I ended up staying at St. Luke’s for about a month. That included the two weeks when I was a zombie. My dad had to fly back to Guam to work, leaving my mom to take care of me. Lucky for the both of us, my aunt from Alaska flew in to help my mom out. I love my aunt from Alaska. She’s so happy and loving. And she loves to laugh. It was great having her around during that time. She also fed me a lot! Anything I wanted to eat she bought for me. And boy did I eat. Being at a hospital in the Philippines was great because I had the chance to eat all my favorite foods from childhood (I forgot to mention that I’m half-Filipino), and a few that I never tried before. I was up to a decent weight before we left the Philippines.
My brother also flew in for a little while to help. With Guam being so close to the Philippines, it’s only a three hour plane ride. I was still too weak to transfer myself anywhere. He helped by bringing me to to the bathroom to shower and helped at other times I needed to get out of bed.
I was in a diaper up until about a week before we left. That was embarrassing, especially when it was needed one day. That time in the Philippines (and at moments since) was very humbling for me. Before the accident I was very independent. I had been living on my own since I was 19 with the occasional stay at my parent’s place. I was used to taking care of myself and doing what I wanted, when I wanted. Now, here I was, a 31-year old man, needing a diaper, needing his mom to feed, shave, and clean him.
I still had a catheter in me, too. I can still remember the pain when they removed it. I asked the nurse if we could take it out slowly and she advised against it, saying it would hurt more. After I agreed I expected her to give me warning when she was going to remove it, but she just yanked it out. Wow. The pain from that was excruciating.
Pain. I’m fortunate that I don’t remember the accident at all. I think of moments when I experience pain now. The pain I occasionally experience when I fall or hit my head will never compare to the pain I must have experienced that night. I must have been in such a state of complete shock that my brain blocked that from my memory.
Two years after the accident when I was independent again, I went into the precinct that responded to my accident. I spoke to one of the officers that was on the scene. I was acquainted with him from my previous job managing a coffee shop in the area he frequented. I remembered him because he was always sincerely polite. You could tell this officer had a heart just by interacting with him. (I occasionally came into contact with him outside the coffee shop because Guam is so small. He just had a pleasant demeanor.) He told me that when they came to my car I tried to tell them to go away and that I was fine. I was even arguing with them when they tried to remove me from the car and place me in the ambulance. I found that tidbit of info amusing because it sounded like something my former self would do.
A major lesson I learned from the accident–don’t be too proud to accept help. It’s okay to need help. It doesn’t make you less of a person by accepting the kindness and compassion of others. We constantly see/hear people being torn down because of others’ selfish ambitions. This is not what life is about. We are all in this world together. We should be helping each other and building one another up.