We were in the midst of yet another round of “The Voice Teens,” what with filming Battle and Knockout rounds. I was spending most of the week staying at my mother’s house since she lives closer to ABS-CBN than I do, and thank goodness for it. Monday to Wednesday went uneventfully enough. All our teen artists did fantastic, whether they won or lost their rounds, which made all of us involved in the show very proud, indeed.
On Wednesday, I was assigned to mentor my remaining nine teens for their Knockout performances. The studio in which we did this coaching session was really cold. I woke up feeling a little odd, but not ill, so all went according to the day’s predetermined schedule. There was a sneezing fit in the evening, but nothing a little antihistamine couldn’t fix.
However, on Thursday, that’s when things went a little awry.
I headed to the building feeling more off than the day before. The security guard’s thermometer clocked my temperature within normal range, so we thought nothing of it. But as I was getting ready, I felt chilly. When I got to the holding area near the studio, I felt chilly, despite it being in a warm hallway.
My mother offered up warm shawls for me to wear, and for the filming, I didn’t bother taking them off (when the Knockouts air in around a month and a half, you’ll see me wearing one shawl for Team Apl’s turn, then another for Team Sarah’s). During a break, I downed a couple of paracetamol, which took effect later on in the taping day as I was starting to feel warmer.Once at my mom’s house, I took a long nap in her den, completely passed out. When I woke up, I headed to my bedroom to take a shower, then went to the dinner table to eat. That’s when something else happened. I felt dizzy, saw stars, leaned my head against the backrest and kind of … checked out for a little bit.
My mom started to panic, and despite what I was feeling, I could hear her. Not long after that, we headed to the hospital.
We went straight to Cardinal Santos in Greenhills, where her personal physicians are based. The admitting nurse checked my temperature (39.1 degrees, pretty darn high) and my blood pressure (nothing unusual, 90/60). I was then wheeled to a bed and examined further.
An ECG, a chest X-ray, blood tests (my white blood cell count was at 16 … the normal range is 5-10, so I must’ve been fighting something nasty and awful). There was an allergy test for the antibiotic they wanted to use … swabbing the back of my throat to see what I was fighting… and an IV line put in to keep me hydrated and administer my meds. I got a shot of paracetamol to bring my fever down more quickly. There was a procession of doctors and nurses caring for me while my mother made arrangements to get me checked in. Our assistant Tin Samson drove in late in the evening as well to help us.
I was brought by gurney to room 260 in the extension wing. It looked far newer than I remembered this hospital to be (I had been confined here as a little girl, and my grandmother spent her last days here). My room was simple but well-appointed with a television set and cable box, and a small but spacious refrigerator.
My mom spent my entire hospital stay caring for me, sleeping on the sofa while I was on the bed. Round the clock nurses came in to check my vital signs, administer meds and check on me. I didn’t always know they were around, save for the telltale paracetamol pill left for me to take when I woke up.On day 2, Friday, cardiologist Mike dela Cruz came to see me. There would be tests to check my heart and the arteries to my brain to see what caused this “checking out.” Technicians came in to do different things: a 2D echo to check my heart, a carotid Doppler to check the blood vessels to my brain, and finally a Holter monitor was attached to my chest for 24 hours to see what my heart did for a full day.
By all accounts, everything was clear and normal. My blood pressure would go from 90/60 to 120/80, all within normal range. Dr. Amado Pacio, an ENT, also came by to check my throat, and it’s tonsillitis, but he didn’t seem too concerned. Checking with a scope, he said my vocal cords were fine and the infection hadn’t spread further down.
It was also on this Friday that I had to alert Rose Casala, our executive producer of “The Voice Teens,” that I wouldn’t be able to report for work that day. I have not missed one taping day of the show, and I normally don’t ever miss work unless I have to. But on this day, I had to.Well wishes came from the team: the hosts, coaches, production staff, as well as my teens. Friday was when they’d sing for their Knockout rounds, and it gutted me that I couldn’t be there. Rose called me and put me on speaker so I could speak to them before their performances. I wished them the very best, and according to my writers Waldo Bautista and Ces Angquilo, they were excellent. At a later date, I shall return to the studio to view their rounds and make my decision as to who’ll move forward to the semifinals taking place this May.
Right now, I’m sitting at my kitchen table, where many Backstory articles have been written. I feel like my normal, snarky, sassy self again. I’ve been prescribed a week’s worth of antibiotics and given clearance to go about my activities as planned, which makes me very happy.
Allow me then to give my thanks to everyone at Cardinal Santos Hospital for the great care, especially to the doctors and nurses in the emergency room, and the night nurses that stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to make sure I was OK. Special mention also to the hospital chef; the food was really good!