When such a dreaded disease claimed the lives of those you love—not just one but three in your family—and it holds you back in fulfilling your purpose in life, only the courage, determination, and faith in oneself and in God could help you move forward.
REVIEW: Zaijian Jaranilla, Nonie Buencamino show acting brilliance in MMK “Dialysis Machine”
In the conclusion of a two-part series, Maalaala Mo Kaya’s July 10 episode, “Urn” brings yet a more heartbreaking turn in the lives of the Daytos and their struggles against chronic kidney disease.
While Andy (Zaijian Jaranilla) recovered from near fatal complications of the renal illness, he had been quite concerned about how his father Abe (Nonie Buencamino) is carrying the burden of supporting not only his but also sister Dideng’s bout with the disease. Even if Abe wanted him to just rest and recuperate, the urge to still help his dad made him still want to work despite his ailment.
Dideng urged Andy to open up to Abe about his desire to help in providing for the family and still work, saying that their dad will eventually understand him because he loves them so much. After he did return to his job as a nurse, but only as a reliever due to his illness, Andy felt the joy of still pursuing a career so dear and important to him.
Abe allowed Andy to do thing he loves to do, yet half-heartedly, knowing the risks involved. But Dideng was always there to ease the burden on both, with her words of comfort and encouragement despite her failing health. She told Andy to enjoy life to the fullest, and take advantage of each opportunity that comes his way.
As she was undergoing her dialysis, Dideng suffered a stroke, indicating her worsening condition. Paralyzed and bedridden at home, Dideng enjoyed the love and care of her family. She handed out a letter to Abe, thanking her dad for all the support and love he has given her, saying she knew she would not last long because of her failing health, and added that she now regretted not fulfilling a promise to help him live a prosperous life. As he was emotionally struck with Dideng’s letter, Abe still told her to hang on and fight.
Andy’s brother Nonoy (Akihiro Blanco) frantically called them about having bloated legs, which is a telling symptom of chronic kidney disease. Abe and Andy urged him to have it tested, and then told him not to worry, and just remain faithful and strong. It turned out Nonoy was also suffering from renal disease, and would need dialysis several times a week. And as the whole family still bonded together in facing this terrible ordeal, tragedy befell them. As Andy was about to take Dideng’s blood pressure, he noticed she was unresponsive, and did not have a pulse. He screamed for Abe’s help to rush her to the hospital.
Doctors and medical staff tried to revive Dideng, but failed. She succumbed to complications of renal disease, which already claimed the life of their mother. This further devastated Andy, who thought of Dideng as a source of strength in his difficult battle against the disease. Her death left Andy exasperated with the kidney illness now claiming the lives of both his mother and sister. Andy even got piqued when Abe continued to tell them, “Tiwala lang, laban lang” when the disease continued to win over them. He even questioned if God was really there, and why He allowed these tragedies to happen. Abe castigated Andy telling him the mere fact that he is alive is a sign of God’s grace and he should be thankful for it.
After Andy calmed down, he had a heart-to-heart talk with his father, apologizing for his outburst. Abe told him that he might have displayed strength and resilience throughout their ordeal, he actually felt weak and vulnerable. When the family experienced the hurt as Andy’s mom Mila (Lovely Rivero) and Dideng passed on, Abe said he felt like dying too with the unspeakable loss. But because he wanted to keep the family afloat, Abe would still show that strength and fortitude.
With Abe and Andy supporting each other, trying to move on from the hurt, another misfortune came. Nonoy’s wife was hysterical as she told Abe on the phone that his son had also succumbed to the disease. And with Nonoy’s passing, Abe was inconsolable and could not muster the strength to even tell Andy to keep the faith and keep on the fight. Comforting his dad, Andy told him that it was alright to cry let his tears flow. Now losing his wife and two children to chronic kidney disease, Abe told Andy not to leave him, being the only child left by his side, and that he should always take good care of his fragile condition and not let chronic kidney disease claim his life, too.
Months passed and Andy became devoted to his work, but had to stop during the pandemic due to his comorbidity. But while at home, Andy became active in the Facebook group “Kidney Warriors PH” to encourage and inspire fellow chronic kidney disease patients to still find and pursue their purpose in life despite their affliction. And, Abe’s life also turned for the better by getting promoted to head plumber at a maintenance company.
And with all the new challenges that may come their way, they would always say, “Tiwala lang, laban lang.”
MMK “Urn” was an eye-catching, thought-provoking, and emotionally gripping piece that not only accurately presented the real picture of how people suffer from chronic kidney disease, but also superbly depicted how a family could face the painful toll and carry on with their meaningful lives in spite of it. Director Jerry Lopez Sineneng brought his legendary heartwarming cinematic appeal to the episode, from exceptional camera work, lighting design, and musical scoring to a well-paced and masterfully written narrative.
Nonie Buencamino again showed the broad stretch of his craft, with the right amount of emotion in each scene he appears in. He impresses us the same way he moves us with his portrayal, and leaves us astounded with the impact his character leaves. He is a versatile, outstanding talent we should see in many more dramatic appearances.
Zaijian Jaranilla’s brilliance remain a sparkling factor in the two-part series. He deeply understood all the difficult travails his character went through, and showed utmost credibility and sincerity in bringing out a real person who had undergone the worst in dealing with a dreaded disease, and grieved over one painful loss after another in its wake. No other actor in his generation could have made a portrayal as deep and riveting.