Monday, April 28, 2003

Weekend Ritual

We have relatives in living in San Lazaro, Manila. They show up to share lunch and dinner with us every weekend. Despite our dissimilarity in appearance, the discrepancy in chromosome pairs, as well as their funky names, I say that they MUST be related to the family. After all, why else would the Old Man include them when he rounds up his relatives for a trip to my house? Y'know, despite the evil threat of SARS?

"Oh, Hi, King Abuk. Please pass the salt, Wind Dancer. Hmm. Yes, I think I'll try the oats. One lump of sugar, or two?"

Pop and his brother are horse-racing nerds and incorrigible bettors.

Famous Landmark

San Lazaro is famous for its racing horses and its hippodrome. It's also famous for its hospital, which used to house celebrities famous in medical circles.

Before she died, I was there to interview Sara Jane Salazar* for my Sociology 101 group paper. Essentially we asked her what life with AIDS was like. She didn't provide much information, as even in 1994 she showed signs of camera and reporter fatigue. The staff at San Lazaro were also very protective of her. We got more from Dolzura Cortez*, a Person With AIDS who also had to take up residency (or at least spend a huge chunk of her time) at the same hospital.

I was about to add Evil Dex to that list of patients. Well, not because I had a fatal sexually transmitted disease; I was going there for rabies shots. You got them cheap there. My girlfriend got herself inocculated against Mad Dog Syndrome there. But that was before the arrival of SARS. Thanks to that blasted disease, people are warning me away from that place (and malls, and trains...), nagging me so I don't go. I'll have to postpone my visit for a while.

Prior to today, I didn't see what's got people in a bind over it. After all, the death rate was only 5 percent. Typhoid --and I survived my run-in with Salmonella-- is at 33%. Most people who caught the SARS bug experienced bad flu juju. Severe SARS cases got some form of "atypical pneumonia." Five out of every hundred died, but the rest presumably got over it.

Then it hit me: SARS is suspected to be a previously unknown variant the virus species that cause the common cold. While everybody inevitably catches a cold, nobody dies of one in this day and age. That is...

Until SARS.

Okay. Point taken. But it's still just a damn cold, The epidemic will run its course, and someone will find a vaccine, or we'll develop our own defenses against it. Obsessing over one more item on the list of the many ways people die doesn't make our collective situation any better. In the meantime, I'll take my liquids, rest and vitamins. And my rabies shots ...as soon as the family alarms go silent.

Cavite Update

Well, it's Tuesday. The kiddie classes begin today. Wish me luck.

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*not their real names

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