Tag Archives: manila

Yesterday’s rain

18 Jun

If you’re one of the multitude of motorists or commuters who got stuck in the terrible EDSA jam or the mile-long queue going into the MRT, I wish to congratulate you for surviving yesterday!

I, too, was affected by the horror story that is commuting in Metro Manila after a torrential downpour.

At 3pm, the clouds are showing telling signs that no, you’re bound to stay late in the office; and that probably includes some time in traffic.

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We busied ourselves with work (of course, that’s after whipping out our smartphones to Instagram the Armageddon-ish skies) and forgot for awhile how bad the weather is outside. Colleagues who are fixing themselves a cup of coffee in the pantry gave us blow-by-blow updates if the rain’s starting to fall, or if people on the streets have their umbrellas opened already; or how the EDSA traffic situation is faring at that time.

5pm-ish, the rain fell. Hard. Our accountant, who came in soggy from our sister company some two blocks away reported that it’s already half-tire flooded in front of our building. Yikes. Everyone decided to camp out in the office while it’s still stormy outside and traffic is a standstill. I took the chance to clean my desk after my two-week mandatory hiatus (which I will talk about in the next coming posts). Sorry, forgot to take photos.

For the last time, I checked our window facing EDSA if the jam is still that terrible (it still was). It was getting late and the rain don’t seem to want to let up; but at least at around past 8pm it was just drizzling. Still can’t decide at this point if I should take the bus or the train going home.

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At 9pm, my colleagues N, C, A and I packed up and left the office. N headed towards Pasig where she lives, A walked towards Podium where she’s parked; while C and I walked to Galleria terminals to see if we could take our respective routes there. The lines are too long and the buses and shuttles are too packed, so we retreated to Megamall where we separated and headed to our own destinations.

I was supposed to take the bus going Fairview but to my dismay, there were no buses entering the Megamall bus bays and commuters have started to parade EDSA hoping that there will be buses willing to take them in. Nah, don’t want to trouble myself doing that, so I walked to the Ortigas station of the MRT, where I had to endure the looooong lines. Apparently, there were trains that broke down, hence the delay and the congestion in the northbound concourses. Past 10pm. Le sigh.

I arrived Kamuning a few minutes before 11pm. That’s after battling it out with other passengers who pushed themselves into the train. God, I almost made out with the train door! That’s how cramped the train was. To add to the frustration, there were no tricycles or cabs available at the street level of the station, so I had to walk towards GMA to hail a cab.

I got home a little past 11pm, tired, spent and beaten up. Oh hello there, rainy season.

YOLO…or twice, thrice…more lives, more fun (that is, if you’re a cat!): A Conclusion

5 May

EDIT JANUARY 26 2014: This entry, this post and this post has received the most number of viewers in this blog. People, if you have been bitten by an animal, much more a stray one, RUN TO THE NEAREST EMERGENCY ROOM NOW! Click this link to find the most convenient hospital for you to go. Do also note that government hospitals have cheaper medicines compared to a private one, and the price will depend on your condition and the category of the bite. So whatever you read in this post is my experience, and may not be the same as yours. Again, RUN TO THE NEAREST EMERGENCY ROOM NOW! and have yourself or your family member checked ASAP.

This is also me calling on the Department of Health. In this era of social media, it will be helpful if you guys put up a page or a website where patients can read about animal bites; and probably an updated list of Animal Bite Centers. Nowadays, people rely on the Internet for information, so it is best to keep them on the loop through this means. While I am thankful for the hits and happy to help, I don’t think I have all the info they need that should come from the proper authorities. So please heed my suggestion!

(I know I haven’t been very religious in updating this blog, so so sorry! This humble little nook I’ve built in cyberspace is enjoying a lot of hits from people who are looking for useful information regarding animal bites and treatments! Some of you are probably like me during the first few hours of my bite, looking for readables on how to get treated stat, because as we all know rabies is 100% fatal if left untreated!)

(Okay, enough yammering.) 

Nurse Michelle instructed me to get a blue patient card in the ER first before paying for my shots. Being that it was my first time at PGH, I got lost on my way to get that damned card. You see, the hospital is so vast that it’s very easy to get lost, and some people whom I asked for directions did not help at all. Luckily, I found a nurse who sneaked me into the closely-guarded, proxy-card-protected Emergency Room; but before I got to the information desk, I got lost again. Ack, too many corridors.

The information desk where I was to get the patient card is at the very entrance of the ER, and God knows how many patients of assorted emergency medical needs passed by me (I won’t elaborate)! Took me a good 15 minutes to get my card, then I went to pay for my shots; and again I had to hurdle through the proxy-carded door!

The cashier is in the other end of the hospital, just near its main entrance. The waiting on queue took ten to 15 minutes, but it only took three minutes to process my payment. Quick service from a government facility!

The PGH Cashier

I walked back to the Anti-Rabies Unit to get my shots from Nurse Michelle. When I arrived with complete and paid documents, she had me seated, prepared my Verorab shots and struck both my guns with the needle. All that in less than five minutes, but before I left she gave me the payment slip for the next session, giving me the option to pay for my next shot in advance, or on the next scheduled date.

I was given a vaccine schedule card at PGH ARU; and that’s the blue patient card behind it!

Easy? Yes! I actually prefer going to PGH than San Lazaro because:

  • San Lazaro–being a specialized hospital on animal bites–gets too crowded on weekdays. Why? Because those who were bitten during the weekend but do not fall under their must-treat-stat category are asked to come back on regular outpatient clinic hours.
  • In San Lazaro, they do not recommend their patient to buy the whole dosage of Verorab–either you have to split the tab with another person or pay for the whole vial and have not one idea where the other half of the shot goes. In PGH, they have single doses ready for you and you alone, although it’s P31 more than the one in San Lazaro. (btw, a dose of Verorab at PGH costs P500)

However, if you or a loved one is badly stricken by a pet or a suspiciously-rabid animal, you may want to rush to San Lazaro because like any other hospitals, they give urgent attention to these kinds of patients; but unlike any other hospitals–especially public hospitals–don’t stock on anti-rabies vaccines, most of the time they direct patients to San Lazaro. Private hospitals, on the other hand, do have shots ready, but are too expensive! My former officemate who got bitten by a stray cat almost paid at least P8,000 for shots at a private hospital near her dorm! Que horror! Good thing though, our HMO foot the bill for the first two shots, then she continued her treatments at Bulacan, where her parents are staying.

To conclude the Animal Bite Series in my blog, let me enumerate some lessons I learned during this ordeal:

  1. Be careful! Don’t just pet that cute doggy or kitty wandering the streets! You may have earned their trust, but some of your actions may agitate them, causing them to be aggressive.
  2. Got bitten already? Don’t hurt the animal! Just let it be, let it live! It is not only humane to do so, but you also get to observe if it’s rabid or not. If the offending animal gets sick or dies on or before the second week of your bite, then it is infected with rabies. I strongly advise, though, that you must NOT wait till this happen and rush to the emergency room of your preferred hospital  to get treated!
  3. My dad tells me the story of how he was bitten by a dog, a cat and a rat during his youth; and how he treated every wound of his with garlic. My mom also tells me that his father–my grampy–used to suck the wound of their neighbour’s animal bite to cure it. Boys and girls, THIS IS SO WRONG! While my dad and maybe the whole town where my Grampy was a town official-slash-folk healer (albularyo) lived for so many years, the medical world says otherwise! Should you be a victim of an animal bite, the first thing you should do is to let the would bleed, then wash it with soap and water. After that, clean it with alcohol, Iodine tincture (popularly known as Betadine) or hand sanitizer and keep it clean until you’ve reached your preferred health service provider. I reiterate, rabies is 100% fatal, and any wound caused by an animal should be taken seriously!

As to how my wound is, it’s barely visible now; although the Verorab shots quite made a mark on both my arms, but not that much of an annoyance. Sushi is still very much alive, but she doesn’t come that often anymore! 🙂

(read Part 1 of the post here)

(read the story on how I got bitten by a stray cat here)

YOLO, part 1

5 Mar

After the Bastard Cat incident that had me running to San Lazaro, I began telling my friends that getting bitten by a stray cat was a YOLO moment for me. You see, this had been my nth attempt to adopt a feral cat; and I suppose that this may be the last time I’m doing so. Don’t get me wrong, though! I still love kittehs and I still support the advocacy of saving ’em from the streets. It’s just that, I guess I should take a break from it all. Hehe.

I will have to be honest that after my San Lazaro experience, I did not want to go back and get my next Verorab shots there. For one, I considered how long will it take me to queue for my follow-up shots yet again on a weekday. I still can’t afford a sick leave since I haven’t been regularised, and the least I could ask my bosses is a half-day medical leave. Which brings me to the second factor: The accessibility of the hospital. Since the animalbitecenter.ph website is down, I had a hard time whittling down the public hospitals to call and ask if they have anti-rabies vaccines.

Lady luck must’ve been on my side when I called PGH and confirmed that they administer anti-rabies shots to bite victims. Only catch is, they only do it every weekdays.

Great!

Day 3 of my cycle, I went through my usual morning routine to prepare myself for work. Only that I need not alight my usual MRT station. Got off Taft Avenue and took the Yellow Line to Pedro Gil, where PGH is. It was a rather easy commute since I used to take that route back in college, hence the familiarity of the place.

But boy, I got lost inside the hospital!

My first time at PGH

My first time at PGH

It took me thirty minutes to look for the Anti-Rabies Unit of PGH. No thanks to a handful of security guards I bumped into who gave me different directions! When I arrived ARU, I was all sweaty, tired and panting from all the walking I did. I never knew that hospital is mighty huge!

PGH's Anti-Rabies Unit

PGH’s Anti-Rabies Unit

So ARU is just a tiny room at the second floor of the hospital, very near the Emergency Room. Actually, you may even pass by its corridors and see patients on your way to get your shots. That Wednesday afternoon, it was just me and a kid bitten by their pet dog; and his parents. I was attended to by nurse Michelle immediately who courteously asked me to sign some forms outside the room while I wait for the kid to finish his round of shots. Five minutes later, I was called by the attending MD and was asked several questions about how I got bitten by Bastard Cat, how I cleaned the wound, and food allergies I might have. I was also weighed to double check if I was given the correct dosage of ERIG at San Lazaro. The conversation only took us a good five minutes also, and then I was ushered to move to Nurse Michelle’s desk, where I waited for her to prepare the assessment forms that I will present at the cashier.

And then again, I got lost finding my way to the cashier. But first, I had to go get myself a blue patient card inside the ER.

(to be continued…)

Bite

17 Feb

Two weeks ago, a mama cat gave birth to four little kitties in my mom’s pocket garden. My mom’s not really a fan of cats, but my dad and I are both animal lovers. We convinced mom to let us “keep” the cat and her litter, saying that compared to dogs, cats are very low maintenance. I also said that since mama cat is a stray, she may poop or pee outside.

Hi, I heard they christened me “Sushi.” I can’t wait to nom on my hooman’s hand…oops, don’t tell her that!

So she was convinced, until our gardener watered the plants. He was not aware that the cats were there. Hence, mama cat had to move the kitties to another place. Until last Wednesday, she came back.

Hi! I’m back! Oooh kibbles! My hooman must love me a lot! Guess my kits will love this, what say you, hooman?

The first two days Sushi was still being her feral self–she won’t approach me until I put kibbles on her dish. Last Friday, she started approaching me and began rubbing her body against my leg or my arm. She even allowed me to touch her! That made me happy, because I thought that this begins our friendship.

Until today.

This morning, I went out and checked if Sushi was waiting for me to give her daily feed at the front door. She wasn’t there. I then went to see my sister and my niece whose house is within our compound. Halfway through Lilo and Stitch on Disney Channel AND Tangled 2 (yes, my niece and I love multitasking two movies at the same time!), my dad called us and announced that Sushi has arrived. So my sister, niece and I went out to see her. I went to the maids’ quarters to get her kibble and placed it on her dish. I noticed that some of the kibbles spilled in the box, so I poured it onto my right hand and started placing it on Sushi’s dish. Then, Sushi started rubbing herself against my arm and BIT ME! It wasn’t so hard but it was enough for my right hand to bleed.

Cleaned the bite with soap, VMV Id Sweat Acne and Overall Anti-Bacterial Monolaurin Gel; and Betadine.

My dad, my sister and my niece saw how I instinctively pulled my hand away from Sushi, and instructed me to wash my wounded hand immediately with soap, alcohol and Betadine; while my mom told me to pinch the wound so it would bleed. I was scared sh*t because I remember watching an i-Witness documentary about rabies and how fast it travels from the bite to my brain. Aside from that, I also recall how my ex-boss recounted the time when they visited a colleague in the hospital from her pet dog’s bite. The lady ignored the bite. Three days after, she was sent home from work because of high fever. My ex-boss visited the lady in the hospital and as she remembers, the lady knew when she was going to have her seizures as she politely asks her guests to leave the room whenever she feels like she’s going to have an episode. A day after the visit, the lady passed away, and so did the dog.

I digress.

I was mortified with the thought of me getting rabies, so I browsed the Interwebz quickly and look for the nearest Animal Bite Centre. My mom also called several of her doctor friends and she was told to go to either the three nearest public hospitals here in our place, or go to downtown Manila and have my bite checked at San Lazaro Hospital. I also texted a good friend of mine, Dr. B–who is currently an intern for one of the government hospitals here in Manila–to ask if the nearest hospital at home carried anti-rabies shots. Unfortunately, she told me that it is their SOP in that particular hospital to direct possible rabies patients to San Lazaro.

After lunch, my parents drove me to San Lazaro. It was near the old Manila where, as my dad recounts, my lolo (his father) plies his daily route as a jeepney driver. For awhile, we got lost at the old beauty of Manila, shattered by time and people who couldn’t care less about heritage. It took us an hour to get there from home.

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My mom was being funny when she pointed this out to me. “Anak, o. Cat’s Inn. Hahahahaha.”

As soon as we arrived at San Lazaro, the nurses checked my wound and was asked some questions at the triage. On normal days, the emergency room would not accept animal bite complaints unless it is a life-and-death situation. But since 1. It’s a Sunday; and 2. Sushi is a stray cat we just adopted to feed and still freely roams the road, I will have to be given some anti-rabies shots, plus vaccine against tetanus.

Triage: The gatekeeper to get treatment, stat

Triage: The gatekeeper to get treatment, stat

Guidelines for animal bite patients

For the bite to be given utmost attention at the San Lazaro ER on any day of the week except after outpatient clinic hours every Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, a patient will only be treated under the following conditions:

  • Children ages 0-2 years
  • Victims 60 years old and above
  • If your pet or the offending animal who bit you or the patient died
  • If the offending animal cannot be observed due to its being stray; or cannot be found
  • If you or the patient were/was bitten on a delicate part of your body
  • If the offending pet/animal bit the patient on his/her upper extremities (head, chest, back, hand, arm, etc.)
  • If the bites caused big, multiple, deep wounds
  • If the patient is a person with disability

If the patient do not fall under the various triage category, he/she will be asked to the Out-Patient Department of the hospital. If it falls on a Saturday after clinic hours, Sunday or holidays, the patient may be asked to return the following working days.

Going back…

San Lazaro only has one cashier on a Sunday. I don’t know how it goes on weekdays, but the queue can get pretty long especially when a huge influx of patients of different ailments arrive at the ER. When I had to pay for a P50 hospital card, it took me just five minutes.

Queue to pay for hospital card

Queue to pay for hospital card

After paying for the hospital card, I was brought to the far end of the ER to be interviewed by a foreign intern. He initially diagnosed my bite as Category 2, which prompted me to ask if it’s still considered that tier regardless to the shallowness of the bite. He said that for as long as it bled, it is Category 2. *insert okay face meme here*

The initial interview and examination with the foreign intern took us a good five minutes. After that, my parents and I had to wait for about fifteen minutes in a covered shed outside the ER until a young resident called me to be examined further. Stern and probably too harassed for the day (or for some personal speculations I’d rather not mention in this blog, unless I want to be the newest Internet sensation), the resident upgraded the bite wound into a Category 3, and prescribed me three shots for the day: two anti-rabies shots and an anti-tetanus shot. *insert okay face meme here*

Because San Lazaro is a public hospital, I had to be the one to purchase my three shots. I was given two options: to ask my dad to drive to the nearest Mercury Drug to buy my shots or to purchase it in the hospital pharmacy, where it’s 50% cheaper compared to commercial drugstores outside the compound. I opted for the hospital pharmacy, which gave me a total bill of P526 for a half dose of Verorab (One dose costs P948. I shared it with a five-year-old little girl who was bitten by her dad’s dog, hence the lower bill I split with the dad) and a vial of Tetanus Toxoid, which costs P52. From the pharmacy, I had to go back to the cashier to pay. The line was unbelievably long–well, not really that long, but it was longer compared to the queue I was in earlier, and it was a 15-minute wait to get to the girl behind the cash register. After paying, I walked back to the pharmacy where my mom was waiting for me, and collected my first two shots.

A good two hours after paying for my hospital card

A good two hours after paying for my hospital card

I went back to the ER alone because my mom offered to queue for me for my next anti-rabies dose. The nurse politely ushered me to the area where she was to administer the shots. Around me were kids bawling and screaming while getting inoculated. Well, I’ve had a few vaccines in my 25 years of existence. So this should be easy-peasy, I thought.

Prepping Verorab for my guns

Prepping Verorab for my guns

The pretty nurse warned me that the first shot (Verorab) she’s going to administer on both my arms might sting and cause pain. I quickly ran through my archive of painful vaccines and so far, the most painful but tolerable shot for me is the yearly flu vaccine. Okay, so I had my camera ready, her needle ready and pinched both my arms. Easy, I thought. She now tells me that the next one (Tetanus Toxoid) might also be painful and heavy on my left arm. Game on, I said. She preps me and pushed in the syringe, and HOLY MOTHER OF COWS IT WAS FRAKKIN PAINFUL! Seriously! Poor nurse had to hear my string of cusses escaped my mouth! Damn! No wonder those kids were crying so loud! After that painful anti-tetanus shot, the nurse had to put me into an allergy test to see if the next dose of anti-rabies would cause me to break out some nasty allergies. I obliged because I don’t want to risk dying of rabies AND allergies! So anyway, she took a small dose of ERIG and BLASTED SOME OF THE PAINFUL MOTHERF*@&#*$ ONTO MY SKIN!!! I was then asked to wait for thirty minutes to see if my skin reacts adversely to the skin test. Thankfully, I did not.

Allergy Test for ERIG

Allergy Test for ERIG

Amidst the pain I had to go through the first phase, of course I had to ask the nurse if there are some things I should not do after the shots, or what to expect after. Drinking liquor within the treatment is a NO-NO as it may decrease the effectivity of the vaccine, and one is not allowed to eat greasy foods. Well, I’ve been sober (meaning, I haven’t been nasty wasted and knocked out by alcohol) for a year already, and I plan to stay the same till forever. Greasy food? Oh, but we’re going on an outing this Saturday! *insert okay face meme here*

I was given clearance by the same resident who saw me earlier to proceed with the last phase of my agony–the ERIG shot. Since my mom was already on queue to pay, I only have to get an assessment form from the pharmacy guy and went back on queue with my mom. You see, the ERIG shot depends on how heavy a patient weighs. Let’s say you weigh as much as me, you get four doses of it. Each dose costs P1272.

ERIG vials

After paying for the last vials, I collected the shots, went straight to the ER and waited until someone attended to me. At 4pm, there were a lot of people having their bites and whatnots checked, so I had to wait a bit. When it was my turn, yet another pretty nurse (are ALL government hospital nurses pretty?) prepared my shots and ushered me to a gurney and closed the curtains–she was going to push in the meds into my buttcheeks! Good thing I need not worry about wearing the wrong underwear because I was wearing my best boxer-cut panties! She then tells me to stand up and prepare for the first of the last vaccine to be administered in my right glutes…AND GOOD MOTHERF@*#(^% SHIZ!!! I squeezed the IV pole beside me for support because it was THAT.PAINFUL! How could I not remember the pain I had to go through when the ERIG was first tested on my skin?! And for the last one, I turned my other cheek (pun intended) to get my last for the day. Ohhhhh pain!!!

These needles had to go through both my buttcheeks

These syringes had to go through both my buttcheeks

I already expected that I was in for an adventure on my way to get treated, because I was too used to the luxury of having to wait comfortably in an airconditioned private hospital, where medical staff ran around to get things done for you. Another thing is, the shots were unbelievably and incredibly painful! To get to the bottom of it all, I must say that it’s too hassle to travel from our place to downtown Manila. Before going to San Lazaro, I googled Animal Bite Centers nearest my place and sadly, no positive search results turned up. The first website on the list–which probably have the whole list of specialised centres in the country, at least online–is down; and to get treated at a private hospital means coughing up a great amount of hard-earned cash! That explains my option to go to San Lazaro not because of the cheap bill I was to get as soon as they’re finished treating me, but because I know that they are an experienced bunch over there with regards to treating animal bite cases.

Sadly, the influx of animal bite victims hailing from everywhere in the Metro (the kid I shared a vial with is from Antipolo!) is just insane! While every city have their own general hospitals; and every barangay have their own health centres, why can’t every locality have their own animal bite centers because frankly, bites from a beloved pet, whether it’s yours or a neighbours; a stray cat you had just started to fall in love with, or just an obnoxious animal lurking in the streets are a daily occurrence! You just don’t tell people to take care and not touch every animals they see, because some of them tend to attack even without provocation. I just hope that someone heeds this call and take action not for me or some people looking for cheap but effective anti-rabies shots, but for the people who leave the comforts of their districts to seek medical attention they can afford.

I exactly don’t know what lesson I learned from this incident, because I will never stop being an animal lover. Well for now, my parents have decided to give Sushi the boot by putting away her dish and water, and I now call her “The Bastard Cat” for nomming my hand and for the inconvenience it caused. Heh.