Yesterday morning I received a disturbing text from my wife, Janet. Her older brother, living in Cebu City, was hit by a jeepney. Now most people in the Philippines know what this means. Jeepneys, and most everything else that drives in the Philippines, are dangerous as hell. And pedestrians don’t act much safer.
“How is he?” I asked.
“He’s in the hospital. He was hit on his feet; not deadly, but bad.”
The day was spent with all the family members calling and texting back and forth and with each round the seriousness of the situation became worse.
“Well he’s a tough guy, ” I told Janet. “We will hope for the best.”
“They just got a text from him saying he’ll be having a surgery or stitches,” Janet told me. I had to wonder about that comment. Surgery might imply a serious injury, broken bones from a foot run over by a speeding, careless jeepney. I like my BIL and joined the family in their communal worry.
By the time I arrived home I was expecting to hear the worst. My BIL, the next to the oldest of the kids in the family, had recently moved from the provinces to Cebu City and Cebu City has been known to eat provincial residents alive.
Janet was on the phone and it became clear she was speaking to the victim himself.
“Well?” I asked after she hung up.
“He had 8 stitches.”
“8 stitches? I thought he was in the hospital waiting for surgery and it was bad.”
“He’s home now. But he had to wait in the hospital a long time to get the stitches.”
I began giggling.
“Why are you giggling?” Janet demanded.
“8 stitches. You made it sound like it was a critical injury.”
” 8 stitches is serious; he’s in pain. And no one really knew.”
I laughed louder and Janet glared at me. By now if you’ve read this blog long enough you know I have a warped sense of humor.
I giggled more and my wife looked at me like I was crazy and sadistic.
I am of course sure that my BIL’s 8 stitches do hurt but by the time I was told of the outcome I was imagining an amputation or major life-altering surgery; you know, a Filipino version of Tiny Tim. Instead my BIL decided he needed to return home to Alcoy – so that his mother could take care of him.
I suppose that the takeaway here is to wait until the outcome is sure before you start worrying about the family drama. In short, it’s more fun in the Philippines, even when you hear about a family injury.