LAST week, this column skipped out for the weekend in order to witness a miracle that I shall write about later.
This week, a piece about another miracle, penned by a former student who prefers to remain anonymous, though I can safely say that his grandparents used to own a famous tailoring shop on Session Road.
“We were on the way back from a resort in Asin to town on the Sunday afternoon of Oct 22, 2017. We were in a convoy of motorcycles traveling together, and perhaps the inevitable happened; I crashed but was conscious enough to get on my feet until I was told to lie down.
“Amongst the many reasons that I crashed, to simply put it: I was irresponsible about my decisions. I was later on that day rushed to a hospital ER where they explained what happened to me when I crashed on the highway: I broke my face. The crash caused the nasal area of my face to slam into concrete, since I was wearing a half-faced helmet.
“Surgery was needed and plates had to be implanted to reconstruct my face. PCSO assistance would’ve taken forever since I had to present the case of why I needed medical assistance. But being blessed with family, most of what I needed for my operation was arranged.
“I was operated on the following day at around 9:00 p.m., when necessary Titanium implants had arrived from Manila. The surgeon, who was also a relative of mine, took about seven hours to reconstruct what was left of my face. This type of surgery is called maxillofacial reconstruction.
“The type of damage to my face is known as Le Fort II, where there was bone loss and multiple fractures. Surgery, according to the doctor, was difficult but not impossible. Long story short, they cut my face open and reconstructed what was left of my skull inside my head.
“I emerged from the OR with my face in bandages and I was blind for the following three days. Upon regaining vision, I was able to be somehow be independent in actions like trying to eat or even going to the bathroom. The doctor and his associates later on explained to my family and me that healing would take a while.
“I was numb in the face and told that regaining feeling would take 8-12 months; I was instructed a diet of only cold, soft food so that my face wouldn’t have too much tension while eating. I was discharged on Saturday, the same week I was admitted.
“In that year of recovery that followed, I had a few minor complications that ended with two more minor surgeries. Today, I have regained most of the feeling and movement in my face.
“Apart from the lessons I've learn from my horrible accident and actions, there is the sad observation that many of those who need medical assistance in hospitals find themselves trapped in a waiting game to get the help they need from the government.
“Surgeries that could've been done overnight can take months to happen because of the flaw in our medical and health system. Jobs lost, everyone mentally and physically tired; all because the help they need, they cannot get.”
I had heard about this accident on the grapevine, and found myself most pleasantly surprised when I bumped into this former student sometime in 2018. He looked like there had been no accident, and there we were, in the middle of a busy sidewalk, catching up with each other, mainly me asking to know everything about his reconstructive surgery.
It was a miracle that he survived a horrific crash, a miracle that his face and some other parts of his body had been restored like magic in a Baguio hospital, a miracle that he lives to tell the tale.
Next week, about that surgeon who does maxillofacial reconstructive surgery...