Tuesday, 27 November 2012 16:53
DAY ONE (Thursday) --- It was still early in the morning about 6 a.m. when Cathay Pacific (CX) Flight 0289 docked at the Frankfurt International Airport Bay no. 2. Beth was still nursing some stiff neck and the usual neck pains when we unbuckled to disembark. It was an 11-hour flight from Hongkong and like in all previous foreign trips, Beth never had some good sleep -- despite the comfortable and totally reclinable CX modernized seats in the Business Class section.
From the glass windows at the tube, we saw the heavy fog outside. After gathering our luggages, Villa Medica (VM) representative (named Sammy, an Iranian) was flashing the VM sign at the arrival gate for us. We were the only 2 passengers in his van for the 140 km. trip to Edenkoben. Sammy said there were about 8 guests from Thailand and Vietnam in our batch but they were arriving later in the day.
(An interesting fact for President Willie Torres and my colleagues at the Davao Sports and Classics Cars Club: there’s NO SPEED limit in their highways throughout Germany, according to Sammy. A good spot for a fun drive! )
Sammy, while driving was a good source of information. I was curious and I could not wait for the briefing by the VM doctors. He said the fresh cells are taken from "Black Mountain" sheeps, specially raised in a farm and transported to VM laboratories for tests and procedures before they are slaughtered while 18- week pregnant. The mother sheep is slaughtered on the day of the injection on the "client” (they don’t use the word "patients".) The unborn fetus, about 18 weeks old is still alive when the fresh cells are taken and within 2 hours, the cells harvested must be injected on the guest. He gave a few prominent names in the Philippines who have come to VM. And many kept coming back, he said.
We arrived at Villa Medica facilities after about one hour and a half of travel passing through grape vineyards that have started to wilt and darken with the onset of winter. Grapes were usually harvested in October, except for the special variety that they used to make “ice wine”, a black- colored wine, so heavily sweet and fruity.
VILLA MEDICA looked like a mansion house in the middle of the forest. It stands on its lonesome self after the van ascended towards the forest past the center of EDENKOBEN, a quaint, quiet town, with very narrow two-way streets, with a population of about 7,000. Houses were in bricks and mortar.
When we disembarked, although properly wrapped as instructed, the 4-degree temperature gnawed at our face even with some sun rays filtering through gold colored autumn leaves overhead. It was 8 a.m. at Edenkoben although it was already 3 in the afternoon back home by my watch, Philippine time (a 7 hour difference). We were met at the door by VM Head Staff named Joyce, a Malaysian who turned out to be Sammy's wife. We were conducted to the dining area for breakfast where a few guests were eating, talking in hushed tones. In one table nearby I spotted an old graying German couple, must be in their nineties.
Before being conducted to our room upstairs, we were told: "Please proceed to PRAXIS (name of the room) on the ground floor for the first infusion."
We entered a room with about 12 reclined seats facing a drape-less window looking out into the forests. The first infusion meant being hatched to an oxygen aerator attached to your nose and getting an intravenous flow of some pinkish-looking fluid containing concentrates of Vitamin C, B12 and Glutathione combined. The procedure was over in about 45 minutes.
When I asked the German lady nurse what was the infusion for, she explained that it was to loosen up the body in preparation for the next day's fresh cell injections.
Next to Beth lined up in the infusion chairs were young Thais. I could not miss their nationality as they spoke. The young petite lady beside her looked so young, maybe no more than 25 years old. She was tweaking her IPAD continuously and when I peeped, she was in a "casino playing" mode. Later during the day, VM's Joyce told me she was one of the youngest casino owners in Thailand. No wonder she had a battery of assistants tending to her needs and keeping her engaged. At the other end was a husband and wife couple from Vietnam. I was told this was their 3rd visit to VM for the treatment.
After the first infusion we were conducted to our Room No 19 on the 2nd floor. It was a functional room, with a heater (of course!) With two beds on each side of the wall, a toilet and an opening to a balcony facing the trees and the forests outside. This was to be our home for the next four days.
Then, we were called back downstairs to meet with two VM Resident medical doctors Dr. Andre Morato, a Filipino who's been in Germany almost all his lifetime and Dr. Hurtgen for an interview and dialogue. They explained the whole process. They had been familiar with Beth's kidney problems as her medical records had been sent to them way ahead of the trip by our friend and attending physician in Manila, Dr. Rose Liquete who helped set up the VM treatment.
After lunch was free time until evening. We were assigned a car and a driver that brought us to a nearby center of town where we strolled and bought a few necessities. Beth attempted to shop but she forgot to get some EUROS at the airport bank, so she had to settle for just a few items for some Euros I saved from my previous trips.
Before retiring that night and during dinner, I was able to meet the German couple, seated in the next table. The husband was 93 years old while the wife, who spoke good English, was 10 years younger. They had been coming to VM for fresh cell treatment for several years. "You come here every year?” I managed to ask. The lady answered: “No, more often than 12 months now. When we have time, he drives about 200 kilometers from here and takes the treatment. Our family had been regulars here since my mother discovered the place starting in 1984."
When I asked her how he could manage to drive alone for several hours to come to VM at 93 years old, she explained with a wink: "He used to fly jets as a pilot. So driving cars is not a problem!" I was amazed and stared at him. I noticed his face was pinkish, without the vestiges and ravages of age. Although he had a cane, it was to steady him when walking on uneven surface.
No wonder they keep coming to VM. But that's something Beth and I will have to find out for ourselves.
Tomorrow: DAY 2, THE STEM CELL INJECTIONS.
By Jess G. Dureza
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