A Quadriplegic’s Autobiography by JQuisumbing
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Chapter 1 – He is Real
I wish I could say that I knew God well when I was growing up. I knew of Him though. How could I not? My Lola… I mean my grandmother and other relatives would continually tell me that God had great plans for me because I was very special. You see, I was considered a… quote, quote… living walking miracle.
Back in 1958, on my very first birthday, I became a victim of Poliomyelitis. Commonly called the poliovirus, it was a highly infectious disease that mostly affected children under the age of 5. The virus was spread person to person and attacked the nervous system, and in some instances, it either led to paralysis and/or death. And I was literally at death’s door… according to my Dad’s story.
I was an active infant. It was said that I was up on my feet when I was around 5 months old. My Dad told me that our nanny would chase after me all the time. It was when my Mom noticed that both my sister and I were uncharacteristically quiet that she went to look into us. She found us still lying in our cribs with an extremely high fever. Because I had a cousin of the same age who showed the same symptoms and was already diagnosed as infected with polio, she quickly separated my sister and I from the rest of our siblings. But it was not long until I had to be hospitalized because of breathing problems. Then, my Dad went into action.
I was in critical condition. The doctors said that my lungs were filling with liquid leaving only less than a third of one lung free. They told my Dad that I may not survive the night, but he did not accept that. He literally fought to keep me alive. His first opponent was with a nun… to be specific, the mother-superior-in-charge of nurses.
I had a tracheostomy (a trachea, for short), which was a tube inserted through a hole in my throat into the windpipe. It was through the trachea that a nurse would carefully insert another tube to suction out the liquid out of my lungs. Of course, I have no memory of this, since I was just a baby. However, I used to have a recurring dream that I was a milkshake with a green striped straw sticking out of me and someone sucking the life out of me. LOL. Anyway, my Dad knew that it was a very tricky procedure that could have easily gone wrong and I would have been dead. Now, during the most crucial time, I was in the hands of two wonderful nurses who were experts in the procedure. My Dad made sure that they had everything they needed. Anyway, a couple of days later, to his horror, he found another nurse with less experience hovering over me trying to figure out what to do. Apparently, the mother-superior-in-charge of nurses felt that the two original nurses were being given preferential treatment and she wanted no jealousy among the nursing staff. According to my uncle, my Dad who wielded his government position as Chief State Prosecutor around made such a ruckus that the head of the hospital intervened and the two expert nurses were back to take care of me. Two weeks later, I was out of danger. For my Dad, one giant was vanquished and no, I’m not referring to the nun. But he still had an even bigger giant to defeat.
To be continued…
Click here to read Chapter 1 Part 3