Signing out of the wards

MY BATCH, fondly called the iMax for reasons that still escape us, just had a party at our callroom. In the spirit of togetherness, the party planning committee opted to hold it inside the hospital so that the people who were on 24-hour shifts could participate as well. It was a Christmas and Year-end gathering of sorts, and the theme was, “First Years Noon, Second Years Na Later.” After all, tomorrow will see us assuming new posts, new lives in a way—out of the wards, into the colorful, often dreadful world called the Emergency Room.

Second year residency is supposed to be easier, with more opportunities for leisure and rest. The duties are tiring, but they end almost as soon as they begin, and one goes home without the weight of the patient’s fate on his shoulders. This is what makes first year residency overwhelming—the idea that it is a marathon instead of a sprint. At the ER level, it’s enough to work on a reasonable diagnosis, to make sure that the emergent labs have been facilitated, and to find vacancies at the wards. Once the patient is admitted, say, to Ward 1, it is the first year resident who will polish the diagnosis, search for other contributing problems, ensure that the medications are being given, and plan for discharge, which, in some cases, never happens in this life.

The party was clean and fun. We started by thanking God for sustaining us throughout the year. Rich King, the batch head, said we were blessed to have each other. Karen Montevirgen startled us with a surprise: wedding invitations! Roland Angeles prepared seafood pasta drizzled with olive oil, strewn with fat prawns, with lemon slices to taste. Everly Ramos, the party committee head, ordered baked salmon from the nearby Conti’s restaurant, and pritchon, a creative take on the classic lechon—thick slices of pork inside what tasted like shawarma pita bread wrappers. Carlos Cuaño prepared classy drinks. The food was great, so complementary to each other that Carla Barbon kept shouting, “Talo ang Casa Armas (a famous restaurant) dito!”

Mervyn Leones, Racquel Bruno, and Bea Uy hosted the event with me. We had the top tens of everything—our favorite fellows, our firsts, our best chart entries, our funniest moments, and so on. Jeremiah Vallente prepared funny powerpoint presentations. We erupted into hearty laughters, mostly at ourselves—our favorite subjects of conversation.

The moment still feels surreal. I myself can't believe it, my heart singing praises and thanks to the Lord Almighty for giving me work that I love, and for keeping me thankful for and trusting in Him.

I’m excited for what tomorrow brings for all of us. Please lift us up in prayer.

Here we are, signing out of the wards.

Signing out of the wards--first year over

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