Thursday, December 29, 2005

Welcoming the Year Right

In a few hours, i will be going again on a 24-hour duty. What's so unusual with this duty however is that it falls on the last day of the year. In short, i'll be finding myself in the hospital when the year ends. Woohooo! What a good thing to end 2005 and to welcome 2006...going on a 24-hour duty!

For the record, this will be the first time that i'll be spending new year in a hospital. Well, i'm trying to comfort myself that there are still more new year celebrations in a hospital to come...the one that i'll be doing later is just a teaser. What can i do? I'm just "fortunate" enough that my schedule fell on a new year. What's the big fuss anyway? After all the fireworks, the noise, the merrymaking and partying, it'll be just an ordinary day. Work will always be there and there's no way to escape it. Unless i wouldnt need the money to support myself and pay my bills, it's so easy to resign.hehe

Letting my talent in rationalization work, this is the life that i chose and i must learn to adapt to it. No holidays, no new years, no special seasons for me. People die anytime for the angel of death doesnt observe any holidays at all. Therefore, I must be available when i am needed. Maybe this is my calling - always ON-CALL actually.

Goodness, what right do i have to complain? I might be going on duty later half-heartedly, but this is unbecoming for a doctor like me to do so. I might put my patient's life in jeopardy if i do. Well, i've got seven more hours to internalize this and to really convince myself to go on duty wholeheartedly. Right now, while i am trying to convince myself to go on duty with my whole heart, i'm thinking about superman, daredevil, the xmen, batman, spiderman, all marvel comics superheroes (so as not to miss anyone), panday, kristala, darna and captain barbel included. These people have something in them. They too save lives, even in the most unholy hour.
They're superheroes alright and i am not. But it's not their strength that counts nor the superpowers that they possess. It's their unconditional service to the needy, 24/7, no holidays, no noon breaks, that matters most. I am not super doc, but this is the only thing that i could offer starting tomorrow and in the years to come.

Okay, despite the fact that i'll be thinking about other people welcoming the new year with merrymaking, while i on the other hand might be resuscitating someone who's dying, i just have to take comfort with the fact that i'm welcoming the year right. For the new year, "I'M SAVING LIVES."

Yer right, cel! Go on, comfort yourself.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Remembered in Blue

OMG! I was thinking that all the while, i'm done with my Christmas shopping. Little did i know that there are still a few people i forgot to buy gifts for. Aaaargh! I really found it hard searching for gifts. Aside from time constraints, budget is also a consideration. Better when i was not yet earning and working, i have all the time to shop for gifts and all the time to make personalized ones. Now that i have the capacity to buy these gifts i dont have enough time to buy them.

I usually make personalized gifts, remembering the person's likes, favorites or hobbies. Frankly speaking, not that i am not grateful in receiving a gift, but i really appreciate the ones that are well researched and worked hard for by the giver - yep! no matter how cheap it is. What will i do with those mugs - i received several of it last year. Maybe i could drink coffee from one mug, water in the other and softdrinks on another one. I received candles last year enough to burn the whole hospital too! Nevertheless, it's the thought that counts. I just have to take comfort in the fact that someone remembered me.

I hate Christmas shopping. Shopping for gifts tires me. Aside from the fact that i am left drained in budget, i also am drained in energy since I always try my best to really look for something that i could associate with the person i'm going to give the gift for. No matter how tired i am however, knowing that my gift is appeciated and receiving a gift from someone who also did the same thing i do, are enough to lift the tiredness away.

Yesterday, an intern of mine passed by the out-patient department to give me something. It was a cute, wooden, powder blue colored handfan. The thought that i am remembered touched me but to read this dedication: "I remember you when i see blue," now this is heartwarming.

Oh how i love to go on Christmas shopping. Anyone?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Life Plan

Was it just due to my on-call status (that i had enough sleep) or was it because i was quite interested in the homily tonight that i was awake all the time during the mass? Well, it could be both. If i lacked sleep, then i might not be able to grasp the homily clearly and be interested in it and therefore be awake the whole time during the mass.

The priest's homily was basically about what you call our "Life Plan." I do have a plan of my own. When i started earning my own bucks, i too started to plan my future (and this was just a few months ago, for the record). As a summary, here it goes:

1. For the next 3 years, i really dont have other plans aside from finishing my residency training. This is what i prioritize for now. Lovelife? Hmmm, is it equivocal with my career? If it is, then they can't go together. Unless of course someone will sweep me off my feet that i would put my career goal at the backseat. I still would make compromises though. If i could, then they can both occupy the frontseat. I'm an expert on multi-tasking anyway.hehe

2. At age 30, that will be 3 years from now, i will be done with residency training. I plan to proceed to subspecialization: either neurology or gastroenterology or rheumatology maybe. I still am in search of a subspec that doesnt have emergency calls and a subspec that's not that toxic. Boy, i just cant afford living a toxic life - from clerkship to specialization. I plan to go abroad and specialize there. Where? US or Australia, any place where my fate would lead me. It is also during this time when i could live on own - independently! Yipee!!!

This is also the time that the ultimatum i gave to myself will due. The time that i'll be in a crossroad. The time of discernment whether to really take the road of single-blessednes (finally) or cursed-marriage. Ooops, i dont mean to be biased here. Alright, remove the word "curse". If i get to meet my frog prince during this time, then proceed to plan # 3.

3. At age 32, it's either we'll live happily together - if he turns to a prince or i'll officially sign up with the "Spinsters' Club" if he remains to be the ol' ugly toad. Granting that my frog prince turns into a prince after a yucky kiss, then proceed to plan #4. If i decide to join my predecessors though, in the "Spinsters' Club", then proceed to plan #5.

4. I plan to get married in a church of course preferrably in the afternoon with the sunset welcoming us after the ceremony. Woohooot! Too detailed. I need not mention the entourage, the location and the reception (i dont even have an idea of my groom). Basically, I'll get married (or my parents will disown me if i wont), have a family and raise kids (2 kids the most), live in a house (better if along the beach) and continue with my career as an internist.

5. I'll sign up in the Spinsters' Club. As an official member, i will busy myself with my career, train up to the sub-sub-sub-specialization if there are any. Support my neices and nephews (too typical for a spinster aunt, eh). Live in my own house (still along the beach), go travelling to places, buy every techie stuff i wanted and become the coolest, most updated techie-doctor-spinster-geek of my generation. I vowed to grow old gracefully and promised myself not to be grouchy and grumpy (the way we look at single-independent women). My goal for this time is to remove the society's stigma on spinsters. It's like: "We aint need men and being single is cool!"

This is the longest timeline i could think as of now. Whether i'll die young or old, i do not know. I am planning to be cremated though. I dont want maggots, bacteria and other decomposers to feast on me. One other thing, i dread the fact that i'll smell the way dead bodies do. I also plan not to let my family or loved ones see my dead body. In such way, they'll only remember the living me. I believe that what most people remember is the other person's image during their last meeting. I dont want to be remembered looking like a corpse.

So, did i forget anything?

I planned everything that i wanted but i forgot the basic fact. I forgot that there's a Great Architect out there who does the planning. I might have plans for my own life but it's still the Great Architect's call. This was the essence of the homily today. The mystery of my Life Plan that remains to be unrevealed to me is also what makes life exciting for me.

I did plan some things for my life when i was still in school. I was planning to take up Pediatrics or Community Medicine as a specialization yet i ended up taking Internal Medicine. There were a lot of twists and turns and im sure there will be more to come in the future. These twists might make my life plan complicated. One thing's for sure though, every twist turns out for my own good. I guess all i've got to do is to offer these plans to the Great Architect, sit-back, relax, live life to the fullest and let Him do the final Blueprint.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

I Am Selfish

I need to do a blog! I really feel that there’s a need to get this thing out of my system.

They say this things happen for a purpose and that all things happen in a certain time. Just when I am so burnt out with training, too sick and tired of admitting and seeing patients every duty, too numb of witnessing deaths almost everyday, too hopeless that these patients I have can go nowhere else but death because of lack of resources, I found myself watching this movie, Beyond Borders and was moved by it.

Tonight’s just one ordinary lazy Sunday night. Since I’m from duty, I decided not to do anything but relax. I tried checking out the pirated DVDs I bought recently and since I’m a huge fan of Angelina Jolie, I bought a copy of her movie collection. I already watched Mr. and Mrs Smith and Gone in 30 seconds. Next on the list is this movie, Beyond Borders. The summary tells me about a “Renegade” doctor and his relief operations in different areas of the globe. The mere word renegade is quite familiar with me, what more with the word doctor? Therefore, I ended up loading the disc in the player.

I need not tell what the story is all about. I’m not making a movie review. Though I must admit that the only two things I liked about the movie are the humanitarian missions and the lead actress. Other than these, who would appreciate a movie that started with the humanitarian missions and ended with a tragic romance?

Alright, reflecting on the movie (on it's humanitarian sense), i find myself, a lazy bum, doing nothing but whine and be sorry with my current work, searching for something. I was looking for the enthusiasm and the spirit I had before I started training. I was searching for that young girl who once dreamt to become a doctor and serve the underprivileged. I was trying to reunite with the spirit who was once dreaming to go abroad – not in the US nor London, but Africa – for relief operations. Yep! Just like what Dr. Callahan in the movie was doing. I tried to call on that woman doctor who was idealistic and who was so sincere in her goal to serve other people.

Where are they? After one year of being exposed to this government-hospital I am working in, I couldn’t find them any longer. What remains is an impatient, numb, pathetic young doctor. The doctor who, despite of doing her job and giving her best, feels inadequate and empty. The doctor who has been trying to put a mask in front of her patients, cheering them up, letting them forget their sickness and old age, yet deep inside her, she’s is tearing apart.

I don’t know if it’s depression again. All I know is that I’m already very tired. I am now less tolerant with my toxicity. I am not screwing things up yet, I’m trying not to, but I feel quite ineffective for feeling so empty. Maybe when you haven’t rested for quite some time even for just a day, there will come a time that you get too saturated that in no time, you’ll just blow off. Other people couldn’t see this. Though I am transparent with my emotions of anger and disappointments, I am a good actress when it comes to matters like this. I grew up too used in dealing with my own trash without the help of anybody – not even of my closest friend. In short, noone can tell if I am having problems. Only when I was able to get over it do I let other people know.

Now back to my reflections with the movie, here I am, complaining about my work, about how crap the government is, burnt out with my profession, and sounding so pathetic right now, yet there’s this man, a doctor like I am, a renegade (that I claim, I am), risking his life in saving lives. Lives of people not even of his own race or color. Lives of people who don’t even belong to that same part of the world where he belongs. He was saving lives in exchange of nothing. He was saving lives because he was selfless. This selflessness though he admitted was still equivalent to him, being “selfish”. He was selfish for he felt good about himself everytime he found that these people he’s helping appreciate his help. He was selfish because he felt fulfilled and gratified stealing a life from death. He was selfish for his sacrifice of helping other people was what makes him happy in life.

I am now trying to reexamine myself. Is this what I really want in life? If I love my job then why can't I feel the fulfllment at all? If I love my profession, then why do I get tired in treating the sick? If I love what I am doing, then why do I feel sick in finding myself in the hospital? With this I end this blog that like Dr. Callahan, I want to be selfish. I want to find fulfillment and happiness in my work.

I guess the best thing that I could do for now is nothing else but to SLEEP. Heck! This is all I need. When I’m not tired and sleepless, I have all the enthusiasm and the spirit to serve other people. I am always in touched with that young girl who once dreamt to become a doctor and serve the underprivileged. I am always reunited with the spirit who was once dreaming to go abroad for relief operations – just small time for now, I’ll just have to start serving from where I came from. I still am that woman doctor who is still idealistic and sincere in serving other people. What I’m just trying to say is that, I AM SELFISH. Who says about quitting?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Time Warped

Just tonight, while walking home, i felt the cold breeze blowing towards my cheeks. I have this unusual intolerance to cold that i felt chilly all over. I then remembered one thing - i forgot to bring my jacket. Am i suppose to remember first that it's already December and that it's quite cold already at this time of the year? Can those people i saw the other night, sleeping on the sidewalks, distinguish December from the other months of the year? They feel cold almost every night.

As i entered the gate and saw those lights hanging at the beam, i remembered one thing - Goodness! i forgot to buy a bulb for my room. There's only one that remained functional out of the four. Am i suppose to remember first that it's already December and that it's this time of the year when houses get brighter at night because of christmas lights? Nope! I didnt have this thought first. The city's darker now compared to the previous years and there are only a few houses who have christmas lights on. Can those people without electricity distinguish December from the other months of the year? Their places' always dark each night.

As i reached the front door and saw the garland covering the wooden beam complete with angels and lights, i remembered one thing - where have my angel collections gone? I remembered placing my angel stuffs in a box before i left Cavite for home and i almost forgot where i placed it. Am i supposed to remember first that Christmas is near and that decorations are all over town? Nope! I didnt think about this. Do my brethen who dont have houses distinguish Christmas from the other time of the year?

When i reached inside, i saw our helper wrapping gifts. My mom asked her to wrap the gifts she's going to give out during her group's Christmas party. I remembered i havent started on my gift list yet. I havent bought a thing yet, for a loved or for a friend, as a Christmas present. I was thinking that it was just October the other night. I'm time warped! It seemed as if i slept the other night in October only to wake up the next day already in December!

Tsk, tsk, am i too absorbed with work that i couldnt feel the season? Am just rationalizing now for i havent bought any gift yet? Thinking it over, I'm just too absorbed living with today alone - seizing everything that the day could offer. I am not thinking about tomorrow any longer. Any good that i could do, any misunderstandings that i had, any feelings that's left unexpressed, any hurt that's left hidden, i dont want them to wait for tomorrow. Seeing some of our brothers sleeping on the streets, witnessing how penniless my patients are and seeing almost everyday how death is inevitable, i couldnt help but live my day to the fullest, not forgetting to thank the Big Guy upstairs for all the blessings i'm not worthy receiving. Now, this i remember always.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Toxic in Pink

Aaaaaargh! It's 2 am! It's 2 am and yet i havent changed into my scrubs yet. As of the last count, we already have 20 admissions and F-I-V-E interdepartmental referrals. Seldom can one receive such number of referrals in a 24-hour duty. Just came back from the wards. I had my hospital touring too - just like what the security guards i've met in the corridors were doing. It seems that the only department i didnt receive referrals from are the Department of Pediatrics and Laboratory.

I started this morning quite fine. People have been telling me that i look good in my pink blouse. "Pretty in pink" they say. I was tempted to disagree. "Pretty" was an understatement. Goodness! When i'm toxic and sleepy, i tend to have delusions at times.

My cabinet's almost colored blue. In short, most of my clothes are either tints or shades of blue. The reason i guess why other people have been praising me for looking good in pink is because they're used in seeing me clad in blue. When people started to comment that i look good in pink, I started to love pink. Since this morning, i started to feel comfortable wearing pink.

Too comfortable that until now, at 2 in the morning, when everyone else's has changed into his/her scrubs, i still am wearing this pink blouse. Waaaah, i really need to freshen up now.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

True Blue Renegade

This day's almost over for me. Of course, to wrap this day up, it's blog-time! Now that my old pc has risen from the dead (thanks to the pc technician turned magician, for the effort), i already have the convenience of having a pc in my own room. Journal writing is really now out of my system. Instead of writing in that notebook that i'm keeping under my pillows, i just have to go on line and type my thoughts. One disadvantage with this though is that there's still this feeling of not pouring out everything. I still go for journal writing - techie version. With too tired and too calloused fingers for writing, unpublished journals within the confines of ms word in my secret files would do.

I had my 530 habit again at bo's coffee shop with colleagues this afternoon to wrap up my day. Should have learned from previous experiences that i must not take caffeine when i'm from duty - mocha froccino's too tempting however. As a result, i'll have to wait for caffeine to wear off until the wee hours of the morning when i'm expected to be sleeping making up for lost sleep from my 24-hour duty.

Our topic for this afternoon's 530 habit was about being a "true blue renegade". I've been talking about the word "renegade" eversince. Consulting encarta about renegade's definition, i found this: 1. traitor: somebody who abandons previously held beliefs or loyalties; 2. rebel: somebody who chooses to live outside of the laws or conventions of a group.

Traitor? Rebel? Haha both have negative connotations. Nevertheless, after one year of residency training, i still would consider myself a "true blue renegade". My seniors witnessed my transformation from a "fence-sitter", who couldn't make up between blacks and whites, to someone who learned how to assert her mind. When you're into training, when the life of another person (in my case, my patient's) is what's being talked about, when your prc license (that you've worked terribly hard for) is involved, you really can't help but to speak out and stand for what you believe in.

My being a renegade, with it's synonym of being a "traitor", is in relation to the old me. I "was" someone who hate arguments to the point that i became passive - not to the extent of being apathetic. The more that i get to know my capacity and the larger my responsibilities, i can't stay being passive all the time. As a result, I "abandoned" my passivity. Heck for arguments. I just have to stand for what I believe is right and for what i believe is good for my patient or for other people.

Being a "rebel" on the other hand is in relation to this institution i am currently in. I know how government institutions run but i never experienced it. After one year of residency training however, i have been exposed to the people and to the system of a government-ran institution. I discovered how inadequate our government is, how crap the system that runs this hospital is, and how immature the people who run this hospital are. Yep! despite of their age. As a result, i learned not to be absorbed by the system. I learned to stand on my principle and not to abide with what most people of this institution believe is "acceptable." I'm just thankful I've got intact values and principles (thanks to my parents and to my alma mater..hail! hail! alma mater!hehe)

I am not self-righteous. I'm not a people-pleaser either. I don't run for a position and i neither wanted to gain more friends for I believe in genuine friendship not in fleeting acquaintances. In short, i might make enemies in my transformation of being a renegade. Other people might abhor me for standing for what i beleive in. Heck, gone are the days that i have to please everybody. I may be a renegade, but i know how to make compromises. Betterment of the majority is what i uphold best. As what a senior renegade of mine have been reminding me, "it's not the number of friends that you make that counts but the number of people you've done good with." Well, despite of being a renegade to my old self, i still am loyal to my principle that in the finale of my existence here on earth, what matters most is my relationship with my God and not how sweet my name was to other people.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Can't Wait to be Thirty

I really don’t know why I’m feeling this way. Other people are too conscious about their age and about their birthdays. Yet, here I am, too excited that I’ll soon reach 30. I have been feeling this way eversince I was in gradeschool. I was too excited to grow older. Maybe I was comforting myself that as I grow old, so too will my height be. Now that I realized that I have no more hope but to grow sideways, I still am the same little girl who embraces another additional year for her age.

I can’t wait to be 30. No matter how toxic I am with my current training, I still have time planning for my future. I have decided that at this age, I will leave home, start spreading my own wings and live independently on my own. Geez, 30 actually is already for the late bloomers. In our Philippine scenario however, a lot of us wouldn’t leave home. Yep! Even if they already have a family of their own. Tsk, tsk, speaking of extended families.

I was 21 back then when I first left home for medical school. Though it was hard at first to be away from home, I have this innate talent to cope with whatever situation or circumstance I am in. I couldn’t remember a time that I cried because of homesickness. Could be the fact that I already programmed myself for studying and not for wallowing in homesickness. I loved the feeling of being independent. You know, cooking you own food, designing your own room, to the point of scrubbing your own toilet bowl especially during exam weeks that reading your books would make you insane.

Saving for that time that I’m going to launch my independence, here are a few things I could never leave without. My savings aren’t enough yet that I consider this as a wish list in case anyone who gets to read this cares enough for me, he/she could send me anything from the list as a Christmas gift....hehe

1. Laptop – well, this tops my list. Forget the stove, there are a lot of fastfood restaurants in town, but I couldn’t leave without this device. Blogs, reports, journals, games, internet, they are vital and part of my existence. Unfortunately, the money I’ve been saving for this one went to another project. I have a pc at home, but you couldn't bring this one to bed can you?

2. Queen-size bed – too impractical for someone who will be occupying a one-bedroom apartment or pad. Nevertheless, I love to sleep and I must admit that I love having a lot of pillows around me when I sleep. As of the last count, I have at least five pillows, the body pillow not included, in my bed. If I will be buying a bed fit for just one person, how can I let all my pillows fit? By the way, in case I don't have a laptop yet, maybe I could bring the pc to bed with me.

3. CD Player, Radio, iPod (anyone?) or any gadget that could produce music – I sleep with the radio on. I start the day with music filling my room. When I am not in a good mood, music lifts my spirit up, drowns my tears and speaks to my soul.

4. Palm top – Already have one but I still need an SD card to expand its data storage capacity. I just love techie stuffs. Some of my files, palm version of my reference materials at work are all inside this gadget. When quite bored, games in this gadget are enough to entertain me. In case also that I don't have the player yet, I'll just contend myself with the mp3s I have in my palm.

5. Personal refrigerator – I need this for my leftovers.

6. Microwave oven – I need this to reheat my leftovers...hehe

7. Television - I am not much into watching tv nor into watching movies at home (I still prefer watching movies in bigscreens). I just needed this thing to update me on our dying governance and economy. At the same time, I might need to hear other voices aside from myself.

Well, this is all for now. I might need a car. Will wish to have it as soon as I pass my driving lessons and as soon as I am secured that my temper will not push me to press hard on the accelerator.

Ooops, one last thing, preferably, I want a place near a church. In this case, I will be able to sleep a little longer during Sundays for the church is just a stone-throw away. I also need the solace of being alone in a church sometimes. You know, to check on my morality and spirituality. When you expose yourself in a “jungle”, sometimes, you have this tendency to forget that you are human. To be able to meet my other half in that church is a minor reason for now. Who knows, this might be the major reason when I reach 30?

In three years time I could visualize freedom. In three years time I could see surreal independence. Well, you might ask why I didn’t start living independently at this time? I already have a job, enjoying my own salary, and could buy things I want for my self without asking a penny from my parents. Fact is, I’m saving for that time - saving money for my dream gadgets, and saving my energy for cleaning my future toilet bowl.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

First Time

Eureka! At long last, here's my first blog for this site. I was introduced to this site years ago actually. I was wondering however why i wasnt able to successfully create a blogsite of my own. Maybe i was too comfortable with journal writing back then that "change" didnt have a place in my brain. Now that my fingers are quite tired of writing, (what with writing about 20 admitting orders every duty and writing orders to more than 20 charts a day), i realized that i could do things faster when i type. Tadah! here's another blogsite aside from my friendster account. A blogsite created for my alter ego. Oh by the way, i discovered that a lot of my friends are in here. Time to start the connection running.