Relly de Guzman Carpio, editor of the gaming magazine Playground, is a huge chunk of nerdy humanity rolled into a hefty carbon-based, two-legged gwaponess topped with a Mohawk while framed in his expensive shades. Some may think of him as God’s vengeance on earthlings while he runs around in his near-to-glowing red pants (clinging by the very threads of his love handles), but for us, his friends (you may consider us family, too), he is the computer-game-Star Trek-loving knife collector-cum-editor/tech writer/whiz kid and sweet hubby to poet Jerry Anonas.
Don’t let his astig looks fool you. He is a gift to many people, needless to say, a boy with a kind heart. He once posed one-hand-on-one-breast naked for a breast cancer program. Both Relly and Alma were in the thick of culling support for Ondoy victims during the onslaught of the super storm.
Two days ago, this fun-loving boy with the Mohawk suffered a stroke. He’s only 34. Two nights ago he went under the knife at the Makati Medical Center—or was that the electric drill?—to ease the swell in his brain. He is out of danger, doctors said, but not out of the brain wracking problem that is the hospital tab, which could run in the hundreds of thousands (roughly P300,000 for the recent medical procedure, I was told).
My father suffered a stroke at 65, and while he managed to get off his sickbed for the usual stroll down the subdivision, he did it with absolutely no memory of who we were in his life. The hospital tab more than the stroke, I think, had a lot to do with his death days later. He chose to die quietly if only to save us from the gruelling experience of being in debt for medical needs.
The night my father passed away, he had bottles of chilled beer and huge amounts of chicharong bulaklak. That’s about as perfect a death one could wish for, if you think about it, next to being caught up in the air by heavenly chariots like the prophet Elijah, or that before-breakfast satin bed ruckus with a naked-but-for-sheer-white-lingerie Scarlett Johansson.
That medical bills cost more than an arm and a leg these days—you can even throw in your Belo-inspired abs and they wouldn’t be enough—is understandable. One doesn’t pay peanuts for medical research. Hundreds of thousands of pesos are spent for doctors to be, well, doctors. If only for that I will not hurl the usual pot shots.
Relly needs our help. Why good people suffer the way they do and bad people run scot-free will remain a mystery. However, there are good people in our midst who need help. Thus this little essay seeking for assistance of any kind—some financial donation, a kind word, or a timely quote will do. Please post them on the Facebook wall of Alma Anonas-Carpio. For financial assistance, please send Alma a private FB message on how to go about sending it.
The most difficult pieces to write is the one you feel strongly about. This is one of them. Hang in there, Relly. Help is on its way.