I must have caught a virus somewhere on the way to Diliman last Wednesday. I started to feel it an hour or so after lunch, when I started yawning almost uncontrollably while waiting for the coffee at Khaz. Sam had stood up to greet his friend Rasti who was a couple of tables away with another friend, and in the few minutes that he was away I nodded off.

By the time we got home I was close to catatonic. I didn’t even bother to have dinner. I didn’t have a fever, but everything ached like hell. I didn’t have a temperature, but it got so bad I asked Ate Beng for a hilot.

This is one of the Cebuano words I have trouble with translating into any language. The word “hilot” is closer to acupressure than to massage, but I’m not sure if there is an actual equivalent. Hilot is applied so that “panuhot” can be expelled from one’s system, the word panuhot translating loosely into “gas”. But while gas can only be in the stomach, panuhot can be in joints and muscles, and it is expelled either by sweating shortly after the hilot or by passing gas by burping or through the other end.

After I put myself under Ate Beng’s hands I retired to our bedroom, turned the lighting down and slept. When I woke up in the morning I felt too sick to work. I informed the office and then went back to sleep, and stayed asleep the whole day. My little girl Maia came into the room and was told that Mommy was sick.

She went back to her room and got her play doctor set, stuck a plastic thermometer in my mouth, listened to my heartbeat with her plastic stethoscope, and tried to pull out two of my teeth with her plastic forceps. Then she asked “Are you fine now, Mommy?”

I told her I was, after which she put her toys away and lay down beside me. A few minutes later she was asleep too.

Not a very good bday postscript

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