In Memoriam - You Will Never Be Forgotten, Dr. Raul Jara

11:43:00 AM Pinoy Boy Journals 0 Comments


One of the reasons i think why early on i pushed myself to go out of my comfort zone and explore the world is that i thought i won't live long. Life is short, as they say. YOLO. If i would not live long, at least i have seen as much as i can in this world.

When i was still in my 20's, i had a rare heart condition called Supraventricular Tachycardia. Looking for a heart doctor specialist lead me to Dr. Raul Jara of the Philippine Heart Center. He became my cardiologist for a good three years, and would eventually help me identify the cause of my situation, and how will i be able to get pass it.

To be honest, i was not aware of the gravity of my situation, but it became clearer to me that i had an unhealthy heart. While most people of my age would go out and party, i would sleep early to go to a doctor's appointment the next day. I would still go out and try to become normal, but i always take extra caution knowing my condition is not normal.

I've seen many doctors, and i thought Dr. Jara was quite the character really. If you love music, going to his clinic was a treat. Blasting classical, and instrumental melodies was party of my appointment. It worked that his clinic at the Philippine Heart Center had good acoustics. I could still vividly remember him playing Sinatra in one of our sessions. It felt like i was in a jazz bar every single time.  

The very definition of cool can be described as someone with composure and absence of excitement in a person—especially in times of stress. He is that, and so much more. I remember that he would take my blood pressure. Instead of telling me what it was, he would go to his component system, change the music and play a different tune. Obviously puzzled, he would then tap my back and say "just relax". His calm demeanor makes his patients relaxed too. I would go to his clinic probably once or twice a month. And everytime i come to his clinic, he would always ask me if still smoke a cigarette. Disappointed at my answer, yet he would patiently tell me that smoking won't make me live long. He let me be. It's my life anyway. At a tender age of 20, with an unhealthy heart, i knew I would definitely not live long. 

He then prescribed medicines to me that i would take every single day, until now. For someone in his 20's to have maintenance drugs, it was a total game changer. I knew that what i have is serious. I would take the same medicines people thrice my age would take. Yet, i knew he was only looking after my welfare. Imagine, i am always the youngest patient in line that he would see during his appointment schedule. I think this made him interested to take my case to begin with.

On days when he will take my ECG, he would hum a tune every now and then. He would sing a line or two. Funny, that the constant background music he plays during our sessions has partly influenced my musical interest now. It's just that we are decades apart in age, but Dr. Jara and I can actually become friends. To be frank about it, he's probably the coolest doctor i know.

I am now in my late thirties, and my heart is healthy. I stopped smoking three years ago, and have been looking after my diet. I exercise regularly, and have become more concerned in taking care of my health and living a long life more than ever. I still take most of the maintenance drugs he has prescribed, and is seeing a new cardiologist. But i will never forget Dr. Jara. He was the first doctor i know, aside from my father. And i will forever be grateful to him for taking the time to look after me. It was a great honor.

A few days ago, i knew that a lot of doctors were in quarantine at the Philippine Heart Center due to COVD-19. Sadly, Dr. Jara was one of them. I knew that he was intubated soon after. Yesterday, i saw on Facebook that he passed away. My heart sunk. 

It has been more than 10 years since i last saw him, and it's so unfortunate that i was not able to even say hi to him after our sessions for years. I would have thanked him again and again for helping me become well. 

I am deeply saddened by his passing. To be honest, It felt like a part of me has died, too. He was one of the reasons why i am still alive now. He was instrumental in making me healthy, and guiding me to have a healthier lifestyle. 

My greatest passion is to travel the world. Every year, I would travel every month, to exotic beaches, and historical landmarks around Asia, Europe and Africa. And i would think now all of these were possible because of him. From hereon, I will remember him, everytime.

I will continue to explore the world when this pandemic is over. His advice would not go to waste. I will take care of my heart. I will be healthy. I will live long, and will forever thank him. Like what he always say, just relax. 

Rest in peace, Doc. Jara.  

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