An Unforgettable Birthday

I thought of ordering Filipino food to share with my friends for my birthday last Saturday, but things didn't go as planned. I had an appendicitis scare on Wednesday night after a horrible LBM which started the day before. I was having fever and had crippling pain on my right side. The symptoms reminded me of a friend who recently underwent an appendectomy, so I headed to Taipei Medical Hosp. Good thing I made it at 7:45, otherwise I will be directed to the ER at past 8pm.

Funny thing was that the doctor did not quite understand what I was saying. I specifically asked for an English-speaking doctor when I registered, so I thought it was going to be ok. When I said I was having LBM, he typed "dyspepsia" and when he learned I'm from the Philippines, he immediately sent me to have a blood test for Hepa-C. Really?! I made a mental note that I'm not going to see this doctor again. I left the hospital with a pack of humongous antacids!!! I tried popping one and after just a few minutes my stomach started to rumble. I drank Sprite and water to replace lost fluids, and went to bed thinking it will just go away. Thank God we were on a typhoon holiday from Tuesday to Wednesday so I didn't have to skip work.

The next day I woke up at 4am and it was the same scenario. I sent a message to my boss saying I need to go see a doctor (again). I tried so hard to find the name of the Filipino-Chinese gastroenterologist in Zhong Shan Hospital, who turns out to be my other doctor's husband. Good thing I can still recall how he looks when I ran into them in Costco. I had to match the photos one by one with the doctors' Chinese names online.

I think I was the first patient he saw that day. I was so relieved when he said that what I have is gastroenteritis from the now-famous rotavirus here in Taiwan. He chuckled when I told him about my experience with the other doctor, it was an odd miscommunication he said. He prescribed some meds, checked if I have swelling on my right side, then he took another blood exam to confirm that it was not appendicitis. He gave me a list of what to eat and what not to eat for a week. He sent me off and he was even joking that I should avoid eating buffets for now ("no 吃到飽  okay?" hehe).

So that was how I started my birthday celebration... an appendicitis scare, a trip to the doctor, and a week of 'clean eating' (no birthday cake for the birthday girl). Friends and colleagues tried to keep me alive by sending over food and fruits (I could only eat apple so I had tons of apple in the fridge).

I alternated lugaw, white bread, plain rice with soup and ma-hu for almost a week. Thank you, church family, friends and colleagues for celebrating with me and for eating all the cakes!

But the best birthday present I received from the heavens (apart from my 28th year of life here on earth) was the approval of my permanent residency here in Taiwan... finally after 7 long years and one month (today to be exact). It was mailed to me the same day I went to the hospital, and I received it two days after my birthday. I was in tears when I opened the mail... I felt all the hard work, will and determination that came with the piece of plastic card. Thank You, Lord for everything!!! I prayed for this so hard (harder than I do for prince charming to find me, because #priorities first hahaha) and asked all of my close friends to join me in prayer.

I'm grateful for friends and loved ones who made my birthday extra special, my heart was too full that day I thought it was going to burst :)

An unforgettable birthday indeed!

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