The day when I (almost) lost it

I THOUGHT I’d end first year residency without ever getting mad at a patient or a watcher. At the hospital where I work, the watcher—or the “bantay,” a Filipino term which means to watch over, to guard and to protect—plays a key role in the care of the patient. We don’t have much staff to drag the stretchers, do the bed turning for our intubated patients, procure the medications from the pharmacy, or facilitate application for financial assistance. Majority of these tasks are handled by the bantay—usually the patient’s family member or a close friend who stay at bedside—and my experience is that more efficient the watcher is, the more likely the patient will survive.

Way past bedtime

Over dinner last night with Carlo and Glaiza de Guzman (not a married couple), and Patrick Abarquez; we spoke about the many crazy things we did in internship. Our conversations lasted way past 11—and to friends who know me too well, it was way past my bed time. It was definitely worth it, though: I missed the company. One can only laugh so much at the past.

Carlo is going on training for Radiation Oncology, which means he will be at the forefront of approving my requests for radiotherapy, usually for patients with superior vena cava syndrome. Glai is doing well in OB-Gyne, and has taken on a new fashion instinct—dresses, white coats, the works. Patrick will be taking up residency in IM.

So many things are happening all at once, and I'm thrilled to know that many of my friends are doing the things they're passionate about.

All smiles

I HOPE I’m not preempting anything, but when I visited my 70-year old patient—now with a tracheostomy tube, hooked to an oxygen mask instead of a mechanical ventilator—I saw a smile. He smiled back at me: he, my remarkable patient whom I had taken care of for a month or so. It’s nothing short of a miracle. I first handled him at the Medical ICU, where we treated him for a difficult-to-treat lung infection—the first he got before he had been admitted, the subsequent infections (the harder ones to treat) he later acquired during his stay at the hospital.

1,540th—and more

photo (4)
Pagbilao, Quezon Province, taken in 2012

SINCE RESIDENCY has started, I haven't been as consistent in updating this space, my private space, in the Web. It was as if I got tired of writing on my charts—my patient's stories instead of mine—that I felt I had nothing else left to say at the end of the day. Even my private journal has suffered; I'm only halfway through filling up my pocked-sized Moleskine imitation notebook.


I must therefore make it a habit to write something here at least once a week, not simply keep this website alive, but to instil in me the practice of thinking and writing—the process, not the traffic, is the reward. I know fewer and fewer people have visited here since the advent of Facebook and Twitter, and that's okay. Maybe Jason Kottke, who owns one of my favorite websites (kottke.org), is right: the blog is dead. My friends, who started their own blogs around the same time that I did, have decided to move on. People now turn to micro-blogging sites to be updated, having developed an evolutionary irritation at lengthy articles. 

But, 1539 articles since I had begun in in December 2014, I realize I've invested too much in this little site to let it all go to waste. I will still write, and keep on writing, as long as I can. 

Thanks for always being here. 

Service 1 dinner

MOIZA is an unassuming Korean restaurant along Malvar corner Ma. Orosa Street in Malate, perhaps part of what still remains a busy, noisy, strip of bars and cafés. I almost got lost when  I looked for it last night. We had our mid-month "service dinner" there—a ritual consisting of eating out with the entire General Medicine service before the clerks and/or interns shift out.

My Facebook sabbatical

Espresso

THE NOVELIST Butch Dalisay writes, “For the umpteenth time, last week, another person asked me, with profound astonishment, why I wasn’t on Facebook. I told him that, in my seniorhood, I wanted to lead a quiet and peaceful life, and that Facebook was antithetical to that ambition.”

I’m on my third week of Facebook sabbatical; I want "a quiet and peaceful life," too. I made the decision when I realized that a lot of my idle time was spent checking for updates—a hobby facilitated by my ownership of a smartphone that can connect to the Web anytime, anywhere. At first I thought I could limit my Facebook immersion to once daily, but there was the itch to see what was happening in the world, to see the goings-on in the lives of my so-called friends, some of them I haven’t seen in years, some I haven’t even met at all. It got unhealthy. I would, in some days, prioritize checking Facebook over reading my Bible first thing in the morning. Something had to go.