By Tedler D. Depaynos, MD
It was around three years ago when we met our friend who went abroad when he was petitioned by one of his children. He was forced to retire as a mining engineer and we did not expect him to stay there for long knowing the lifestyle he had here before he left. It was then very surprising that he changed a lot and even gave us a lecture of his present healthy lifestyle. He just came for a short vacation during that time and returned abroad with his wife to continue taking care of their “apos”.
It was incidental when we met again recently during this Covid season and learned that he came back permanently when unfortunately his wife unexpectedly passed away due to the big C. His “apos” are now making good and he felt that he was becoming a burden because of his age so he decided to come home permanently. He is now concentrating on his work as a “pastor” in his home town where he decided to settle down and be of service to his relatives and town mates.
We could recall when he related his present healthy lifestyle he started when he went abroad while we were having unending cups of black coffee. He said his spirit suddenly became “healthy”. He was greatly influenced by a group in the Filipino community he associated with when abroad. It made him regularly go to church and made him enjoy reading the Bible which he never did before. The fellowship with the group diverted his loneliness and his mind whenever he was homesick and depressed. When he was hospitalized, he emphasized that his “closeness” to God made him strong and caused his early recovery. We were dumbfounded initially listening to him because we never imagined that he would be speaking like a priest or a pastor or probably he became one. Truly he became one with a “healthy spirit”.
He quoted a Biblical passage that our “body is a temple of the Lord” hence we should take care of it. Because of this he quit his smoking habit effortlessly by just promising the Lord that he will do it. He likewise abhorred water with alcohol and although he never tried drugs, just talking about them became a taboo to him. Jokingly, he mentioned that he no longer maintains a drawer with a bottle of cheap Empi Lights and Marlboro on the side which he did when he was maintaining an office. He said he is consistent with his running and walking exercises but when we silently noticed his bulging tummy, we were with all smiles during that time and imagined that perhaps he forgot to diet. He is now strictly avoiding meat in his diet and shifted more to “organic” vegetables. Because of this, he avoided attending “native occasions” which was quite difficult being a man of a ministry in their town where everybody knows everybody or were familiar with each other.
While we were drinking coffee, his movements appeared to be smooth like ours with no obvious arthritic impediments despite his more advanced age. We did not ask of course if he was taking Arcoxia like a lawyer friend who was drinking coffee with us.
When ever he concentrated reading the Bible and gave thanks to the Lord for his blessings in his prayers, he claimed to be always relaxed and stress free. Any problems he had became light and appeared to be distant. It made him quit his anti-hypertensive medicines because his blood pressure became within normal limits. His hard to control temper before was now controlled by his strong religious belief and he said he could easily forgive those who disagreed with him or made unfavorable comments.
When we heard the church bells ringing signaling the Angelus while we were finishing our coffee, he suddenly stood up and re-emphasized that his change to a healthy lifestyle was due to his religious involvement.
We just had a short time for we had a little difficulty in conversing with our masks on and we had to maintain a certain distance. Besides our friend seemed to have had a hearing problem. **