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Totus Tuus, Maria
88 Days in India: For Better or For Worse
By Arthur Policarpio
Margie Espino, business editor of a leading Philippine broadsheet newspaper, went to India on 26 November 2008 on a business trip. It was supposed to be a short four-day business trip.
She did not return to the Philippines until 88 days later.
That fateful day of 29 November 2008, Margie’s husband Chet, owner of a magazine publishing company, received a call from Margie’s hosts in India. Margie was frothing at the mouth and fell unconscious. It was an apparent aneurism. In a blink of an eye, Chet’s life – and the life of his family – was instantly changed.
Chet left everything – his business, his home, his kids – and went to India to be with his wife.
The arduous 11-hour trip to India was truly frightening for Chet: he didn’t know if he was going to find Margie still alive. Margie stayed at the Fortis Escorts Hospital in Faridabad, the industrial district of the state of Haryana, about an hour’s drive from the Indian capital of New Delhi.
When he got to the hospital, Margie was in a coma. “Margie, my beloved wife of 17 years, mother of our three children, whom I kissed goodbye just days ago… was there… She was in a coma.”
He kept a daily email journal of the entire ordeal, writing email updates about Margie’s conditions to a mailing list that spread and swelled to 300, including friends and strangers alike. His daily updates sparked a mini prayer campaign for Margie. The daily journals were compiled into a book, “88 Days in India”.
Full-Time Husband for 88 Days
For the next 88 days, Chet carried the seemingly unbearable cross of Margie’s life-threatening condition. Margie suffered two episodes of brain hemorrhage due to aneurysm, two bouts with hydrocephalus, a life-threatening battle with meningitis, and a dreadful bedsore.
The bleeding in Margie’s brain caused temporary brain damage. As a result, Margie’s bodily functions were impaired. She couldn’t talk, walk or move her limbs properly.
For the next 88 days, Chet became a full-time husband to Margie in every sense of the word: he fed her, sang to her, cried with her, watched her sleep, watched her wake up, prayed with her. He lived his wedding vows to the full: for better or for worse, in sickness or in health, till death do us part.
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