Friday, July 23, 2010

Requiem For Pete Hornedo, 1934-2010

It was on the 29th of June in the year 1934, our beloved father was born in a tiny barangay called Savidug in Sabtang, Batanes in the Philippines. He was named Pedro in honour of Saints Peter and Paul who were also having their feastday that day. He was the eldest among two boys, son of the late Remijia Hornedo.

Pete, as friends and family fondly call him, grew up impoverished, walking 5 kilometres to and from school everyday, carrying his books and his daily meal of boiled sweet potatoes prepared by his mother. He finished primary and secondary school, accelerated. He was too bright that his year 2 teacher promoted him to year 4 straightaway. Like many of the people from the provinces, he went to Manila after finishing high school to look for greener pastures. He attended college at the University of the East, in Manila where he took up B.S. Commerce. While studying, he worked as a kitchen help in Singian Hospital to finance his studies and to help his mother and brother whom he left in Batanes. Pete was always very eager to learn and because of this, he later became one of the hospital's chefs preparing food for all the patients, doctors and nurses. Indeed, he was a very good cook!

Whilst working in Singian Hospital, he met our mother, the former Leticia Mendoza, who was working there as well. They fell in love and the rest was history. Their marriage of more than 45 years were blessed with 5 children, Heidi, Abel Boy, Eric and Abigail. Pete was a very generous man, he was short of a "philanthropist" as family, friends and even strangers would almost always ask for help from him, financial or otherwise and they won't go out of our house empty handed. To his friends he was a very kind person and was always ready to help. He always had a solution to every problem and had his ways of making things simple. He never asked anybody for help but he was a very unselfish man, and he never wanted to be acknowledged for anything he did. When he helped he simply helped.

Pete was one of those hard working fathers. He was a very loving person, he took care and provided well for his family. He was very strict as a father but that’s only because he cared for us a lot. He was a disciplinarian but never laid a hand on any of us, ever. His words were the law in our house, a simple shoosh from him will pacify each and everyone of us. I remember an instance when he was calling us to the table for dinner, nobody paid attention to him as we were all watching our favourite cartoon show on TV, then suddenly the electricity went off. We all thought there was a brownout, then later on we learned that it was him who turned the main circuit breaker off to cut the power, for us to stop watching TV and have dinner. We used to dread him especially when he was angry, little did we know that he was already teaching us one of the most valuable lessons in life, standing up for what you believe in.

As I grew older, I also discovered that he was a very compassionate and kind person. I learned that the most important thing that he had was us, his family. Though he may never have said it out loud I know that he was really proud of what we have become. My sister Heidi, a CPA and had masters degree in business administration. My sister Abel finished AB Economics and had masters degree in Computer Programming as well. I became a Doctor of Medicine. My brother Eric, finished Mechanical Engineering and our youngest, Abigail became a Physical Therapist then later on finished Nursing here in Australia. He always imparted to us the value of education. He told us a hundred times to study hard and do good with our studies as it was the only wealth that he can leave us. We are who we are now because we had a father like him. As most of you may know my father never showed his feelings. He was very quiet and timid but with the help of a few drinks, I'm sure most of you saw the happier side of him. When we were quite young, I remember he always brought something for us when he came home from work, from a box of Curly Tops to a packet of Juicy Fruit gums.

He showed strength until the end, his last 2 months at the hospital was indeed a very difficult time for him and us. He did not leave us until we are all ready for his departure. I was very grateful to him he gave us time to prepare for his demise. Let’s just remember everything that my father shared with us. And let’s be happy that he has finally gone home to our Creator.

Godspeed Tatay, we will definitely miss you a lot. Thank you and We love you!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Food For Thought

“It is better to lose your pride with someone you love rather than to lose that someone you love with your useless pride.”

"Pride the first peer and president of hell."

"In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes."

"Pride will spit in pride's face."

"Pride comes before a fall"

"Pride is pleasure arising from a man's thinking too highly of himself."

"Pride and conceit were the original sins of man."

"Women love the lie that saves their pride, but never an unflattering truth."

"Pride, envy, avarice - these are the sparks have set on fire the hearts of all men."

"There is this paradox in pride -- it makes some men ridiculous, but prevents others from becoming so."

"Pride is the master sin of the devil, and the devil is the father of lies."

"Humility is the ability to give up your pride and still retain your dignity."

"Temper gets you into trouble. Pride keeps you there."

"Pride is the mask we make of our faults."

Saturday, July 03, 2010


I've been trying to control my fingers not to blog and whinge about what is happening to my father and the the way he is being managed by a "team" of doctors in the hospital. I know from day 1 that I do not have any right to question his doctors' management as a doctor, firstly because I am not a recognised medical practitioner here in Australia and secondly I am not in any way connected with the hospital or any hospital here in Sydney for that matter. But I reckon I have all the bloody right to question his doctors as a son who just happened to finish med school, residency training and who worked as a consultant before. I know I travelled oceans and hundreds of kilometres away from home but that doesn't mean I left my medical knowledge in Manila.

Last night, my father had an episode of severe difficulty of breathing and cyanosis of his lips. He was struggling to breathe and was gasping for air. They summoned a "PACE" call and medical registrars arrived to assess him. ABG's was done and chest x-ray was ordered as well. The registrar on duty was thinking of 3 things... a possible pulmonary embolism, lung congestion or a possible chest infection. Luckily he was started on antibiotics, again and was given diuretics to address the congestion. They can't give blood thinners fearing he might bleed. Good on them, at least they did something.

What's making me revolt like this is that his "team" of doctors who from the very start do not have any plans for him except to "palliate" him like a terminally ill cancer patient, do their rounds everyday and assure my sister that "he's OK" , "he's OK." How can a 76 year old patient, breathing in the upper 20's per minute, who has intercostal, subcostal, supraclavicular indrawings, fine crackles all over his lungs, occasional wheezes, be OK? Even a wardsman can eyeball that a patient breathing like that is NOT OK and mind you my father has been like that for three days before anything was done.

If this is the kind of medical practise here, I say it's crap! Baloney! I am not sour graping because I am not a doctor here. I am just venting out my frustrations as a son of a medically mismanaged father. My prayer is just for him to survive all of this and prove to a "team" of doctors that they should not falter easily, consider every aspect and treat the patient as a whole and not treat and manage laboratory results.

Enough of this ranting!