Showing posts from July, 2013

Binge eating

TO CELEBRATE the end of Internal Medicine, Block F went to an eat-all-you-can resto for dinner last July 24. We've been eating a lot since internship started, but it was the first time as a block that we dined in a place as far away as Pasay City and as expensive as Buffet 101. Our "reservation" was at 6:30 PM, but we started an hour later. The traffic along Roxas Boulevard was atrocious. Nevertheless the night was filled with laughter and fascination as we reminisced the weeks that have passed, filling our bellies with unlimited food. I praise God for the grand time we all had. My blockmates—they make excellent company, both inside and outside the hospital. Below are photos taken using Agnes's huge camera.

Good reads

MY LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIP with coffee shops is complicated. I like spending the afternoons there to finish a good book, for example, but I could not, for the love of me, force myself to study, a practice I like doing inside the comforts of my apartment. I took this photo one rainy afternoon, on a post-duty day, I think, in the hope of catching up on my academic reading, but I was so disturbed by the sight of college students, years younger than me, smoking outside (and I could see them because the walls were made of glass), that I couldn't help but think about the poor state of their lungs, and the fact that ten or fifteen years from now, they will have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, if not full-blown lung cancer. I went home instead.

Ricky Lee's Amapola sa 65 na Kabanata: an aswang's messianic calling to save the Philippines from his/her kind

I EMBARKED on Ricky Lee's second novel, Si Amapola Sa 65 Na Kabanata , about a year ago, when I was bent on patronizing Philippine literature—contemporary or otherwise. Caught up with too much work, I set the book aside and was only able to finish it last Saturday, thanks to the cold and the rain and the awesome Rehab weekend. The protagonist is a transvestite named Amapola who works as an impersonator in Timog and Tomas Morato. Clearly it's next to impossible to put down a novel that begins this way: Sa labas, habang ang mga kababayan ko ay hindi pa nakaka-recover sa sunod-sunod na bagyong pinasimulan ng Ondoy, ako, sa loob ng High Notes sa kanto ng Timog at Morato, ay naka-split sa stage, ini-impersonate si Beyoncé, kinakanta ang If I Were A Boy , theme song ng mga tomboy.

The Phenomenon of Sleeping in Cinema

I REMEMBER my irritation at Robinson's Movieworld for cancelling the showing of Before Midnight before I even had the chance to see it. I'd been looking forward to watching it on the second week it was shown in our neighborhood cinema. I felt a combination of anger and disappointment, the way a child feels when he is promised an afternoon at the beach and is told the beach no longer exists. The moral of this story: don't let good movies pass you by. Watch them with urgency.

Two months

I MUST'VE SPENT quite a long time in Internal Medicine (IM) because I often got mistaken for being a straight IM intern. Flattering, when I think about it; I wasn't qualified to be in the straight program to begin with. I'm just content to be regular medical student going through regular rotations with a regular block. So my two months of IM is finally over. If you're a regular reader you probably already know the ordeals I've been through at the wards during my first month: four mortalities, occurring in a span of a little more than a week; taking charge of Wards 1 and 3, even for just a night; my service winning the Jeopardy quiz show, thanks to a strategic move in the Final Round, making us the first group to gain the title, Chairman's Champs. But I've been silent about my second month, which was just as eventful as the first but probably not as exhausting.

Eric Metaxas' Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy. Read this for encouragement.

AT HOME on a post-duty day, I resumed reading Eric Metaxas' biography , Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy . This is a book that will probably end up as one of my most recommended literary works. Towards the end of Chapter 8 is an excerpt of a letter written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer to his brother-in-law Rüdger Schleicher. I could not resist not posting it here in full, for in the passage lies a strong encouragement to relish and enjoy God's Word. May you be encouraged as I certainly was!

New glasses

I COULDN'T resist not buying this brown pair, possibly the biggest I own. Fits me well. It's funny how friends, who usually don't give a fig about glasses, now spew random comments about eye wear.

How to make your OPD Triage post worthwhile

MANNING the Out-Patient Department Triage is the most coveted post during one's Internal Medicine ER rotation. Sure, you have to be there at 6:30 am, but the Triage ends at 11 pm, and, if you're fortunate enough, you'll have the entire afternoon off.


I'M HALFWAY through the Collected Stories of Lydia Davis . I started reading her works about a year ago, returning to them once in a while—after, say, a solitary meal, which was the case this afternoon. And that's the good thing about short stories—they're short, haha—and can be enjoyed for brief periods of time.

Honoring the details

IT WAS the writer Nicholson Baker's conviction that we should honor the details of our lives rather than get carried away by projections and abstractions. Let me share a few details, then:

Who are we without our memories?

I MET HER three days ago, the patient who had no recollection of the past. I took on the reins of the interview after the resident, in her frustration, decided that I could probably extract bits and pieces of information from her. Her husband was nowhere in sight, and her companion, the brother she had not seen for years, was just as clueless as she was.


ALONG Padre Faura Street, near the entrance to the PGH Outpatient Clinics, I saw a man urinating beside an old, gray car. The man, probably in his early 50's, was wearing a yellow shirt, khaki shorts, and slippers. As he was relieving himself (and a steady, uninterrupted stream it was), a married couple was watching his back. The wife, troubled, was whispering something to her husband, whose brows were crossed, ready to confront the stranger. The couple probably owned the car. Their five-year old son was with them. Fearing a public scene would ensue, I immediately walked away. Meanwhile the stranger's liquid secretions were pooling on the asphalt road.

Internal Medicine Ward: Weeks 3 and 4 (June 12-25, 2011)

MISERY loves company. And while Internal Medicine wasn't especially miserable, it was hard nevertheless, and good company was always a welcome treat. On our final two weeks at the wards we met Block E, a more outgoing group to whom we took an instant liking. Expect lots of group shots after the cut.

A dog on a leash—and some random thoughts

JOYCE Carol Oates' Mastiff is published at The New Yorker this month and can be accessed for free. The short is about a man and a woman who go hiking, encountering a dangerous dog on a leash along the way. Both past their thirties, they wonder whether they're meant for each other. Although it is a love story, I enjoyed it very much. My favorite passage: The man was a little annoyed by the woman. Yet he was drawn to her. He hoped to like her more than he did—he hoped to adore her. He had been very lonely for too long and had come to bitterly resent the solitude of his life.