It wasn’t the way I imagined my New Year to start. When I got the call that my dad had severe trouble breathing seemingly because of his heart, I was flustered and numb at the same time. Thoughts of my childhood ran me by. His efforts as a father that only a daughter could ever know filled my mind. It was time to bring him to the Philippine Heart Center.
Our family did some tasking — who takes care of what and who will stay where. I was the main person assigned to be with my father at the hospital. Hospitals give me the chill. I never liked their smell and all the whites inside its premises — I find creepy. Of course, the worry and fear of what may come to be hangs above your head like a dark cloud. But you set aside these matters to do things for someone you love.
Surprisingly, the Philippine Heart Center made it an easier experience for me, in many ways…
The friendly front liners. You would expect doses of friendliness in restaurants and resorts. At the hospital, the parking attendant helped me park, the guard showed me the way, the info receptionist gave me details I needed with a smile, the admission officer lightly interviewed me before admitting us, the cleaning ladies reminded us where waiting lounges and rest rooms are nearest.
The overall ambience. I know you wouldn’t look for ambience in a hospital! At the heart center though, the first thing I noticed was the smell. It didn’t smell like medicine. It smelled clean at the most, without smelling like antiseptic or cleaning agents. There were real plants in corridors and corners. There were faintly colored paintings on the wooden walls. Seats in waiting lounges were well cushioned and colored brightly. In outdoor waiting lounges, there were tress, flora and fauna to accompany wary clients. Heart-shaped lanterns light up at night. Needless to say, a sense of consistent cleanliness can be observed all over.
The security. Apart from having guards stationed where they were supposed to be, a security personnel roamed our rooms daily. At times, he visits to remind us to secure our belongings, be wary of scammers and direct all payments to authorized offices only. He advised that these were basic but important things we might be remiss to remember amid the health concerns.
The doctor. I’ve been blessed to find a kind and good doctor. The original doctor I was referred to was late. As my father’s case was getting more of an emergency that moment, I crossed my fingers and went to an immediately available cardiologist. I prayed silently for a doctor — kind enough to answer my questions, good enough to know what he was doing (of course!) and patient enough to help us through our health worries. I found Dr. Adriano De La Paz, a 78-year-old cardiologist. Life is considerate.
The nurses. Being a country with most nurses going abroad to progressive countries, our people worry that the best of the nurses have left the motherland. Apparently, some of the best are at the Philippine Heart Center. I must say, being attended by nurses with real “tender, loving care” made a difference. They had warm smiles to give, kind greetings to share, comforting touches to extend — it’s a gift.
The Billing Office and Cashier. Health is wealth, indeed. When you need help for your health and you’ve been confined in a hospital, the price you pay is pretty steep. In many hospitals, the bureaucratic process makes the financial worry magnified. People behind the billing office were kind and efficient. The process was systematic. The waiting time was reasonable. They processed the Senior Citizen’s Discount and the insurance quickly. It eased the burden.
My dad is still recovering in their home right now. A lot of things has to change. He’s not going to be his old, healthy self — physically at least. It was a deep experience for me. What I’ve written, these may be basic and trivial, especially when faced by troubles. But these basic things are what helped me keep a positive mind even if I was on the brink of crying. I’m happy at how we have come together as a family. My belief was once again validated — that the success of a family is not measured by the wealth amassed but by how a family comes together, confronts difficulties and consequently rises above life’s challenges.