It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR - William M. Esposo (The Philippine Star) - March 31, 2013 - 12:00am

Last March 15, a date marked in Ancient Rome as the dreaded Ideas of March when senators assassinated Emperor Julius Caesar, I too had my Ides of March moment when my complicated health problems collaborated to give that “one foot in the grave” feeling in your gut.

My health episode all had to happen too on Holy Week.

Let me give you an idea of the medical challenge:

1. My problem with the enlargement of the heart, the ailment that claimed my younger brother Richard’s life in 2008, took a turn for the worse. I had a weak left side muscle. A weakened anterior front heart muscle now worsens the weakened heart.

2. This is on top of my chronic kidney problem, diabetes, hypertension, bone cancer and constricting arteries that worsen heart and kidney functions. These are excellent reasons for going and we thought we saw that happening last March 15 — The Ides of March, no less — when I felt a massive loss of energy and stamina from my body.

3. A week later, during a sumptuous March 22 buffet lunch at the Sofitel, Executive Secretary (ES) Jojo Ochoa and Cabinet Secretary (Cabsec) Rene Almendras couldn’t believe their eyes when they witnessed my uncharacteristic indifference to the premium duck foie gras that Sofitel served its distinguished diners. That’s how bad I felt.

Last March 23, I checked in at Makati Medical Center for tests and emergency coping mechanisms to decongest the heart and lungs. From an average fluid output of 2,100 ml over a 24-hour cycle, my kidney production is down to 110 ml. That is what is causing the heart and lungs to congest.

The urgency in the tone of my doctors when they advised me to immediately check in at the Makati Med demonstrated the seriousness of my problem. Heart and lungs congestion for a kidney transplant patient qualifies one to the ranking among the WALKING DEAD. From History and the Bible, I’ve moved on to Zombie land. However, my manner of narrating this sharing shouldn’t be misconstrued as less than a serious view of it. When I felt that much life exiting, there is only one rational conclusion to be made — you’re time is up laddie.

As mentioned earlier, I struck low point and didn’t resist doctors’ advice to immediately check in during our March 22 Sofitel Buffet lunch. There was an intervening factor between the March 22 low point and the March 23 sudden positive turns.

The First Family extended to me the second use of President Cory’s Fatima Rosary that Sister Faustina gave our late president during her Portugal Visit. On the afternoon of March 23, when I was having my dialysis emergency, and temporary treatment to decongest heart and lungs — President Cory’s rosary was pressed upon my heart and from the looks of the next round of reports, the rosary once again delivered. Before that, everyone feared the ultimate convergence of “killer” mechanisms, the so-called Perfect Storm. After the pressing of Fatima rosary upon my heart during that crisis-filled dialysis session that took a dangerous turn for the worse on account of hypotension, the doctors were exuding confidence that the problems could be addressed via repair treatments.

For sure, the quality of life for me will continue to deteriorate but one thing is for sure — I had a better fate than Julius Caesar. I survived the Ides of March. As it is, I’m now wheelchair bound and am no longer able to walk due to advanced osteoarthritis on both knees and spreading bone cancer. Bone cancer in its fourth stage is one of the most painful that can hit you. I have entered already pain management protocol.

I’ve always placed a premium on sharing values — especially those that are founded on the highest ideals. We can all sound good posturing as patriots but are we truly desirable when the plum that inspires us merely fattens our wallets or promote political interest? Just last month, the Sultanate of Sulu, in their never-ending dream to regain Sabah, preyed upon Filipinos. Scores have died and many more could still perish — and for what?

What disappoints the most is how some otherwise known sober-minded Filipinos failed to see through the selfish political agenda being played in this latest Sabah caper and were ready to put our national security at risk by suggesting that the Philippine government must rescue the Sultanate’s armed men in Malaysia after they committed a crime there. The far-superior Malaysian armed forces would have blown us out of the sea and sky if ever we attempted that and these lost souls want to be regarded as patriots? Patriots save a country, not sink it.

Our inspiring new Pope, Pope Francis, is revolutionizing a Catholic Church that was seen as hopelessly adrift a week before his election. All groups are capable of displaying impressive patriots in their roster but the ones to seriously follow are the Pope Francis types, the Gawad Kalinga and the Focolare Movement. Their dedication to servant-leadership marks what differentiates Christ from Satan. On the other hand, Satan will corrupt and induce but in the end Satan must be the leader.

Jesus Christ taught us that by their fruits would you truly know a tree. Here’s wishing a blessed Easter Sunday to you and yours.

*      *      *

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

CATHOLIC CHURCH EASTER SUNDAY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY FATIMA ROSARY FIRST FAMILY HEART IDES OF MARCH POPE FRANCIS PRESIDENT CORY
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