One of our favorite things to do while waiting for a friend during meet-ups is guessing what his opening line would be. Given our friends’ relatively whiny profile the first line is usually “HAY NAKO!”. The said friend would then proceed to narrate harrowing tales about hell-owship or residency or general pag-dodoktor with a few invectives inserted here and there. Interestingly Smoketh’s tale is not about hell-owship, residency, or general pag-dodoktor. It’s not even about weird men. Tonight her tale is quite domestic, in particular, her now domestic task of getting house help.
A week ago Smoketh, in desperation, has secured the services of an agency to provide them with two housemaids. Being a housemaid in Smoketh’s house would be harrowing in itself, as she has to not only scrub the floors. She also has to clean the moat, feed the crocodiles, polish antique cannons and silverware, and make sure everything is glistening down to the last lumiere and cogsworth.
The agency gave her a 59-year old and 23-year old female, who we shall falsely name here as Alice and Belle for easy reference. “Wala po ba kayong high blood, diabetes, hika, sakit sa puso, goiter, allergies, TB?” Smoketh asked. Medical history-taking and physical examination are apparently applicable to all sorts of things in real life. “Wala po!” the two jovially declared.
The next day as Smoketh was driving to Manila to meet with Frichmond and Quagmire, who should call her frantically on the phone but her very pregnant sister! “SMOKETH!” frantic sister screamed. “Bumalik ka dito! Si Alice (the 59 year-old), nag-CARDIAC ARREST!“
Smoketh immediately made a U-turn, imagining Alice suddenly dropping dead while cleaning the moat. So much for the walang high blood diabetes hika sakit sa puso goiter allergies TB! So much for her history-taking and physical examination skills! She arrived at East Avenue Medical Center where she is now a consultant (ahem), and found Alice perfectly alive. Not moving in bed, but perfectly alive. From being a consultant she suddenly crashed back to being an intern, as she took charge of pushing the stretcher, bringing the patient to the neighboring CT scan, etc. Everything was normal, and when she did the malingering test exam (where you try to hit the patient’s face with her own arm), she sort of suspected that it was not organic. Social workers finally managed to contact the relatives, etc etc etc, and after hours of stress they went home.
The very next day Smoketh was awoken by some yelling. They were contacted by their village security guard who discovered that Belle (the 23-year old) was… hiding behind the bushes carrying all her things!
“Bakit sya nagha-hide behind the bushes?!?” Smoketh asked. Apparently Belle, after having spent a couple of days in their mansion, suddenly missed her boyfriend and tried to go back to the province that same night. For Belle there was simply something there that wasn’t there before–loneliness.
“This agency sucks
,” Smoketh muttered under her breath as she fired Belle. A few seconds after muttering that under her breath she called the same agency… to ask for another housemaid. She talked to this new prospect first over the phone. “Wala po ba kayong high blood-diabetes-hika-goiter-allergies-TB-sakit sa puso?”
“WALA PO!” prospect jovially declared.
Thyra, this new prospect, arrived the next day. Smoketh saw her features as Thyra was walking towards her from a mile away: bulging eyes, huge anterior neck mass, cachexia, abdominal enlargement, some huffing and puffing as she walked, profuse sweating…
“THYROID STORM!!!!” Smoketh screamed.
“So hindi nyo na sya tinanggap, I guess,” I told Smoketh a few nights later as we were drinking in Whore House with Frichmond.
“Er… dinala ko sya sa clinic at pina X-ray, FT4 TSH, CBC, blood chem, ECG, abdominal ultrasound. Nakakuha nga ako ng discount eh ang galing!” Smoketh laughed nervously. “Pina-start ko sya ng methimazole. And then we accepted her.”
Frichmond could no longer contain her MALTA-ness (MAtapobreng ALta-ness). She flicked back her hair, brought out her abaniko, and fanned herself furiously. “OMG, ano ka, DSWD?!?”
For which we shall award Frichmond the MALTA Of The Year Award. Congratulations!