed him a list of hospitals and personally recommended the hospital their personnel always use, St Luke’s, Manila.
Evacuation May Not Be The Answer, Anyway
I don’t know about you, but this whole procedure was pretty darn scary to me .. I know if I ever go unconscious and someone wastes an hour or so arguing about where they think I should go, while I lay potentially dying on a Gurney … well if I live and recover, I’d be inclined to kill them.
After All The Arm Waving and Shouting, Someone Finally Cared For The Patient
Finally this poor lady was moved to St. Luke’s where she got her CAT scan and guess what … she did suffer a stroke and by the time they read the scan was already suffering a lot from intracerebral bleeds.
When asked about the advisability of medical evacuation the lead surgeon told Fred, “Oh absolutely not. If she gets in an airplane the pressure differences may well kill her in the first hour. besides, no scheduled airline will allow her to board.”
Three days in intensive care, 4 more days in a private room and she came home to her family home, looking pretty much the worse for where but thankfully walking and talking with a prognosis for a full recovery.
All’s Well That End’s Well?? With Fred, Not So Much.
I last saw Fred on the morning of New years Day. He was heading out to the airport, leaving that afternoon. His wife will stay there at her mom’s to recuperate for several months.
Fred thanked me for my brief acts of friendship and concern. i asked him if he now was less “antsy” about being in the Philippines, and if he realized the value of family which he and I had discussed on the first day.
“Oh yes, the doctors really did do a good job, I’m sure she would have gotten better care back home, but what choice did I have?
Anyway, I made out ok at the hospital because finally after a few days I found another white guy to talk to, I never felt I could trust what the doctors and nurses said but i felt confident this guy wasn’t lying to me.”
I Guess To Fred, White Will Always Be Right. Wonder Why He Married a Filipino Lady?
Fred, old buddy, I wish you well, and Mita and I will be keeping and eye on your wife as she mends, helping in any way we can.
But frankly, my friend, don’t even bother coming back to the Philippines again.
I have better things to do than discuss how it’s ‘we’ whites against all ‘those’ people. I would have expected this sort of conversation in 1957 or 1967, but in 2007, it just turned my stomach.
The Filipinos Are Always Out To Get You Too.
(Oh by the way, for those who know all about the “long nose tax” and all the other ways Filipinos are out to ‘get over’ on the foreigners) … the operation and hospital care, ER, specialists, ICU and private ward, etc., which was all billed to Fred’s medical insurance back home … just a fraction over $5,000 USD. So did Fred get taken? You be the judge.)