Friday, March 31, 2006

My Birthday Gift to Myself: To Stop Intellectualizing

In a couple of days, i'll be spending my 28th year here on earth. Woohoot! I'll be 20-10 then 2 years after. I really dont know why things have been reminding me today that "hey, you're not getting any younger." I am not alarmed though. Really. The panic buttons are still cool and way too far from my reach.

Shucks! I really dont know why im feeling this way. People have been threatening me: should i choose isolation or generativity? As one of my friends emailed me. Yet, i feel no fear. I feel no cause of alarm. One of my sisters even teased me during dinner tonight that by the time my child finishes college, i'll be a 3-legged freak. In short, i'll be having a walking cane already. They even asked me how many children i wanted to have. Hell, i dont even have a plan of having a boyfriend for now and they're asking for the number of kids i would want to have?

My contemporaries and even those younger than i am are mostly married and are already raising kids. Some who are single are even worried, way too worried that they'll end up single for life. What's the big deal with being single? I on the other hand as one of my bestfriends would say didnt even for once tried to enter a relationship. And they're thinking that it was that easy? For some maybe, not for me. A colleague even asked me once why it was hard for us to submit to a guy. The kind that you entertain suitors even if you dont like him. She was wondering why other girls who have just broken up with their boyfriends would be entertaining new guys a few weeks or months after. Is it because they have stopped intellectualizing and just started feeling? Just a wild guess on my part.

Fact is, my brain's quite more powerful than my heart that everytime i feel for someone, this brain of mine processes information faster than normal. It's like an alarm was triggered in my hypothalamus that instead of feeling love, it's functioning on the contrary. It doesnt just receive information, it analyzes it and even projects it 10-years after. Questions like, Is he really the one? Is he a hubby material? What will my children look like when the other genes came from him? Will i have security with him? What will he look like when we grow old? Can i imagine myself growing old with him? Well, i really couldnt stop my brain from functioning such. It might be programmed to scrutinize men and not to fall for them.

Thinking further, another friend of mine was right. This is just one of the defense mechanisms that we project. Truth is, we are more of scared people. Afraid to fail, afraid to commit mistakes even in the relationships that we're going to enter, afraid to get broken hearted, afraid to show our vulnerability. See? My brain even analyzes my own self. The real score actually is that we are afraid that we'll be stupefied. Once our hearts get to overcome our brains, we sometimes become beings we didnt expect ourselves to become. Love makes us stupid that's why.

As a birthday gift to myself, and by giving in to most people's request, i'll try, even for once not to intellectualize. It will be hard alright. Intellectualization is more of a reflex for me. I'll be myself's guinea pig. I just have to shut all switches in my brain and prevent my neurotransmitters from functioning. How? This i have yet to discover. This is not however my way of saying that i would want to have a boyfriend. I just would like to make it clear. As for now in terms of plans for having a relationship, things are as clear to me as mud. It isnt just in my priority list. Wait till i get 20-10. Might be pushing on the panic button dead hard.=)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Early Birthday Gift

After whining and ranting in this blog about my job and my toxicity, at long last, my greatest dream, which was to have a break, was granted! Now, the break that i'm savoring is coming to an end. The day after tomorrow, i'll be back to reality. I'll be back to 24-hour duties, to the crap hospital, the place of the sick and the dying, and i'll be assuming the role of a doctor again! Yipee! (a sarcastic hurray actually).

Seriously, i just have to be thankful for this 1 whole week of break from work. It for once broke the routine, boring work that i have. I was able to rest my unknown to me, tired body. If i didnt have tonsillitis, i didnt realize that my immune system's already giving in. Well, after a complete bedrest and yep! literally enough sleep, my dear tonsils got ok (or maybe after i threatened them that i'll have them removed).

Ahhh i miss work. Haha i am serious. I really miss work. My co-residents, the bo's sessions, 24-hour duties. I didnt realize that staying at home would be more boring.hehe It's like i've been used to waking up early in the morning for work and now that im savoring my break, my body clock still wakes me up early. After having a late breakfast, lying on the couch and do channel surfing, i'll try net surfing next when i get bored. When my eyes would get strained from staying online for quite some time, i'll take naps. When i wake up, i'll realize that i have nothing to do. Opening my book might make my time worthwhile but it makes me sleepy again. In short, i still would want to push through with my wicked plans. That is, to put shabu in microcapsules and embed them in the bookpaper so that while im reading my medical books and eventually feel sleepy, i could just rub my fingertips on the bookpaper and sniff them.hehe Well, cosmetic brochure inspired eh.

Tsk...tsk...sometimes i get to think that i really am not contented with life. I think i should add something in my life's mantra. It's not just living life without expectations but also being contented with life. I have been whining about my work yet now that i was given the break, i eventually missed it.

Nah, the reason i guess why im feeling this way is that hospital work is my life. The reason why i feel bored right now is because i'm not used to this kind of life. Well, i know now why the great architect put breaks in between. These breaks are pit stops for us to refuel and to once again continue on our journey. Being granted this break is truly the greatest birthday gift i had. This break pulled me away from my current work and it let me see it from another view. This break recharged my energy, overhauled my tired body and is once again preparing me for another year of 24-hour duties. Haha it's nice to know that there's a life planner out there. I couldnt help but be thankful for everything that's been happening in my life. In a few days, I'll be spending one-fourth of a century plus three here on earth. If He has given me this break as a birthday gift, i think the greatest gift that i could give Him back is for me to continue on loving my work and to live up into the kind of physician that He wanted me to be.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Life is Beautiful

I know...i know, this post's title sounds ironic if i'll compare it with my previous entry. Ive been whining how cruel life was when it gave me tonsillitis upon munching just three pieces of chocolates. Despite all of this though, in general, life is still beautiful. Haha, my fave old adage,"Life is beautiful" once again came into life. Why? For several reasons. There are reasons why it was buried inside my mothballs-smelling wooden box ("baul" to be exact) and there are also several reasons why it was risen from the dead.

When i was in medschool, i've had all the reasons to say that life was beautiful. Yep! Even if medschool was tough, i was able to survive it. Back then, I was still unexposed to the "real world" where "real life" exists. How can i feel real poverty when i was having my internship in a tertiary private hospital in cavite and studying in one of the expensive medical schools in the country? How can i feel real sickness when i am not that hands-on with our patients? We were just clerks, assisting our patient's needs. Our patients back then where laid in soft, comfortable hospital beds in airconditioned rooms. I was just dependent on my monthly allowance that i need not look for my own bucks. I never felt how difficult it was to work for your own money that spending it was quite easy. Life really is beautiful wasnt it?

When i reached residency training though, i was exposed to the "Real world". I witnessed how people die on the floor. I've experienced treating a patient with whatever is at hand, McGyver style. I've seen how miserable life is when you're sick, penniless, homeless and alone. I've felt for those who slept on the alleys with only cardboard boxes to protect their backs from the cold, bacteria-infested floors and oh not to mention those kittens and rats as big as cats running around at night. I've realized how precious your hard-earned money is especially if you earned it by having a thrice a week 24-hour duties most of which are literally sleepless. How can i say life is beautiful then? What beauty can i get from the poverty and sickness around me? What beauty can i appreciate from a crap, old, dilapidated hospital i am in? Nada...nil...nothing!

After being granted however my so called forced leave and having slept the whole day today, i could say that hey, there's still beauty in life. For the record, i was just away from the hospital for a day and yet i felt so refreshed and energized. The hospital might have sucked all the energies in me. Different poles attract dont they? Thinking also that in a few hours, i'm off to the paradise island of Boracay makes me feel how great, truly great the Big Guy upstairs really is. Before i left the hospital for the week, bonuses were also given...haha pocketmoney for the trip. Didnt inform my parents about this...plans to surprise my parents for taking charge of the dinner bill tomorrow night.

Well, life really is beautiful. This would be my last entry before i leave. Bringing along my laptop sounds ewwww, i'll be going to bora to swim and not to "surf"! I just hope that i'll be back with refreshed mind, heart and body and more blog entries.

Also, I wanted to find myself again. The one who's very grateful and enthusiastic with life. The one, who in the first place, brought me to this hospital that sucked all energy from me. As mom would say, i must be where i am needed and it's the hospital she's referring to. No worries. I'll be back. The hospital might suck all the energies from me but just imagine how genius that great architect is...He knows when i needed to be recharged.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Sense of Dignity

Dignity...a sense of pride and self-respect; a condition of being worthy of respect, esteem and honor.

I have been in this hospital for two years make it three if i would include my internship here. For three years, i have been exposed to the harsh realities of life. This exposure would either crush or lift my spirit up...depending on my hormonal status (now im blaming my pms again). Who would imagine that this institution, located almost in the heart of the city, is a jungle? A jungle where survival of the fittest is the mantra. Our patients are all sick alright, but what i mean is that financially and emotionally, these patients of ours must equip themselves with these necessities in order to survive.

If i were to define dignity the way encarta would have it, this "necessity" would be the sparsest in our hospital. Not to include my patients who are financially incapacitated, majority of our patients lack dignity...a sense of self-worth. Picture this out...people from the marginalized areas of our province rushing to our hospital to seek medical care. As doctors, this we could provide. How about the medical facilities that are essential for our treatment? Medications, intravenous solutions and yep! even just a warm hospital bed? Truth is, they are very scarce compared with the number of admissions that we have everyday.

If these patients of ours were living in a shanty or in the sidewalks maybe, i am thinking that these people being sick, needs comfort to ease their physical illness. What comfort can you get however from sleeping in a cardboard box? Worse if they are located in the alleys where people walk to and fro. Yep! We examine patients kneeling and everytime i do this, my heart bleeds. Where's privacy? Where's dignity? If these patients are dying, dont they deserve a more decent death?

What's even worse is that the hospital administrators dont seem to observe this. They are too absorbed in their own issues. Fighting for position and popularity is all that they do. Stone throwing is their expertise. This hospital is a miniature Philippines. Those in power arent aware of the number of people who are hungry and are dying.

I feel for my patients. This could also be my reason for staying here. If i am having a hormonal surge, i would be in a depressed mode. Now that pms havent visited me yet, im looking at things on a brighter light. If the administration couldnt do its part well, as a doctor, who comes in contact with the patients everyday, i could do something for them. Not only can i give them the best that i could offer in treating them, but i could also provide them a sense of dignity that nature deprived them of.

A condition of being worthy of respect, esteem and honor, dignity's other definition. They may be sleeping in cardboard boxes, deprived of money, family support and dying. Dignity i guess is not self-generated. It's freely given. Now i realize why these patients of ours could survive sleeping in cartons. For themselves, they may lack self-worth. With the way we treat and look at them however, you know, human beings who deserve every respect we could give, we rekindle the little that they possess. Believe me...a touch of care and the respect that we give them are also vital in their healing. This i could proudly say is never scarce for they're freely given by the men and women doctors of our hospital. Now, i'm not plugging...I don't need to plug for patient's kept on coming. Yep! Equipped with cardboard boxes or folding beds!

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Other Side of the Coin

Was talking, over a plate of strawberries and salt, with my mother this evening right after dinner. She asked me how i was doing with work. Heck! It's been several nights that i missed family dinners. My mom and i only got to meet when i kiss her goodbye before i leave for work. I may always be whining about how toxic my work is, but she was wondering why i am gaining weight and my looks dont even show how toxic i am.

I shared once again my never ending story on how fulfilled i am with my work. Yep! No matter how toxic i get, and no matter how i lambast my profession in this blog when i experience my monthly pms. I really am understatement actually, make it fulfilled. I am really fulfilled with my work. If there is one area in this whole wide world where fulfillment can be found, it's inside this crap hospital i am in. The place of the sick, the poor and the dying yet also the place where blessings, miracle and charity overflow.

Everyday, as i witness the lives of my patients and their families, i am inspired even more to stay in this institution. When the trend right now is the efflux of health workers and shifting of my colleagues to the nursing profession, i am more convinced that i made the right choice of being in residency training. Compensation wise, i may be underpaid compared with those who are working abroad. I am more blessed however than my friends who are training in Manila. They are more underpaid than i am. A meager salary is already enough for an individual like me who supports only myself in this small city. Actually, i still could save for some foot spa, hot oils and coffee and malling sessions.

I may be too toxic with the number of patients that i handle. These patients however are my teachers. Even an abandoned patient who came in at the emergency room with no companion, is my guru. This patient has a lot to teach me about his disease and about life as a whole. I am more blessed than my colleagues who are working in a private hospital. Their compensation might equal their load, yet they lack teachers that we are too blessed to have.

I may always get heartbroken because of the fate that my patients experience. I may cry over the death of my patient, emphatize with the poverty that they are experiencing, or join them in their loss. I could tell however that i was never pathetic - yep! even if i'll fill my posts with my rantings. I am doing my part and i am helping in one way or another, in alleviating the ills not just of my patients but my society as a whole. I am saving lives.

Yep! I am saving lives. I may be losing my own life but i am saving lives. Forget those malling, parlor or coffee sessions. Forget those reunions, dates, or family dinners. Every sacrifice that i do would also mean saving not just one but several lives. This is the fulfillment that i get from opting to stay in this crap institution. It's the feeling that you are dying for yourself and the awareness that you are letting others live.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


If hearts do literally get broken, mine would be in the most powdered form. My heart breaks when someone cries in front of me much more if he is a guy. I encounter this situation almost everyday in the hospital. I sometimes am tempted to think that i always put people to tears for everytime i talk with a patient or a patient's relative, he or she will breakdown in front of me. Yep! no matter what kind of news im bringing - good or bad, i witness them cry.

From my last 24-hour duty, i had my heart broken once again for the nth time. A patient's husband talked to me about his patient's situation and he was in tears. Imagine a huge man who looks like a hoodlum, crying. He was so helpless and so was i. I could feel the pain, the helplessness, the love that he feels towards his wife. Mixed emotions. Very strong as his looks. As big as his built.

Goodness! If i only have the resources, if i only have the capacity to heal these patients even without medications, i would be able to prevent these big men from crying like a baby. In other words, i wouldnt just be able to help them but i could also prevent my heart from getting broken. Funny though how i wish i could be like a god at times. Changing a person's fate in a click of my fingers.

Good thing i am not God. I may not be able to comprehend why he lets these things to happen. You know, letting us experience pain. Letting us cry. The only thing that i feel comfortable about is that like me, He too is heartbroken everytime he sees us in pain (right Big Dad?) If i, a human being, not even related by blood to my patients gets heartbroken everytime i witness them crying, how much more will God's heart get broken when He's our sole creator?

Yep! I am heartbroken everytime i witness someone crying. Ive been scarred several times. These scars however remind me never to get scared. I am assured that everytime my heart gets broken, Someone, that big guy upstairs, is once again willing to put them back into whole.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

When My Sun Turns To Set

Originally uploaded by celestelyn.
A repost from my written journal dated January 8, 2000. A good read during this time that i am experiencing toxicity. Aaah, cant wait for my dream vacation to come when this month ends.

The coolness of the late afternoon seabreeze gave me a good sense of well-being. While seated on the cool white sand, i waited for the sun to set. It was as though the waves were more impatient than i am in waiting for the sunset as they noisily ruffled against the rock formations.

The once blindling light turned dim. Pastel colors of light with shades of yellow, red and blue filled the sky. In a few minutes, that event that i've been waiting for will begin its course. There it was, all red and round, moving towards the horizon. Such a lovely sight, serene, peaceful and comforting.

Everytime i remember this experience from a beach in Guimaras one summer, i always feel refreshed despite of the toxicity of medlife that i am now facing. It made me remember how blessed i am to have been in that place. For four days, i waited every single afternoon for this sight to unfold before my eyes.

The sunset has never tired of leaving me amazed. In fact, this is my favorite aura and time of the day. For some, it's a sign of the end, or the start of dark nights and experiences. Sign of hopelessness, despair and tears. For me, it's a sign of hope, of humility, blessedness and love.

A sign of hope. It doesnt mean that the day has ended. It only means that it's now time to take a break and have my strength renewed. Renewed and refreshed to once again face the trials that would come my way for the morning after. It gives me hope that after facing the trials that i have experienced for the day, i'll have a time to unwind and to reload in order to face them again with courage and faith.

A sign of humility. From a pedestal that i cant even look at it because of its blinding light, the sun took some effort to come down in my level for me to see it well. Like the sun, God who is all-powerful and almighty humbled himself by sending His son to live and be with us. A manifestation of God in the midst of man.

A sign of blessedness. As the sun sets on the horizon to signify the end of the day, it reminds me to count all the blessings that i have received throughout the day. In fact, though i consider my day to be the worst, i realized that blessings continue to pour - they were just marked by my feelings of discontentment and hurt.

A sign of love. Yes, a sunset depicts somewhat a romantic aura. It makes me think that it would be better to spend it with a loved-one right beside me. The love that it signifies though is more than romantic. It's a kind of love that someone so high has to go down for a loved one. A kind of love that God humbled himself to become man to die for my sinfulness.

A sunset never fails to amaze me. It's not just a beautiful sight. It reminds me of how special, blessed and loved i am. I hope that through this realization, i too had given hope to a crushed spirit, humbled myself for a neglected soul, and shared my love to a dying heart. All these i've accomplished when my sun turns to set.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Back from a Break

Originally uploaded by celestelyn.
Well, ive been away from the cyberworld for quite some time that checking on my mails and updating my blog first came into mind as soon as i entered my room. It's really great to be away from work even for just a day. My energy level's now again to the maximum, creative juices refilled, enthusiasm's regained and love of my work's rekindled.

Just came home from B...Cebu (the old pldt commercial...familiar?) A drug company-sponsored trip and activity made me feel like a foreigner in my own country. Everything's well catered and taken good care of, from our plane trip to cebu and back to bacolod. The longest from duty and weekend i ever had without the stress. I might have tired myself from travelling yet i felt lighter and more ready for another duty tomorrow.

I just love travelling. I feel the excitement of being in a new place, meeting new people and comparing sunsets(they don't differ much actually...all sunsets are simply amazing). I love taking photos and obviously, my favorite subjects are the inanimates...still life as photography would define it. Well, what can i say? I just did two of the interests i missed doing...travelling and taking pictures!

Alright, im back to reality. I just cant help but be thankful to the ONE who plans my life. Another colorful piece was added to my life's puzzle.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Finding My Purpose

I've been whining and ranting about my current state all along in this blog alright. For once, let me give justice to the profession and state of life that in the first place, i chose and learned to love. My rantings could just be the result of my toxicity. (why the hell can't i be benign sometimes?) I still could say however that i have made the right decision and that i am in the right profession - a doctor, a healer.

The even that happened this morning affirmed what i feel tonight. I have been witness to a lot of deaths. I saw how the family of my dead patients grieved. I heard their cries, i heard their screams. I felt how hard it was for them to accept the loss of a loved one. This morning however, i found my purpose. Goodness! After almost two years in residency training, it was just this morning that i was able to convice myself of the role that i've got to play. I am a doctor, not just a comforter of the sick. I am a doctor, a comforter of the dying and the loved ones that they're leaving behind.

A toxic patient of mine died this morning. This death however was quite different compared with the ones i previously witnessed. First, i had a hard time intubating him yesterday. That was the most difficult and the most memorable intubation i've ever done (save for the one i did to my own uncle). Thanks to those false teeth he has been wearing all along while he was in the hospital. That crap really took me almost 30 minutes just to remove it before i could intubate. After a pair of tore gloves, thousands of drops of perspiration, several finger bites, different positioning, i was able to remove those precious dentures.

Second, his family was the most understanding and open-minded kind. His mother was hysterical at first when he got toxic but she calmed down when i started talking to her. I could feel the pain of a mother towards her son who's slowly drifting away. I could feel the bond in their family. Bond of support to the patient, bond of support towards the living family members.

Lastly, this morning when he passed away, his mother hugged me so tight, crying. The warmest hug i felt from almost a stranger. She lost her son yet she was so thankful for all my help. She was crying, yet there was acceptance. She lost a loved one, she was in tears, yet it was i who felt the comfort on the contrary. Hugging her back, returning the comfort she was giving me, i felt peace, i felt acceptance. The day she accepted her son's death, is also the day that i fully accepted my role. It was through this death of a patient when i started to find purpose in my routine, boring work.

Yep! I am not here in this crap, government hospital just to train. I am not here just to help and serve the sick and the poor. I am here to bring comfort, not just to my patients, but to their relatives as well. Looking back, this was what ive been wanting to do. I might have been lost along the way but hey, the great architect really has great plans to bring me back to place. I wish though that it would not take another life to remind me of my real purpose in this crap, yet miracle-full hospital that i am in.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


I already accepted the fact that before i entered residency training, i would be deprived of what most people call as "breaks." Break from the routine everyday visits to the sick and dying, break from the daily mind boggling quest for diagnosis and treatment, or break from the 24-hour duties. It has been more than a year now after my last off from work. Hearing however from our chairman that i am allowed to go to CEBU brought happiness i could never contain.

Yep! for the next weekend, i'll be in B...Cebu! I'll be staying just overnight but the fact that i'll be in another dimension and another place is a very BIG deal for me. It may just be overnight but finding myself in a plane bound to another place brought excitement to my routine, boring life. If i'll be given the chance to revise something in every residency training program, i'll see to it that a resident is given a chance to have, even just one day in a month, a break away from the hospital. Believe me, noone will ever get burnt-out. A break for the resident will also mean benefit for the patients for the quality of care that this resident could extend.

I dont know if this is applicable to other residents but for me, this is one hell of a detoxifying measure. Alright, never mind this future plan. All i know is that this weekend, ill be having this Big B....B for break in B...Cebu! Hopefully when i come back, i wouldnt be whining in this blogsite at all.=)