Tuesday, December 02, 2008

God plays little tricks on us sometimes

In one of the pre-celebrations of our 30th foundation anniversary, I saw someone who I think looked familiar although I wasn't really very sure. I may not be very good with names but I have a good memory for faces. However, the more I looked at him, the more I failed to remember who he was. Since I was kind of busy then, I dismissed the thought and went on with what I was doing.

Then, last week, I just confirmed that I knew him. He was a former student of mine. As a matter of fact, our valedictorian in 1989, our school paper's editor at the time and recipient of our Man of Letters. The reason I couldn't recognize him then was because he is suffering from an affliction. He developed a dystonia as a result of a brain stroke "...from a ruptured AVM ( Arterio-Venous Malformation, an abnormal collection of fragile blood vessels like arteries and veins, in my particular case, my brain".

His name is Richard Buencamino. When he graduated with honors, we knew he would go places. True enough, he was accepted in the U.P. College of
Medicine's INTARMED program( an accelerated 7- year medical curriculum which only accepts the top 20 males & top 20 females in the Philippine) and was awarded as one of the outstanding interns in Surgery,ENT & Family Medicine. He passed the medical board right after that and was accepted to the Combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics(4 years instead of 6 years of Internal Medicine & Pediatrics when done separately).

How can something go wrong with all these credentials? He is young, bright and full hope. However, God has other plans for this young man. One day while he was making his rounds in the hospital, he had the attack. As if that wasn't enough, while he was recovering from this, "(he) developed a terrible illness called Dystonia, secondary to the stroke(involuntary contraction of various muscles in my body like the tongue, eyelids, esophagus and neck)" disabling most of his bodily functions like speech due to involuntary contraction of the tongue, (he communicates through a voice synthesizing device and pen and paper). He also has an impaired vision at times and has to pry his eyes wide open to see. He cannot eat solid food and has to have his sustenance pass through a tube that is connected to his belly. His left ear has gone and can only hear through his right ear. Even his balance is way off and has to be assisted to stand and walk as a result of abnormal contractions on his head and neck.

But amidst all these trials, he has not surrendered his resolve. He turned to writing poetry and drawing. In spite of all those contractions, he still tries to write and draw from his heart. If there is one thing that this young man has, it is his will to live and his passion for life. While I was browsing through his writings, I remember distinctly something that he wrote. "Good food is not served on a platter twice." I had occasion to read his poetry and I had a hard time keeping my tears to myself as I read one of his poems that speaks to his 8 year old daughter. I hope it would be alright for me to reprint it here.

LAURYN, I love you very much!
9:30 am 10-10-08 by DAD

Lauryn, my daughter, I think of you in my solitude
Feeding my Jevity cans through my feeding tube,
I cannot talk, eat or walk properly
And my head turns to the right… o, Lord help me.

But I think of my loving daughter there in the U.S.
Who still has to hear me utter those words…
Oh Lauryn I yearn to talk & be with you,
Like a normal regular father would do.

How I yearn to carry you
Up in the heavens… the sky,
Where the mighty winds can blow your lush hair,
As you graciously go by.

There are so many things I long to give you dear,
So many dreams I desire to bestow but I fear,
That they may not come true
Yet, I know that GOD can make
the radiant sun emanate from this blue.

I remember the house by the beach,
The BMW SUV your Mom & I followed
but could not reach,
Yes, that house you were supposed to have
A party your friends & barkadas will simply love

I know with every fiber of my dystonic being,
That GOD is great every single time
Like that good old mailman HE always delivers
His graces to poor lonely souls
like us who always quiver.

So keep your chin up,
Lauryn, you are blessed from above,
GOD put us here for a purpose
We in due time will discern His love.

Lauryn, Eryn, I love you very, very much!
You may not know this fact,
Because I have been a stubborn fool
in all 8 springs that has passed,
I know that we will triumph,
In GOD we will always be exuberant!


Anonymous said...

He reminds me of a super genius uncle of mine about my age who recently suffered from stroke as well. It's a good thing it was just a mild stroke. I think it was purposely to remind him to slow down. My Uncle is also an over achiever so it must be the pressure huh? He is back to treating patients now but cannot do surgeries yet.


rolly said...

Ting I don't think Richard can go to work at this time yet. He has to have help just to stand and walk and could not feed through his mouth. But I'm sure his very productive brain can still do wonders.

Panaderos said...

That was a very moving piece he wrote. I hope he'll get to enjoy many more years of love and happiness with his family

bing said...

this made me cry. it spoke about the love and aspirations of a father to his child/children but he cannot be able to give them. how it relates to me because hubby is also a victim of stroke that caused him to be paralyzed (left body). he sometimes speak to his children about he wanted to become and what he wanted to give them. it breaks my heart. it really breaks my heart. i know til now, the thought haunts him. it never left.

rolly said...

Panaderos Sana nga. We are still hopeful that he'll recover from this.

Bing I'm sorry to hear about your husband's condition as well. Ang hirap siguro ng ganong estado na you seem to be helpless and seeing your children grow.

Jet said...

This is almost like the story of the journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby, who, at the time he got sick was editor-in-chief of Elle magazine. He had a stroke and when he woke up, his whole body was paralyzed save for some movement of his head and left eye. In this condition, he wrote a very moving memoir which was also turned into a movie, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. He wrote it with the help of assistants to whom he dictated using blinking motions of the one eyelid that he could move. I guess such is the tenacity of the human spirit.

Anonymous said...

Musta na Ka Rolly,

Very inspiring story of a bright man.

I was trying to look for a link of your email address on ur profile to no avail. I'd like to send you pix of my first attempt at Transparent Cubism, for your critique.

If u could email me at kiwinoy@yahoo.co.nz so I can reply back with my attachments.


Eric (a.k.a Kiwinoy)

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rolly said...

Jet Galing ano. It just proves that cliche of if there's a will, there's a way, doesn't it?

kiwinoy I just emailed you. Natanggap mo ba?

blogger You're site is taking forever to download.

BlogusVox said...

When I come home after work, I'll hug my daughter very tight and kiss her cheeks till it turn cherry red.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ka Rolly,
i emailed the pix. i hope u received my email.

Everlito (ever) Villacruz said...

madalas akong asarin ng beybi ko minsan,kasi lagi ko daw siyang sinasabihan ng aylabyu!..sabi ko,anak,pareho man bigkasin pero iba iba ang kahulugan nyan araw araw.:)

rolly said...

Blogusvox Those were exactly my thoughts.

Kiwinoy Yes, I got your email. MArami pa lang akong ginagawa at finals sa school namin. Sorry. I'll get back to you soon.

Ever Good answer. :-) Wait until your daughter is a teen ager at kahit kiss, pagdadamutan ka na haha

Anonymous said...

Hi, Sir!
While watching over my sleeping baby, I was surprised to have found your blog, BUT, I was shocked to learn about Richard. He was my classmate and was with him in the school paper.
If he is the same person as he was then, I'm sure he will be able to find the will to recover, with God's help.
will pray for him...

rolly said...

anonymous Hello! I'm glad you've found my blog. What happened to Richard is very unfortunate. He came up with a book of poems about what happened to it. I helped a little with the design and wrote the foreword. Did you attend the homecoming last Saturday? I think Richard attended it. I just hope the book came out that day so that his former classmates could get a copy. Anyway, I hope you signed your message. It's so nice getting re acquainted with former students. Keep in touch.

RICHARD said...

Hi Anonymous!
This is Richard Buencamino...please leave your email address with Sir Rolly & will write to you...ok? Thx! Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

BlogusVox said...

I would like to greet you personally kaya lang 'di ko alam ang email address mo.

Merry Christmas to you and your loveones, Ka Rolly!

watson said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family! - Nick, Tina, and Jo-Lo

RICHARD said...

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to all!

Panaderos said...

I just stopped by to wish you and your dear family a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year! I've always enjoyed reading your entries and I know I'll continue to enjoy the ones to come. Take care, Sir!

Btw, I just want to let you know too that I've moved my blog to Wordpress. My new site address is http://hometownboy.wordpress.com/. Thank you very much. :)

cbs said...

merry Christmas, titorolls...

Miki said...

Hello po. I told my mom about this and she wanted to read your entry so I e-mailed it to her na lang, I hope you don't mind.

rolly said...

Richard I don't suppose she's a regular reader. I hope she chances upon this one again and I'm sure going to make you guys hook up again. Happy New Year to you. How's the book going? Hope you liked the final printing.

blogusvox Happy New Year to you.

WAtson And to you and yours as well. How's New Zealand these days?

PAnaderos Happy new year din. Next time you come home again, meet with us naman.

cbs Happy New Year Sir!

miki Give her the whole blog to read hehehe It will be my pleasure knowing I've earned another visitor.

BTW, I've seen a video of my son's band. Watch out for it.

Happy New Year to you all.

lisa conroy said...

Rich...our Stratford neighbor...we think of you and your family so often. I remember the day Leilani told us of your stroke and how devastated we were. Your poetry is beautiful, incredibly touching and a true inspiration.

Lots of love,
Lisa and Shawn

gagalingsadiyos said...

Hi Lisa & Shawn,

It is nice to see your comment here:) This blog was created back in 2008 by my highschool teacher , Mr.Rolly de los Santos.I still remember how athletic Shawn was...I think I remember tht we played basketball once. Do you still live in Short Beach? Send me an email :gagalingsadiyos@gmail.com

rolly said...

lisa Thanks. I will relay your message to Richard.

Richard said...

Hi Shawn & Lisa,

It is nice to finally reconnect after all these years...I still recall playing basketball with Shawn one afternoon, years ago. Let us catch up and rekindle old memories...email me at gagalingsadiyos@gmail.com:)


Lisa Conroy said...

Hi Rich!!! I'm just now seeing your response!!! I'm so sorry for the delay! Shawn still loves and plays basketball. He's at the gym with the kids this morning. We moved from Short Beach shortly after your AVM. I am sending an email now. Please let me know if your email has changed.