I finally met a doctor Wednesday last week. She's great. I went alone this time at PGH because I took the visiting-the-specialist routine as a personal retribution for the supposed mistake I did in the past.
A day before that, I, my mom and my sister went at NEC to see an HIV doctor at H4, but the most she did is to schedule me for an appointment. (Seeing a doctor there is on a by-schedule basis. You've been warned.) So I told both ladies that the next day, I'd like to see the doctor only by myself because I don't want to hassle them. But of course I lied. I knew that if I asked my mom to tag along with me at PGH she would gladly, but since I wanted to take this as an act of amending my past, I just lied.
So off I went to visit PGH. The good doctor in her capacity not only as a medical practitioner but also as a quasi-counselor told me that it would be much better if my folks would know about my state. They already knew. She was glad to know that I've already mustered the courage and told my family about my status because it would make acceptance on my part easier. After taking down my patient history and giving me a slew of lab forms to busy myself with, I left.
I always get to do more things done when I'm alone by myself. Or so I thought—until my mom told me something two days back.
My mom was late. It was already well past dinnertime and she's not yet at home. I knew where she was though; she's just at my relatives' house.
When she arrived, we ate, finished cleaning up the dinner mess and settled down. I was sitting quietly on the little chair near the clean kitchen, staring at the wall, when my mom told me that someone lit a candle for me.
Pinagdasal ka ng tito mo. Pumunta daw siya sa Quiapo. Pinagtirik ka daw niya ng kandila.
That was beyond heartwarming to know—well beyond feeling appreciated, elated. I never knew my uncle would do that. To my mind, that only meant one thing.
Apparently, my aunt, to whom my mother first confided about my state, couldn't hide her emotions so well that she would burst into tears so often. My uncle, who couldn't take his sister's upwelling of tears everytime he'd caught her breakdown, finally asked my aunt what about her frequent outbursts. Feeling that she couldn't take the burden all to herself, she finally told her younger brother that I had HIV. And that prompted my tito to supplicate and light a candle for me before the Black Nazarene.
Alam na ng lahat? I inquired more to my mom.
Yes, my maternal relatives. All of them already knew except for lola to whom I told my mom never ever let her know about me (The woman's already old, reaching 80, and I don't want to crush my lola's heart anymore.) All of them. And the more they knew the more the diameter of my prayer went farther.
While they didn't also tell my state to my ten-year-old cousin because he wouldn't understand, they however egged him to pray for me. (Cousin's an altar boy. A very dedicated altar boy.) Then my other aunt wanted me to bring to Santa Clara and pray with her before St. Padre Pio, the patron saint for diseases and sickness. The stories moved me too much that I peeled into laughter.
Then my mom handed me a plastic folded several times with a piece of metal stashed inside it. When I unfolded it and took out what looked like a coin, it happened to be a pendant of St. Padre Pio. Mom said that crybaby tita wanted me to wear it. Finally, my Padre Pio ten-beaded rosary is not alone anymore.
I decided to go to PGH alone because I thought it was really my fault for having HIV. I longed to correct the ways of my past by making much of my future. And to do it, I must do it alone.
I am not fighting this alone to my dismay. There are people touched by their angels who went beyond their humanity to fight with me. And that, in itself, is too much.
Inasmuch as a poet depicted clearly the harrowing diameter of a bomb, prayers sweetly do have their own too.
Blessed: "You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie / You're in the arms of an angel / may you find some comfort here" (Sarah McLachlan, Arms of an Angel)