Oca Francisco by Ed dela Torre

On September 23, it will be the 40th day of Oca’s crossing over. Ruth Alejandro, Oca’s daughter had requested it be held on September 25,Saturday at the Bantayog ng mga BAyani in Quezon City. Am reposting here in wordpress a story written by Ed for friends and comrades who didnt read Oca’s stories in Facebook.

Last August 14 , Girlie and I had lunch at Gerry and Sally Bulatao’s place, together with Dok Eddie and Oyen Dorotan. As Sally said grace, I asked to include Oca in our prayers, and that started our reminiscences.

As we were leaving. Girlie told Gerry, “We better visit Oca tomorrow.” On August 15, Gerry and Sally picked us up at 9:30 am and we went to ICU Room 116   on the fourth floor of Makati Medical Center.

Edna got out of the room to meet us. “I thought you transferred Oca out of the ICU,” I said. She explained that they did want to transfer him to a room where more friends can visit, since only one visitor at a time can enter the ICU. But they decided that it was better to have Oca taken care 24 hours by the special nurses and the doctors.

Ruthie, Oca’s daughter who is a doctor and  has just given birth told us later that she was with her father when he had his massive heart attack. It took almost 15 minutes to revive him, and she knew that even if Oca survived, he would not have his brain functions anymore. But she also knew that her mother and siblings would not want to face the implications. “Let’s try everything,” was Edna’s response.

That was August 10. After a few days, the brain activity had dwindled even further, and Oca had seizures. Visitors came, including his Student Catholic Action and NUSP barkada.

When we came to the ICU, Girlie asked to be the first to enter and  we watched through the glass window. She asked Edna, Ruth and Oca for permission and did “bodytalk” on Oca. When she got out, she said that the feedback she got from Oca’s body was two questions, “Why am I here? What happened to me?”She explained to him that he had a massive stroke.

She asked further about his state. His body gave feedback about his spinal column, and his left lung, which was clogged with phlegm. He said his heart’s valve was not functioning well especially the backflow, and that the pericardium had lost hydration. Oca’s brain, specifically the cingulate gyrus and thalamus needed to activate so he could communicate bette . There were other feedback which Girlie asked Ruthie to write down on paper.  Girlie linked all the body systems that Oca indicated  by tapping them .Then Oca asked for the three of us to go in.

We went in one by one. I went in first, tapped his cortices and sternum. Then Gerry, then Sally. As Sally came in ,we noticed that Ruthie looked at the monitor, and called the nurse. They called the doctor, and more. Oca’s heart was  failing.

We were all asked to join the family. Girlie said later that she didn’t want to look at our tears, since she was focusing on whatever messages she was receiving. Oca complained about deep pain in his chest ands tomach. But he also said he didnt want to die. He wanted to do more. Then he said he didnt want to be a vegetable and a burden to the family.

At that point Ruthie asked Edna to talk to Oca. She asked if he was very tired, “Sweetie, gusto mo nang mamahinga?”  and told him to accept that he may have to rest. Edna said not to worry about her and the children.  She managed even to make lambing  “You did not wait for me to turn senior citizen in October?  And what about our 40th anniversary in two years”? And your promise to pay for my face lift.”

The doctors and nurses went through the standard procedures of resuscitating. But after a while, Oca flatlined, and Ruthie allowed them to leave. Girlie gave feedback that Oca is still around. His request is that his body be cleaned so that his grandchildren will not see him with all the tubes and get scared. He even wanted us to sing. Gerry said “Army of Christ” but no one had the voice  and energy to sing.

Then Oca gave instructions that his obituary should be unique, and that his wake should not be long. There should be no flowers. Donate to his favorite causes. Asked that his writings be published.  Oca also asked for his wedding ring . I texted Alex Soto to start the process of collecting his writings and photos.

He wanted us to sing. What do we sing? An Army of Youth from SCA days? I thought of a farewell song, but did not dare, because we would have cried.

Here is the song you wanted us to sing

Kailan pa man ay di ka lilimutin / Alam mo namang minamahal ka namin / Sa araw at gabi lagi naming dalangin / Na pagpalain ka katulad ng anghel / Kung dangan ay wala kaming kapangyarihan / Na ang pagpanaw mo’y among mahadlangan / Kung wala ka man ngayon dito sa aming piling / Kasama-sama ka sa diwa at damdamin / Sa dulo ng landas na aming tatahakin / Kahit sa ala-ala’y lagi kang hahanapin.

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