Stories of a Filipino neurosurgeon, teacher, and writer

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Where X Stands for Everything

Medical students and doctors have this nasty habit of using the letter “x” to stand for anything and everything. To illustrate:
An intern sees a Px in the ER, elicits pertinent SSx, and writes his clinical Hx in the chart. The resident-in-charge examines the Px and subsequently orders Dx and Tx, which include getting a CXR to check for a possible rib Fx. Seeing that the Px might be suffering from an acute appendicitis, the receiving physician then refers the Px to a Sx resident for further Mx.

Kung Paano Ako Mag-aral Noong Ako ay Nasa Med School

Hindi ako nagha-highlight ng libro at transcription. Nadudumihan ako sa mga pahinang ginagawang coloring book ng mga kaklase ko. Sinubukan kong mag-highlight noong first semester ng first year med proper; hindi epektib kasi kailangan ko pang isipin kung kailangan ba talagang i-highlight ang gusto kong i-highlight, at hindi ako makapili kung anong kulay ang gagamitin.


We are buying our first family car. To be more precise, my two yuppie sisters have agreed to finance the purchase of a car to be used by our family of seven. My father and my third-born sister have already made the reservation last weekend, and although I, being an overworked and underpaid government physician, will not make any financial contribution to the purchase, I cannot contain my excitement. Despite my father and mother having been married for almost 29 years, this is our first family anything.

I Am Twenty-Three

Lately, I have been having a hard time remembering how old I am. When filling out forms or talking to customer service personnel, there’s an inevitable six-second lag before I figure out the answer. I even have to make a quick calculation in my head sometimes. I find this unusual because as a child and a teenager, I always knew my age. You could ask for it while I’m in the middle of a book, in front of the computer screen, or watching TV, and I would instantaneously blurt out the answer. Five. Twelve. Seventeen.

Sometimes You Never Get to Thank the People Who Do Not Believe in You

When I was a Grade 6 pupil, I cried over my first periodic exam in English. Periodic, my English teacher then would always stress — not periodical, as we were wont to say before he came to our small private school. Sir E’s instructions on the exam were clear: we were supposed to read the given passage and answer the subsequent questions in complete sentences, based on what we read. I did not follow the instructions.

How I Got into INTARMED

Using her then box-type cellular phone with a 15-minute battery life, my unassuming mother delivered the good news that would ultimately lay down my career path.
“Anak, congratulations! Nakapaskil dito sa blackboard. Nakapasa ka!”

Some Days Feel Like an Indie Movie Playing in Real Time

She could not stop thanking me profusely.
“Dok, maraming maraming salamat po sa lahat ng tulong ninyo sa anak ko,” she said, one hand clutching both handkerchief and rosary, the other stroking her son’s forehead. I had just signed the necessary discharge orders and I approached my patient to remove the thin tube sticking out of the back of his head. The tube was inserted in the operating room to drain excessive cerebrospinal fluid. It would serve no purpose now.

Ronibats.PH Stories of a Filipino neurosurgeon, teacher, and writer