Nothing like a series of unfortunate events to start the new year

Well, 2022 has been stellar so far.

After Dad passed away in December, the remainder of 2021 passed in a haze. Lucas missed his last week in school while we were attending to the wake in Holy Trinity. I was on bereavement leave. The week after was leading up to Christmas, and we got busy with wrapping gifts and cleaning up around the house, making plans with family. We even managed to go out to register for our National ID.

For most people, the year-end is just that: Christmas, family, gifts and food. Alas, it seems universe had different plans for us at the close of 2021 and the beginning of 2022.

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

Drought

We had a pleasant Christmas Eve at home, with lovely food and presents. On Christmas Day, we visited my mom and my brother in Antipolo. They came back to Paranaque with us, to stay over a few days.

On the 27th of December, we all went to Greenbelt so that it would be easier for them to get a ride back home. After they got into their Grab car, we decided to get dinner before going home.

When we got home, there was no water. The tank was empty and there was nothing coming from the main water supply. Oneal had to bring up a jug of drinking water just so we could clean up. It was a cold night, and the water was freezing cold.

Several times we had water delivered, to fill the tank, and each time the water would be gone in a matter of hours. Oneal checked all the faucets, and turned off all the valves at night, and still the water would disappear. The only thing we couldn’t check was the water tank, which was over 40 years old and buried under the tile of our lanai, and had no manhole for access. Of course it was the holidays, and so nobody could come over and check the plumbing. To make things worse, Maynilad announced water interruption in our area until January 15.

Finally the village maintenance guy, Mike, was able to check, and he confirmed our suspicions: we needed a new tank.

We asked a neighbor for recommendations, and unfortunately the seller he recommended could not install a tank until the end of January. We asked another friend, who referred us to the nearest Wilcon store. We ordered a tank and got Mike and his mechanics to work on the install.

In the meantime, we had to adapt. Regretfully, we had to use paper plates and cups, and plastic utensils, just to minimize our use of dining implements, and dishwashing. We prepared food in the oven or the air fryer, so that we wouldn’t need pots or pans. We cooked rice three cups at a time, so that we would only have to use the rice cooker once a day. Baths and oral hygiene had to be planned too, as with the watering of the plants. We put drums and jugs of water in the bathrooms, in the kitchen, just for washing. We even had to figure out which bathrooms to use and when, so that we could flush as needed.

Fortunately, Mike and the mechanics did quick work. Over two days, they checked the new tank, assessed the area, determined where to put the tank and the pump, bought materials, built a stand, and installed everything. Finally, thankfully, we have water again! We do miss warm showers so much.

Disease

My friend put it aptly: If you don’t know anybody who’s tested positive for COVID-19, then you probably don’t have friends.

On New Year’s Eve, Oneal and I were not feeling so great. I was dizzy, and he had a headache. I figured his headache was due to stress over our water situation, whereas my dizziness was due to PMS.

The next day we visited my family in Antipolo, and Oneal was sniffly. On our way home, I felt so nauseated that I thought I would throw up.

I decided to order saliva antigen test kits, so that we could easily test ourselves at home. The seller was able to send them on January 2, and we tested ourselves immediately. Lucas and I were negative, but Oneal tested positive.

Immediately we all put on our masks, and implemented isolation protocols for Oneal. He slept in the guest room, and none of us ate together. If we were eating at the same time, Lucas would eat in the living room while I ate at the dining table. We used alcohol on our hands so often, and fogged and misted the rooms we all used. I changed the sheets, blankets and pillowcases on our bed, and the towels in the bathroom.

Fortunately, our symptoms were mild. I had a sore throat, and I would cough in my sleep. Oneal and I had headaches and body aches for several days. Oneal was coughing too, and he had a mild cold. The most terrifying thing was that Lucas had a fever, and it shot up to 40 degrees Celsius. He was moaning in his sleep, and even when he was awake, he would be quiet and weak. He also said he was dizzy. Twice he threw up, and I was so worried. For two days, he would ask to snuggle with me, and we would both fall asleep for several hours. I suppose I needed the rest too.

I booked a home service RT-PCR test for us. Homelab was so swamped with appointments that they couldn’t accommodate us until January 4. Their labs were so overwhelmed that they couldn’t deliver our results in 12 hours, which was what we paid for.

We scheduled a tele-consultation with the pediatrician, who said Lucas’ fever was normal, and we all just needed rest, plenty of fluids and vitamins. She said we were all exposed already, and we all had symptoms, so there was no point in isolating from each other. Oneal told her that since we were isolating from each other, I was the one taking care of Lucas, and she said, let Mommy rest too! She even said we didn’t really need to wear masks around each other anymore, unless we were coughing or sneezing.

She also said that since we were vaccinated, we only needed 10 days of isolation, but Lucas needed 14 since he was too young to get the vaccine. This wasn’t really a problem; with the surge and the ridiculous positivity rate all over Metro Manila, we’re not going anywhere.

As of this writing, it has been over a week since our tests. We only received our results from HomeLab via email in the early hours of Wednesday, January 12. Because of our symptoms, and Oneal’s positive antigen test, we just assumed we were all positive. The results just confirm this assumption.

We’ve scheduled another round of RT-PCR tests via Angkas, and their partners for the service, DashLabs and the Philippine Red Cross, sent an advisory that the results could take as long as 96 hours. Sigh.

We’re just thankful that our symptoms were mild, and never did any of us have trouble breathing. We never needed any medicine beyond paracetamol, Bioflu, and Neozep. And most importantly, we’re all better now.

A dramatic death

In the midst of all this disease and drought, our TV died a dramatic death.

Lucas was feeling better, but I still had a headache. I had taken some cold medicine, and I was terribly sleepy. I lay down for a nap–and I was awoken by a loud crash! I got up, and I saw this.

At first I thought the stand had broken. I yelled for Oneal, who came rushing upstairs. He said, “No, the TV broke!”

It seemed that the plastic on the back of the 15-year-old TV was brittle, and could not handle the weight of the entire TV while hanging from the stand. The plastic backing came off, and the rest of the TV hurtled to its death.

I guess we need a new TV now!

So, how has your 2022 been?

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