A Once Sickly Child

It has been almost a year and a half, and we’re still in the pandemic. I could only pray that my family and I will survive this deadly virus if it hits us. Had my extroverted parents were alive, they would have been so much affected emotionally and mentally.

I realize that the last time they took care of me was 25 years ago. I was a sickly child, one that would skip a class because of fever and colds. Ironically, I ate healthy foods and took vitamins, but they were not enough to keep the illnesses away.

There is something in the December wind that makes me most prone to respiratory illness. It must have been the cold and dry wind that triggers my allergy attack. As a young child, my father used to heat the unchopped calamansi and extract the hot juice out of it. He mixed the extract with a little oil and used them to massage my back, throat, and chest. He hated anything unnatural and relied much on herbal treatment. On the other hand, it was my mother who brought me to the doctors in case the herbal treatment did not work.

Being prone to colds and rhinitis meant that I could easily get flu, too. I used to catch the flu twice a year. The most dreaded disease that I got was chickenpox. Since I had a weak body then, it took me almost a month to recuperate. I had chickenpox rashes from head to toe. In my 3rd week, my mother put some cilantro in the boiling water. I used that as bathwater when it was comfortably warm. Cilantro has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties that is why it aids in healing wounds fast. Of course, we are talking about the late 80s here as there are available ointments now to facilitate chickenpox healing.
If there’s any consolation in being sick, it’s when somebody (like your parents) exerts more time and effort to help you recuperate. Growing up, the only times when grapes were available on the table were New Year and when we were sick. It took me until adulthood to help me realize that grapes were not that expensive. Aside from that, we had Royco alphabet noodles or corn soup, fried chicken, and soda to encourage us to eat.

I was in my late 20s when I asked my mother how Dr. Hugo Banzon was. She used to bring me to his clinic every time my coughs and colds worsened. I never went to a pediatrician not until I gave birth; I wonder why there were no known pediatricians in our town when I was young. Dr. Hugo Banzon’s clinic appeared to be an ancestral house. There were a few plights of stairs going down to reach the front gate. The front yard was covered with bushes and flowers. I was a shy girl and one who was easily intimidated but he was one of those that I liked as a child. He had a deep comforting voice and a shy compassionate look on his patients. The last time I saw him was 31 years ago, can you believe that? His clinic is still vivid in my memories until now.

Twenty-five years have passed since my parents took care of me whenever I was sick. Sometimes, I ask myself if I was able to return the favor of taking care of them in the same nurturing way that they did. Time flies, I remember the old days but I don’t feel old.

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