Monday, April 22, 2013

LIRIO SALVADOR’S SAVIOR (First of two parts) (February 18, 2013)

Mary Ann Jimenez (left) is her husband Lirio Salvador's savior

Last Monday, 11 February, Lirio Salvador turned 45. 

We had second thoughts on greeting him “Happy Birthday.” 

Well, our favorite sound artist is not that well. 

Since 30 December 2011, he had been fighting for his life. 

On that fateful day, his wife, MaryAnn Jimenez recalled that he came from 

Manila to attend an exhibit opening at the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Museum and Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) Christmas Party at the Kanlungan ng Sining. He was about to go home in Dasmariñas, Cavite at around 1:00 in the morning when he met an accident. 

What was sad was that it just a few steps away from his space, Espasyo Siningdikato CreatiVEnue, an art gallery right across Gate 1 of De La Salle University Dasmariñas. The said gallery at Block 11 Lot 9 along Congressional Road was co-founded together with her and their artist friends who actually heard the collision. His best buddy and fellow musician Jonjie Ayson, who found Lirio lying on the street, was told that three unidentified persons on a motorcycle were the culprits. Right right after that hit and run, he was diagnosed with subdural hematoma at left frontotemporoparietal area and fractured left temporal bone. 

Mary Ann reported that he immediately underwent craniectomy and evacuation of subdural hematoma to allow a swelling brain room to expand without being squeezed, after which, he was given 72 hours grace period to live. The 72 hour-period extended to up 600 hours in Intensive Care Unit, 1,320 hours in a private room, and another 7,128 hours to date. Cranioplasty was performed after a month and a half in the hospital. To avoid pneumonia, he was also required to undergo tracheostomy which was removed after six months. 

We subconsciously avoid visiting Lirio. We really want to picture him in our mind, breaking borders with his music. We met him even during his Elemento days but what was most unforgettable was our gig with the Syjuco’s Attacked from Underground at Lumiere Gallery in Makati in 2006 when we, together with poet/sculptor Raul Funilas literally wreck havoc! Or, two years ago, when we planned to do a back-to-back tour while sat on the sofa with Renmin Nadela at the University of the Philippines Institute of Creative Writing, where we were supposed to buy one of his “sandatas” for our performances at the Nippon International Performance Art Festival in Japan. 

Last Saturday, we terribly missed Lirio during the pioneering collaboration of 11 Thomasian colleges, 14 partners, and 30 friendships entitled Making: Love in 14 Collaborative Acts at the University of Santo Tomas Main Building which poet/dancer Prof. Nerisa Guevara and her angels organized with the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies. Artists Rogger Basco, Thom Daquioag, Martin De Mesa, Raul Funilas, Sam Penaso, and Mannet Villariba traded audiovisual memories as we remembered him after our multimedia project called Kinetic Orchestra 2.

Lirio’s contribution to Philippine art is via his sculptural assemblages out of bicycle parts and other scrap metal which he used for his experimental and electronic music.

Last year, MaryAnn received the greatest gift for her birthday on 23 January --

Lirio was taken out of the Intensive Care Unit and was able to breathe without any machine’s help. Last Monday, when Lirio turned 45, they celebrated it peacefully since he always want a simple life. They immortalized the event at Bahay Makulay, their temporary home, via a vegetarian party with the usual suspects from Espasyo Siningdikato. Before 2013 ends, MaryAnn intends to stage a major sound art exhibition in honor of Lirio.

Vim Nadera: What exactly is Lirio’s state of health? 
MaryAnn Salvador: According to Dr. Victor Alvarez, his neurosurgeon, he is still in the vegetative stage. But thank God, his vital signs are normal. His lungs are clear. There are no other complications except for some stomach discomfort. 

VN: What are the changes in him? 
MS: He could no longer do the things he usually does like creating artworks and performances. Physically, he shrinks because he is confined to his bed and could only eat by means of nasogastric tube feeding. At present, he could not remember us yet, could not talk nor walk. 

VN: What are the changes in your life? 
MS: My life now revolves around the house, hospital, my workplace and Lirio. I have to learn the art of nursing care and caregiving. I have to read a lot on Traumatic Brain Injury and how to deal with it. I also learning how to manage finances specially the donations we are receiving and how to budget them for his medical supplies and other medical needs. As for our day-to-day needs and other bills, I allotted my salary to this. I also made sure that we update the donors of Lirio’s improvement and well-being through text and our facebook account. With regards to Lirio, we tried to give him lots of activities which could help him remember us and himself like watching his performances on YouTube and videos, listening to his favorite music and radio program, showing photographs and tell or read a story about his idol – Bob Dylan and other passions in life. As for me, I avoid nightlife but I see to it that I still have time for myself, my career, and my passion – art. 

VN: How did you take it? 
MS: I just take everything as a challenge. I know God gave this to us for a reason. I didn’t question him, instead I offer everything and everyday to God. Whatever happens, we are ready. Lirio is ready. But we have faith that we will win this fight. 

VN: What is your typical day these days? 
MS: I am a librarian in the morning and caregiver in the evening, week-ends and holidays. I usually start the day with a prayer, then introduce myself to Lirio and inform him about the date, month and year. Then I start preparing his food prescribed to us by our dietician then we bring Lirio outside the house for a morning sun before going to my work place. In the evening, I chant and chat with him. Feeding is done every four hours. 

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