Things I learned and did in the hospital

You can learn things in the hospital, too. (Photo by Robert Linder; taken from

By Anthony O. Alcantara

We were supposed to be in Boracay. I was supposed to be chasing my wife at the beach like a stallion galloping after a coquettish mare. And my baby Aria was supposed to be building and eating sand castles, while her Nonna, her grandma, sipped piña colada under the sun. Sadly, however, some pesky E. coli bacteria decided to take over Aria’s tummy, causing high fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.

A five-day vacation in Boracay turned into a vacation in the hospital. I’m not complaining, though. I always believe that everything that happens is an opportunity for something else.

Anyway, I just wanted to share some things I learned and did:

  1. I learned self-control and patience together with my wife as we waited helplessly for doctors to stick a needle in Aria’s hand for the IV fluids. No one was allowed in the room except the doctors and nurses. Naturally, Aria screamed and cried. Knowing how strong Aria is and how she resists attempts to hold her still, I know that the doctors struggled. My wife said she’d barge in if they’re not finished in five minutes. Fortunately, it didn’t take that long. But it was close. When they opened the door, Aria was in tears, her face contemplating revenge.
  1. I learned how to put on Aria’s shirt while a small tube, connected to a plastic bottle of dextrose IV fluids, protrudes from her hand. It was a challenge, especially since Aria’s shirts have small holes for the arms.
  1. I enjoyed having Aria sit on a small wheelchair and pushing her around the pediatric ward of the hospital. We watched and counted the fish in the aquarium, greeted nurses and doctors in the hallway, and listened to other kids scream as doctors stick needles for IV fluids.
  1. I also amused myself by listening to the endless and repetitive questions of nurses and doctors in training. They barged in our room often. “How many times did baby poop?” “When was the last time she pooped?” “Did she poop today?” “How much milk did baby drink today? Oh, she’s breastfeeding?” “How many times did she breastfeed?” “Is she breastfeeding?”
  1. I also had the privilege to overhear conversations and listen to annoying sounds from the other room, even though we were in a private room. Apparently, there’s a small gap between the edge of the shared wall and the window. It’s perfect for amplifying sounds in the other room. So we endured an old lady singing the theme of SpongeBob Squarepants to her grandchild. We retaliated by laughing loudly at appropriate times.
  1. I enjoyed reading e-books to Aria and showing her flash cards using her iPad. She knows the alphabet already and can count to 20. She does it on her own and at unexpected times. If we ask her to repeat it, she never does. Sometimes, she sleep-talks and recites the alphabet or begins to count. Then she laughs. Weird kid.
  1. I cuddled a lot with baby and mommy. We were in a small private room perfect for cuddling. Better than Boracay indeed.
  1. I learned how to scrutinize the hospital bill carefully. I realized that it’s always a good idea to assume that the nurses and doctors are billing you for things they didn’t give you.
  1. I was surprised to learn that nurses have bad handwriting, too. It’s not only the doctors. Are these people genetically predisposed to this malady? The spelling is terrible, too.
  1. I also learned how to count the drops of IV fluids. Sometimes, the nurses are not careful. They lack sleep. So it’s a good idea to ask them what they are doing exactly.
  1. Of course, I learned to count my blessings again. My daughter Aria and my wife Em are my greatest treasures. There will be another time for Boracay.



This is not Boracay. But there are fishes here, too.


2 Responses to “Things I learned and did in the hospital”

  1. hi ton: i enjoyed reading it. you are really blessed with a wonderful kid, ARIA. and a good wife EM.
    God bless you!

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