Nalzaro: ‘Health is wealth’

·4 min read

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver,” Mahatma Gandhi, Indian civil rights advocate, Oct. 2, 1869-Jan. 30, 1948

This is supposed to be a confidential matter because this is pertaining to my physical condition but I decided to come out in the open to refute some fake news or gossips about my reported ‘serious health condition.’ There are reports that I am now bedridden and totally paralyzed after I suffered a stroke. A friend texted me and asked me about it after he was informed by a common friend. I have been a victim of ‘serious jokes’ or misinformation in the past like, I was ambushed, shot dead right inside the announcer’s booth, or died because of a heart attack. People who know me personally cried upon hearing the news but later on laughed upon learning they were victims of a ‘prank.’ I just laughed it off, too.

This usually happens when I experience a physical problem and they don’t hear me on my radio program and see me on my TV news program. Speculations will crop up that I am in a serious condition. I cannot also just disregard any speculation because I am a news personality and public figure and the public tune in to my daily radio commentary and news program over dySS Super Radyo Cebu and daily TV newscast ‘Balitang Bisdak’ on GMA 7. My long absence from the programs will trigger speculation. I have been ‘off the air’ since December 24 last year until this time. My regular fans have been looking for me since then.

The truth is, I was admitted in the hospital last Dec. 24 until Dec. 30 due to hypertension. Hypertension and diabetes are the only serious ailments bothering me since I reached the age of 50. Basta ‘senior citizen’ na, mao na gyud ni kasagaran bation.

On that day after feeling uneasy, I called up my cardiologist, Dr. Cecile Cabias, to seek her advice. She advised to have myself confined in a hospital so I can be checked up. So, I followed her advice. I don’t know if I already suffered a mild stroke. I heard the nurses at the emergency room talking about my blood pressure reaching 200. But if it was a mild stroke, it did not really affect my vital signs, like my speech and memory. I only feel numbness in my right foot that is why I cannot still drive. My neurologist found nothing wrong in my brain based on my CT-scan. I was discharged five days later. My son, Eldridge Roy, a licensed Physical Therapist, is taking charge of my rehab procedure. I thank God that it was not a serious hypertensive attack.

I was already planning to return to work last week. But my doctor advised me to relax a little bit more. Our ‘abnormal broadcast’ operations also firmed up my decision not to handle my programs yet. We shortened our daily broadcast operations from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. because the electricity has not yet been restored until this time in our transmitter site in Alumnus, Mambaling. But I will be back on the air soon.

I fully agree with what they say: “Health is wealth.”

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Yesterday was supposed to be a big day for Cebu as we celebrated the annual and traditional Sinulog Grand Parade in honor of the Feast of the Holy Child Jesus. Sinulog is a worldwide phenomenon. But because of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially that the entire island province of Cebu has been placed under Alert Level 3 by the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, we had pockets of celebrations but not the big one, like the traditional street dancing. This is the second year we failed to celebrate the Sinulog because of the pandemic.

The IATF placed Cebu under Alert Level 3 effective January 14 until Jan. 31 because of the rising Covid-19 cases. Under Alert Level 3, major gatherings especially in closed areas regardless of capacity are prohibited. The proclamation forced my close friend, shipping magnate Chester Cokaliong to cancel his thanksgiving dinner at Summit Galeria Cebu last Saturday in honor of his son, Chas, who just graduated in Maritime architecture in Australia. Chester personally called me up and explained his reason to cancel the event. He said he just wanted to follow the IATF guidelines. He didn’t want to be accused as a super spreader of Covid-19 and he didn’t want to place his guests, who are mostly city officials, in an embarrassing situation for violating IATF’s rules. He decided to move it to Feb. 19, simultaneous with his birthday celebration. Good decision, Sir Chester. At least, you followed the government’s health protocols.

This should be the case for other organizers, whether from the government or from the private sector. They should always follow government protocols because these come from experts. If they say this is prohibited, then we should follow and abide by their decisions. So, during this Sinulog celebration when the IATF says ‘no’, we will follow. Di ba, Mayor Mike Rama?

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