I was never been a huge fan of New Year’s Eve celebrations. From spending it with family at home, to partying with friends in overpriced and overcrowded clubs, to being stuck in a snowstorm, to simply enjoying it on my own - I have had it all. I was indifferent to NYE. This year was to be different. These were the first holidays my family got to spend together again after 4 years and after a blissful Christmas, we were off to Boracay to spend the remaining days of 2008 at the beach. Despite the stress of traveling – read delayed flights and failed landing – we were all excited to get to enjoy the beautiful white beach. Also to make things more meaningful, this was also the first time D’s and my family were to spend a vacation together. Everyone was in high spirits! But lucky me it didn’t last.
On the day before NYE I started feeling feverish and sick, but I figured a little rest would do the trick. The next day I was still not my old jolly self so I ordered myself more sleep since I wanted to be fit and healthy for the night’s celebration. I started having stomach cramps and know something was wrong. For NYE dinner we were all booked at Seawind. Our friend’s band was playing when we got there, we were seated by the beach, lights were lit all over and some fireworks were being fired over the water. My stomachache got so bad, that I couldn’t even eat. Instead of pigging out on a scrumptious buffet, I had two cups of chamomile tea… And while everyone was having fun and enjoying themselves, I felt miserable. At 10pm I was in so much pain, I asked D. to bring me back to my room.
We spent midnight watching Pirates of the Caribbean on TV. For years, my sweetheart has been looking forward to spending NYE in Boracay, see the (so they say) impressive fireworks and party until dawn. And now here we were and he missed it for me. A couple of hours later, his parents, who are both doctors, examined me and told me it might be appendicitis but that we should wait until the morning. So I tried to sleep. At 7am, his dad came to check on me again and decided we should fly me back to Manila as soon as possible. If the diagnosis proved to be true, if was safer and easier for me to be in Manila and have the appendectomy performed there. A doctor from the D’Mall clinic arrived and set me an IV – I have a deep aversion to needles. While everyone was frantically calling fully booked airlines and even considered chartering a plane, I realized that not only was I never excited about New Year but also that I was just experiencing the worst start into the new year ever.
With all the commotion around me, everything from then on feels like a movie. We decided to try out as chance passengers, so we got into a van to the jettyport. I remember getting into the boat with D. holding my IV-bag. At the Caticlan airport I found myself sitting in a wheelchair, while my mom negotiated with the airline. As I wasn’t allowed to bring the IV into the plane, D’s dad had to remove it then and there. Blood spilled all over – I also have a deep aversion to blood! Other tourists were staring at me and I just remembered thinking that my stomachache wasn’t even as bad anymore. Back in Manila, we went straight to the hospital and a few tests and waits later, I was lying on the operating table begging the anesthesiologist to knock me out properly!
I don’t recall much of the few hours after waking up, aside from the pain of course. D. stayed at hospital throughout my stay, sleeping on a tiny bench next to me, nursing me and simply keeping me company... At least I’m now sure he’ll stick to me in sickness and in health! I was in pain for almost a week, walking as fast a turtle and not being able to sleep on my tummy. I had to postpone the starting date of my new job. I have an ugly scar to remind me of January 1, 2009. It was dramatic, painful and threw everyone’s plans off. But aside from starting the year with a bang, I also started it surrounded by love. Hey, maybe NYE is not so bad after all…