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Miracles do happen

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

“Mother, Mother, I am sick/ Call the doctor very quick/ Doctor, Doctor, Will I die?/ No, my darling, do not cry.” I am sure a lot of those in my generation of elementary school pupils still remember that limerick that was so popular with us then. I remembered it when some friends were talking about their doctors, and it seemed the consensus is that today’s version of the “medico” is no longer the same as those of their childhood. But even then some naughty ones changed the last line to “Yes, my darling, By and by”.

***

The friends I am writing about were discussing how “specialized” doctors are nowadays. They said there doesn’t seem to be “GPs”, or General Practitioners like in their childhood days. I agreed with them and remembered the late Dr. Santiago Ochoa, a GP, who, to me, was the most popular doctor of my childhood. He was our school physician at La Consolacion College for as far as I can remember, but he would go to our homes when we were sick. And he was a real “general” practitioner, too.

***

When we had fever, we called on him. Those whose appendix bothered them, were operated on by him. He administered vaccines to us, and was a true EENT doctor, because he checked on our eyes when we complained about reading difficulties, and prescribed eyeglasses. In my own case, he said I had astigmatism, but assured me that if I wore the  glasses he prescribed, it would go away. I faithfully wore them, but later our eye doctor at the DBP in Makati, changed the prescription, which corrected my reading problem but not the astigmatism. I went back to wearing Dr. Ochoa’s prescriptions, and Lo! My reading improved and my headaches went away.

***

Today, I cross my fingers and pray whenever I say this, but I can write, type and read without my glasses. But I do get headaches if I do so for a long time. I am sure many Bacoleños still remember Dr. Ochoa, a very kind and understanding physician who, although not an Ilonggo, and sometimes spoke funny Visayan, was probably one of the most popular and well-liked doctor of our time. Recently, I heard a senior citizen complaining that doctors now are so “specialized” you have to see several of them when you have a complaint.

***

That reminded of an anecdote, actually, a joke I read in an American magazine a long time ago, about an eye doctor who was guiding a new one – do we also call them “apprentices” – on how to compute the charges for his patients, “Tell him to pay $5, he said. “If he pays immediately, say that is for the consultation. If he does not say anything, say the use of the testing mechanism costs $2. If he pays that immediately, say the frame costs $5 also. And if he still pays that, too, say that the lenses also cost $2. And if he still does not  complain, say “Each”.

***

Now, I am not referring to any local, or even national eye doctor. My “suki” all these years has been the Sarabia Clinic, starting with the late Antonio, or Tony, who married my classmate and close friend, Nelly, and now his son, Mike, who takes very good care of my eyes so that, as I have boasted earlier(with crossed fingers), I can read, write my column, edit every single article that gets into the DAILY STAR, even if I have forgotten to bring my reading glasses! Thanks again, Mike!

***

Sorry for focusing on my eyes, it almost made me forget about the riots in the United States, obviously orchestrated by Trump supporters who could not accept the fact that their idol is not the one who will assume the presidency on January 20, but Joe Biden who seems to be colorless compared to him. But the fact and the statistics are clear, the less flamboyant Biden got the support of more American voters so he will be the one who will be inaugurated on January 20, which is also the fiesta of Bacolod City! Not that it has anything to do with the American election, but it is the feast of our Patron Saint, San Sebastian, to whom we should pray for  protection against the COVID pandemic.

***

For us in the DAILY STAR, we will be giving thanks for the blessing granted us through our prayers, that enabled us to spring back after what seemed to be the end of the 38-year-old STAR that  had gone through so many vissicitudes for it to survive. We can only attribute it all to prayers that had kept us going all that time, and even now, through the offerings of readers and supporters on “payable-when-able” terms! How can we not believe in miracles, so many of which have kept us going and serving our people, not only in our city and country, but even abroad? If  I had believed in miracles before, I am now more convinced that they do happen. Thanks be to the Lord!*

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