Batman v Superman

THE SAGIP Buhay Medical Foundation, which provides financial and medical assistance to our indigent patients at the Philippine General Hospital, organized a film screening of Batman v Superman at the SM Mall of Asia tonight. Tickets were sold at twice the price. The proceeds would go to the Sagip fund—a pool of available cash we could tap into, should we need to purchase IJ catheters or antibiotics to patients who, despite their poverty, still have a good second chance at life. Sagip has, in this sense, saved many lives—and the people who have watched the film have contributed to that end.

The blood of Christ

At the coffee shop

FOR MY Good Friday reading, I took on “Blood Work: How the Blood of Christ Accomplishes Our Salvation[1]” by Anthony J. Carter. It’s a work that makes the cross its central focus, arguing from Scripture that Christ has died for sinners like us, and has done so out of love for us and for His glory. The statements are simple, the arguments well-reasoned, and the illustrations refreshing, dotted with quotes from famous hymns, both classic and contemporary.

Phantom vibration syndrome

MY colleague, Carlos, tells me he wakes up every morning with a vibrating sensation on this upper thigh—his pocket area. “Me, too!” I say. Things that come to mind: is there an emergency referral? Did I miss a potentially lethal diagnosis? What wrong have I done this time?

I tell him about a phenomenon called the phantom vibration syndrome where person feels something vibrating even in the absence of stimulus.

Penultimate

week 13-5 (magsaysay)

LAST night my things-to-do list was blank. A chasm in time had opened up that allowed me to visit my barber, go to the grocery, read up on blogs, and watch the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad. It ranks as one of my favorite series, as it combines chemistry with medicine (Walter White has cancer!), with themes revolving on family, crime, and ambition.

In last night’s episode, Walter White’s hair has grown. He hides in a snow-covered town in New Hampshire, as he slowly deteriorates—his cancer pulling him down, making him cough even after walking just a few blocks. There’s nothing quite like a chronic illness to remind a man of his mortality.

Caring for my soul

TIM CHALLIES, one of my favorite bloggers, writes about an intimidating opportunity he recently had: speaking to a public classroom full of unchurched children. He writes:

The highest joy doesn’t come from seeking our own good, but seeking the good of other people. If you want to find joy in your life and career, live for the good of others. This brings much more joy than living only for your own good. Pastors are in the business of being a blessing to others, of doing their good. A pastor’s work is to care for people. We have doctors to care for our bodies when we’re sick. We have psychologists and counsellors to care for our minds when they are troubled. The job of the pastor is to care for the soul.

I'm thankful for my pastors. I'm thankful for my cell servant, Kuya Vance. They have kept at preaching the Word day in and out, even if it meant speaking hard truths to swallow. They don't mince with words. They call sin for what it is. They also give the greatest encouragements. Any success I have in my Christian life I owe to God and to the people He has used to build me up to become more like Him.

Sweat and slippage

Army green, like in the military

MY HYPERHIDROSIS—an episodic occurrence on my palms, usually during the start of the year—has recurred. My phone and iPad mini slip from my hands repeatedly. Texting on a glass screen can be a massive inconvenience—my sweat interferes with the interface. So I got an army green rubber cover iPad mini cover. I like my device now; it looks so fat. I toss it around happily. The cover absorbs much of the shock—I like how it feels on my hands.

My college paper

Teambuilding

I REMEMBER writing an ambitious paper for my English Literature class under Dr. Carlos Aureus, one of my favorite professors. I was an English Studies freshman, about the time when I had wanted to be a lawyer instead of a physician, which I’d ended up being. I enjoyed the 1 PM class at Palma Hall, and was inspired largely by Dr. Aureus, who spoke of books as if they were his friends, and who told me to read James Joyce’s Ulysses—and I did, but I didn’t get it, I didn’t understand it at all. I vented to him my frustration. He smiled at me, the way wise and old men do when confronted with harmless immaturity, and told me, “Well, that’s to be expected. Read it again when you’re older.”

For my paper, I tackled an important but profoundly difficult topic—human suffering. I quoted the book of Job, still one of the most fascinating, intriguing, and also comforting sections of Scripture, in the hope of shedding light on why men suffer. My conclusion was that God is sovereign. He allows men to suffer. If the act of allowing or prohibiting suffering were out of His hands, He has ceased to be omnipotent—and He is not the God that the Bible so describes.

Finish strong

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JERRY BRIDGES has passed on. He was 86. He authored two of my favorite books in modern Christian literature—Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts, and Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God’s Unfailing Love.

To read his books is to listen to the wisdom of a faithful Christian man who has made Christ his portion and heaven his goal. It is sobering to know that life does end; yet for us who are left behind in this dark and dreary world, lives like Jerry Bridges’s bring us hope. We can finish strong.

No regrets

Write with no regrets

WE, PHYSICIANS stationed at the Emergency Room, set the tone for the patient's initial, and eventual, management. This is both exciting and overwhelming. With a clear mind, a sound conscience, and a lot of guts; we order laboratories, start medications, and make the necessary referrals. We might miss a few things, but we must always keep in mind to write with no regrets. We must give ourselves the luxury of knowing that we have done our best for the care of our patients. This sounds like something lifted from Chicken Soup for the Soul, but it's true.

In with the new

New hairstyle

MY FEMALE colleagues—who commend us, men, when we pick good shirts, who harshly (and lovingly) criticize us when we don't, and who, after some meaningful and substantial arguments about fashion and utility, convinced Ulysses Gopez to finally buy a new pair of shoes—have been successful in their pursuit to make me change my hairstyle. "Grow your hair long," they'd say. "If you don't like it, you can always have your head shaved. No harm done."