Friday, April 15, 2011

Stayin' Alive

health is wealth. don't wait for goons to take it away before you know it's gold.

The recent medical events in my life have what inspired me to write this post. I know you wouldn't be at all interested to know how a month ago I have been under medication due to hypertension and just a couple of days back been a victim of food poisoning. So let's take this issue beyond my personal incorrigibility and instead examine the health issues most OFWs are facing.

Just as everyone thinks we're heroes and seems kryptonite is the only thing we fear, truth is, OFWs are more vulnerable than everyone else when it comes to health risks. Why? Because we are exposed to a lot of stress at work and from home. Convenience also necessitates the frequent intake of fast, canned and instant foods. Lack of time also leads to not getting enough exercise. And the fact that we live far from our loves ones pushes us more closely to getting depression and to be brutally honest, to the guilty risks of sexually transmitted diseases.

These tendencies however, should not overshadow a deeper cause why some OFWs neglect their own health. Many still hold on to the mentality that we are indefatigable and that in this place and in this time, getting sick is never an option. That if they ever do, they just roll their heads in round direction, do their usual stuff in pretension and wait until they feel better. This is the case especially to those who don’t have insurance and whose employers don’t provide for decent sick leaves. That they would rather bear the pain of illness than be absent at work or spend on medicines thinking that their family needs the money more than they do. Talking about sacrifice.

Still, majority of OFWs put their lives at risk unknowingly. Working on a fast lane, sometimes we don’t have time to take a break and enjoy freshness. How about a stroll in the park to breathe fresh air, or waking up your nerves to an early morning sunshine. How about taking some time to jog around or visit the gym in case the weather is too un-liberating. How about cooking your own meals instead of fast foods or ordering packed lunch. I bet majority of you don’t have the luxury of time to engage in these things. We work on a fast lane, and if ever we have extra time to spend around, we'd rather facebook or chat with our loved ones back home than to promote ourselves with a lifestyle check.

In Dubai, Hypertension causes most deaths among Filipino workers due to the high level of stress in the working environment and intake of foods high in fat and salt. This is just the way things are and unless extra efforts are taken, one surely has a place to go, that is, the league of the obese, hypertensive and sickness prone OFWs. What happened to me and my officemates a few days ago is a different case. We usually don’t bring food and we just order packed lunch thru a kabayan from a source we never ever bother to care about. Living alone makes it inconvenient to cook my own food notwithstanding the fact it will cost me more to do so. But convenience sometimes has its price. In our case, we have been food poisoned and unluckily, some have to be confined in the hospital, unable to work and sadly, pay for unwanted hospitals bills.

As OFWs, we usually sideline a lot of things for the greater good of the people and things we love, even if sometimes what at stakes is already our own health. We always think about perfecting our work, always rushing in the morning without any breakfast. Sometimes when we are not feeling well, we still try to bear with it as much as we can. Instead of seeking medication, we resort to maximum tolerance and don’t want to spend hard earned money for medicines we think are unnecessary. We put ourselves last among many things, living ideally this hero's tag which has already become a curse rather than an opportunity to better our lives.

In this place and in this time, getting sick is really never an option which makes it all the more imperative that we take care of ourselves more than anything else. For OFWs, saving money for our families is our ultimate objective but when it comes to spending on health, we should do without the slightest hesitations. We cannot never love others unless we lovd ourselves and it starts by keeping ourselves able, mentally, physically and spiritually healthy. At the end of the day, money won't matter when you're dead and your family surely won't enjoy the fruits of your labor when all they can see of you are your ashes in urn.


  1. bawal magkasakit pag nasa abroad ka. sa iyo na rin mismo nanggaling na "health is wealth". kaya alagaan mo ito before it's too late.

    pagaling ka. live a healthy life. tara, jogging tayo! :-)

  2. bawal magkasakit! kaya mag clusivol everyday. hahaha! *korni*

    be safe lage! :-)

  3. talagang bawal magkasakit, pero minsan hindi naiiwasan. healthy living is the key, quit smoking, quit drinking, eat right, have enough sleep, regular exercise...madali sabihin noh I know but we should always have the guts to try nweiz it is our health and our body who will benifit from it. get well soon!

  4. @animus

    ayokong mag jogging, mainit! sa bahay na lang ako magthreadmill, yung nagjojoging ng hindi umaalis sa kinatatayuan! lol

  5. @Yellow Bells

    thanks yellow bells! ok na ko ngayun hehehe.

    hindi rin talaga maiwasan ang magkasakit, pero hanggat maaari we should try to live healthty lifestyle, para maminimize ang epekto ng pagkakasakit@ stay safe din!

  6. Bawal magkasakit hindi lamang dahil nasa abroad ka kundi bawal talaga magkasakit kahit nasaan ka. Pero hindi natin maiiwasan yan lalo na kapag season talaga ng pagkakasakit tulad ng pagpapalit ng panahon.

    Sabi nga ng karamihan, anything too much or too less ay bad. Kaya dapat lahat in moderation, yan din kasi ang kaya ng katawan natin, dapat balanse lang lahat. Madaling sabihin pero mahirap gawin :).