Last evening, as I was heading out for some coffee and relaxation the power failed. I left the house anyway and ventured outside to the side of the dark National Highway to catch a taxi. As I was waiting I noticed a group of people wandering about in the road. I was thinking `what the hell is wrong with those idiots’ when mass confusion developed in the middle of the highway.
Vehicles were swerving, horns blaring, people were shouting as more entered the roadway. Eventually the traffic halted and I realized, somewhat disbelievingly, that my youngest stepson, Frank, was injured and being loaded onto a motorcycle by a man and woman who promptly drove off in the direction of the city.
I ask some bystanders what the hell just happened… I learn that Frank was grazed by a vehicle and that he was being taken to the Provincial Hospital. As we were speaking Frank’s sister and the two adult ladies who had been `caring’ for him appeared. They boarded a jeepney and left withought even giving me a chance to board.
I hailed a taxi and proceeded to the Provincial Hospital emergency room. The scene was reminiscent of a field medical hospital with bloodied floor, blood stained plastic chairs, gurneys with injured patients and throngs of family and hospital personnel milling about.
I found Frank sitting on bloodstained chair looking frightened but OK, other than a badly scraped left knee. No doctor had yet had a look at him, and attention did not appear to be imminent. The people who had accompanied Frank to the hospital arrived from the admitting area and I told them that I would step outside and call a friend, a prominent surgeon at the hospital, and ask for his help in getting Frank examined and discharged. My friend immediately called the doctor in charge of the ER, and by the time that I got back inside the doctor was examining Frank. There were no serious injuries. They put some Povidone Iodine on the scrapes and gave us some prescriptions to get.
Somewhat to my surprise the couple that had brought Frank to the hospital offered to purchase the medications at their expense. I learned that they were neighbors, that I had not met, during the three years I had lived in the same house. Another neighbor was also there and was comforting Frank. That is one of the things I love about The Philippines. Neighbors and friends you barely know will often be there to do what they can to help in a time of need.
Frank’s Mother and older sister were in Bukidnon visiting a relative. I decided to wait for a bit to call and let her know what had happened, and suggested, with Frank’s approval, that we go to The Park Cafe and have a snack before heading home. We would call his mother from there, which I hoped would help assure her that he was, in fact, OK. Following the snacks we returned home in a taxi. I put a good dressing on the wounds and all but me went to bed and were soon asleep. Frank’s mother and sister will be back in the morning.
As I sit here, at 4:50 am, I am thinking that all ended well, a young boy learned a valuable lesson the hard way, without serious injury, and I learned that I have some terrific neighbors. Not a good day, but all is well that ends well. My day has ended well.