22
Jun 17

The Disillusioned Medical Student

I struggled during my first two years of medical school in the University of the Philippines (UP). This I can say only in retrospect, not because of a lack of awareness at that time, but more so because I refused to acknowledge how I felt. I thought I was OK. I wanted to believe I was OK. Many years later, as a doctor and teacher at the same medical school, I can say I wasn’t. Continue reading →


09
Jul 13

Excerpts (Where I Got Extra Money When I Was a Medical Student)

“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 →


29
Nov 12

Why Good Enough Is Never Good Enough

“Nakaka-disappoint nga Sir, eh. Kaka-declare pa lang na suspended ang klase bukas dahil sa ulan, tinatanong na agad ako kung puwede bang half day sila. Nung (medical) clerk ako, kahit gaano pa kataas ‘yung baha at kahit gaano kalakas ‘yung ulan, pumapasok kami.”

“You have to realize, not everybody sees the world the same way you do.” Continue reading →


24
Oct 12

Unsent

Let me make it clear that when I saw the patient six hours after his surgery, I recognized right away that he was not fully awake. That was why when I noticed you and your co-intern sitting behind the desk just beside the patient’s bed, my first question was, “Gising ba siya kanina?” Continue reading →


28
Jul 12

Kung Paanong Naging Doktor ang Mathematician

Sa lahat ng subject, Math talaga ang paborito ko. Kindergarten pa lang ako, alam ko na ‘yun. Dahil ‘yun sa Tatay kong engineer na nagtiyagang magturo sa akin kung paano mag-compute gamit ang mga daliri ko. Sa liwanag ng kanyang desk lamp at sa harap ng mga hinawing blueprint at triangle ruler, manghang-mangha ako noon na matuklasang 4 times 9 equals 36. Walang pinagkaiba sa isang batang nanonood ng magic. Continue reading →


22
Jun 12

Sampung Payo para sa mga Bagong Medical Clerk

  1. Magbaon ng maraming Micropore tape. Pang-wound dressing. Pang-label. Panggawa ng collar at splint. Pang-secure ng IV line, foley catheter, at NGT. Pandikit ng natanggal na suwelas at napunit na pantalon kakalakad kung saan-saan. Matutuklasan mong guguho ang ospital kapag nagsara ang pabrika ng Micropore tape.

Continue reading →


12
May 12

Dalawang Tanong na Hindi Ko Kinalilimutang Itanong sa Aking mga Pasyente (o sa Kanilang Pamilya)

Humigit-kumulang walong taon na akong nakikipag-usap at nagpapaliwanag sa mga pasyente ng pinakamalaking pampublikong ospital ng Pilipinas. Bilang medical student noon at neurosurgery resident ngayon, natutuhan kong dalawang tanong ang pinakaimportante sa lahat. Continue reading →


16
Apr 12

The Risks You Do Not Take

The irony is that everything happened in front of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, a 200-meter sprint from the Department of Justice building. I had just attended a mentor’s Christmas party and was walking home just outside the hospital where I had spent almost a third of my life training to become a physician. Looking back, the street was well lit even though it was quarter past midnight. However, the traffic light along Taft Avenue was on green, hence the few jeepneys cruising Padre Faura at that time were stuck on the other side of the intersection. The iPod, long-sleeve polo and jeans didn’t help; I resembled a wandering, inebriated Japanese on his way to get a taste of Manila’s nightlife.

He was walking in the opposite direction. Before I realized his motive, he rushed towards me, grabbed my upper body and declared, “Holdap ‘to!” Continue reading →