Wisdom of Old


Out On Pass

Thaddeus C. Hinunangan, M.D.

Out on pass is a borrowed term used in hospitals, where a patient is temporarily sent home for a respite, with promise to return for definitive treatment. Dr. Thaddeus C. Hinunangan is a physician by profession, and a writer by heart. His work was published in several anthologies and he also contributes to Philippine Daily Inquirer Opinion column.

For comments: thadhinunangan@gmail.com


November is my birth month, and I am only two years away before the big four-0. Please indulge me as I talk a little bit about my life.

My grandmother was right, and my parents were on point about their advices while we were growing up as kids. Though she was only an Elementary graduate, Nanay Luming, our grandmother who took care of us, had a lot to say about life. Eat your vegetables, save money, learn to do chores, be careful of other people’s hearts, be polite, and stay in school— she would repeatedly give us nuggets of wisdom at dinnertime. My father, when he was not abroad, also reminded us of being thrifty and productive. My mother was well loved in the community as a nurse who helped so many of our neighbors in their times of need.

Far from being the perfect sons, I and my siblings have made our fair share of mistakes. Now we are all grown up, and even when we lost our parents and our grandmother, their wisdom stayed with us, and lucky for the three of us, we pulled through despite the challenges.

My brother’s marriage just got annulled after a long and dragging process. Theirs was a complex marriage which had caused more heartache than happiness, to the point where it affected their only son.

Our youngest had also his fair share of trials, which was largely tied to keeping our finances afloat while I was in Nursing and Medical school. My own struggle in shifting careers and getting into Medicine was a long-fought journey.

I still laugh out loud when people ask me if I am married or if I have children because majority of my elementary and high school classmates are moms and dads already. When I see them on social media, they look a little more plump, with a little more lines on their faces, but smiling and happy beside their children.

Being single meant I have more time for myself, go on trips, save money, but I have such deep respect for my batch mates who are raising children. In fact, I envy them. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to raise my own children, provide a home for them, feed and clothe them and send them to school. It sounds like an awesome responsibility.

Several of my friends also work abroad, presumably because of higher income. I remembered our own situation back then when our own parents sacrificed our time together to afford us better education by working abroad. I look around my comfortable apartment, my job that requires highly specialized training which would have never been possible had I not been to Nursing and Medical school, and I realize that our parent’s sacrifices, though they were too high a cost, were worth it. They literally lifted us to a better life. Both my brothers are US citizens living comfortably as well.

Nothing much has changed, really. I even follow Nanay’s advice more often now than in my rebellious teens. I eat more vegetables, I don’t watch television and read books instead, I always tell myself to be considerate and treat other people with respect. Everything they said was true, and their advices were timeless. There are things you just don’t learn in school, sometimes we learn them through example from our parents— especially the love of God and sacrificing for our loved ones. Sometimes it is gained from 85 years of living.

Thank you Nanay, Mama and Papa, we will always remember the things you told us. And if one day I have children of my own, I will tell them the same things.

Nov 2018 Health and Lifestyle

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