Tulong para kay Tinna

My mother Tinna Bonifacio and I during a trip to Baguio City last year.
In an episode of Grey’s Anatomy’s seventh season titled “The Golden Hour,” resident Lexie Grey fails to realize that her patient’s migraine is actually indicative of a stroke. Luckily her big sister Meredith, the show’s titular character, saves the day and their patient’s life. Later on in the episode, the elder Dr. Grey was shown scolding her sister.

“I know you know the signs of a stroke. How could you miss this?” Meredith asked a horrified Lexie. “You know this kind of headache can be a precursor to a stroke.”

As you all may know, my mother Tinna Bonifacio, the Senior Editor of StarStudio magazine, had a stroke as well last June 2. She was rushed to St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City by two of her officemates, Sey Palma and Zeny Orfano-Gonzales. Because they got her to SLMC in less than four hours—which doctors refer to as the “golden period” for stroke patients—the risk of my mother sustaining long-term brain damage was significantly reduced.

Sey and Ms. Zeny’s quick thinking went a really long way towards saving my mother’s life. But now that I think about it, maybe this whole thing could’ve been prevented if I hadn’t pulled a Lexie. You see, a day or two before my mother had the stroke, she was complaining that she had a splitting headache herself. Looking back, part of me feels that if I had insisted she see a doctor when all she had was a splitting headache, maybe she wouldn’t be in the state she is now.

Unfortunately, I didn’t remember what happened in “The Golden Hour” until yesterday evening, long after I got home from visiting my mother at the hospital. If only the events of that episode had come back to me earlier, maybe I could’ve prevented this. I also feel like the stress of helping me recover from my mental illness while trying to earn a living finally got to her. People have told me that this isn’t my fault, but I still can’t help feeling responsible.

These feelings of guilt and loneliness have been plaguing me since my mother was admitted last June 2. She spent most of the last three weeks in SLMC’s Neuro Critical Care Unit, until her doctors pronounced her well enough to be transferred into a private room. She’s been there since Monday, June 20.

For the most part, that development is cause for celebration, as it means she’s on the mend. But I feel lonely because I’m so used to having her around 24/7. We do almost everything together. We even sleep in the same room because some nights I wake up crying due to an anxiety attack and she’s the one who calms me down. But now that she’s in the hospital and I’m not allowed to spend the night in her room, I have to fend for myself.

So far I’ve been managing to keep the house and myself in order, but I honestly do feel like I’m down an arm or a leg because my mother isn’t here to help me with those things. Daily life was difficult enough for me when all I had to deal with was my mental illness. Imagine how much harder it has become now that I have to do without my mother’s sage advice or warm hugs—at least for the time being.

Tbh, it would’ve been easier for me to give in to my guilt and loneliness by taking to my bed and refusing to leave it for anyone or anything, but I haven’t. I want to make my mother proud of me, so I’m doing my best to push past my own condition. There are days when that comes easily to me and there are days when it doesn’t, but the important thing is I’m trying.

My mother is trying as well. Now that she’s in a private room, her therapy has begun in earnest, and her doctors tell me she’s doing really well. One of her private duty nurses even told me that her recovery is progressing faster than most stroke patients. (I’ve been holding on to the doctors' and nurses’ encouraging words like a shipwrecked person would to a life preserver.)

Although my mother never lost consciousness at any point during the last three weeks, she’s much more awake and responsive now compared to when she was admitted. She can now eat ice cream, soup and yogurt, and she was even able to scroll through Facebook when I gave her cell phone to her yesterday. Sure, I had to hold it for her while she used her left hand to navigate the site, but I was thrilled when I saw her do that, as I was when I asked if she remembers certain things, and she indicated that she does.

My mother’s a fighter—which I’m told is very important, because the more a stroke patient wants to recover, the better—but she needs lots and lots of help, specifically with all her medical expenses. After nearly three weeks in SLMC, the bill has reached astronomical proportions. I’ve done what I can to help out and so have some of my relatives (which I appreciate), but we still have a long way to go financially.

Whoever is reading this can help us keep my mother on the road to recovery by depositing any amount to my maternal grandmother Boots Bonifacio’s account. Every little bit goes a long, long way. Her banking details are as follows:

Ma. Victoria Bonifacio

BDO Acct. # 140163794

BPI Acct. # 9603001637

After you’ve made a deposit, please let me or my Lola Bu know by texting us at 09157160469 and 09175361708.

My mother is getting better, but she’s not out of the woods yet. Unfortunately, the kind of medical care SLMC has been giving her is costly. She and I can’t win this battle alone. We need your help. Kailangan talaga namin ng tulong para kay Tinna. Kahit magkano makakatulong.

Thank you very much in advance.


The old Julian can't come to the phone right now.

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