The “Curious Case” of Richard Seco

January 15, 2009

13-yr old Richard in 2006 with Ben and Anita Jackson

13-yr old Richard in 2006 with Ben and Anita Jackson

Just recently my wife and I watched the blockbuster movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” starring Brad Pitt, who takes on the title role.  The story, narrated from Benjamin’s point of view, is about a boy born an old man who must live his life in reverse.

It is certainly an entertaining movie nominated for Best Picture in the Golden Globe Award, and most likely in the Oscars too.

The story of Benjamin quickly reminded me of a patient in the DAUSA Medical Mission which in some way is somewhat similar to Benjamin’s case.  Now 15-years old, Richard Seco first came to the Medical Mission in September 1999.  He was 5 years old at the time, but looked way too old his age.

Unlike Benjamin who was born old and grew up young, Richard was born normal but contracted a certain kind of disease that made him look old too fast.

Seeing for the first time a rare case of advanced aging, DAUSA volunteers were moved with pity and they gave the ever-smiling Richard some special attention.  The young old-looking boy was so pleased of the special treatment given him responded so warmly to the attention.  Dr. Anita gave him toys and cash.

Dr. Jackson spent considerable time with the mother and talked about Richard’s “curious case” of advanced aging and how to care for the boy’s skin.  She gave the mother enough supply of moisterizing creams to last for months.

The Chief of Medical Mission explained “the aging process of Richard is accelerated; demonstrated by his dry, pigmented desquamating skin especially on his face and stunted height.”

Anita further said, “his skin felt burning when I applied moisterizing cream, but smoothened and felt good with a topical steroid cream (Triamcinolone 0.1% Cream).

Richard and his mother went back to their far flung mountain village of Barangay Cambubho (close to the boundary of the town of Asturias), very happy though nothing much has been done to control the boy’s abnormal aging process. 

With the cash gift Dr. Jackson gave Richard, his mother bought him some hens so Richard can raise chickens and earn some money.

During succeeding medical mission, Richara and his mother, never failed to come to the DAUSA Medical Mission to meet Dr. Jackson, at times bringing chicken for the doctor, which the hospital cook made into chicken soup with “kamunggay”.

Last September 2008, Richard showed up again at the Danao Hospital with his mother and a niece, very anxious to meet Dr. Jackson and the medical mission volunteers who became his friends.  Unfortunately, they missed the mission due to change of schedule resulting from Bishop’s decision to change the fiesta date. Residents of Barangay Cambubho heard nothing about change of fiesta or the medical mission schedule.

They asked around and found Dr. Jackson at the hme of her regular host, Ricky Mata, on the same day she was flying back to Los Angeles.

Anita related, “he happily dragged me outside the gate to show her his gift – a GOAT! Richard is not only raising chicken but has also gone into goat raising.   Richard promised Anita, God willing in next year’s medical mission, he may give his doctor-friend a horse.

Richard will be a young man then, 16 years old, and it is very likely he’ll be looking 76 unless some miracle happens.

The boy is indeed praying for some miracle.