A column that just keeps going

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - The Freeman

I have this bad tradition of getting sick at around the time I celebrate my birthdays. Seven days after my birthday this year I was on the way to the hospital. What could I say but that it was in keeping with tradition. But I had a bad feeling about it this time. I just turned 70, an age that doesn't inspire much confidence.

I had to have a catheter free up my urinary bladder, which was blocked by a mass which my doctor, Brian Blas, said was my prostate. Dr. Blas had to do the procedure right there in the ER of Divine Word Hospital in Tacloban because knowing we were from Carigara, he didn't want us to check in anymore and be on our way to catch the fading lights of late afternoon.

That was the easy part. The new elephant in my room is that prostate. Is this little thingy going to cause me more trouble than just occasionally blocking my bladder or just be as much as what Wikipedia generally says, that it won't be of much concern? I will have to go back in a few days to the hospital to deal with the elephant.

When I went to the hospital that September 22, I had a feeling that that could be the last of this column that I started writing since late 1982. In fact I did not write for five straight schedules of my column since that hospital visit. But it is not this particular health issue that has given me an incredibly difficult time writing the column.

Before my hospital visit, my bladder and my prostate never gave me problems that in any way interfered with my writing. It was my eyesight and increasingly unstable hands that were causing problems writing from an iPad, and when the darn contraption finally gave up, from a much smaller Oppo smart phone. This was the dire prospect that faced me at the thought of resuming my column.

But if you saw a column come out in The FREEMAN last Monday October 9, that means this crusty old writer never called it quits and just found the way to beat the challenge of failing eyesight and unsteady hands. Bound by a document that says "for better or worse, in sickness and in health," I asked Arlene if she can take dictation from me.

My wife, she is not Waray for no reason, gladly acceded and in fact welcomed the challenge. She is after all a member of the pioneer batch of Masscom graduates from Divine Word University in Tacloban. This is the same batch to which the famous Ted Failon belongs. Anyway that column last Monday was the first collaboration between me and my wife just to keep the column going.

Rest assured that every thought and idea that went into that column, in this column, and all future columns to come will still be mine and mine alone. My wife and I share such a high degree of respect for each other that she holds back any crazy comments and ideas she may toy briefly to just being side comments between husband and wife.

I need to keep going with my column for several reasons. Writing has always been my passion. There are still many readers especially of my own generation who have followed me all these years and I cannot let them down. I still have one daughter in school and what little I earn from this endeavor helps her a lot. And as I age I do need to write to keep my mind going in the right direction.

Aside from Dr. Brian Blas whose expertise, professionalism, thoughtfulness, and fun-loving nature provided me with tremendous relief and therefore I must thank profusely, there are two others who I also owe so much from. Dr. Jurgen T. Pore and Dr. Marian Pami Montesclaros have been with me on many occasions we needed help, always free with their time as professionals and as very good friends.

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