Showing posts from September, 2013

Speak, O Lord

THE SONG— Speak, O Lord by Keith and Kristy Getty—was sung in church yesterday. The melody is captivating, the message timeless. What a feast for the Christian soul! O Lord, that You would help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us.

Carwash 2.0

WE HAD five consults today. The most severe was a 29-year old man who sustained electric burns on his face, trunk, arms, and legs, affecting at least 40% of his total body surface area (TBSA). Before we scrubbed the burn sites we gave him meds which partially relieved the pain, but he still squirmed and sobbed like a boy whose dog just died. We took more than an hour peeling, cleaning, and dressing his wounds. For the next few weeks he'll be at the Carwash on a daily basis.


CARWARSHING—that's what we call the "torturing" we do to patients at the Hydrotherapy Room of the Burn Unit. Depending on the severity of their condition, the patients come in daily to have their burns cleaned and their dressings changed.

The best teachers

SPOTTED at the PGH OPD Surgery Clinic. Often we complain that we deal with so many patients, and we forget that they are the best teachers in our medical training. We're able to diagnose colorectal cancer because they've allowed us to poke our fingers inside their anal openings. We're able to detect cardiac murmurs because they've have agreed that we listen to their heartbeats. We're able to insert IV lines seamlessly because they've not hesitated to steady their hands so we could hit the veins.

Blast from the past: my column for DormWatch in 2005

WHILE LALLYGAGGING on a Sunday morning, I reviewed my old emails and chanced upon a copy of the column I had sent for DormWatch, the official publication of the Dormitories Christian Fellowship. The letter was dated June 29, 2005. I was part of the group that ministered to the freshmen at the Kalayaan Dormitory and was asking for prayers and support.

Overheard in the elevator

AFTER FINISHING my chart rounds for the morning, I took the elevator to the sixth floor. I was going to drop a referral. If you've been to PGH you probably know that our elevators have the following key characteristics: (1) they're slow—slower than an intern's brain on a post-duty day, (2) they're manned by actual people who press the buttons manually, and (3) they're almost always overpopulated, such that the alarm would go off once in a while, in which case the elevator lady would motion everyone to stay on the perimeter, a maneuver that always works.

Wired, not wireless

1. I DREAD going home these days. I will have to fix my computer. Since the random software update three days ago, Slowpoke—the name I call my rusty five-year old Compaq CQ40 laptop—could no longer connect wirelessly to the internet. I've been doing all sorts of things. I practically taught myself software troubleshooting. I'm convinced that the problem lies in the fact that the driver for my PCI (a Broadcom 4312 STA) is no longer installed. I've been trying to install it. I've spent five or six hours, probably more, downloading the kernels and what-nots through different means: Synaptic, the Additional Drivers key, the terminal—to no avail. It's frustrating.

My soul thirsts for You

DOWN with fever last night, I slept earlier than usual. When I woke up this morning I read Psalm 143. Seasons of sickness are occasions for unhindered communion with God.

Isaac Bashevis Singer's The Collected Stories: the wonders of short stories

I'VE BEEN saving up Singer's stories for the rainy days—and I say that both literally and figuratively. Great stories must be read with all the peace and quiet and concentration one can muster; they deserve all the attention. I also think such stories are best read on a gloomy weather—or better yet, when it's raining and flooding outside, and you're left inside your room alone with your thoughts and imaginations. "It is difficult for me to comment on the choice of the forty-seven stories in this collection, selected from more than a hundred. Like some Oriental father with a harem full of women and children, I cherish them all," writes Isaac Bashevis Singer in the foreword of his book, which I had bought weeks ago.

Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses: the closest I'll get to being a cowboy is by reading about it.

CORMAC MCCARTHY'S All The Pretty Horses is a work of genius. Sixteen-year old John Cole Grady leaves home after his mother sells their San Angelo, Texas ranch. He persuades his bestfriend Lacey Rawlins to go with him on a journey to Mexico where cattle and ranches abound. The journey is epic.  As they move further south they meet Jimmy Blevins who gets them into all sorts of trouble. In Mexico Grady and Cole find employment in a ranch owned by a rich and influential hacendero who immediately takes a liking to them, particularly to Grady. The hacendero has a daughter so beautiful Grady cannot take his mind off her. Her name is Alejandra, a strong-willed young lady who likes riding horses and chooses to defy age-old traditions in pursuit of happiness.

I played basketball

I HAVE a new exercise regimen: basketball. Let me tell you the story. A couple of weeks ago Rich brought his basketball to the call room. It was a lazy weekend morning. Left with nothing to do I took the ball out and dribbled it. Other people began to take interest in what I was doing, for in the last five years they had known me they'd never seen me hold a ball.

My reward system consists of films

SINCE September 1 I've resolved to devote at least two hours of my day to do something academic, of which reading medical textbooks and studying clinical cases are a vital part. It's not a strict rule, but it helps me put things into perspective. When the medical board exam results came out (and UP College of Medicine got a 100%  passing rate; all of my other friends who came from other med schools passed, too—what joy!), it occurred to me that in about a year, give or take, I will be taking the same grueling exam. Judging from experience cramming does not suit me well, so I had better prepare early. I don't know how I can sustain this exercise, but I feel like the theories I had learned two or three years ago now make much more sense.