Showing posts from January, 2011

Ian McEwan's Saturday: a day in the life of a neurosurgeon

It's a Saturday morning, and although I have a big exam next week—I always do—I find myself lost to reading  re-reading an Ian McEwan masterpiece entitled, quite appropriately, Saturday . It's novel about a day in the life of Henry Perowne, a neurosurgeon. I had read the book before I entered Medicine, and I loved it, as with all McEwan's works. To me, this book is special because it paints an intriguing portrait of the life that would possibly resemble mine in the near future—not necessarily of a neurosurgeon but of a physician. 

Celebrating Philippine poetry

I'm a follower of Karsten Piper's site, A Poetry Feed . Many times a week he does audio recordings of poems he likes; he also happens to teach literature, so he has trained senses for the really good pieces. This is just as well because poems are meant to be read aloud. And if they don't sound good when you hear them, something is problematic—at least, according to Prof. Carlos Aureus, one of my favorite UP English teachers. I was thrilled when Karsten emailed me last week to ask about Jose Garcia Villa, National Artist for Literature in the Philippines. He wanted to post something about Villa. I got excited. This would probably be the first time an Asian poet would be featured in his site.

In Christ Alone

The modern hymn, In Christ Alone , by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. I love this song. We sing this in church. I love how it captures the soul's ultimate delight in being Christ's own, regardless of the external turmoils of this world. I love how it narrates the life and work of Jesus Christ, and how His finished work on the cross has brought so much hope and joy to those who know Him. This is what Christianity is about—not a set of hard-bound rules, but an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This song tells my story, and I'd love to have this sung in my funeral. Because, really, what can be a better assurance than knowing I will be the Christ after I breathe my last?

Interesting take on Twilight

The subject of Twilight came up last night, during Kuya Mike Acosta's despedida arranged by Agape. He's leaving for Canada on Friday; he doesn't know when he comes back. We certainly hope we'd see him soon. Towards the party's end was a toast to the Lord's goodness in his life. The ceremony was decorated by a delicious sparkling juice, almost like a champagne, contained in paper and plastic cups which we held as if they were glasses.  The operative word was "sparkling". Why does a drink have to sparkle, anyway? And why does Edward Cullen's skin sparkle, as if sprinkled with glitters or lavished with Colgate Mintirinse ? Migs Barnes had the best answer: "Pinagpapawisan lang siya." (Photo: Tin Ang)

Cerebral palsy

The boy comes in with his mother. He doesn't actually walk in; he has to be carried. His mother is young, her face mustering enough courage to keep the tears from falling. His brother, now in high school, slowly trails behind, running errands like an obedient son—“buy a diaper, get a drink there; here, hold this”—all without grumbling. C is not your average five- or six-year old. His muscles are rigid spastic. He can't walk, speak, or play. Cerebral palsy, that's what the doctors said. That's what's wrong with him.


Now that we're still on the subject of weddings , two of my friends from church got married this week. Congratulations to the new couple, Banjo and Jen Acuña! Banjo is one of my kuyas in the Youth, undeniably the heaviest one. He can come up with the latest ice-breakers to make everyone welcome. He's also really funny without intending to be. Personally he has been a source of encouragement, especially in being mindful of the Lord in all things, even at work. And I also love listening to Banjo pray.

Dream wedding

This is too funny to set aside. Ate Meann Africano, a dear friend from church, messaged me about her dream (of which I was the star, apparently)—a dream that has amused her to no end.

How the Sartorialist does it

The Sartorialist is among my favorite blogs. I like the simplicity of its concept: capturing photographs of random people on the streets, wearing interesting clothes. I've always wondered how Scott Schuman, aka The Sartorialist himself, does that. Does he take snapshots from afar? Does he ask for permission? Does he direct the poses?


It's past 5 pm, and our patient is tired. He is in his early 40s, in adult diapers, his hands held by his wife standing beside him. As we meet him for the first time, we see tubes inserted in his nose and left-hand vein. His eyes are shut. He is holding his temples. His face forms a grimace, as if to say, "I am in pain. Please leave me alone."


I spotted my classmates, Lennie Chua and Ching Ching, at Krispy Kreme this afternoon. They saw that I was alone, so they invited me to their table. They always make great company. As our orders were served, the waitress gave us survey forms to fill out. With these survey forms were three pencils: freshly sharpened, the tips about the size of a dot. As she collected the forms, I asked if I could take one pencil home. She said yes without even thinking. I was thrilled. I'm a fan of pencils. I feel smarter when I use them, especially when I do a lot of thinking—as in the 1996 movie, Harriet the Spy . When I write, I make lots of erasures. Pencils come in handy in those instances.

Lessons from the patient encounters

My classmate, Karen Montevirgen, writes a moving piece about her experience with her father in the recovery room. She ends with this: Now, here I am trying to be a doctor myself. I meet patients, and I try to learn from them. I’m no longer a “bantay” by the bed, but a doctor-to-be — like I’m already on the other side of the hospital bed. My dad has gone ahead, and he’s given me a lot of support in this endeavor. Remembering that moment with him in the recovery room reminds me to be more sympathetic with my patients. It made me realize that not because I’m studying medicine means I know more. Because truth is, I don’t. Every patient encounter should be a point of learning for me — to learn his/her case and more importantly, how he/she is feeling. That I have to learn for and with the patients whenever I meet them is something I must remind myself of daily. Thanks, Karen.

Top 10 movies in 2010

I didn't religiously take note of the films I watched—and I know, I know, I should have. As I survey this list, something is severely lacking: Filipino movies. I don't know why, but apart from Kimmy Dora , I don't remember having been entertained by locally made films. Which brings me to RPG Metanoia , the first Filipino 3D animation film ever made. Have you seen it? How was it? I have a feeling it's going to be a blast.  For now, here are my top 10 films for the year.

Top 10 books in 2010

Someday I'll write a better piece on how 2010 has been for me. Suffice it to say that it has been a great year: I learned so many things and matured in so many ways. Which is not to say that I already know a lot in life; clearly I still have a long way to go, and to call myself mature is to make a mockery of those who truly are. But, like many of you, I'm excited with whatever it is that 2011 holds. Each year, after all, is an opportunity God gives us to know Him more, to experience His grace, and to honor Him with whatever it is we do, be it our work or study (1 Corinthians 10:31). Now I'm going to enumerate the books I was able to read, not to brag about them--because, really, the fact that I had read a number of non-medical books means that I sacrificed valuable time otherwise spent studying, and that's no reason to be proud, I tell you--but to document them. My memory fails me, and if I don't list them down, I might just forget them. Books have also been helpf