Saturday, April 26, 2008

It's Not Just Morphine

I had a patient who became morbid at the ICU last night...err i mean early this morning because that was almost 2am. Female, in her late 70's, admitted as a case of acute myocardial infarction. To make matters worse, she too has an aortic aneurysm. She's like a ticking time bomb. Ready to explode - anytime.

She had another episode of epigastric pain early this morning. It could be the aneurysm or could be another episode of myocardial infarction. Either way, both could cause her demise. I requested for a repeat ECG and her heart rate were running like horses - way above normal. Could be due to pain. No, but no for there were new changes in her ecg. She was having runs of ventricular tachycardia. Vital signs were quite unstable. The defibrillator was prepared at her bedside. She was anxious. She was in pain. She actually bid me farewell. She's tired of the fight and she wanted to rest so she said.

From my previous duty at the ICU, i met her husband. Ive seen how he took care of her. Ive seen how he was so anxious and afraid for her. I havent seen him though the whole night. For his sake, i tried to encourage her. She cant go unless he's there beside her. She has to let him let go of her. I asked one of the relatives to call him wherever he was. Unknown to me, he was just outside, resting. Might have been tired from attending to his patient for quite some time now.

While waiting for him, I sedated my patient to alleviate her anxiety. She still was restless and in pain. So I gave her a small dose of morphine. Five minutes had past and yet the pain was persistent - she claimed. Then he came. He held her wrinkled, old hand. He touched and caressed the area where she pointed to be very painful. He kissed her forehead. He was whispering words to her that i couldnt hear. Must have been words to encourage her. She kept quiet. Ive seen how she transformed into a meek baby in the comfort of his arms. She then fell asleep. Her heart rate went back to normal. Her vital signs stabilized. I felt like crying. Maybe i was relieved that her condition stabilized or it could have been more to the sight in front of me. She's comfortable, asleep and no longer in pain. I dont think it's just morphine. It's more than morphine. It's him.

Ahhhh love. I have this soft spot for old couples who still show affection to each other. It might look odd to see old people kiss yet there's thing that i couldnt explain deep inside of me. Saw her very comfortable in his arms. Witnessed how he cared and stood for her in her sickness. All these, removed all my fears. Ive got a morphine in my pocket and i hope that it will stay with me until i grow old, sick and wrinkled.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Why a Lifesaver

I didnt have to answer the usual question that's being asked of an incoming medical student when i was about to enter my alma mater. The "Why do you want to become a doctor?" question was obviously not tackled since the panel were too excited to ask me about my undergrad school instead (a sister school of my med school).

As i breeze through residency training, i was starting to find answers to this question. Answers like to "treat the sick" or "serve the poor" are i guess a cliche. Since im also having my training in a government institution, obviously, these answers seem like shouting at me.

Aside from these, why did i really become a lifesaver? I didnt have dreams of being a superhero. You know, saving other people's lives through a dramatic, action-packed way. The innate autism in me would prefer a more discreet way of doing such like being a physician. Treating the sick, keeping them alive. Before ive wanted to save lives though, there must be another reason why i wanted this kind of life.

They say that one's decision in life is influenced by his/her past experiences. Experiences that are sometimes hidden in our subconscious mind. Experience also tells me that my greatest fear in life is...eeek....not may run 3rd. Not even getting hurt in a relationship for it only runs second. My greatest fear is not even death itself rather, losing a loved one through death.

Yep! I discovered this just recently. Ive had experiences of loss when i was younger. That of of my grandparents, pets and friends. I felt the gaping hole created by one's absence. I felt the fear of not seeing the dead loved one anymore...not ever. I thought that ive become numbed to all of these. NO, but no for at present, I still cry over a death of a patient. Actually, it's not really the patient whom i am really concerned about when he/she dies - heaven knows better than i once he/she has crossed the tunnel of light. I am more saddened and concerned with the relatives who are left behind. I still couldnt stand those wailings and crying spells. My heart breaks and my spirit gets dampened. Ive been in their shoes and i fear being in their shoes again.

So here i am, taking the path to lifesaving. I am not god, nor am i playing god. I just wanted to the best of my abilities and knowledge to save a see a happy family in return. I dont even want to change the fate of another being. I just wanted to take part in extending one's life. Death is inevitable of course. Medical school did teach me to predict it and to fight it. My current training however has taught me to fight it with passion and to accept it once everything's been done, with serenity.

Friday, April 04, 2008


After my 30th birthday, i realized that i've been posting about the things that i would want in life. I didnt realize not until my day ended last night that there are a lot of things that i must be thankful for. For my 30th year of existence, i couldnt help but be thankful to the great architect up there for painstakingly planned every detail of my life. I feel so humbled, so unworthy. The horns and tails that ive grown as i grew older in years felt misplaced. It seemed as if they dont belong to where they are growing right now. So for tonight, no matter how allergic i am to preachy posts or people, let me, just for now, enumerate the things that i am very thankful for. Give me a break! It's my birthday! Err, a day late maybe. It's my birth month still anyway.

1. The gift of family. - not all people are gifted with crazy parents and siblings like i do.=)
2. The blessings of friends - ive got a lot of friends but only a handful of very close ones who would die for not really sure if they would really.hehe
3. A career i would never trade for anything - being a physician gave me the fulfillment that money cant buy. But i would trade places with the recent lotto millionaire.hehe
4. The best residency training im currently having - for me, my internal medicine family's the best.
5. Being placed in this crap hospital for training - i realized how blessed i am and i am trained in all aspect of my being because of the number of patients that i meet and the number of impossible and difficult folks to deal with
6. The schools i went to - this is not an advertisement for my dear alma maters. Actually, i only had 2: ETCS 1 and La Salle but they prepared me well.
7. My co-residents - as crazy as the family i grew up with. the reason why i blended with them...hehe
8. My consultants and mentors - whose examples and teachings will forever be etched in my young mind
9. My past senior residents - as crazy as i am too
10. My gift of expressing myself through written language - so this blog
11. My talent in psychotherapy - i didnt know i have one until a lot of people told me that i have it. Anyways, i turn out to be a part-time psychiatrist most of the time
12. My patients - they too served as my mentors
13. My patient's difficult folks - they developed my patience and tolerance to the most unlovable
14. Some difficult co-residents - i learned to deal with difficult colleagues and be able to survive a stressful life because of their presence
15. A number of unreasonable consultants - they're a good example of consultants that i must not become in the future
16. My interns - mentoring and supervising them also gave me the fulfillment equivalent to saving a life
17. My monthly salary - meager as it may be but im thankful that at least im withdrawing something from my ATM.
18. Hospital bonuses - at least i could afford some luxuryand treats for myself. Parlor visits, moviebreaks, coffee sessions and a refreshing body spa.
19. My reliable laptop, laffy taffy - after 2 years, it has been faithful to me
20. My bestbuddy and reliable celfone - include its camera
21. My ipod, silver snitch - it kept me company especially during my autistic moments
22. For coffee - it perks me up...more like a lifeline to my everyday job
23. For chocolates - they're first-aid for dementress exposure
24. For blogspot, multiply, friendster, facebook, etc - places i could express my autism and at the same time call myself a social being
25. For nature - the air that i breath, lush greens i can rest my eyes upon, cloudscapes that never fail to amaze me, seas that comfort me
26. For sunsets
27. For ym and smart - at least i could keep in touch with friends despite of my hectic schedule
28. For strangers and angels who walked with me in my life's journey
29. For the internet - without which i could never post this blog and announce to the world wide web how thankful i am for being 30!
30. For the occupant of the fourth chamber.=)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


A few hours from now, ill be celebrating a milestone. I'll be celebrating my pearl year! Okay, i used pearl so as not to make it so obvious when all i mean is that i'll be celebrating my 30th year of existence.hehe

Just like the ultimatum i made for myself years ago, i also made a wishlist for my 30th year - link here.

I've wished for things that i would want to acquire before i launch my independence. Therefore, time to check those things out and maybe, add a few more for my next milestone. Well, that would be 5 years from now - my emerald year.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?

for this one, CHECK!

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.

...i could make use of my old bed right now.hehe

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. ....Hmmm still no budget for this.

6. Microwave oven – I need this to reheat my leftovers...hehe CHECK! I bought the one we're using at home...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. ...why did i wish for this in the first place?hehe no budget yet and no place for this.

I've got several things in mind that i would wish for the next 5 years...ooops i already talked about them in my 49 things. I dont want to repeat myself.hehe Besides, i still need a pad for all these things so why ask for more? For those with a kind heart, i accept cash, checks or the pad itself as a birthday gift....hehehe