Ronibats.PH

Stories of a Filipino neurosurgeon, teacher, and writer

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You Work Hard for Moments Like This

I never liked going on duty on Sundays. Sundays are never quiet in the hospital. Somehow, people get into all sorts of trouble and find a convenient excuse to drag themselves to the hospital on a day that used to be dedicated to attending mass, rest, and mellow music on the radio.

Good Morning, Dok!

“Good morning, Dok!” he would always say in the morning when we did our rounds. Despite being 18 years old, his voice was a high-pitched squeak of a boy reaching puberty — awkward, but always happy and thankful nevertheless. It was one of the effects of his brain tumor, in addition to his short stature and delayed maturation of physical appearance. Any stranger would incorrectly guess his age to be no more than 12 or 13.

Medical Officer III

Every day begins at 5:30 am. As I walk past the charity wards on the way to the Neurosurgical Special Care Unit, I mumble a short prayer asking for a little more kindness and a little less impatience. That has become my morning habit. I used to wish for fewer patients, until I realized that I didn’t need the daily disappointment, and thus directed my morning offering to self-improvement instead.

Ngayong Isa Ka Nang Doktor

Suot ang toga at hawak ang kunwaring diploma, mahirap bilangin kung ilang daang araw na nga ba ang lumipas mula nang una kang tumayo sa harap ni Lady Med. Natapos ka rin, sa wakas.

Kung Bakit Mabigat sa Loob Umupo sa Triage

Tuwing magdu-duty ako sa ER, kasama sa mga trabaho ko bilang intern ang pag-upo sa triage. Ito ang pambungad na mesa kung saan kailangan kong tulungan ang triage officer, karaniwang ER resident o kaya ay rotator mula sa ibang department, na harapin ang mga pasyenteng kumukonsulta sa ER ng PGH. Sa loob ng itinakdang oras, kami ang magpapasya kung ang pasyente ay kailangang i-admit, papuntahin sa outpatient department, o palipatin sa ibang ospital. Ito ang trabahong hindi ko kailanman nagustuhan.

Love in the Time of Ebola, Bird Flu, and SARS

It was the day before Valentine's.

I was on the bus home, pondering how I would spend my nth Single Awareness Day (or SAD, as our kind would call it), comforted by the thought of not having to buy overpriced flowers, not having to fall in line just to get the most foreign-sounding box of chocolates, and not having to bother about getting a haircut. Such is the resolve we take. And by “we,” I refer to people who have gotten tired of looking, and instead have contented themselves with waiting.

Palimos ng Kulangot

“Kuya, penge ng kulangot,” sabi niya.

Ang unang pumasok sa isip ko, hindi ko siya kapatid. Noon lang kami nagkita; nagkataong siya ang nakatabi ko sa bus pauwi. Kung akala niya, nadadala ako sa pa-“Kuya, kuya” ng mga taong hindi ko kilala, nagkakamali siya. Pangalawa, sa pagkakaalam ko, ang kulangot ay sinusungkit mula sa ilong upang ipahid sa ilalim ng mesa, idikit sa pader, iipit sa panyo, lunurin sa lababo o itapon sa basurahan. Hindi ipinapamigay ang kulangot. At pangatlo, sakaling nahihingi man ang kulangot, bakit ko naman ibibigay ang kulangot ko sa kanya? Habang nakasakay sa bus kasama ang humigit-kumulang animnapung pasahero?

Sa ChowKing

Matapos matunaw ang yelo ng iced tea, matapos magsawa sa pagkalam ang aking sikmura, matapos kong panooring magsubuan ng halo-halo ang magkasintahan sa tapat ng aking inuupuan (nakasampung pasahan sila ng kutsarita bago maubos ang kinakain), dumating ang waiter na may bitbit ng aking hapunan.

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

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