Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Get a Life

Met someone from college today. She was the president of our organization and she was like a big sister to me back then. She was surprised to see me grow up. Hello!?! As if i was really that teenie meenie little girl back then. Maybe i gained a little weight alright and on the contrary, it's even a compliment for me. She has the same bubbly personality. She still talked and asked questions at a speed i couldnt fathom. Twas like she delivered 5 paragraphs already and i only responded with a "yes."

Bubbly: "Are you married?"
Me: "Uhmmm..." (in my mind, i was thinking, not in the immediate future.)
Bubbly: "With boyfriend?"
Me: "Uh???" (not in my wildest dream for the mean time.)
Bubbly: "Why? What's the matter?"
Me: "Priorities?"
Bubbly: "What priorities?"
Me: "Career? Further studies?"
Bubbly: "Oh. You're done with that. It's now time that you'll think about yourself."

Then, there's this 3-second pause then "the end."

She was in hurry that she have to leave soon. After our goodbyes, she left me in wonder. What was she trying to tell me? "I must think about myself?" Goodness! Was it because i'm still unattached? I really cant get her point there. It doesnt mean that since i am unattached, i dont think about myself. Are my plans of further trainings not a selfish act? I'm thinking about my future, about myself when i planned this. Isnt it not having someone tagging on my line a selfish act too? I dont want to care for anyone nor to divide my time with someone as of this time. I wanted my time to be mine so that i could plan whatever it is that i wanted to do with my life. Am i not thinking about myself then?

I realized that people have different priorities in life. She said it in good faith but im thinking that maybe her priorities are different from mine. She too was a medical student. Several times though, she failed in the board exam. At present, she's married and now a housewife. She might be prioritizing family life more than her own career that she's already happy with what she is right now. I on the other hand kept on studying and training. Career-driven at my own discretion. Grabbing whatever opportunity there is for self-growth. If there's really a place for lovelife in my priorities, then maybe it occupies the backseat.

In short, you can never tell those successful people who are unattached to think about themselves first. Fact is, like me, they have been thinking about themselves all along. For me, being in a relationship isnt equivalent to thinking about one's own welfare. You may have someone with you to share your life with but this is also equivalent to having a responsibility over this someone. But if she's referring about the remote future when ill be old and demented, then i guess this will be the time that ill be thinking of myself by having someone to share my dementia with.hehe As for now, I am selfish enough not to be in a relationship. Enjoying the prime of my life, my career is still what im prioritizing. If this is where i will be fulfilled and happy, then who disagrees that being single is not an act of selfishness?

This is my life. Sometimes other people just dont have a life of their own that they could see and scrutinize other people. The problem however is that they usually pick on single ones (that includes me) thinking that these people arent happy with their own lives. If ill once again hear this "think about yourself" line the next time, i might not be able to control myself that i could tell him/her to "Get a life!"

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Dementors

I am not a Harry Potter fanatic. Fact is, i havent read a single HP book though we have all the seven books here at home. Nah! Dont get me wrong. I am no way against the HP hype. It's just that im not fond of reading fiction novels. I'm more on human interest stories, autobiographies, non-fiction ones. I love HP movies though. Have watched all of it. What im just trying to imply here is that, despite of not laying a finger on HP books, i am familiar with the story and the characters.

What with having two sisters who are HP fanatics? With the way they talk about the book they're reading, you cant help but be amazed how they transformed a hardbound book into a full, vivid, movie just by listening to them. Alright, i dont get irritated. At least it saves me time listening to them than reading the book itself.

Interrupting that long introduction and back to our regular programming, ill be talking about the Dementors now. You know, those scary creatures in hooded cloaks? Those creatures who suck one's soul and not only that, their mere presence make the environment cold and dark and almost lifeles? Keeping their company makes one depress to the point of insanity so they say. They feed on the positive emotions, happiness and good memories of people for its their life. Hmmmm, will these descriptions be enough in order for me to prove that these Dementors do not just exist in JKR's HP book? These Dementors exist in real life! Actually, in this crap hospital where i work, Dementors hover everywhere. Im working with them, walking with them, eating with them, talking to them. They are in my midst. They assume whatever form though - a colleague, a nurse, an intern, a friend or what have you. Hello?!? They dont wear those hooded cloaks and be mistaken as the "Kamatayan". They're more intelligent now for they could wear scrubs with a stethoscope around their neck and act as a doctor.

I have imposed on my self to be optimistic at all times. Have experienced how it is to be in the dark and i really couldnt help but regret on those times ive wasted living in that cold, empty, lifeless pit. In short, im a good prey for those Dementors around me. The rule that opposite poles attract applies in my case for negative people have an affinity to me. It's not that i dont want to help. It may be my role in this life to give comfort to others but to be a victim of those Dementors? This i wouldnt allow to happen.

You know, Dementors in real life are that intelligent and greedy. They could act as if they'll be needing your help but fact is, they're sucking all the positive energy there is in you. I could feel how tiring it is to deal with them. Some could even manipulate you by acting needy but refuses to accept help when you give it. Their sole purpose is to have someone with them to share with the black, cold and empty life that they're living. No thank you, but i already had a share of the experience. If you want to live a miserable life, go live it alone.

How do i deal with them? I know that i couldnt apply the Patronus charm on them. I just have to simply walk away and avoid them as a prophylaxis. If avoidance would be quite obvious and rude, i just shift gears into my autistic mode. With this, i may be physically present but ive shut all my positive emotions safe and away from them. However, this autistic mode must be coupled with the Oscar's Award Winning Act. What i mean is that you must be in your best actress mode too. You act unaffected and happier while generating more positive energies from your inner store. Since they're selfish beings, they arent sensitive enough to other people's emotions. They dont care if they're sucking all the life out of you. In short, they dont know if you're just faking your happiness or your happy disposition. So long as you appear unaffected in their presence, they will eventually tire out, leaving you eventually in peace. How's that for my treatment and management for Dementor's exposure?

I hate Dementors and i have no plans to be like them. If im given this life to live, i wanted to make use of this rafting positive energy to others. I could be like that chocolate bar with almonds that helped make me feel better the other day. Oh, i failed to mention that chocolates are used as a first aid treatment to mild cases of contact with those Dementors. As a physician, i could be a chocolate to others too but i have yet to perfect being a chocolate to myself first. Blogging is one way of perfecting it.=P

Life Is Good

Despite of the things that have been happening lately, i still could say that life is reallllllllllllly GOOD!

, conversations, coffee, sunsets, road trips, movies, family, friends...I HAVE AN ABUNDANCE.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Notebook

I am preparing the post graduate intern's exam for their board review. Have to ask a friend of mine in Manila to send me some review materials and my very reliable notebook when i took the board exam 3 years ago. I was not after for the notes ive written in that notebook. I was after for the "reminder" that ive written myself 3 years ago while i was reviewing for the boards. I am planning to share those reminders with our interns. Reminders that i hope would help keep their fight especially those who are already on the verge of quitting.

Being reunited with that notebook after 3 looong years, brought back memories on how i struggled during those times. I was just forcing myself to study. I was during that time, been stupid by wallowing in depression for reasons that i guess need not be mentioned here. Reading those entries again, written at the back of the notebook made me laugh. I didnt realize how neurotic i was and on how i imposed things on myself just so ill be forced to study.

(Note: I was 26 years old during that time...that's why 26...hehe)

1. If you dont study, you might fail. If you fail, YOU STILL HAVE TO TAKE IT ANYWAY - NO EXCEPTIONS! (in bold letters as if emphasizing a point which in retrospect, was really a point.hehe)

2. You can SLEEP and REST ALL THE TIME YOU WANT...when you PASS (hmm, for a month's time? After a month of doing nothing, i started to miss my toxic life in the hospital. So here i am, "intoxicated" at work, all the time.)

3. Others DONT GET TIRED. Why CANT YOU? (referring to my friends who never get tired of reading until the wee hours of the morning. Late sleepers, early risers. Me, myself and I on the other hand was an early sleeper and a late riser during those times.)

4. If you fail...S H A M E on YOU! (Ooooops!)

5. S H A M E on your PARENTS! (Geez, if there were people that i was really thinking about during the boards, it would be my folks. This item in #5 might have been my drive.)

6. You're TOO OLD TO DEPEND ON YOUR PARENTS (speaking of extended adolescence)

7. You're old enough to DISCIPLINE YOURSELF TO STUDY (need not elaborate)

8. It's sweeter to pass the 1st Time (EXACTLY!)

9. People expect you to pass (speaking of how i carried this load on my shoulders. Now, the heck with other people's expectations. I'm going to live my life, MY WAY.)

10. There's NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE (After medical school, if i dont pass this exam, what will become of me? An albularyo to the barrios?)

11. Your sister, younger than you are is already enjoying her income (even until now)

12. I am not sure whether i deliberately omitted number 12 or i had a mistake in numbering so maybe this slot was reserved for the reason of my lack of drive in studying.

13. You dont want to go home disheartened...DO YOU? (I really internalized this one. The mere thought of going home disheartened made me more depressed yet this kept me going)

14. Remember how good it feels signing your name below the prescription...without any pair (i might have ran out of good ideas.)

15. Your patients are waiting for you. (and they kept on haunting me until now because of my toxicity)

16. Your students are anxious to meet you. (Uh-oh! i wasnt planning to train during that time...i planned to become an academician after the boards after i realized that i got tired of the clinics because of my toxicity)

17. YOUR PLANE TICKETS - ROUND TRIP - ARE FREE! (this was given to me as a prize for an achivement)

18. YOU ACCOMMODATION in CAVITE IS FREE (was invited by a friend to her place)

19. A LOT OF PEOPLE PRAY FOR YOU. (Thanks to all you!)

20. You're bound to give honor to your ALMA MATER (hmmm loyalista!)

21. You are indebted to LA SALLE (even until now)

22. You study to learn, not just to pass. (asus!)

23. You want to fulfill a childhood dream (wanting to start the final chapter of an unending journey in school)

24. This is the only way to become a FULL FLEDGED DOCTOR (is there another option?)

25. You are TOO BLESSED TO BE A MEDIOCRE (yebba! come on self! what was your orientation during those times?hehe)


Hmmmmm...self explanatory. I really WAS DESTINED TO PASS IT.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

What Matters Most

One baggage down, one thorn out.

Today, i had my 1st experience of the said diplomate oral exam. The first part of two. Still groggy from a 24-hr duty, went to the exam venue with only a mini booklet in my bag. I really have no idea about what will come out in the said exam. All i know is that out of a 2-volume bible that we have in the specialty, they will only get 5 diseases. We were oriented that we should concentrate more on the more common diseases and their complications. Eventhough, i still have to figure things out.

My fellow examinee from the other hospital was already there when i arrived at the venue. She was reading her notebook complete with all the notes and with her was the pocket edition of our bible. Well, i have been used to not bringing any notes during exams. I dont find it convenient nor helpful. Aside from not looking cool, i dont want to cram a few minutes before an exam. What matters most is what my teenie meenie brain contains.

After exchanging pleasantries, i heard what most people who will be taking an exam will be whining about. "I havent studied well." "I was informed only last week." Oh, so was i. To be more specific, for the past week, i was helping out the Irish students in computing for the medicines that they'll be buying for the department. The day before the exam, i was helping out in budgeting the meager medicine allocation for the whole hospital. I was studying on how to be an accountant to be more exact. Darn! This is supposed to be my sister's job. I studied medicine, didnt i?

Anyhow, equipped with the little faith that i have, complete with well-wishes from my seniors, co-residents, interns and family members, i felt nothing the whole time! I was numbed! I might have deactivated my sympathetic nervous system again. Or maybe my sleepiness overpowered my nervousness, negating it, resulting to a normal, non-feeling me! Attack mode! Whatever you call it. Que sera sera. Hakuna matata. If this exam is for me, then i shall pass it.

I will not go into the details of the whole exam. Just to give you a bird's eye view, there were two tables inside the examination room. Each table had 3 chairs on each side. The left side was were the panelists were seated and the right side was where we were seated, rotating from one panel to another. There were 5 sets of subspecialties. In short, we have to diagnose, manage and treat 5 diseases that are unknown to us.

Fast tracking, i finished the oral exam still feeling nothing. I guess i was able to answer those questions that were asked of me. The cases were really very common. I encountered them at the wards, at the er and they usually are the topics that we always ask our interns during endorsements. I had a problem more on the management and diagnostics though. Who wouldnt? I was used to this hospital where most of our patients were treated without the support of ancillary procedures since most of them cant afford it. Added to that, our well equipped laboratory has nothing but a complete blood count. Great!

In short, i was trained to diagnose and treat a patient by mere history and physical examination alone. This gave me confidence at the first station. In a way, i was also picturing myself at the ER, diagnosing my patient without any laboratory result at hand. The 2nd and 3rd stations were quite difficult since we have to deal with what's ideal. The next time around, all i need to do is to concentrate more on the ideal management that i could read in my books.

My chairman delivered the result to me. Still, i was feeling nothing. I was even starting to yawn again. Oh well, i can see another narcolepsy attack coming! He asked me how i found the exam. Told him that i was able to get all the 5 diagnoses correct. "Ok. So you passed!" I what? I passed! I have to repeat this over and over again to myself. Self, you passed! Hey! You passed! Bringing my consciousness back to realtime, i managed to smile. This is it! I passed! Can i sleep now?

Goodness! I didnt realize how important this diplomate exam was when my seniors started texting and calling me, congratulating me. You're one step higher now self! I was a step higher now? Alright, an achievement i might consider it. Modesty aside though, i wasnt really prepared before i took it. I was preoccupied with a lot of things in the department and i even went on duty the day before i took the exam. I just took a leap of faith. I was thinking that i will never be prepared after all so might as well take it now.

Well, one baggage out. I still have another one in October. As for now, i just couldnt help but thank all the people behind this achievement. I might feel that i wasnt prepared for it. I realized though that my consultants have prepared me well for the past 3 years. What with having a chairman whose standards arent that reachable? Since mediocrity has no place in the department, I was taught to strive even more. Also, I started to challenge myself on what i can do. Remove the word pressure. Pressure would be different. I only have one life to live and why pressure myself on the things that i coulnt do? Simply stated as, tapping my own potential. Not squeezing all the life out of me so as i could achieve something.

Shall i also thank this crap hospital where i am in? I might say that I wasnt prepared for the past week but i have been training myself for the past 3 years in this institution. What with those toxic duties? What with those magnanimous number of admissions. Oh, not to mention the number of interns that we have trained too. As residents, we were also learning in the process. In the long run, what mattered most is not what i was bringing along with me before the exam. Rather, twas what my gray matter has stored all along.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Renegade In Me

A few days from now, i will be taking the Diplomate Oral Exams. Whether this will push through or not, i shall face it without fear. The air in the office is not as tensed as last year's wherein our seniors were all cramming for the said exam. Right now, i can feel no sense of urgency nor importance for the said exam. Is it because it is only i who's going to take it this year? Or is it because i seem not to be interested in taking it either for i dont feel like being a part of this college?

The college who after taking our membership fees remains to be apathetic and passive as to the needs of its members and future members like us. I couldnt even feel its existence. It's just that there's this prestige that goes with your name when you are a part of it. I dont even think that there's a sense of belongingness among its members. There may be for some but not for all. Where's the college that's supposed to create regulations and rules for the practice of medicine in our area? Where's the college that's supposed to promote ethical and fair practice among its members? Oh well, how can it promote such in an urbanized city like ours when it cant even make sure that the practice of ethics is visible in a small-time interhospital contest? For me, what happened was like a case of stealing in broad daylight and at that certain moment, it was legalized.

There's this renegade in me who still until now, remembers that event in the past. The renegade who was unjustly judged. The renegade who felt betrayed by her college. I am someone who never bear grudges to anyone though. Or maybe it never happened in the past that i was aggrieved by someone this much. Much more humiliated in public in my face. The very same day that that event happened, i chose to keep mum about it. Dont talk if you have nothing good to say, this i always keep in mind. I was thinking that i might get over that experience in time. I might learn to forgive the person for his unfairness or the college for its apathy. After 4 months though, i proved myself wrong.

There are times that i could still remember how wicked he looked like on stage while announcing the winners. I still could remember the disbelief in the face of the audience for the result. The side comments he delivered kept on ringing in my ears. I was not after for the win. I am never hungry for glory nor for praise. I have enough for myself. I am just someone who wanted things to be just. If they could do that to me or to us (for i represent my hospital), who could fight for my/our rights, what more to those patients of theirs, some of which are even illiterate, who cant assert their rights?

I am also someone who look up to those above me and gives due respect to those who deserve it. That time, i began to recognize those who really deserve to have my respect and who i owe very much of everything. Not because they are rooting for me. It was simply because they abhored mediocrity and they were rooting for excellence among us, the younger generation. Consultants who despite their achievements remained to be grounded and ethical. They are actually just around me.

Im writing this now thinking that i would be more objective about that event. I didnt realize that i will just open up and uncover an old wound. The optimistic me however chose not to squeeze those lemons, that life threw at me, on that wound. Im trying not to wallow in that experience. Instead, im learning to make lemonades out of those lemons. Im slowly turning that wicked face into an inspiration. Im trying to convert those side comments into stepping stones. Im starting to get strength from the pain that that event has created.

I was thankful for that experience for it was a light to my future plans. Ill be taking this exam for completion purposes not because i wanted to belong to that apathetic college that most of us have been wanting to enter. To that someone with a wicked smile, I shall be like him but i shall never be his equal. He has taken advantaged of his practice and specialization and i just dont know how many he has treated and drained to debt at the same time. I plan to go out of the country and specialize. The details however remain within the confines of my gray matter. Now that i have all the support from my family, i shall start my journey towards another big dream. If i surpassed that 4-year period for medical school away from home, i shall pass that 3-year training too away from this country.

When i get back to this city, i shall treat my patients the way i was trained in this institution as a resident. Not mindful of the fee, more concerned of the patient as a whole. I shall have my vengeance through my patients. No exorbitant fees for those needing my services. I shall be like those people i look up to. Successful, excellent in their fields yet remained grounded, ethical and pro-patient.

This is the renegade in me. Who says renegades dont know how to make lemonades?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

If Tomorrow Never Comes

I have been exposed to deaths in the hospital where i work. Every death that ive witnessed always reminds me of my own. How will i die? Until when shall i live life? At 29, i guess i have enjoyed life already at its best. Im not certain about the would be length of my existence that's why i make sure to live each day of my life as if it were my last.

Attended the funeral of an aunt (my dad's elder sister) this afternoon. Her death was unexpected. I was just awakened by a call from my cousin telling me that they're in the hospital and my aunt is being resuscitated. She went into cardiac arrest. An acute myocardial infarction im thinking for she has been on maintenance medications for ischemia. Her husband has cancer with days that are counted. He's not aware of this. They did not let him know it. She kept everything to herself. She ended up going ahead of him instead.

"I love you, mom!" This line kept on ringing in my ears. Her eldest daughter said this while hugging her coffin. How many times did she repeat this. Im wondering if she told her mom this when she was still alive. I just hope she did. She deserves to hear it. She was able to raise all her seven daughters well. They're all professionals except for the youngest who's graduating this March.

What i just wanted right now is to leave a post to the people i love. I may be too busy to tell them this. I might always forget to let them feel it. Should tomorrow never come though, i just hope they know how much i love them.

Blog Cleaning

I didnt realize that i have been out of the blogosphere for quite a long time. If not for the message from one of my frequent visitors (thanks for reminding me sngl) that i havent updated yet, i may not even perform this blog clean up. Been way too busy with work these past few days. Though i have been wanting to rant and to destress in this blog, i would be more stressed out should i go online and get pissed off by my internet connection that's been constantly disconnecting and reconneting and disconnecting and reconnecting...leaving me with no other option but to click on "TURN OFF COMPUTER."

The troubleshooter in me looked for the root of the matter. Im blogging in the privacy of my own room and im connected to the internet to the main router downstairs through a 12-meter cable. Im thinking that it must be that cable that's defective for the internet connection of the main computer downstairs is very ok. In short, so as i could perform a blog clean up and to relieve myself from the stress that those prompts of disconnection has been giving me, today, i bought this...tadaaaan!
Yep! A wireless router that let's me blog anywhere at home...even in my own bed! Now, im stress-free! Im blogging without interruption. Im finally cleaning up this blog from cobwebs and dusts. I didnt realize that blog cleaning though would leave me a little less than 3,000 bucks poorer...tsk tsk

Post script:
Just in time that i have created our home into a wifi hotspot, my bro brought his groupmates along to finish their thesis. Now, there are three computers that are currently running right now with just one router. Bro, you owe me bigtime!