I’ve discovered how out of shape I am (indeed I only need to look in the mirror, but don’t interrupt) when I checked on a patient one day and discovered that he was dead. I looked around for a nurse or a manong, but there was no one sight so I yelled “code” as loud as I could and started the chest compression myself. So I compressed the chest one, two, three, and after the third compression I was… panting. I was out of breath, making a weird panting-yelping-whining combo sound as I gasped. Luckily someone barged in to save me from embarrassment (an insensitive thought really, when what I should have said was someone barged in to save the person from totally dying). It was once taught in basic and advanced life support that some of the reasons to stop resuscitating are if the person is brain dead, if there are already signs of lividity, and my favorite, if the one doing the resuscitating is exhausted. So don’t ever fall dead if I’m the only one in sight, I’d pronounce you in two minutes.
In the summer of 2004 I actually went to the gym for the first time. I know. There was a new gym near our house—it was new but it looked run-down, and you can use their treadmill with just your tsinelas on. After 30 minutes of walking down the treadmill I got totally dizzy, went to the bathroom and hurled. Then I tried those dumb bells. My arms were shaking and getting all wobbly from lifting those 10-lb dumb bells, but the flimsy girl beside me was doing the bench press with ease. The instructor or whatever must have noted how anxious I looked at that moment so he approached me, touched my shoulder, and said with much patronizing encouragement, “Iho… kaya mo yan.” And then some huge, muscular guy once asked me to spot him. I didn’t know what the fuck spotting meant, the word spotting instantly triggering thoughts of imminent abortion or something, so I said yes, and realized it meant I should watch over him as he bench pressed those crazy, enormous barbells. I was afraid—for him. If he got crushed under those huge things it would take me hours to dislodge them from his crushed sternum. The sheer boredom of that summer enabled me to frequent that gym for two months, and I remember making the vow that those two months worth of exercise should be good enough for five years. This is the fifth year, but fuck all if I should step in a gym ever again.