24th April 2007
I wish I did not have to spin those three phrases together to tell this story, but spin them I must.
When I first stayed with Reza at Dumangas Country Village, it was as a boarder. Some of my volunteer fees were given to Reza from accommodation and board. My second stay was as friend. So Reza – bless her heart – did not ask for a single peso from me. I felt a little guilty about this, but such in the Filipino way. As a way of saying thank you, I put some money towards a mountain of food that would feed the folks attending my low-key leaving party.
I was playing a game of Get-The-Basketball-Off-Tito-Malcolm with the ever adorable Nicole and Ken-Ken (who is surely destined to become a professional wrestler) just before we were about to eat.
I'm not sure how it happened, but all of a sudden, Nicole fell backwards from the melee and hit her head on the concrete to the sound of a sickening thud. She looked a little shocked, but did not cry. I picked her up and gave her a cuddle. She stayed quiet for a couple of seconds and then started thrashing around in hysterics.
Mama Reza swooped in and took her off and calmed her down in a way that only a Mama can. Nicole calmed down but remained eerily quiet. She was whisked away to Reza's room where she was attended to by Rino, Reza's brother and a trained nurse.
I was left outside and felt like a complete idiot. Nicole was in my care, and I had somehow failed. This only added to the isolation I felt that I mentione over here.
Rino popped in and out of Reza's room and quizzed Ken Ken (4 years old) and I as to what exactly happened.
Nicole was still not crying. Little children are supposed to cry when they are hurt. Nicole threw up a couple of times and people were getting even more distraught.
The decision was made to whish Nicole off to the hospital. The mood of the party had taken a nose dive and the rest of the guests left.
I was basically left alone in the house to stew with my guilt. Not knowing what was wrong only added to my anxiety. Rino – being the wise nurse that he is – popped in to see how I was doing.
I didn't get much sleep that night. Thoughts of swollen brains dogged my thoughts.
Reza texted me in the morning to apologize (!) for not attending the party. Nicole had an I.V. placed in her arm at the hospital and slept peacefully through the night while concerned family and friends paced nervously around her bed.
I saw Nicole again in the afternoon. She seemed her normal chirpy self and gave me a big " Tito Malcolm" hug as soon as she saw me. What a great kid!
I suspect she suffered a mild concussion from the fall. Thankfully, not
permanent damage was done.
2005, 2006 and 2007 Malcolm Trevena.