The most compliant patient

Dessert at Bo's Café

Net, my youthful aunt, sister of my mother, texted me, “Can I call you?”

“Sure,” I replied.

“She’s trembling, Lance—your Lola Ugól,” Auntie Net, the librarian, said. Lola, in her early eighties, has been intermittently living with her in General Santos City, about an hour’s drive from Banga, South Cotabato, where our ancestral home is. Auntie Net would pick her up on weekends, then bring her back after two weeks or so, where Lola could be near her farm and friends.

“Has she eaten anything? That’s probably hypoglycemia,” I said. “Tell Lola to munch on a candy or drink a Coke.”


Auntie Net, a smart, gracious, petite, and recently-married lady who sent us children’s books when we were little, had realized that this should be the case: Lola has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes since ten years ago, and with her current drugs is the risk of developing low blood sugar. Old people, because they don’t get hungry as much as the young ones, and because they don’t eat as much (poor dentition, poor appetite, decreased taste), are prone to have low blood sugar, which can be as dangerous, if not more, as having extremely high sugars.

My grandmother is Lola Ugól. Her actual name is Trinidad Zamora-Garcenila; I don’t know why she’s been called that way. She’s the most compliant, disciplined patient I know: her medications are always complete, her meals always rationed. During family occasions, we couldn’t bribe her with a piece of cake or a taste of crispy lechon skin. I don’t remember an instance when she had missed taking any of her tablets.

Perhaps, though, Lola had taken it too far this time.

“La, if you’re hungry, you eat. Drink a glass of Coke. Have a candy,” I told her over the phone. “Oh, and a Happy New Year!”

“She feels better now,” Auntie Net said when she took over the phone. “Sipping on a glass of sparkling juice.”

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