Isidro

A few weeks before the end of the first semester, I had the opportunity of representing my class in the case presentation for the Cardiovascular Module, an event that would comprise 10% of everyone's grade.

The case was of a twenty-something lady who had constrictive pericarditis secondary to untreated pulmonary tuberculosis. She had community-acquired pneumonia and probably urinary tract infection. That's a mouthful, I know, but the moral is that you have to treat TB as soon as you spot it.

(We were later surprised by our mentors' reaction, and I hope it will translate to good numerical grade equivalents.)

The Glorious Sembreak—and a prayer request

I was waiting for my mother at a posh hotel lobby the day Megi brought rain and wind. I waited there for five hours like a space-occupying lesion, reading Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner while finishing the best ensaymada and honey milk shake I had tasted thus far.

The sheer lack of nothing else to do sharpened my senses. As I shifted positions on the couch, I overheard business deals of a Japanese investor with a Filipino businessman who came in late—we do live up to our reputation as a nation—and heard two men, possibly PAL officers, talk about the company's next move after their pilots' resignation. I was trying to shut their voices out, but they were too distracting.

Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore: Oedipus replayed

Kafka on the ShoreI like reading modern Japanese literature. I said this of Kazuo Ishiguro and Yasunari Kawabata's works, and I'll say this again of Haruki Murakami: I felt the peace and quiet. There's a certain kind of stillness to them, like a pond with waters undisturbed.

So maybe Kafka on the Shore is a bit overrated, but at least now I understand why my friends had given it the highest recommendations. Murakami weaves a tale that borders between reality and fantasy. There's a very thin line dividing the two realms, but he hops on either side with masterful fluidity. I like his prose, but I love his characters.

Séraphine

SeraphineWhat if your cleaning lady turns out to be a painter who doesn't know how great she is?

I didn't imagine that possibility until I watched Séraphine, a 2008 French-Belgian film directed by Martin Provost. It's set in Senlis, France during the early 1900's . An art collector is visiting the region and is staying in one of the rented apartments. There he meets Seraphine (Yolande Moreau), the cleaning lady. She doesn't wear any shoes. She speaks with unmistakable childlikeness. She's rather dumb.

Feverish

There's nothing like fever and a dripping nose in the middle of an early-morning cardiology cramming session to make me realize just how weak, how unmistakably human, I am. But isn't is true that "The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him" (Psalm 28:7)? What an encouragement.

Great reads on upmedics.com

It's almost amusing because just this week, the June issue of UP Medics, the official student publication of the UP College of Medicine, was released. Delayed printing due to delayed funding—these things always happen. It's a problem of the Third World.

But that didn't keep us from sharing with you stories that empower, educate, and inspire. We have a website, upmedics.com, to bridge the time—and financial—divide. It's a work in progress, many thanks to Jay Magbohos, who does the nitty gritty details with the web design, and Arianne Agdamag, our gracious editor-in-chief, whose vision for the publication—be it in what form—is noble and something that I believe in, too.