Monday, March 20, 2006

The View from the Fourth Floor

Stopped by last night at the Heart Center to visit my mom. As I stumbled and felt my way around the building, I realized how maddeningly simple and convoluted a hospital built this way was like. Think of the view from right above the building. The Philippine Heart Center for Asia looks like a four leaf clover with a large, hollow, square center. Every few meters you had to turn and turn again. There were signs and markers aplenty, but you could still miss the room you wanted because you're so used to a building with four (not twenty-six) corners.

I'd only been here a few times. Twice on two art workshops--yes, I was a Fernando Sena* baby and so was my ex-- and two more times visiting my Mom.

Despite the decrepitude affecting infrastructure and technology in the Philippines, the place looked and (very importantly) smelled good. The last time I was there (my mom was also confined for something or other) there were signs of bad funding and shoddy work-- construction debris piled up in one or more of the least-visited corners of the Glorified-Red-Brick-Four-Leaf-Clover.

Wards and triage areas are usually not the best places to be stuck in, in a hospital. Even if they're in the Philippine Four-Leaf-Clover for Asia. The suites--I don't have a better term-- though, are another thing entirely. There was air-conditioning, ample privacy, a teevee and a decent fridge. There was table space. Clean, well-smelling bathrooms with color-coded trash cans. And cute nurses. They needed more windows, but the cute nurses and medical staff more than compensated for the lack of scenery. Besides, if one were ambulatory, one could easily walk to one of the corridors connecting the four-leaf-clover petals of the building, and take in a night view of Quezon City, or bask in the city's available sunlight. It's not so alive with commerce, but that's its chief appeal.

As I entertained thoughts of living in a room similar to the one my mom was confined in, I seriously contemplated getting real health insurance. Who knows? if my he(art) is what ails me, I may have to get confined here myself.

*Fernando B. Sena --painter, artist, teacher, father of Philippine Art Workshops.

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