Health is indeed Wealth! (Lessons from my recent hospital confinement)

Health is indeed Wealth! (Lessons from my recent hospital confinement)

Sep 13, 2023

I wasn’t able to write my weekly articles for two weeks because I had to pause. I was confined in a hospital for two days due to tummy ache and some tests had to be done. The tests came out “clean” (that’s the doctor’s term) but we are still awaiting the results of my biopsy of an inflammation in a small part of my colon. The tummy ache was not really severe but more of a nagging discomfort. It’s just that, at my age, I am more vigilant of what my body is telling me. So, after two days of no improvement, Marvin brought me to the ER of a hospital.


Months ago, my husband and I have been on this Healthspan journey. We’ve read wonderful books about prolonging high quality life until the end instead of just prolonging life span. These are some of the books that we’ve read and even gifted to others – Outlive (The Science & Art of Longevity) by Dr. Peter Attia, Glucose Revolution and Glucose Goddess Method by biochemist Jessie Inchauspe, The Menopause Reset by Dr. Mindy Petz, Prime Time by Jane Fonda, The Blue Zones Challenge by Dan Beuttner. 

So, I can actually say that recently, I was really taking good care of my health. I exercised almost everday. I even lifted weights to increase muscle mass. I ate healthy meals and even tried having an early lunch as my first meal of the day when I learned that this fasting allows for cell regeneration. I was eating my food in their proper order to prevent glucose spikes – veggies first, proteins and fats second, starches and sugars last. I was also using my Stance standing desk again with matching stepper while I worked so I avoid the “Sitting is the new smoking” Syndrome. I was also trying to sleep earlier than my usual in order to get at least seven hours at night.

And then my health scare happens! It was a bit disheartening, especially because my birthday was also coming. I even wondered whether I should cancel my scheduled celebrations. But I realized that taking care of my health meant also taking care of my emotional and mental health so we pushed through with some simple celebrations.

Lessons from this experience

1. Health is wealth. Good health is definitely great wealth. No amount of success, money, and other good things in life can be enjoyed well in the absence of good health. This becomes more obvious as we enter our older years.

2. Hospitals have to be more pleasant. I am not a fan of hospital visits. Consultations with dermatologists and chiropractors are among the more pleasant ones because they usually hold their clinics outside the hospital. Going to the ER includes answering questions over and over again while you’re already in pain. The saving grace is that Filipino medical providers are, by nature, kind and caring. So, what I do is, as much as I can, I try to engage them in a conversation in order to tap into that kindness, even if just to say, “Naku ha, ilang beses ko ba dapat sagutin yang tanong na yan?” with a smile.

3. Having a health card has its own advantages and disadvantages. When you have one, you are not that concerned of the amount you will spend. However, there are added steps that are sometimes annoying to someone in pain. Tests take longer to happen because they have to get the approval of your HMO, etc. There are some coverage exclusions that you may not find fair. Nonetheless, medical coverage still provides peace of mind.

Let me share a conversation that I couldn’t help but overhear because we were just divided by a curtain at the ER.

Patient: Doc, how much would the entire procedure cost?

Doctor: Around Php400,000.

Patient: Naku Doc, ayoko, lilipat na lang ako sa public hospital. Ayokong mabaon sa utang.

Doctor: Maybe you should also stop smoking.

Patient: Parang ang layo naman ng smoking dito sa nararamdaman ko sa uterus ko Doc.

Doctor: We cannot rule that out.

I don’t really like feeling better just because I see others having a harder time, but at that time, my discomfort and worry were put in their proper perspective as I was able to count my blessings more. At least, I didn’t need to move hospitals to cut on costs, and I didn’t have to worry about the effect of smoking, no matter how indirect, to my condition because I never smoked.

4. Getting sick is inevitable but we can soften the blow through preparation. Having insurance or the money to cover for illnesses will reduce the stress of getting sick as you can focus on the necessary procedures and recovery without the added stress of financial worries.

5. Every little lifestyle habit will catch up with us. As the doctor of the other patient said, even if smoking usually affects our respiratory system, she cannot discount its effect on her patient’s reproductive system. In my case, when I asked the doctors what could have caused my tummy ache, they could not yet determine it; hence, the tests, and this also brings me to the next lesson.

6. Doctors prescribe medicines. I have observed this quite often when talking to doctors. Because I am not fond of taking meds in general, I always ask for a prescription for lifestyle; however, most of them would just prescribe medicines and the generic, “Avoid high cholesterol food” when pressed for an answer on what to avoid. I also ask if they have nutritionist and fitness partners in their practice, and so far, none of them had any. I cannot blame them because their education and resulting expertise is medicine. They went to Med School not Health School! And it’s a pharma world out there where they operate. This brings us to the next lesson.

7. Listen to your body. We are probably in the best position to know what our body is telling us. It is not always easy and we sometimes turn a deaf ear if we are overwhelmed with what is enjoyable at the present moment. Our Makatwirang Mak is no match to our Emotional Emong, not only in our money habits but also in our health habits. Try to have a health journal, or just write things down in your cellphone calendar. (e.g. I experienced dizziness today after I …, I got sick after I …, I felt bloated after I ate…, etc.) If you are managing your weight, have a weighing scale and measuring tape in your bathroom. According to my fitness coach last year, the best time to measure your weight and waistline is in the morning, preferably after you’ve done your number 2. This record provides you with very important data. I even write down what happened the day before (e.g. after having a party, after my first no breakfast day, after my first full workout day, etc.). This way, it is easier to go back and repeat what works and avoid the culprits.

8. Refrain from consulting too much with Dr. Google. Among the things that I refused to do while confined in the hospital was to google what could be wrong with me. I know that this would just add to my worries unnecessarily. I had to remind myself of the contents I created that worrying is 97% useless! (Click article or video ). It was only after I was back home and looking for a lifestyle (what to eat and avoid) that I started googling about my condition. By the way, having your phone away from your bed at night also helps. Even if you put your phone on airplane mode, its accessibility to you uses up energy at night when you try to resist picking it up.

9. Mental health is a core component of wellbeing.  While recovering at home, I had bouts of headaches from my antibiotics and my taste buds sometimes felt awful. It’s similar to that feeling of “naglilihi” (infanticipating). Then there was one afternoon when I really felt beyond melancholic. I felt sad and didn’t quite know where it was coming from. When I sent a text to my husband to tell him about it, he immediately called me but I was not in the mood to talk about it on the phone. All I wanted was to have him beside me right away, which was not going to happen because of the return of the traffic monster in the metro. So, I was there sobbing, praying, experiencing this feeling for the first time. When Marvin finally arrived and asked me to describe how I was feeling, this is how I answered, “It’s as if I could not access my Joy/Love Tank, which I normally could in moments like this.” I know it was there but it was like “Access Denied!” It scared me a little bit. But luckily, I was feeling better while having dinner. In fact, when I went to bed, I was thankful and at peace. I realized how difficult this could be to someone who didn’t have an immediate responder. I am lucky to have The Honey who has been so caring. So, let’s all have someone to turn to in times like this and let’s also try to be that someone for others.

10. What’s in your To-Do List? It was my first time ever to experience going through general anesthesia as I practiced Lamaze for all three deliveries. I was more scared about this part than the procedure itself. But my anesthesiologist looked very pretty and calming and “fashion” smiling at me promising that she will be with me during the entire time. I could say that the terrible discomfort I felt to prepare for colonoscopy was at least paired with a positive yet still scary experience of my first time to be knocked out with meds.

After less than an hour of the procedure, I woke up seeing my anesthesiologist and gastroenterologist for a quick talk. Then they left me to recover by myself. During that time, I wondered, “What if they find something bad? Then I asked myself the question, “If I only had a few days to live, is there anything I will stop doing now? What are the toxic things that I will delete in my life?” I went through my mental list of the things I’m doing. Will I continue to write articles? Yes. Will I continue to teach? Yes. Will I continue writing books that take very long for me to finish? Yes. Will I continue to make videos? I paused a bit here because, honestly, it’s getting harder and harder to reach out because of the shortening of attention spans. Will I continue to be involved with my other engagements such as civic organizations and boards? Yes. Will I continue to entertain family and friends at home to have meaningful conversations? Yes. Will I continue to develop a closer relationship with God? Definitely yes!

This mental exercise gave me a smile and I said a little prayer, “Thank you Lord. I realize now more than ever that you have blessed me so much that I am already living my dream life.” But of course, I had to make a pahabol prayer, “But please don’t get me yet. I still want to experience being a groovy grandmother!” But I think this belongs to another article. And yes, you may congratulate us for this blessing!

Cheers to high FQ and healthy life!


  1. Watch out for my guesting on Victor Anastacio’s Intellectwalwal.
  2. Watch out for interesting content we’re doing in collaboration with BDO Securities.

This article is also published in Philstar.