“THERE ARE times when your heart is overflowing with love for her,” says Ruby of her mother. “And there are times when you really want to kill her.”
Ruby is not her real name. Her mother, now 62, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 24 years ago. Also called manic-depressive illness, what her mother has is a long-term brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function. While every person goes through normal ups and downs in his or her life, people with bipolar disorder suffer from severe symptoms that can result in damaged relationships, poor performance at work or school, and, for many, even suicide.
HOW DO we say we’re stressed in Filipino?
We don’t. Well, at least not in a way that we would in English: I am stressed. It just doesn’t work out; we don’t, as far as I know, have a word in any of our Philippine languages for stress and being stressed.
I HAD no intention of becoming the embodiment of all ills that the Millennium Development Goals stand to eradicate. But that’s pretty much what I was when I found myself jobless, single, and with a 15-month-old baby suffering her second bout of pneumonia in the span of six months and now diagnosed with primary complex.
ZOE DE la Torre didn’t mind that her surgery at the plush, marble-floored St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City cost P700,000. Not even if she could have had the procedure in one of Italy’s government hospitals for free. As a permanent resident of Italy, where she has worked selling medical instruments for the last 25 years, she enjoys that privilege. But she says she would be undergoing a “very delicate” procedure, and she wanted to make sure she was comfortable.
BREAST OR bottle?
That may seem a no-brainer to many, but it’s a question that’s still throwing mothers, activists, government officials, medical experts, milk manufacturers, and apparently even U.S. diplomats in the throes of deep distress. To think that two decades ago, health officials had considered the matter already settled with the passage of the groundbreaking Milk Code, which aimed to protect breastfeeding and regulate the promotion of breast-milk substitutes. Yet officials say that instead of seeing more mothers breastfeed, the opposite has been happening. And those who still breastfeed are doing so for shorter periods of time.
BUT not quite with the look that we wanted just yet, and it may take a few more weeks before this nth transformation of i Report is completed. We couldn’t wait, however, because while we may not be married to any format, we are certainly committed to our readers and to what we do. For richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health.
THE GOVERNMENT’S Avian Influenza Protection Program (AIPP) says that should the lethal H5N1 bird-flu strain enter the country and infect a poultry farm, military and agriculture officials will cull all feathered animals within a three-kilometer radius to halt the spread of the virus. These animals will include ducks, broilers, quail and, yes, even pampered fighting cocks.
THE USUALLY frenzied Recto district in downtown Manila slows down on Sundays, as schools and most shops take a day off. At the Arranque market, however, Sunday is as busy as any other day of the week. Home to numerous pet shops, Arranque is astir seven days a week as buyers and sellers haggle amid cages containing yelping puppies, hamsters running inside their plastic play wheels, and parrots cloaked in a rainbow of feathers that seem as soft as felt.
UP A FLIGHT of stairs, in a room with red, yellow, purple, and green walls, the talk is all about sex, all of the time. This is, after all, the hotline center of the Teen Foundation for Adolescent Development (FAD), an organization dedicated to adolescent health. In this room, among a few potted plants, counselors are always ready to answer calls from youths and discuss with them the consequences of premarital or unprotected sex.
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