Thursday, August 30, 2007

Medical Afterthoughts and Malate Meanderings

I was too exhausted from my nightly purging and packing ritual Tuesday night that I completely forgot to set the alarm to get to K's medical exam appointment at 0630 August 29.

By a stroke of sheer grace, my eyes opened wide at exactly 0438 Wednesday morning. The plan was to be up at 0330 in order to leisurely prepare for the cab ride to Roxas Blvd and the nearby St. Luke's Extension Clinic (SLEC). I don't know how I was able to wake up considering I was in the middle of R.E.M. (Not the band...)

So off we dashed out our gate in the pre-dawn light in a drizzle at 0520. We found a cab at the neighborhood taxi stand and made it to J. Bocobo St. by 0545. K got a number - 90 - then we slumped into chairs expecting a long wait. To our surprise, the ball started rolling twenty minutes later and K began the process that saw her lining up for the digital encoding of her face; an X-ray; a medical exam; an immunization history interview; blood-letting; urine-letting; and all the other things done to examine ones... health.

We were told to return the following day at 0900 (which was earlier today), to get the results. Still exhausted from our lack of sleep and the tired that's catching up with us, the alarm woke us at 0500 and we promptly ignored it. An hour later we were running out the door to catch a shuttle back to SLEC.

What greeted us was the sight of 500 people crowded on all five floors of the building.

K got her forms and then headed for the Immunization Section for two shots. So proud of her! She put on a brave face and didn't even flinch as the nurse poked each of her arms. Six hours later we were finally done.

I took her for a brief walk yesterday down A. Mabini St. located in the area of Manila known as Malate which was once famous as a Red Light District, aka girlie bars. (I used to go to some of these places when I was in college to catch my favorite band, The Dawn, when they did a series of shows. Fodder for another blog!)

It would have been cool to spend an afternoon just hanging out at that side of town - Luneta Park, Paco Park, Aristocrat Restaurant, Penguin Cafe - telling her stories of a Manila I once knew. But tired got the better of us and we decided to head for the more modern Makati and our jeepney ride home from The Fort.

I did get to point out the beautiful Sy-Quia Apartments - North and South - that have been up since World War II. "Some pretty cool artist types live there, hun." I whispered to K in the jeep. ''Old money-types as well with Spanish names..''

''Is that Malate Church?'' she asked. ''It looked bigger when I last saw it.''

''You were 5, hunny. Of course it was!''

I guess life has a way of changing our perspective when we get older.

I'm curious how we will both remember that day some time in the distant future, asking ourselves how huge a change this whole moving back/moving to the states was.

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