Our Medical Furlough and the Snow Came Down!
by ‘Chapter’ Joe Coruna, BCBP Cagayan de Oro
Furlough is defined by the Free Online Dictionary as ‘leave of absence or vacation, especially granted to a member of the armed forces’. Hedy and i are not members of the armed forces but we felt that we were entitled to a furlough from our medical practice. After all, we’ve been in practice for more than four decades now. We decided to visit again our youngest daughter, a grandson and her husband who are immigrants in Canada. We stayed with them for only one month last year during summer. This time we agreed to stay longer since we were granted a super visa.
We arrived in Maple leaf country on the feast day of St. Joseph, my patron saint on March 19. To come back to Edmonton, a city which is sparsely populated, is truly a respite for senior members of the BCBP.
We left a country which has only two seasons – the wet and the dry season. This country has four seasons- winter, spring, summer and fall. The last time we were here it was summer. This time we were told it will be spring time. The airline and the TV forecast signaled that spring was just around the corner.
Just as Hedy and I were unpacking our luggage, we looked through the window and we saw snowflakes falling. I ran to the terrace unmindful of the biting cold wind and the snow hitting my face (hahaha- my first time to see live snow). I forgot to put on my ‘toque’ and my jacket. The next day I had cough and colds and was slightly feverish. Hedy, the ever-ready girl scout, girl friday, and mother, all rolled into one, pulled out her complete medicine kit. She is also an obsessive-compulsive person and she leaves no stones unturned.
For ten days, we were holed up inside the house. We did not accept invitations from friends already here in Canada. Meanwhile, i kept on looking outside at the trees and the rooftops were covered white with snow.
I was lonely and depressed despite the superb service and attention I was getting from Hedy, Jody and the family. I even had thoughts of aborting our R n R. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going, ika nga. It was a time for meditation and daily Bible reading. Brod Rey Feria’s daily reading and meditation helped a lot posted in yahoo.com. Hedy led the prayer healing together with our 13 yr old grandson.
I was hopeful about tomorrow. This was my faith and expectation that the sun will come out tomorrow. A line from a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley “Ode to the West Wind” states “.. O Wind, If winter comes, can spring be far behind”. In the YouTube, I turned on my favorite song of “Spring is here” by Matt Monro and sang duet with him. After the tenth day, the sun came out and i was feeling better. I saw the ravens in the air, some perched on the cypress and pine trees, a rabbit dashing across the street and a pair of lovey ducks in front of our town house. Although the sidestreet and the pathway were still white with melting snow, Spring was here at last .
A culture shock
We went to the malls and I was aghast but amused to see car drivers stopping when they see pedestrians approaching to cross the street even if they are still 5 meters away from the road. If you hesitate the driver will wave his or her hand for you to cross. Buses are operated and owned by the city government. When passengers alight at bus stops, everybody says ‘thank you’ to the driver. The driver in turn answers “welcome, have a good day”. Inside the malls in the food section, nobody leaves behind their tray on the table and they bring their left-overs to the garbage bin. Wow! This is unprecedented and my first time to witness a “new” culture unfolding before us. There is much respect for senior citizens and PWD’s. Their senior citizens get free supply of medicines. Hospitalization is free even for a PR status. These observations i promised to share when i get home.
When we came to this country, it was a purely medical furlough. We left behind our medical practice. Our faithful patients we left them to the care of our trusted colleagues. So we resolved that for the next two months or so, it will be a “no relative or patient call or referrals from the hospital.”
For the first time, we slept long hours. Then we noticed that when we woke up, it was a Saturday. We were missing the BCBP breakfast. Later we were missing the teaching night, the chapter assemblies and most of all our Action Group. Brothers and sisters, the BCBP culture will always be with us. It is our indelible mark and Identity.
Is there a chance for us to settle down here? As senior citizens and with the Phil BIR running after doctors, I say why not? This we leave to the Almighty Father. Only He knows. If this happens, then Hedy and I pray that BCBP will also come to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada as an outreach of BCBP Toronto .