A Parent's Pride
Heidi M. Pascual*
Publisher & Editor
* 2006 Journalist of the
Year for the State of
By Heidi M. Pascual
Call me corny. I won’t mind. But my youngest son, Dennis Alfred, recently passed the
board exams for Physical Therapists in the Philippines and on Sept. 19, took his oath and
got his professional license! The oathtaking was held at the historic Manila Hotel, which
made the event more special and meaningful to us attendees.
Let me explain why I feel extraordinarily proud and happy as a parent.
When Dennis was very young, he was in and out of several hospitals in Metro Manila
for various illnesses. His immune system was weak and he suffered from convulsions
every time he had high fever. I spent hundreds, no, maybe thousands sleepless nights
and worrisome days as I watched my son undergo various medical treatments and tests.
As his mom, I refused to even think that my son wasn’t going to make his 12th birthday.
When he was three, for instance, doctors in a private hospital couldn’t diagnose his on-
and-off high fever for two weeks. They even subjected Dennis to lumbar-tap procedure
wherein they got some liquid sample from my son’s brain by injecting his spinal chord
with a long needle. It was a painful sight for a mother to see her little boy looking like a
helpless vegetable. After more than two weeks of seemingly endless medical tests, I
became worried and approached Dennis’ pediatrician who shared my concern. She
whispered to me in confidence to transfer my son to another hospital because she
thought that maybe a reagent used in the hospital’s lab had ceased to be potent or
effective. So we moved to another hospital and true enough, my son was diagnosed
right away with the correct illness and he recovered almost a week after his transfer to
that particular hospital. Then, my little boy had to have regular encephalograph tests and
a maintenance dose of Phenobarbital tabs. It was then that I observed that my son
became hyperactive, very irritable, and his appetite for all kinds of food went sky-high.
He started to gain weight and at 10 years old, he weighed almost like his older brother
six years his senior.
It was not only his fast weight gain that concerned me as a parent. It was his
behavior especially in school that made my heart sank every now and then. He would
have problems with his teachers, the principal, or with some classmates that he almost
did not graduate in high school. I had shed pails of tears just persuading his teachers to
give him a chance to graduate, considering his above-average intelligence. When I
talked to Dennis, he would of course defend himself unceasingly and try to profess his
innocence. He almost always saw himself as the victim, never the aggressor. He was
angry about many things, as if the world was always ganging up on him. He would easily
pick up a fight even with people he just met or saw in the mall. It was hard for Dennis to
become friendly right away. He never trusts a person at first sight. It takes a while to get
UNABLE TO CONTINUE WORKING??
There should be help.
Social Security Disability and SSI -
Programs designed to help individuals
who are disabled from work.
IF YOU APPLY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY
AND/OR SSI AND YOU ARE DENIED,
THERE IS HELP!
(Left-Right) Dennis Alfred Pascual poses at the entrance of Manila Hotel's pavilion; on
the stage; taking his official oath as PTRP (Physical Therapist Registered in the
|Dennis with Dr. Reynaldo Rey-Matias,
Chair of the PRC Board for PT/OT
|Dennis with his colleagues at the Sultan
close to him and earn his trust. To me, my son has become a study in human relations. As his mother, I knew he needed family
support and understanding to help him view the world and other people in a much better way.
I’m sure Dennis also got emotionally affected by family tragedies, and who would not? But the effect on him was tremendous,
particularly when his parents broke up and he found out that his father has a son with another woman, and that son was his dad’s
“Junior.” Soon after learning this, Dennis and I immigrated to the United States with “broken hearts.”
Dennis took a number of jobs, from
dishwasher to grocery cashier; then from
team crew member at Mcdonalds to Physical
Therapy technician at GM in Janesville. All
these in about eight years in America. But he
would go back to the Philippines almost every
year to reconnect with his loved ones. He
actually completed his bachelor’s degree in
Physical Therapy in the Philippines while on
special two-year permit from the INS. My son
just couldn’t adapt to the American way of life
permanently it seemed, so he had to go back
home often, where his girlfriend was and still
Recently, our decision to go home due to
the Great Recession in the U.S. and our desire
to be with family proved to be providential.
Dennis has been blessed since he arrived
home! He is now going to be a father soon; he
is now licensed to practice his profession;
and he has been hired as lecturer at the
Sultan Review Group for Physical Therapy and
Occupational Therapy licensure exams! My
son has finally found what would really make
him happy in this world.
Now, you know why I am this happy for
Dennis, and why I am so proud to be his mom!