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What Does a Rainbow Mean To You?
Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I saw this rainbow the other afternoon. It is so perfect and so I felt that there's hope - that soon electricity will be restored (calling on DECORP!) in our place. Yes, it's been 12 days since the storm. Though we have our genset to give us light at night and provide us with cooler ( and bearable) environment, life still is not what it used to be.

We have given up on our refrigerator. Since we cannot stock any perishable thing on it and only drinking water is what's left inside, we decided to turn it off temporarily. That is until electricity is restored. The only problem is that we need to go to the market to buy anything to cook. And we don't find fresh items in the market everyday. We have resorted to canned goods for several days now but the kids are clamoring for something more delicious. I think that means something fresh like chicken and fish.

Anyway, there's nothing we can do but to wait. I just hope that it will not last a month. That would be too much to bear.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 11:13 AM   2 comments
After the Storm
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Two days after typhoon cosme brought havoc to our lives, the kids pestered me to go to Dagupan City just to look around. They wanted to see for themselves the condition of the place and the extent of the damage which is causing the prolonged brownout. So we decided to go that day and buy our groceries. They insisted to come (though I disagreed) thinking that it will be a walk in the park, maybe because they are too bored staying inside the house. They learned their lesson well for we had to wait in the queue four hours just to be able to reach the cashier and pay our groceries. They had to bear the heat and learn to be more patient.

My kids are so used living comfortable lives and staying in air-conditioned rooms is one thing they can't do without. That's why we chose a school with air-conditioned classrooms and we go to an air-conditioned church. I often wondered how they will adapt if these life's comforts are no longer in their midst. I would always think that they will have great difficulty coping. But life after typhoon cosme proved me wrong.

Of course the change wasn't immediate but slowly they are able to sleep at night with just the wind coming from the electric fan ( we have our generator set turned on at night). They also are able to take naps in the afternoon with the soft breeze blowing from the window. If before they spend most of their time during this summer break watching TV, DVDs, play station, surfing the net and playing computer games, with very little time spent opening their books, now it's the other way around. And I'm so glad that books I bought from Time Life did not go to waste. I hope that they will continue to appreciate good books as they move on in their lives.

It's now one week with no electricity. We have adjusted to the routine. In fact we haven't notice that it's already one week since then. Though we hope that electricity will be restored soon, I am so glad my kids are flexible enough, to be able to cope with life's imperfections.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 8:07 PM   0 comments
Typhoon Cosme: During and After
Monday, May 19, 2008
The electricity was down since 4pm Saturday, May 17, 2008. We were supposed to attend an anticipated mass in Dagupan City but because the storm signal was raised to level three, we decided not to go. We turned on the generator at 6pm, in time for our early dinner, decided that we will turn it off at 9pm. While the generator was on, we read about the storm in the internet. It said that the storm had a velocity of 130 kph and that it will directly hit our area. We started to get ready by having first an early dinner, store some drinking water, take a bath and sleep early, thinking that we will be able to do so.

Immediately after our dinner, we started to feel the weather becoming really bad. Heavy rains started to pour and the winds becoming stronger and stronger with each passing time. I don't think the wind velocity was 130 kph. My husband estimated it to be around 200 kph. It was something I have never experienced yet in my whole life.

My family and I started to witness the blowing of the roofs of our neighbors. The sound of the strong wind muffled the noise coming from them, but I knew we were all in big trouble. We lighted all our outside lights so that neighbors can see their way and the damage to their homes being brought by the storm. I can hear babies crying in the distance and I can feel fear from the rest of us. What if......

Water started to drip from our roof, from our windows and from other openings (like the aircon) where it can pass through. We then put rags on all openings but our efforts were nothing compared to the non-stop heavy rains and gusty winds. I cannot even imagine how leaves are able to enter even with all doors and windows close. We spent some time mopping floors and transferring appliances from one place to another. Our plan of having an early bedtime did not materialize as we were anticipating what will happen next.

We were so afraid so we opted not to turn the generator off anymore. It was 2am and I still can't find sleep. I move up and down the house checking on things. The signage leading to the clinic was gone. Lots of trees uprooted and blocking the highway thus causing traffic to big trucks passing by. It was already around 4 am when sleep finally visited me.

I was awaken at 6am Sunday by the sound of people shouting, pounding roofs, and of trees being trimmed. I was relieved to see the morning and to know that we were all safe. Though still sleepy, I immediately got out of bed, got my camera and went outside to take pictures. What I saw shocked me. All the houses surrounding us were damaged, some partially others totally. It was still early but the clothes' lines were already full of wet clothing. More trees were down. Even the vegetable plantation in our backyard was gone. Everybody was busy cleaning and fixing.

containers for catching dripping water

houses with roofs blown away

my husband fixing the post where the signage used to be

a tree on the roof top

more trees brought down

a neighbor's house

our backyard

a neighbor's house

I went through our house, found out that there are minor things that needed fixing, and still no electricity. The news said that it will take several days before the electric company resumes service. That only means we need to store diesel for the generator. We went around to buy but all gasoline stations were close. That means we have to make do with what we have until normal operations resume.

Cleaning started. That was a totally different Sunday from what we used to have but I am very thankful to God for what we have. We still have a home, we still have each other.
My laundrywoman came over early this morning telling me that houses in their area were all blown away including hers. "Mabuti pa kayo tumulo lang, kami wala nang tirahan", she said. Even concrete houses along the shoreline were blown away, according to her, yet the news reports say only small figures were totally devastated. I cannot believe what's on the news. What we experienced was far from just signal number three. It was a super super typhoon accompanied by a tornado. That is how I see it and we were not even warned. It was signal number two the whole day of Saturday and was just raised to three two hours before it hit us.
The sky was still gloomy the whole day yesterday, we thought it will still rain. But thank God there was not a single drop of rain, allowing people to clean and fix houses. Today is a sunny day but everything is still far from over. I hope everybody is able to pick up the pieces and face life all over again.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 10:15 AM   4 comments
My Sister and her Myomas
Friday, March 07, 2008
My one and only sister is not so fortunate healthwise especially when it comes to her reproductive system. For one, she did not have a chance to get pregnant. After one miscarriage, she had not gotten pregnant again. And after exhausting every means, she and her husband had finally given up all artificial means. But they continued to hope that one day they can have their own.

Prior to undergoing all means to be fertile and to conceive, she already had several myomas and an ovarian cyst, and she had all these removed. On top of all these is her adenomyosis which makes everything more complicated. She would experience tremendous pain whenever she is having her monthly period.

Several months after having her myomas removed, new growths appeared. Again she was advised an operation, something which will give no more room for another pregnancy. It took us some years to convince her to undergo such an operation. It is not easy considering her past and the consequences.

Until recently, I received a text message from her saying that she is bleeding profusely. This means that she can no longer postpone the procedure. Whether she likes it or not, she have to go under the knife.

Finally she will summon to the operation, a procedure which will totally remove her uterus, ovaries, and tubes. Something which will permanently prevent her from fulfilling her dream to have her own child. As a sister, I feel her pain.

Millions of women are like her, not lucky enough to conceive, but have the extreme desire to experience one. On the other hand, lots of women were given the chance but failed to perform their task as mothers, or never wanted to be mothers at all. How ironic, isn't it?

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 2:49 PM   0 comments
About Me

Name: Amelyn R. Rafael,MD
Home: San Fabian, Pangasinan, Philippines
About Me: Family Physician, and Associate Professor (Clinical Anatomy and Medical Physiology)
See my complete profile
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