Lani: Life is precious
Asia’s Nightingale Lani Misalucha is recovering from a rare disease that robbed her of her sense of hearing and caused impairment of her voice
STAR/ File

Lani: Life is precious

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - January 16, 2021 - 12:00am

Four months after she and her husband Noli were afflicted with what the doctors described as a “rare disease,” Lani Misalucha is slowly recovering but she and Noli are not completely healed. She has gotten back her sense of hearing and balance, and, most importantly, her voice...losing it could be the worst that could happen to a singer famous for her perfect pitch.

But we’re getting ahead of the story...

Photos from Lani Misalucha’s social-media accounts

“It was bacterial meningitis,” Lani, Asia’s Nightingale (also jokingly dubbed Reclining Diva because she can hit the highest note while flat on her back), told Funfare Thursday night in a phone interview. “The doctors said that it was a rare case that infected us. It was weird. The doctors were puzzled why both Noli and me got infected.”

Actually, it was a double whammy.

As Lani related, Noli underwent a triple bypass on Aug. 17 last year. In September, one month and one week later, they ate at a restaurant.

“It was a Tuesday. Two days later, Noli and I got a fever at dawn, 38 to 39 degrees. Noli was shivering. A few hours later, I started shivering, too. At first, we were scared since we thought that it was COVID-19. Noli was delirious, disoriented, at hindi na maka-usap. Iba na ang hitsura. When he tried to get up, he was groggy, bumabangga-bangga sa walls. Sabi ko, ano ‘to?”

Early Friday morning, they summoned an ambulance that brought them to the St. Luke’s Medical Center. When the doctors talked to her, Lani replied, “Ano po ‘yon, ano po ‘yon?” By Sunday, she couldn’t hear anymore, except garbled sounds. She had to talk louder and louder. That was when she realized she was losing her sense of hearing. Noli was confined at the ICU for six days and Lani four days.

“We suspected that we must have eaten pork,” said Lani. “We seldom, if ever, eat pork and I don’t remember ordering pork. There were other people in the restaurant but they were okay naman.”

Naturally, she was depressed.

“I was in denial. Feeling ko, hindi na ako marunong kumanta. I was having a hard time singing. I kept trying to hum. Feeling ko, nag-shutdown ang lalamunan ko.”

Before that fateful September day, Lani was able to co-host (with Ai-Ai delas Alas and Christian Bautista) three episodes of the GMA talent search The Clash, and was later replaced by Pops Fernandez. In December, she joined the shoot of the network’s Christmas special and kept apologizing because she couldn’t do it right. She was worried that she was causing the delay but her co-stars (Ai-Ai included) assured her that everything was all right. After several takes, she managed to render a heart-tugging version of O Holy Night.

“I felt that I lost my confidence,” sighed Lani. Her co-stars told her that she was as good as new.

Lani and Noli had to return several times to the hospital for therapy. Back home, they are taking so many medications that Lani exclaimed, “OMG, grabe ang dami, especially Noli who has to take nine different medicines.”

Aided by a nephew, Lani and Noli exercise daily by walking around BGC.

“I can walk without holding on to my nephew, diretso kung flat ang surface. I have started vocalizing at home. I have regained my balance and sense of hearing. My voice is back. Pero si Noli, dapat inaakay pa when he walks.”

Results of the doctors’ findings were submitted to the Department of Health (DOH).

“Para may record that there is such a rare case of bacterial meningitis,” noted Lani.

The couple were caught home by the lockdown and unable to fly to Las Vegas where they are based. They do plan to go when they are well enough.

“In the meantime, we cannot because it’s risky. The air pressure inside the plane might be bad for our ears, at nandyan din ang altitude. At baka tatabi-tabingi ang lakad namin.”

Asked what the incident has taught her, Lani said, “That life is precious,” adding, “that you are not sure what could happen. Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, may mangyayari pa rin sa’yo. I think we should just be grateful every single day that we can still walk, we can still talk, we can still move.”

(Note: Lani and Noli are thankful, especially to Willie Revillame who made them stay at a unit in Willie’s WilTower and gave them financial support. The couple has since moved to Bonifacio Global City/BGC.)

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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