It was a fine Saturday evening in November and what better way to spend it than by going fishing, thought Noli, a teenage boy who lives in a fishing community with his parents and brothers. The sea was just slightly rough, indeed an ideal time for catching fish. He invited his older brother Lonie (22) to come with him. Both brothers had their own home-made fishing rods which they brought with them.
Noli was aware that his brother Lonie had epileptic fits and that it could be risky for him to be in the water. Nevertheless Lonie appeared fine and was eager to go fishing too. Half an hour later however there was a commotion on the seashore when Neljin, a cousin of the two boys, screamed that Lonie was drowning! He happened to be strolling on the shore when he saw a pair of flip-flops on the sand with his electric torch. And then he saw Lonie floating on the water! Immediately he ran to him and brought him out of the water, called out to his wife Diday to help him. Soon a small group of people had gathered on the shore. A distressed Noli joined them as well. He was some distance away from Lonie and so only became aware that his brother was drowning when Neljin shouted. He then saw that reddish water started to flow out of his brother’s mouth as Neljin and his wife held him (Lonie) upside down. Then he ran home to tell his parents.
Neighbours then helped the family get Lonie to the nearest hospital. He was still frothing at the mouth and was gasping for breath when they got there. Unfortunately the rural hospital staff said that they were not adequately equipped to treat Lonie and so told Perly to take him to the provincial hospital in Bacolod. They were kind enough though to give Lonie a fresh change of clothes before putting him on an ambulance.
It was around two o’clock in the morning when Lonie and his mother Perly (46) and brother Nilo Jr. (17) got to the provincial hospital in Bacolod. Even at that time, there were a lot of patients in the Emergency Room but thankfully doctors attended to Lonie right away. He had an x-ray as well as a CT scan, the results of which were not available by the time Lonie was discharged from the hospital three days later.
Perly (46) was advised by Lonie’s doctor at the provincial hospital to have him checked up by a neurologist. She and her husband Nilo (51) are really keen to do this but the cost of getting medical treatment for their son is beyond their reach. They can hardly make ends meet; let alone have funds for a big medical expense. Nilo earns a living from fishing and his earnings are only just enough to buy food, meet basic needs and provide pocket money for Noli and Nilo Jr. when they go to school.
We in the PSHF would like to help Lonie to live as normal a life as possible and so we are providing a grant of 30,000 pesos towards this end. This amount will cover the cost of medical checkups, including procedures such as an x-ray and an EEG; doctor’s fees; prescriptions and pocket money for the trips to Bacolod, the provincial capital, where Lonie will be checked up. Perly and Nilo are deeply grateful to the PSHF for this assistance.
Bernadette G. Togado
PSHF Negros Occidental-South