Friday, August 29, 2008
It's an interesting read, although not everything is accurate. One of the 10 says, "Turns out money can buy happiness." Not really true. (My Psych thesis was on subjective well-being -- a composite of happiness and life satisfaction -- and, for a while, I was wading knee-length through meta-analyses and other such studies exploring SWB, so it's hard to not know what I'm talking about.)
Three more things that the article incidentally told me:
1. Membership at an elite golf club can cost $300,000 a year? For golf?! (Plebeian of me, I know.) If someone gave me that kind of money, just one year's worth, I'd never have to work again.
2. For $2,000-$4,000 a month, clients can get 24-hour access to a primary-care physician who makes house calls and facilitates admission to a hospital, helping these millionaires avoid long waits in the emergency room. Now that's an idea. Anyone interested in a medical partnership similar to that? I'll make the house calls, write the carried order, and admit the patients under your services. Everyone's happy, happy, happy.
3. A Versace bag costs $3,000. Seriously? Isn't it all just a bit pointless? What do you get out of carrying a really expensive bag, a feeling that you're better than everyone else? Won't that just indicate that you must have had really low self-esteem to begin with? Relying on brands...geez... Girls can be really stupid. This will make me sound plebeian again, but IMHO a bag is a bag is a bag. If I had $3,000, and I really like the look and the features of a branded bag, I'd buy its spitting image at Greenhills for $16 (I hear it costs even less in Divisoria but I haven't been there) and spend the rest on, I don't know, food.
Then again, it's their life. Hehe!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Naa ko'y negosyo!
Remember my trips to Bangkok and Manila? Well, I've photographed all my baligya and assembled them into a new blog, which I called My Tiangge, for lack of a better name idea.
I'm also thinking of putting up a "garage sale" section (heaven knows my messy room needs such a sale) and, if I find the right stuff, maybe an "ukay-ukay" section. Trip lang.
Support the destitute. Go to http://my-tiangge.blogspot.com/ and buy something. Hahaha!
Monday, August 25, 2008
To moonlight first or not to. Where to moonlight.
To join Doctors To The Barrios before or after training, if I train.
To seriously try my hand at business or not.
To look for work abroad or not.
All I know is:
- I'm meeting friends tomorrow at Ayala
- I'm inquiring at the PAG-IBIG office on how to become a voluntary member, probably tomorrow as well
- I have to register at PRC and take my oaths
- I'm joining a free clinic in Talamban on Sept. 5
Oh, well. One day at a time. Off to the shower.
* Advice appreciated! Feel free to comment.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
On the other hand, health is a concern for everyone, and even people who aren't in the health-care profession need to be well-informed to make the right choices about everything from food to medicines to anti-aging treatments.
In Health News On A Platter, I summarize health news in a way that everyone can understand (you'll be surprised how doctors need a break from all that medical jargon) and provide links to the full stories for people who want to learn more about the topic.
The menu for today:
Which three wrinkle treatments are effective?
Some studies find possible link between cancer and Vytorin / low LDL levels
TOLD you it's okay to take a bath after exercise
the news on face transplants
just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down -- literally
obsessive-compulsive patients may benefit from brain surgery
No professional fee required. What's the catch? I don't know. I'm still trying to figure out how to do this for a living. ;-)
Friday, August 22, 2008
But miracles still do happen. Last night, with heart pounding and hands shaking, I scanned the list of successful examinees and found what I desperately wanted to see:
I made it.
- - - - - - -
I'm smart enough to know I didn't make it because of smartness. I needed divine intervention and I got it. I never doubted God's goodness, but I did wonder what His will would be. His plans are at times unfathomable, and, in the end, really, that's all anybody can say: "Your will be done, Lord."
On the morning before the first exam, someone texted me to remind me to pray before shading the boxes. I followed her advice, and there really were answers that I recognized only before shading the boxes, after I'd prayed. Miracles happen, often disguised as luck.
My family was just marvelous. From reminders to get back to studying after I'd stared off into space, to insisting that I get enough rest the nights before tests, to making me sandwiches for the exam, to assuring me February was always an option, they never lacked in their support for me. A special mention goes to my lolo, who cheerfully forecasted a joint birthday (his)-and-thanksgiving celebration this Sunday, prayed for me and my cousins "secretly," and expressed relief that my days of endless studying would soon be over because they were "kapoy."
Van. You make me laugh and you let me cry, as needed. I honestly don't know what I'd do without you.
Lots and lots of people prayed for me. There were friends and family who really made it a point to text me before the exams and cheer me on. No need for names here -- you know who you are (but do you read this blog? Hehe...) and I pray your kindness goes back to you a thousandfold. I am blessed to have you in my life.
SUMC people...you guys are the best!
CIM. What can I say? There's still a shadow cast over the school and the hospital that my heart just can't understand, but I respect the [academic] results you achieve. A 100% passing rate for the nth time...as Brian says, you must be doing something right. It's just the something wrong that I can't tolerate. But I'll always be grateful for the people who made it their life's work to pass on what they know to those who will someday be treating them. There were Velez residents who were nice to me and taught me a lot -- I really, really appreciate it.
The residents who weren't nice taught me a few things, too. This might seem like cheap shots at people who won't be able to defend themselves in this forum, but it's actually my way of letting go, so indulge me. Dr. AP, you forever turned me off Pedia and you made me unhappy with the personalan approach that you displayed one minute and denied the next (mangilad pa jud), but because of that I've learned an important lesson in life: you can't please everyone, but what matters is the people who matter. Dr. JB, you threatened that I would pay for a mistake that I really didn't realize was a mistake until too late, but I spent a whole month under your mercy and lived to tell the story, and I think even you realized that you had judged too soon. Because of that I learned that I can deal with anything; I can look at challenges in the eye and say, "Wa gani ko napatumba ni JB." Dr. AB, unsa man gyud diay akong nabuhat nimo? Oh, well, you took your best shot, but the mud didn't stick. You've taught me to watch my steps, and to try to be good enough in my work so that when a poor evaluation comes, people will choose to believe in their own impressions of me and not those of the one who did the evaluation. And speaking of evaluations, I almost forgot: Dr. Kalimot Gani Ko Sa Imong Pangalan Kay Wala Gyud Ta Nagkatrabaho Sa Entire Rotation Nako Sa OB Sa Sotto And Yet Nangunay Jud Ka Ug Evaluate Namo, from you I learned...um...let's see... From you I learned that there are really dishonest people in this world, that ma-karma ra gyud mo kadugayan, and that, bahala'g magka-leche-leche ang kalibutan, mas gwapa gihapon ko nimo. Hehe. Sorry, but true.
Seriously, though... These lessons, paid for by tears, have hardened my heart and I don't like it, because I used to have a relatively good heart. It will take some years to restore it back to its original state, but it's a price I'm willing to pay for the privilege I have now of being able to help others. The kindness that many people have shown me more than make up for the heartaches. To all those who have hurt me...I forgive you. And to those whom I have hurt...I'm sorry.
That laundry list may make it appear that I've gotten in trouble lots of times. I haven't, actually. One thing I treasure about internship is the fact that I've gotten to know remarkable people, with whom I still keep in touch and who I still count as friends. I only hesitate to mention them here because I might leave someone out. But I think you guys know who you are, especially the people on Globe whom I regularly text (when I subscribe to the Unlimited service, that is). Just to name a few (just off the top of my head, but there are many more): Dr. KA, you and the other FM people were my first ever mentors as an intern, and your kindness and coolness will never be forgotten. Dr. IM, you're a cool guy, no matter what anyone says. Dr. SC, also cool under pressure, thank you for signing that enormous stack of discharge summaries. Dr. MP, people feared you, but you were always nice to me...thank you. Dr. EN, you probably didn't know it then, but your signature was what allowed me to paso. And the people at SUMC...I won't single anyone out na lang, but you guys know how cool and competent and just super-great you are.
Fellow examinees! If I had to go through this alone, I would have had a "heart attack" and be hooked by now to a cardiac monitor in the ICU. Special thanks to my Q & A Circle -- Brian, Tonette, Osita and Anning -- for panicking when I panic and for not knowing all the answers to my questions. We took turns pulling each other down and cheering each other up...mura ta'g boang. Haha! We did it, guys. ;-)
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Read more in my other blog, Health News On A Platter.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Every so often, I type "August 2008 physician licensure examination results" in Google's search box and check if there's any change in the search results. Aside from replies posted in various forums, there is none. The forums are full of people who are on the edge of their seats, just like me. The tension leads to a few word wars between people from rival schools. I am tempted to join in, just for catharsis.
If fellow doctors could see me now, they would probably diagnose hyperthyroidism. I'm trembling, palpitating, and going to the CR more than I usually do. One symptom that wouldn't fit is the way my hands are: they're sweating profusely. It's a good thing I've been away for a couple of days, otherwise I'd have been this way since Sunday.
I don't know if I can take it if I fail. I can try. But I don't want to.
This wait is killing me.
Don't get me wrong. I'm sure there are a lot of decent drivers out there, and there might even be a couple of decent conductors. But there are enough of the other kind to make my CSF boil. Those of you who regularly take public transport might be able to relate.
My traumatic encounters with taxi drivers include:
1. A driver who took us on an extremely circuitous route from Ruby's apartment to Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport. What would have been a 200-baht ride ended up costing us 500 baht and almost cost me my sanity. (I'll tell you guys more about that in a future post.)
2. Drivers who refuse your custom because they don't want to go where you're going. Of course that's against the law, but tell that to a driver who's already sped away. Dumaguete has its own version of this, with a more infuriating twist: the pedicab drivers won't even condescend to shake their heads or say no. They just look straight ahead (scanning for other potential passengers) and act as if they haven't heard you.
3. Drivers who do take you on but insist on being paid a prearranged amount instead of using the meter. The amount they propose, of course, is much much higher than what you would pay based on the meter. Though no one in his/her right mind would pay P300 for a P100 ride, a commuter can still fall prey if he doesn't know what the usual fare is, or if he is desperate enough -- running late, getting soaked in the rain, etc.
For drivers belonging to number 2, Jessica Zafra actually offered some smart advice in one of her Today columns a few years back. She said that if the driver refuses to take you where you're going, do NOT close the door. That way he'll have to climb out of the cab and close it himself. A small and petty satisfaction, but, hey, you take what you can get. I tried it once but it had been the door of the passenger seat that I had opened, so the driver was easily able to lean forward and close it. Next time, I'll open the back seat door on the side opposite the driver. It's either that, or I'll wear shoes with a nail on the toes and I'll puncture their wheels.
Conductors of jeepeneys are in another league altogether, specifically, the We-Can-Defy-The-Laws-of-Matter League. Theirs is cutting edge physics. With a happy mixture of audacity and cruelty, they regularly try to prove that two chunks of matter can occupy the same space at the same time. The jeepney stops in front of you, the conductor assures you there's still enough space, you get in, the jeepney speeds off, you wonder where said space is, all the while trying to keep your balance. You then realize that what the conductor actually means is that there's a 5-cm gap between two passengers, into which you can squeeze half a butt if you try hard enough. No swear words are enough. It's enough to drive Stephen Hawking to tears.
Times are hard. I get that. But they're hard on us all. (Well, most of us anyway. If we were rich enough to be immune to an economic crisis, we wouldn't be taking public transport.) That's never -- and should not be used as -- an excuse, not for erring drivers, not for any of us.
THE GOOD NEWS is that NOT ALL DRIVERS are bad. The cab driver who took us to the Mactan airport last Sunday, the guy who drove us from Baclaran to UP Diliman, and the driver who took us from Greenhills to Ermita were all good guys. Salamat po! Sana lahat ng taxi driver ay magiging kagaya n'yo.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I, for one, don't understand.
My opinion, though no one's actually asking for it, is that if the players say they didn't mean to offend anyone, and they don't even think the gesture is offensive to begin with, then that should be the end of the story.
Political correctness is one of those things that I can understand if I try hard enough, but the big deal made out of it doesn't always make sense to me. In this issue, for instance, I share the sentiment of the guy (I can't now remember which one) who said something like, if they had stood on tiptoes, it shouldn't be interpreted either as a slur against a race that happens to be taller. Exactly. Unless, unless, it was meant to be a slur. It comes back to one's intentions, is all.
The Spanish team made a pose mimicking the eyes characteristic of Chinese people. Well, so the Chinese have slanted eyes. Big deal. My eyes are a bit slanted. I don't care. It's when people add undertones that a simple action gets blown out of proportion.
Food for thought: maybe the ones adding undertones are the ones who are secretly guilty? If the Spaniards don't think there's anything wrong with slanted eyes, and the Chinese don't consider their slanted eyes as a handicap, why is someone making a big deal about a photo showing slanted eyes? Who's the bigot now?
As a Visayan, I know what it feels like to be discriminated against. One only has to scan the local television shows to know discrimination is alive and thriving in the Philippines. Visayans are made fun of because of their accent. What no one points out is that everyone has an accent. (Or maybe it's just a form of slapstick, and we're all supposed to be laughing. I don't know.) The reason why, as a Visayan, I don't demand an official apology from all the media giants whose shows depict fellow Visayans in an unfavorable light is because I feel that when you practice discrimination, what you are actually doing is betraying your ignorance. Or worse, you are feeling superior without sufficient basis -- you're building castles on clouds. Man, I am feeling sorry for you.
A doctor I once worked with shared his experience as an intern in Manila. His Tagalog co-intern asked him where he was from. "Bohol," he said. The co-intern snidely asked, "Saan 'yan?" He serenely replied, "Oh, you must be poor in geography."
The other night, The Sweet Life, a show hosted by Lucy Torres and Wilma Doesnt, featured the importance of speaking English. Three guests, all kids, were asked to pronounce correctly, in a given span of time, as many English words as they can. One kid didn't know how to pronounce "enthusiasm," and Lucy Torres corrected her, saying, "It should be en-thoo-shazam."
What's that in your eye? Oh, it's a plank.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
My college program was BA Psychology, so I have no previous experience with board exams. The nearest I can relate it to is the UPCAT (University of the Philippines College Admission Test) and the NMAT (National Medical Admission Test). But there's a big difference between those two and the medicine boards.
With the NMAT, review consisted of answering the reviewers and brushing up on forgotten subjects, all of which took less than a month. My whole approach to it was: if I passed, I was really meant to be a doctor. And I did. (Therefore?) But if I hadn't passed, it wouldn't have been earth-shattering. I had come up with the idea of taking Medicine just a few months before the NMAT; being a doctor wasn't a childhood dream. That being the case, I was ready to say, if I failed, that the examiners can take their precious exam and shove it they knew where. No big deal.
The UPCAT was more important to me, mostly because I really wanted to study Psychology in UP. It was important...but not desperately so. I had thought, all my life, that I would be studying in the University of San Carlos, probably taking up Engineering, since their Talamban Campus was just across the street from where I live. I'm not sure which idea came first: that of taking up Psychology, or that of doing so in UP. But again, it wasn't a cherished dream. If I hadn't passed, my ego would have been bruised and I would have had to resort to Plan B, which I hadn't even formulated yet. But life would have gone on.
This time it's different. The second I enrolled in medical school, the whole point had been to pass the board exam. If I fail now, a rather distinct possibility, I would have to seriously, seriously rethink things. It would be a blow to the ego, whether I like it or not, and it would change things. And that sucks. When faced with an exam, or any big hurdle for that matter, you always want to be at the point where you can say: you can't hurt me. But this one can. And it can hurt big.
Because now I have something to lose.
* * * * * * *
By the way, UP celebrates its centennial this year. I loved my UP experience and I am proud to be an Iskolar ng Bayan. It deserves more than a postscript in an otherwise unrelated post, but I really want to take this opportunity to say: thank you, Unibersidad ng Pilipinas! For the education that cost P46.50 a semester, for the attitude that says you can wear Spartan slippers to school and still have a beautifully brilliant mind, for the instilled love of this really messed up country, for telling me I am okay... Salamat po!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
For those who aren't familiar with the Physician Licensure Exam, there are 12 subjects spread over 4 days (2 weekends). The "basic" subjects come first, then the "clinical." This week saw us (at least, me) struggling through Biochemistry, Anatomy, Microbiology, Physiology, Legal Medicine and Pathology.
Basic, my foot!
Biochemistry - The plants get energy from the sun. The herbivores get energy from the plants. The carnivores get energy from eating the herbivores. Humans get energy by eating everything. Food goes in one end and out the other, in a, um, totally modified form. Simple, right? Basic, except that YOU HAVE TO KNOW EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS IN BETWEEN! Yes, I'm SHOUTING, and WITH REASON. Who can honestly remember all those enzymes? Seriously!
Anatomy - Muscles contract, and a part of our body moves. END OF STORY! When I need to know which muscle does NOT move a particular part, I'll CALL BRIAN! Now THAT's simple.
Microbiology - I won't complain too much. It was, in my opinion, a fair exam. Although I do wonder, sometimes, why they can't ask simple questions. What's wrong with, say, "These organisms are gram positive except..."
Physiology - You not only have to know everything that happens in the human body, you have to know how and why. But (don't hate me) I actually like Physio. There's a lot of things I don't get and a lot of things that I never manage to remember, but at least Physio is analysis. It actually makes sense. If you can't remember a muscle, you can't remember a muscle. Come now, noble boat, run me over.
Legal Medicine, Ethics and Medical Jurisprudence - Did I sign up to study law? Did I? DID I? But, actually, without the pressure of an exam, Legal Medicine is actually quite fun. It's a bit like CSI: How do you know if it's an entry or an exit wound? How can you tell if a person was already dead before he was caught in a fire? And Medical Jurisprudence may involve a whole lot of rulings, but I'll take a Republic Act over Origins, Insertions and Actions of Muscles any day. ANY day.
Pathology - I'm not sure if I should complain, because I think I'm the only one who had a hard time answering the exam. And I did only finish the first few chapters of BRS before I switched to First Aid. I couldn't find my Robbins hu hu... I've always looked forward to studying Patho in med school, because I always thought it would explain how diseases come about, starting with what caused it, and what happens after. Apparently, that's Pathophysiology. Pathology is more of what you'll find when you cut the diseased organ open and look at it under a microscope. I am not good at anything involving microscopes.
All that shouting has drained my energy. (But the PRC doesn't care. So I think I'll head off to study Epidemiology and the rest of Preventive Medicine. If I cram hard enough, I just might not be shouting next week, at least not about Prev Med.) Good night.
Friday, August 8, 2008
The past few days, I've come close several times to hyperventilating, out of sheer fear that I'll be stuck in my chair with no idea what the answers are. Worse, when I looked at the reviewers I've gone over months or even just weeks before, I realized that I've forgotten half of what I had studied. And I haven't even studied close to half of the coverage. That leaves me with around a measly 25%. Not good. NOT good.
My friends and I take turns consoling each other.
Brian says I have common sense. Say that's true. That will work for psychology -- when you study yourself and you are sensitive to people long enough, you get an instinctive feel if how their minds work, and everything makes sense after. Common sense also works for math -- understand the formula and you can solve anything. But my brand of common sense, I've found, isn't enough for medicine. You have to know things, and there are a whole lot of things that have to be known.
The day before yesterday, my mind just shut down. I was tired, but not physically. Definitely, I have been getting enough sleep. I was just tired...of panicking, of making and rearranging study times, of fitting a whole ocean in a hole in the beach.
I confided this to Osita and, instead of giving comfort, she matter-of-factly told me my adrenals had shut down. It wasn't at all consoling, but it made me laugh and feel better. I was reminded of the time I told her the only reason I was still able to answer her text questions was because my stomach hurt, and she told me the pain was God's way of helping me to stay awake.
It's the support of friends and family that has kept me going despite the tiredness. It's too early to send out notes of thanks, because I might really actually fail. But then again, if I really actually fail, I probably wouldn't have enough energy to personally thank everyone (inspite, despite). So thank you, everyone. Your prayers and thoughts and words of encouragement mean much to me.
Please continue praying. First day of examinations is tomorrow, second day on the 10th. There'll be a 5-day break, and we resume on the 16th, ending on the 17th.
For better or worse, this is it. Luv u all.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Sometimes, in the urgency of matters at hand, we forget what really matters. This prayer helped me to gain a broader perspective of my life, and even in the panic that is the board exam, this prayer has enabled me to keep some peace in my heart. I hope it does the same for you.
Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith.
I trust in you: strengthen my trust.
I love you: let me love you more and more.
I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.
I worship you as my first beginning,
I long for you as my last end,
I praise you as my constant helper,
And call on you as my loving protector.
Guide me by your wisdom,
Correct me with your justice,
Comfort me with your mercy,
Protect me with your power.
I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you;
My words: to have you for their theme;
My actions: to reflect my love for you;
My sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.
I want to do what you ask of me:
In the way you ask,
For as long as you ask,
Because you ask it.
Lord, enlighten my understanding,
Strengthen my will,
Purify my heart,
and make me holy.
Help me to repent of my past sins
And to resist temptation in the future.
Help me to rise above my human weaknesses
And to grow stronger as a Christian.
Let me love you, my Lord and my God,
And see myself as I really am:
A pilgrim in this world,
A Christian called to respect and love
All whose lives I touch,
Those in authority over me,
And those under my authority,
My friends and my enemies.
Help me to conquer anger with gentleness,
Greed by generosity,
Apathy by fervor.
Help me to forget myself
And reach out toward others.
Make me prudent in planning,
Courageous in taking risks.
Make me patient in suffering,
Unassuming in prosperity.
Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer,
Temperate in food and drink,
Diligent in my work,
Firm in my good intentions.
Let my conscience be clear,
My conduct without fault,
My speech blameless,
My life well-ordered.
Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.
Let me cherish your love for me,
Keep your law,
And come at last to your salvation.
Teach me to realize that this world is passing,
That my true future is the happiness of heaven,
That life on earth is short,
And the life to come eternal.
Help me to prepare for death
With a proper fear of judgment,
But a greater trust in your goodness.
Lead me safely through death
To the endless joy of heaven.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Among the surgeons involved are Dr. Zubiri, Dr. Henry Chua, and Dr. Jeumont Cabanesas. Dr. Alfon will take care of anesthesia while Dr. Najarro, a pediatrician, will screen patients for the operation.
Potential patients who have letters of authorization from representatives of the Zugbuana Jaycees will first be examined by Dr. Najarro. They will also undergo several laboratory examinations. If everything's okay, they are then cleared to undergo the operation.
My friend Hershe Legaspina is one of the organizers for this event.
There are only limited slots available, so if you know any child with a cleft lip, please have his/her parents/guardian contact Hershe ASAP at 0922-7225672. Alternatively, interested parties can contact Ms. Hannah Lim at 516-5375 (landline) for details. Those who want to help in other ways may also text or call Hershe.
Thank you for your support.