LAST Monday, August 9, my father, aged 81, died. And as you were reading this, dear readers, he is finally being laid to rest.
Exactly a month before, July 9, several weeks after fully recovering from COVID-19, he withdrew all his money in the bank, which my nieces found intact, unspent, later. It was added help for us in dealing with the expenses for his burial in this time of need. Was this “premonition” on his part? We cannot say.
Early dawn on Monday, several hours before he died, my sister-in-law, who was attending to him, said she saw my Dad silently crying, for reasons only known to him.
Past 8 am, my sister informed me that they have difficulty urging him to take his breakfast and medicine and past 10 am, he drew two heavy breaths and then he’s gone.
In frantic, they still rushed him to the public hospital where the medical staff still tried to revive him, to no avail, however. He was actually ‘DOA’ (dead on arrival) although he was officially declared dead at 1:49 p.m.
Two days before, August 7, he was brought to the hospital for an examination and although already vaccinated against COVID-19 (J&J) since July 22, was subjected to a swab test. The result was ‘negative’ for the virus.
The next day, he had his virtual medical check-up with his doctor where he still complained of shortness of breath. This was nothing new to us because he had an earlier bout with pneumonia and COVID-19 but he immediately recovered from them; he had recovered sufficiently that he was able to take his vaccine shot last July 22.
His doctor then prescribed some medicine for cough, antibiotic and scheduled him again for another chest X-ray. Of course this was no longer possible as he was dead the next day.
While still at the hospital, he was again subjected to another COVID-19 test and again, the result turned out to be negative, enabling the funeral parlor to get his body for embalming so we can start our wake. He arrived in a casket past 9 p.m. that Monday night.
The next day, my sister went to the city health office of San Pablo City for his death certificate that, in turn, was needed by the memorial park to prepare his plot for his scheduled burial this Thursday, August 12.
But lo and behold, the medical mandarins at the CHO decided to pronounced his death as “possible COVID-19 suspect.” How they arrived at this conclusion we do not know.
I had to literally quarrel with them the entire day because they arrogantly would not want to change their conclusion, which to us, are all “after the fact:” the fact that he tested negative twice from COVID-19; the fact that the hospital allowed his body to be taken out by the funeral parlor.
As a matter of rule these days, those found positive for COVID-19 must not be buried but instead, be cremated. And we are prepared of course, for the worst. But thankfully, the hospital said he tested negative, allowing the funeral parlor to do its job.
Now, two days into our bereavement, the “experts” said he was COVID-19 positive! And we only have two options: either he was cremated or be buried immediately, as in ASAP— as soon as possible.
On my part, I offered them one option— that they take my father’s body, cremate him and bury him themselves.
But thankfully, thanks to the help of Mayor Amben Amante and the staff of SBG, the matter was finally sorted out and yes, we are laying my father to rest as you are reading this.
(I also learned of a similar fate that befell one of our neighbours here in Bgy. San Jose, San Pablo City. But their experience was more tragic, painful and vicious—they had to bury their father, hurriedly, past midnight last week, because just like us, two days into their wake, the CSO declared his death as due to COVID-19).
In other words, our experience was nothing new but it seems to be an experience that is becoming “routine.” Karaniwan nang nangyayari.
There is of course a far darker side aside from this “sad story” as it raises the question, “Why are some doctors declaring some people dead due to COVID-19 in their death certificate despite testing negative for the virus?
And why is it that, based on some people’s observation back here, the majority of those who tested “positive” for COVID-19 are PhilHealth holders? Indeed, the joke around here in my old neighbourhood is that PhilHealth holders are more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 by the hospital.
“May PhilHealth ka? COVID positive ka!”
How much are hospitals and medical professionals getting from the government/PhilHealth for every COVID case they declare? How much is the government spending for every “COVID-related death” by way of assistance to their families?
In sum, how many billions of pesos are being bled from the government under the circumstances?
Is there another racket going on right under our noses that no one has figured out thus far?
Ano sa tingin mo, Sen. Bong Go?