Frontliner Story #10: Dr. Jose Raymundo R. Carlos
A Family of Medical Frontliners
By Christella Audrey Garin
Edited by Dana Eunise Cruz and Serina Mara Alonzo
Frontliner sourcing by Jana Reynaldo
Families today become very anxious whenever a member goes out on the street to at least buy their weekly groceries. Meanwhile, some families have a frontliner with them which further makes these worries pile up. What more if the majority of the family are frontliners — being at the forefront of this pandemic as they expose themselves almost everyday to COVID patients or suspects, to add possibly having close contact with them?
Doc Carlos’ family are all medical practitioners. His wife, Leonidas Carlos, is a nurse, and his four children are all active in the medical field — Dr. Francis is an Internal Medicine Physician, Dr. Kim Benedict is a General Physician, Dr. Erick John is an Eyes, Neck and Throat Physician, and Ivy Diane is a Physical Therapist. While others may think that this family setup is a great blessing, during this pandemic, it is a risk, but also a blessing in disguise for many people they could help in fighting against sicknesses especially COVID-19. This family is a life support not only to themselves, but most especially for other people.
Comparing his life before the pandemic and now, a lot has changed ever since. After finding out about the virus at first, he thought that it was just another virus like the MersCov which could be handled by the doctors. But as the deaths of many frontliners who died from it rose, he became alarmed and researched more about it. He became more cautious as well and looked for the safety of not just himself, but also for his patients and his frontliner family.
“Nag alala din ako dahil Father din ako ng 3 active Practicing Doctors na baka mahawa din sila. [Kaya] palagi ko silang [nire]remind about the disease na mag ingat at [to] protect themselves by [having] personal hygiene at possible [na] gumamit ng PPE at ng Facemask.and disinfect their room.”
Doc Carlos’ routine is just like a normal day of a doctor-slash-grandfather before. After waking up in the morning, he fixes the things of his grandchildren and his wife does the cooking. After breakfast, he prepares for work and drives on his way to his private clinic in Malolos Bulacan to see his patients. Before lunch, it signals the end of his work and refers the rest of his patients to his sons Dr. Francis or to Dr. Kim. Also, as a senior citizen, it’s best for him to lie low for the rest of the day. Before going back home for lunch with the whole family, he does the errands at the supermarket or pays the bills. He rests for the rest of the day and waits for another day to start, without worrying what major virus could cause harm to his family.
As the quarantine starts on March 15, a lot has changed. In his clinic, there is social distancing between his patients and himself. Everything and everyone is also sanitized before entering.
“Usually binobombahan ko pa ng disinfectant ang clinic at receiving room,” Doc Carlos said.
In his home, everyone is strictly following personal hygiene. He always takes a bath every time he returns back from work. Pagmamano and beso is also halted for a while between him and his family, especially with his grandchildren whom used to be a big part of his daily routine before. But, the good thing that happened with this quarantine is that their family bonding grew bigger and kwentuhans became frequent compared to before when they had separate lives working in separate hospitals and clinics and living in separate places. He started to learn some household chores, creating video slides, surfing the internet, and even some TikTok dances. Doc Carlos is really a millennial Lolo!
This is the life of Jose Raymundo R. Carlos, commonly known by his colleagues as Doc Carlos. With 3 more children as an active physician in this pandemic, Doc Carlos’ Family is surely at risk, and anxious situations and worries are 10 times more. But this doesn’t make this 63-year-old Internal Medicine doctor since 1990 lose hope and give up his profession. He might find this profession as a challenging one, but it has been his dream ever since, especially to help the poor.. As stated in their Hippocratic Oath which he dearly carries in his heart, “…with special obligations to all my fellow human beings.” And this dream is surely shared by his children as well which he considers as his greatest treasure that he is very proud of.