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One ordinary day… at the elevator, as I about to go home from a tiring duty in the hospital; my eyelids were already drooping and I was about to close it to give in to drowsiness…suddenly the elevator door opened and someone caught my attention.
He was walking towards the slightly loaded elevator of Makati Medical Center and guess what? He has an oxygen nasal cannula in his two nostrils. I couldn’t believe I could see someone walking with oxygen cannula in his nose as if nothing was out-of-place. I was even shocked when I discovered it was the King of Philippine comedy… ” Dolphy “!
Yes, indeed! It was really him I saw walking maybe 2 or 3 years ago. He had three companions. I wanted to say something. I even wished I could have a picture with him; yet I restrained myself from doing it for the purpose of professionalism. I just gave way, smiled at him and as I stood behind him, I kept searching for the oxygen source, but I couldn’t see anything because he was wearing a cloth over his back like Superman’s cape–the blue cloth.
Was he sick? Of course, he must be because he had an oxygen cannula in his two nostrils and I was very sure there was no movie taping on-going at the moment.
Unlike other patients he didn’t even use the wheelchair to save his energy or had the elevator reserved for his as one of the VIPs. He simply walked and went in as ordinary people’s way. I was about to give a grin for this peculiarity when he cracked a joke at one of the nurses—his previous nurse.
” So, nanganak ka na pala?‘, he asked one of the nurses at my back.
I turned around and took a glimpse.
” Ikaw talaga , sir Dolphy…hindi naman ako nabuntis eh. Chubby lang talaga ako,” the nurse answered with a smile.
“Kaya nga eh..pumayat ka na kasi, kaya ko tinatanong kung nanganak ka na!”
And the last piece of self- control I had been holding on escaped from my lips. I blurt out a chuckle and I was relieved that I wasn’t the only one amused by the joke as everybody inside the four wall box gave a hearty laugh.
The elevator opened at the 1st floor and they went out…Suddenly Dolphy stopped and said, ” Bakit dito tayo lumabas? Di ba dapat sa ground floor? “
” Oo nga, ” his companion answered.
Laughter reigns again and they followed Dolphy as he said, “Tara na. Mag- escalator na lang tayo.” We were all smiling inside the elevator as they walked towards the nearby escalator. What a morning to start after an exhausting night shift!
It was the first and last time I saw him in person. And as I knew via the Philippine television that he was admitted of pneumonia and COPD, I was wondering what the amount of oxygen was that should be given to him. Persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD need low flow oxygen, usually only 2 liters per minute were given to them as the low level of oxygen in the blood aid them to breath. High level of oxygen could cause them to stop breathing. Peumonia, on the other side, needs high level of oxygen in order to ventilate the alveoli and the whole body cells.
In this alone his illness was already simply complicated; coupled with acute renal failure that could be due to decrease oxygenation of the body or possible complications of the main diagnosed illness. And the worst possible outcome sets in– multiple organ failure. As expected when lungs and kidneys were sick, the whole body is in total vain.
The hospital where he was admitted was simply one of the bests in the country as JCI accreditted: the service was really remarkable! They always do their best to give quality, safe, competent and compassionate care. But life sometimes is a major “Joker.”
You could have anything you want, but not life itself especially if the cell programmed death comes. None had ever found a way to cure this major killer–Death itself. Though Dolphy was gone, his jokes will remain in the lives of every Filipino. He was one of those who had a well-spent life. He’ s so awesomely different that none could be like Him—simply amazing with the laughter he provokes.
” I saw him once and my only impression is he was really born with —wit— which lightens people’s heart… that lasts forever. “