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Ruby Rodriguez on losing doctor sister to COVID-19: “Hindi mo naalagaan, hindi mo man lang nabisita.”

by Bernie V. Franco
Apr 20, 2020
Ruby Rodriguez (left) on retrieving the remains of her sister, Dra. Sally Gatchalian, who died from COVID-19: “The most painful, was when they got her, she was just in a body bag. No one is allowed to open."
PHOTO/S: Photo grabbed from Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho

“I wasn’t able to hug her. We didn’t see her.”

Ito ang hinagpis ni Ruby Rodriguez, 54, tungkol sa pinakamahirap na bahagi ng pagpanaw ng kanyang doktor na kapatid dahil sa COVID-19.

Emosyonal na ibinahagi ng Eat Bulaga! host ang kanyang saloobin sa interview ng GMA-7 magazine-TV show na Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho (KMJS).

Umere ang naturang episode nitong Linggo, April 19.

Pumanaw ang nakatatandang kapatid ni Ruby na si Dr. Salvacion “Sally” Gatchalian noong March 26 dahil sa mga kumplikasyong dulot ng COVID-19.

Si Dra. Sally ang pangulo ng Philippine Pediatric Society at assistant director ng Research Institute for Tropical Medicine o RITM.

Isa siyang frontliner sa paglaban ng COVID-19 sa bansa.

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"WE'RE SO CLOSE."

Makalipas ang tatlong linggo mula nang pumanaw ang kapatid, sinabi ni Ruby na nagagawa na nilang ngumiti ngayon.

Malaking tulong daw na nagdadamayan silang mga naiwan ng kanilang Manang Sally.

“All of us, we’re pulling [each other] out of the dark, ‘cause what helps us the most is we have a communication.

"Kasi kalat-kalat kaming magkakapatid,” saad ni Ruby sa panayam ng KMJS.

Nasa iba't bang bansa ang iba nilang kapatid, at sila lamang ni Dra. Sally ang nasa Pilipinas.

“So we do the video calls, and then we laugh, we talk about nice things.

“E, kasi no one will ever push you up but your family, di ba?” sabi ng emosyonal na si Ruby.

Malaki rin ang pasasalamat ng TV host-comedienne sa kaibigang si Pauleen Luna na dinamayan siya sa oras ng kailangan niya ng karamay.

“I consider Pauleen as my family. She texts me, and then asks how I am.

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“She expresses how she feels, she’s been crying ‘cause she’s really very, very close also to the family.”

Si Dra. Sally ay ninang sa kasal ni Pauleen at ng asawa nitong si Vic Sotto.

Kuwento pa ni Ruby, regular silang nag-uusap ni Dra. Sally noong nabubuhay pa ito.

“We’d shop together, watch a movie together, eat together.

“We have our yearly trips na bawal ang mga asawa, bawal kasama ang anak. We have that.

“I mean, just me and her, we’re so close.”

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THE HARDEST PART

Ayon pa kay Ruby, nang ma-confine sa ospital si Dra. Sally ay araw-araw pa rin silang magkausap at kinukumusta niya ito.

“She was in the hospital na, we talked every day ‘til hindi na siya pwedeng kausapin kasi naka-intubate na," kuwento niya.

Nagkaroon man sila ng close contact kay Dra. Sally bago ito maospital, wala raw ibang miyembro ng pamilya ang nagpositibo sa virus.

“’Cause we were all exposed to her before she went to the hospital.

“As in magkakatabi kami, e.

“All of us tested negative.

“Feeling namin, parang hinihingi niya na siguro na, ‘Ako na lang. Bigay Niyo na sa akin lahat. Wag Niyo na idamay ang pamilya ko.’”

Hanggang mangyari raw ang kanilang kinatatakutan.

“I got the call at 4 a.m." pagbabalik-tanaw ni Ruby.

Sinabihan daw siyang malala na ang kalagayan ng kapatid.

“Malapit na, kasi iba na daw yung BP [blood pressure] and all."

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Pinayuhan daw siyang magbigay ng "last message" sa kapatid.

“So, I told her what’s inside my heart.

“We were talking to her and I know she was hearing it pa rin.

“Then, pagkatapos na pagkatapos ng blessing, about count-to-100, wala, nag-flat line na siya…”

Hindi binanggit ni Ruby kung paano niya kinausap ang kapatid, pero posibleng sa pamamagitan ng mobile phone.

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Nabanggit ng Eat Bulaga! host sa interview na hindi niya nakita nang maospital ang kapatid, hanggang sa huling sandali nito.

Dahil positibo sa COVID-19 kapatid, kailangan naka-isolate ito para hindi makahawa ng iba.

Pagpapatuloy ni Ruby: “And then the hard part was, paano namin kukunin yung body?

“My brother-in-law was inside. Her daughter is in New York. The son is in a different house.”

Ang asawa ni Dra. Sally ay isa ring doktor, si Dr. Ed Gatchalian.

Tanong kay Ruby: Who would do everything?

Sagot niya, "I would...

“So, I started calling funeral places na may cremation, because that’s the only way you can do it daw.”

Hinagpis pa ni Ruby, “The most painful was, when they got her, she was just in a body bag.

“No one is allowed to open.

"They brought her to the crematorium in the bag.”

Hinatid na lamang daw sa kanila ang mga labi ng kapatid nang abo na ito.

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“Can you imagine your sister being delivered in a jar? In an urn? It’s all ashes.

“I wasn’t able to hug her, I wasn’t able to… you know what I mean?

“Hindi mo naalagaan, hindi mo man lang nabisita, di man lang kayo naka…

“That’s the hardest part.

“We didn’t see her. None,” naiiyak na kuwento ni Ruby.

RUBY: “I’M PROUD OF HER."

Kung mayroon mang nakakagaan sa loob nila, ito ay pagkilala ng publiko sa sakripisyo ng kapatid, at pagturing na bayani sa pagiging frontliner nito.

Naniniwala rin si Ruby na nagparamdam ang kapatid sa kanyang panaginip.

Lahad niya, “On the ninth day, her night day, nagising ako ng 4:00 a.m. na bigla.

“I started crying ‘cause I dreamt of her.

“And then she was wearing white, she was in front of a table, with a man.

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“And then there was just a paper. And then ano, ini-stamp lang ng man iyong paper. Sabi, ‘You passed.’

“Yun lang. And then she stood up and then I woke up.

“So I told everyone what I dreamt of.

“And then I said, ‘Maybe she’s in the gate [of heaven] already.”

May mensahe rin si Ruby sa mga kumilala sa sakripisyo ng kanyang yumaong kapatid.

“Thank you, thank you so much for honoring my sister as a hero.

“Pasasaan ba mananalo din tayo. Keep the faith.

“I’m really very proud of her and I love her so much

DR. GATCHALIAN PROUD OF HIS WIFE

Na-interview rin sa KMJS ang kabiyak ni Dra. Sally na si Dr. Ed Gatchalian.

Ibinahagi nito kung paano tumama ang virus sa asawa.

Noong March daw ay may napansin na sila sa kondisyon ni Dra. Sally, kaya’t isinugod ito sa ospital para ma-checkup.

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Kuwento ni Dr. Gatchalian, “We suspected it early on.

“Sabi ko ‘Hindi na maganda ito. We have to go to the hospital.’

"And true to fact, nagkaroon na ng pneumonia sa both lungs niya.

“Relentless, talagang mabilis…”

Proud pa rin daw si Dr. Gatchalian dahil pumanaw ang kanyang asawa na ginagawa ang sinumpaang tungkulin—ang magligtas ng buhay.

“Yes, kasi we were sworn to protect life at any cost, even to our lives.

“Pero si Sally, to be in front in the frontlines and then suffer the consequences, she never even had second doubts or second thoughts about it, e.”

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Ruby Rodriguez (left) on retrieving the remains of her sister, Dra. Sally Gatchalian, who died from COVID-19: “The most painful, was when they got her, she was just in a body bag. No one is allowed to open."
PHOTO/S: Photo grabbed from Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho
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