By Alex P. Vidal
Poverty drove the family of Rodulfo “Tonyol” Caasi Jr., 27, to release him from hospital and bring him to the funeral parlor thinking he was already dead.
“We had no money to sustain his hospital bills and our daily expenses,” lamented his mother, Elizabeth, 51. “We had no one to turn to and we were very much confused at that time.”
Elizabeth and daughter, Lilibeth, 30, thought Caasi, who had been in state of camatose, was dead — or had no more chance to survive. They convinced doctors at the West Visayas State University Medical Center (WVSUMC) in Jaro, Iloilo City to remove him from life support system and brought the body to Sumagpao Funeral Homes in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo last January 6.
Caasi was about to be embalmed at the Sumagpao Funeral Homes in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo when funeral owner, Angel Sumagpao, heard him gasping for his breath.
He was rushed to the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Mandurriao, Iloilo City and is now breathing through a respiratory apparatus.
“Now that he is alive, we want him back in our house to be with us permanently,” requested Elizabeth, 51. “I was the happiest person when I learned that Tonyol was alive. I thank God for giving him back to us.”
Caasi’s family lives in Brgy. Taloc Baybay, Bago City, Negros Occidental. Elizabeth’s husband, Caasi Sr., is a fisherman. Caasi Jr., single, is the third in nine children.
A delivery boy of Jollibee, Caasi lost consciousness when his motorcycle bumped a road construction stockpile on his way back to Iloilo City from Pototan, Iloilo. He incurred wounds at the back of the head.
“He is the only bread winner in the family,” Elizabeth sobbed. Lilibeth, also single, said her income as sewer in Cavite, Metro Manila, is not enough to sustain their expenses. She left her job since December to attend to Caasi.
Elizabeth brought her two other daughters, Evelyn, 21; and Clarizza, 13, to help her watch Caasi in the hospital.
“We desperately need help,” teary-eyed Elizabeth appealed. “The respirator alone costs us P600 a day. We have no enough money for our daily foods and other expenses. We have nobody to turn to because we are strangers here.”
Caasi can open only his right eye. Lilibeth said she believed her brother could understand and hear everything they said even if he could not talk as his mouth and nose are attached to a machine.
Caasi is under the care of Dr. Melinda Pechayco.