While I sat in front of the TV in the comfort of my apartment as Yolanda (Haiyan) unleashed her fury in Central Visayas, these doctors to the barrios (DTTBs) decided to stay at the forefront instead of going back home when the super typhoon hit their respective municipalities.
Rather than point fingers and waste time ranting on what should have and could have been done, allow me to share the first-hand stories of my colleagues, so that the Filipino medical community and the rest of the nation can focus all effort instead on what can be done right here and right now, to create meaningful impact on the people who have been hardest hit by this catastrophe. Continue reading →
Every morning I would see Eric combing Ofelia’s hair with utmost diligence and meticulousness, it would put to shame shampoo commercial models who comb their tresses on national TV. His palms were coarse and the fingers stubby–toughened by years of manual labor in an automobile repair shop and occasional side jobs in construction projects here and there–but the hands moved deftly through the hair strands that reached his wife’s shoulder blades, one would think that the hands were made solely for this daily ritual. Continue reading →
Earlier today, I saw two of my brain tumor patients follow up in the Neurosurgery outpatient clinic. While both have made good recovery from their operations, their families’ worst fears had just been realized with the piece of paper that they brought with them, bearing the official pathology report stating that the tumor removed from the patient–as suspected from the start–was brain cancer. Continue reading →
Teenager Ofelia Reyes was born with a protuberant, midline fleshy mass at the junction of her lower back and buttocks. When her parents sought consult in our hospital during Ofelia’s first month of life, the mass was assessed to be a myelomeningocele. Continue reading →
In medical school, the pun I would hear most often when friends find out that I was interested in Neurosurgey was, “Vegetarian ka ba?” Used to the punch line that would come after (“Kasi lahat ng pasyente mo, gulay!” or any of its variations), I would just grin in response, without ever feeling the need to justify my career choice. Continue reading →
“Inubos na namin lahat ng naipon namin para makalabas ka nang maaga. Sana, magbago ka na,” she said.
I was doing rounds in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (“recovery room”) when I overheard these words — a compelling request that was deliberately calm, in a tone with no vestige of anger, almost bordering on sweet. I momentarily stopped writing doctor’s orders and looked up to see who was talking to my patient. Continue reading →
“Bats, tinawagan ako ng Student Affairs. Mag-submit lang daw ako ng requirements.”
“Ha? Bakit ako hindi tinawagan? Paano nangyari ‘yun?”
I was talking to A, my classmate in the INTARMED program. It was the first month of our first semester and we were on our way home. From UP Manila, we took the same bus, his stop 30 minutes before mine (or 60 minutes during Friday night rush hour). Also a class valedictorian and Oblation scholar, he would become my roommate and best friend in medical school. Continue reading →