'Not alone anymore': Filipino nurse in UAE to celebrate NYE with cat gifted by late cancer patient

She named the kitten Xanax, one of the medications that were prescribed to the Emirati woman who battled breast cancer


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Sat 31 Dec 2022, 11:18 AM

Last updated: Sat 31 Dec 2022, 8:24 PM

Nurse Maricor Moralina has been celebrating New Year’s Eve in the UAE alone for the last 12 years. But this time it was unique for the Filipino expat who marked the special day with her beloved pet cat at her residence, which she decorated for the first time with a ‘Happy New Year’ message and later prayed for a prosperous 2023 for everyone. Xanax, as fondly named by Maricor, is no ordinary cat but a token of a late Emirati patient’s affection for her.

Maricor, a senior registered nurse in the in-patient medical oncology unit at Burjeel Medical City in Abu Dhabi, turned emotional as she recalled how she got to adopt Xanax a few months back.

“As a nurse working in the oncology unit, I have had many wonderful and touching incidents with patients. However, I will never forget one patient, Mamma (name changed), in particular. Mamma was an Emirati patient who was in palliative care for breast cancer. She grew weaker by the day fighting the disease. I got attached to her because we would always chat during administration of medication and exchange stories,” Maricor told Khaleej Times.

During one such interaction, Mamma asked Maricor if she liked pets and asked if she preferred dogs or cats. Maricor, who has always had an affinity for animals, said that she liked cats more than dogs. Mamma then went on to tell her about the cats she had at home. But they didn’t discuss this topic again.

Day after day, week after week, Mamma’s condition got worse. She became weaker and was in a great deal of pain. Later, her condition deteriorated so much that she was placed on oxygen support. Maricor and the rest of the nursing team did their best to make her comfortable during this phase.

“Mamma’s family knew what she was going through. I adore the way they took care of her. From her husband to her sons and daughter-in-law, it was wonderful to witness how the whole family loved her till her last days and till Mamma’s last breath. I salute Mamma’s husband, who was by her side and supported her till the end. Soon, we lost her,” Maricor remembered.

A week after Mamma’s passing, Maricor received a heart-touching call from her son, who said that his mother had left one of her cats for Maricor. As someone who always wanted to adopt a pet, she was overjoyed at the opportunity to have Mamma’s cat.

“I was delighted and touched by the gesture. I accepted because I wanted to adopt a pet but was awaiting the right opportunity. I have lived alone in the UAE all these years, but now I have a kitten who will give me company. This is a thoughtful gift given to me by my wonderful patient. I think of Mamma every time I get home and see my furry friend. And I can hear his meow while I enter the parking lot. He knows when I am back from work. And for the first time in many years, I did not celebrate New Year alone,” said Maricor, who chose the name Xanax after one of the medicines Mamma was prescribed.

“I will always remember Mamma and her family and their kindness towards us healthcare workers. I carry in my heart many warm memories of patients like Mamma. Such interactions make me more dedicated to my profession,” underlined Maricor and added that she loves her job of being a nurse.


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