Christmas meditations

DR. JOHN MACARTHUR puts it beautifully in his book, First Love: The Joy and Simplicity of Life in Christ:

The One who is the object of our love was born contrary to the laws of nature, reared in obscurity, lived in poverty, and only once crossed the boundary of the land in which He was born—and that in His childhood. He had no wealth or influence, and had neither tranining nor education in the world's schools. His relatives were inconspicious and inconsequential.

My Reading Year 2012

CLERKSHIP HAPPENED (is still happening, actually). Factor in the sleepless nights, the often backbreaking hospital work, and the pressures of getting as much sleep in one free night, and you'll find that these elements conspire against the habit of reading non-medical books regularly. I'm still thankful for the 30 books I got to read. Many of them were collections of essays or short stories—and understandably so. I didn't have the time to take on long novels, as they consumed more time and energy. I wish I could have read more books, of course, but there's always next year.

Benjamin

DAVID, our Japanese spitz, died this year. I've mentioned him in a couple of posts. I'm not crazy over dogs—I find them tiresome—but David was particularly sweet, barking at me the moment he saw my shadow at our gate, knowing my smell after months of parting. He was my favorite, in a sense, even if he gave the family overwhelming proof that he was The Stupidest Dog That Ever Lived. After he got rammed by that wretched tricycle at the highway some yards away from our house; my father, who considers dogs an integral part of our family's existence—to my mother's dismay because she hates seeing her furniture ruined by scratches—buried David in the vacant lot on St. Paul Street where we live.

Late dinner with Cesar Montano

THIS ONE'S too good to pass up.

I met up with old friends from my elementary days over a late dinner in Timog-Tomas Morato area. I hadn't seen some of them for the longest time. When we did meet, our previous encounters were always hurried—while lining up at the airport, queuing at the mall, so much so that I only knew bits and pieces about them, thanks to Facebook. We sat in the same classes for six years at Notre Dame of Marbel University - Elementary Training Department (now called the NDMU - Integrated Basic Education Department). They remained at Notre Dame for high school, while I transferred to Koronadal National Comprehensive High School after I qualified for its special science curriculum. I haven't been closely in touch with them since then (except for Katrina Magallanes who studied in UP)—primarily a fault of mine, the most irresponsible batch alumni president. To this day I have no plans of organizing any reunions.

Remembering my last duty day for the year

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I'D BEEN SLEEPING for more than three hours at the call room's upper bunk when the intern woke me up at 3:55 am, asking me if I could give the fluid boluses to the newly admitted newborn noted to have faint pulses and sudden onset pallor minutes ago.

"Sure," I said, squinting, yawning, and getting up all at the same time.

Week 48, 2012: Babies!

THE IDEA of handling kids used to frighten me. On my rotation in Pediatrics, I don't have any other choice but to deal with them—these little people.

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I don't just carry babies around, I get blood samples, insert IV lines, and make them cry in the process. In a way it's both harder and easier—harder because they have smaller vessels, so extracting blood is a  big challenge; easier because they can't complain much, and all they can manage to do is cry.

Dying thoughts

THE DEATH of an aunt very close to me has led me to think a lot about death and dying lately. The great equalizer, they call death, because everyone dies—the only question is when.

I talk about death to friends. I talk to them about the possibility of me dying early—not that I wish it, but that it can happen sooner than I think. This topic is received with two basic reactions: dismissal ("Stop talking about that!"), the more common reflex response; or excitement ("Ah, to see the Lord Jesus Christ and worship Him in heaven!"), usually from my Christian friends.



To live a full life on earth, one must realize that death, like a thief, can barge in any time. In the greater scheme of things, life is short, and man is but a vapor. "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (James 4:14).

Multiply no more

TODAY is bottledbrain.multiply.com's last day before it's deleted forever.

As far as cramming could go, I spent a total of about six hours manually downloading photos, blog entries, audio and video recordings spanning six years. I felt nostalgic in the process. I looked eerily thin in the photos, and something in me had changed. The facial hair, perhaps, now that I shave on a weekly basis? The added weight, thanks to my daily intake of deadly cholesterol-laden material? Or the added life experience—of seeing actual people die, of witnessing the spectrum of human suffering head-on?

My blog entries were shorter, much more egoistic, and were ... shall we say, badly written. Reading old entries from way back when still make me cringe in embarrassment. What was I thinking? But hearing my younger self again can also be therapeutic. I now see how I've grown, thanks to God's unfailing grace, and how my passions have changed throughout these years. So there is that sense of me being relieved that I'm no longer the same person I was once years ago.

Even though I had an existing Blogger address in 2006, I opened a Multiply account to host my files. Because I took quite a number of photos with my digital camera, I wanted to store and share them online. Multiply offered the most user-friendly format. I liked how things were organized there. Unless otherwise specified, only approved contacts could access those folders. There were hardly any privacy issues.