• Jasmine Mendiola

Bubble Boy

Its the work week post-Christmas and I’m up at 6am in my work studio precisely to get started with finishing that long overdue article. I’m packing my pullouts and my own laundry in between, thank God I have Mio’s yaya to make breakfast and clean the studio while everyone’s still asleep.

I checked Mio’s homeworks. All done. For Math and English at least. I have to figure out when I can submit these to his tutors and the ones for his former school to credit and get more of those for the coming quarter. 

I found Mio snuggled in an odd position. I whispered to him to lie down properly and found that he had reached out for his mask. He lightly budged and scratched his eye. Uh oh. He had excessive morning glory all over his beautiful lashes that seemed to me, were thinning out last night.

I took him to the bookstore last night because he wanted a book and I told him he can get one from the ampaws he got from christmas. In case you’re wondering, I buy him a toy worth 5-10% of whatever money he receives directly. He puts his money in his Spongebob wallet (and its filled with crisp 20s!) the rest I tell him I put in the bank.

My bubble boy is slowly craving the lifestyle of a normal five year old. He actually asked if he can get his own PS3 when he turns 6 and if he can fly a kite on Boni High with his cousins and friends again then. That’s a good four months from now but he’s looking forward and planning it. He’s like that. He maps out a schedule in his head. Like last night while taking his medicine he asked, “Mom will you tell me which ones are for not Sundays? Coz yaya only showed me the ones for Sundays.” He was referring to his durog medicines. Mercaptopurine for weekdays, a whole to a half tablet once everyday from Monday to Saturday and four tablets of Methatrexate on Sundays. I think we lost a banig of Dexamethasone so I have yet to ask Dr. Racho if the last two doses of it, I should make up for or repeat the whole five doses altogether. Gosh.

My bubble boy is slowly suffering the small signs of his medication’s side effects. Our doctor friends say he might be suffering a mild case of sore eyes since its not itchy or tingly, but its excessively watery nonetheless even when he’s not asleep. His mouth sores are gone and what with his fascination with gum lately, I’ve been constantly reminding him to brush and gargle his teeth. I’ve been coughing myself and self-medicated to take anti-biotics so as much as I refuse to not hold my son’s hand, he has to frequently ask for alcohol to be rubbed on his hands to make sure that I don’t transfer germs to him! Me. His own mother. Gah.

My bubble boy’s sleeping habits are back at ungodly hours granted that Santa Claus has stopped rewarding him for sleeping early since after Christmas. I think I’m dealing with one too many things besides the enemies but I had to check again…

“Mio, do you remember the time when we were at the hospital?”

“No. It was tagal na e. But I wasn’t used to it yet.”

I can’t imagine what his memory is but I do know he remembers. He just can’t describe how it felt, I guess. I can’t keep him in a bubble all the time, you know. But I really fear for intensification, I’m calling out to the high heavens everyday that the little things—like his muta, my coughing and his mood swings get out of the way.

Although, if these were the kind of problems we’d have to deal with, I’d take them all back gladly just to save him from worse conditions.

After coming from the bookstore, with his Cars book in tow, I asked my friend to carry our bags instead and handed her the book Mio was lugging as well. I felt Mio dragging the weight of his body as we walked so I picked him up to carry all the way through. There was one instance before he asked me to do that but with so much in hand by myself and the entire day spent standing doing makeup, I had to beg off and we had a petty fight. This time, I guess we were both delightfully surprised because as soon as he caught my shoulders to embrace when I picked him up, he looked at me with those smiling eyes (with that mask covering his face 24/7 I can already tell smiling eyes from funny eyes) he said, “I love you Mom.”

On second thought, I don’t think I’ll be popping that bubble anytime soon.


Photos by Mike Manalo at the 2nd Under the Sea themed birthday party of his youngest cousin, Moira.


Jasmine Mendiola

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©2019 by Jasmine Mendiola