Frontliner Story #5: Dr. James Albert Flores
Duties of a Family Man and Modern Hero
By Janelle Boquida and Kristian Rivera
Edited by Dana Eunise Cruz and Serina Mara Alonzo
Frontliner sourcing by Lara Galang
When news about COVID-19 broke, travels were cancelled and citizens were forced to stay home to prevent the rapid spread of the virus. The country now continues to fight this tremendous health crisis. For many families, this quarantine is a moment to gather and spend quality time with one other, but in the case of the frontliners, it’s usually a different story.
Dr. James Albert Flores is an internist pulmonary medicine specialist who treats COVID-19 patients daily and helps keep his family safe by strictly following precautionary measures at home. He sees the COVID-19 as a pandemic that can be contained and controlled using the right health care facilities and equipment.
When the community quarantine was lifted, people became doubly critical about disinfecting before they reach home, by taking off their shoes and outside clothes before entering the house, and by taking long thorough baths as soon as they are inside.
“I was very strict during the pandemic. We ate together, but I always kept my distance,” said Dr. James when he talked to us about the things that worried him: bringing home the virus, his pregnant wife and old parents, and the lack of Personal Protective Equipment.
The family bond is still there, but there are barriers preventing them from enjoying quality time with their loved ones. Dr. James said, “Wala naman difference in terms of how they approach me because I was the one who was setting the walls and I kept my distance, and my approach to them was very cautious.” (“There is no difference in terms of how they approach me because I was the one who was setting the walls and I kept my distance, and my approach to them was very cautious.”)
To protect his parents and family at home, he did the groceries and bank transactions. Treating patients is his expertise, which is why he did not doubt himself when it came to practicing his profession in a time such as this. It was only necessary to take precautions.
Some of the most rewarding aspects of being a father are providing for his family, watching his son turn into a fine young man, and supporting his wife as she pursues her passions in crafting and painting. Before the pandemic, they even tried to find creative ways to celebrate the gender reveal of their baby. They also had the time to discuss the health crisis before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and he believes that the way a physician absorbs information is different the way a layman does. They also talked about how to prevent it and the government’s response of dealing with the situation.
For a frontliner who is also a family man, fighting against the pandemic is a challenge that goes beyond balancing work and life. Protecting and providing for the family is truly a heartwarming feeling, knowing that they have his back on everything he does. “Take care” are simple words that mean the most to him, because it signifies his family’s love for him while he is on duty.
He takes inspiration from the advice his own father gave him: “Take quality time with your family, because it’s never about the quantity, it’s the quality.”
He spends time with his family and provides for them, and he is known to them as the “Man of Steel” and the “Superman” of his patients. He finds fulfillment in doing these acts of service.
These are just some of the roles that Dr. James fulfilled. He overcommunicates his love for them and through unspoken acts of kindness and service, he shows his family that he cares despite the challenges they might face. Heroism continues at home, even without the white suit. “I always tell my son that I love him, I also tell my wife that I love her. I am the most vocal among my family, I cook for them and I prepare meals for them, and lastly, I take note of things they like and I surprise them.”
Father’s Day is fast approaching. To celebrate the day, especially to the father frontliners, let’s give them a loud applause. They are the real heroes of today!