My legs are failing me. Yesterday, I’ve accompanied my sister to her clinic appointments downtown. She needed to see an allergist to check if the red things in her face are caused by an allergy. She was secretly hoping it had nothing to do with food. We arrived early, so we went downstairs. She and I hadn’t been paying attention to the signs, so we ended up going down the basement instead of the ground floor. The hospital was swarming with humans, mostly anxious to get to their respective clinics. We braved the crowded streets of Osmeña. Crossed the zebra lines, then up the skywalk where children sat with their hands outstretched for people’s mercy in a currency known as “limos.” Not far away from these stairs stood two gentlemen in formal clothing. Inside air-conditioned offices, formal attire makes perfect sense; outdoors, in this humid temperatures, sweaty armpits are guaranteed. No wonder, among the busy crowd, those two stood out. Beside them was a magazine stand filled with colorful religious literature. My sister said something about the particular street-flooring; she dislike how it made her look short. She’s around five feet tall. We entered the mall, thankful of its blast of cool, cool air.
I couldn’t find lint fillers for my lint roller. But she found fancy looking chopsticks and black face masks. She also bought a foldable, portable hand-fan. She took countless trips to the shelf to find one that’s less “girly” and snubbed a Minnie Mouse designed hand-fan. It’s cute, how such details matter to an eighteen year old. Time passes fast when you’re aimlessly walking inside a mall. It’s thirty minutes before one o’clock. Again, we climbed the steps and reached the clinic with five minutes to spare. We couldn’t stand to wait in the hallway where it was physically suffocating with its narrow space and too many anxious faces. So we went by the stair exit, close the jalousied window but there was no breeze. By the time we went back in the clinic, a patient was sent in to meet the specialist. And another young patient. We absently played with one of her app games.
The specialist told my sister that those things in her face aren’t caused by any allegies. And that she should visit a dermatologist instead. She was referred to a dermatologist in another hospital, one I’ve recently frequented. So the next day, we went for another appointment. She was the first patient for the day and had been prescribed with a cream medicine and a lemon soap. She was also instructed not to put any foundation products in her face for a month. Overall, her pimples were pretty normal for her age.
The travel downtown to meet doctors can be taxing, even to younger adults like us. Yet, it’s going to save us more money if we understand how to care for our bodies. And peace of mind, yes, we have that, too.
Lastly, for someone who lived close to the office, I haven’t went or hang around downtown Cebu. So, a trip, even for something as somber as a visit to the clinic, gives me the opportunity to see the changes in my city. A bakeshop has been closed and is now part of a condominium project. Same goes for a real estate office (*ironic). I could see so much life from inside the jeepney. A cat perched atop a bakershop’s roof. A child sitting in the dirt, his head masked by a black t-shirt, and two tiny arms stretched for the city’s mercy.