OUR ONDOY EXPERIENCE
As in most places in Marikina last September 26, 2009,our poor clinic was one of the casualties of storm Ondoy bringing in 5 feet floods with mud. We were fortunate to be around when the waters started rushing in the clinic (we even treated 2 patients that September 26th morn). At first we tried warding off the rising waters by sealing the glass doors with dental wax, glue gun or whatever material we thought would prevent water from seeping in. But when the deluge was too much, we knew our space would be underwater in no time.
So acting as one unit, we started bringing up all our delicate stuffs – the small dental machines, the paper documents, the drawers containing the dental instruments and whatever we could fill the upper space with. We were fortunate to have built an attic (as extra storage area) because we just couldn’t imagine where to bring all our delicate items. We left when the waters were waist deep and most of the things were brought up to safety except for the dental chair (too heavy) and the x-ray (mounted on the wall). It was like in a Titanic movie when it took us time to open, close then lock the metal and glass doors. All the while, my car was sinking from the deeper waters outside by the parking area. We ventured out as waters continued to rise, settling in one of covered areas.
By late afternoon, with the continuing rains, I braved the floods and knocked on a high school classmate’s condominium room on the 8th floor after searching for his name on the now wet records. He and his wifey warmly welcomed me in and later my 2 assistants. As the night settled in, we continued to observe the worsening conditions – the floods, the rushing trash, the people clambering on building roofs, wet and hungry. And of course, our clinic and my car – by now a rectangular island of blue metal in a sea of brown.
There was no electricity. Most of the communications were by mobile phone which by now was at risk of running out of power. We subsisted on canned foods with gloomy thoughts and restless energy looming through the night. By 11 pm, we noticed the waters finally settling to a certain level then eventually going down. By 5 am, water has completely disappeared in front of our clinic. And so we ventured to check the extent of the damage. By 9 am, an army of cleaners was summoned by my family, hosing and eliminating every trace of mud from the insides of our clinic space. Before night fall, mydentalspace is free of any trace from the storm. Or so I thought…
It would take another 10 days before the major dental appliances (dental chair/x-ray/compressor) all submerged to dry up, be cleaned up and brought to normal working condition. We started treating patients on the second week after the storm but a month later we had a 4-day break for minor repairs and repainting of the clinic walls. 1.5 months after Ondoy, our clinic is back to normal operations and my car is running again.
Despite everything, we are still very thankful to the Lord as the damage/trials we experienced was not that permanent and we were able to rise out of the problems faster than some. And we learned a lot from this tempest – no problem that comes along is too difficult to hurdle, family and relations matter more over material possessions and always build an attic which is accessible and useful.
Anyway, you have a detailed rundown of my Ondoy experience. 2009 is one of the most trying year I believe on my 44 years of existence, but the Lord has prepared me for a predicament of this magnitude and I thank Him for giving me strength, fortitude and hope.