One of my patients, Sr. T, had just completed her radiation therapy, and she’ll soon be going to Italy to continue with her other treatments (surgery, chemo). Before leaving she gave me a rosary from the Vatican, and a locally made blueberry pie. I’ve had many patients who were priests and nuns over the years, and they frequently gave me rosaries as well as religious souvenirs from the seminary/convent. I never charged them any professional fees, but they still had to buy their mostly expensive chemotherapy meds. This made me realize that some orders are really wealthier than others. To quote Sr. T: Mahirap lang kami.
I laid down the blueberry pie on the examining table, beside a fruit basket that was also just given by another patient. Strictly speaking it wasn’t a fruit “basket”: the fruits were placed on a small bilao, and wrapped in a bright yellow cellophane, the kind used on yema and polvoron. It was very… offertory. When we were in grade school being assigned to do the offertory was considered a prime role: you didn’t really have to go up the podium and exhibit public speaking skills, but you still got a lot of airtime as you walked through the long aisle, carrying a cellophane-wrapped fruit basket that somebody else had purchased.
Other gifts I got today: a Starbucks sandwich, which I would have eaten for lunch had I not just eaten my baon of menudo and cold rice. A patient also gave me two tubs of delicious home-made crinkles. I don’t usually eat crinkles, but when I saw that the nurses enjoyed theirs I had to try one. I also received two huge bars of the classic panliligaw chocolate of the 90’s: Toblerone, which places second as the national panliligaw chocolate to the one, the only… Ferrero Rocher.