Hello from the other side

AS ONE of the resident monitors for Learning Unit V (also known as med school's Third Year), I had the job of helping to oversee the OSCE—a battery of exams composed of eight or ten stations where students are expected to do physical exams for various organ systems, write clinical impressions, and do so with the flair of having practiced the routines for ten years. Each station was manned by a different department; Internal Medicine had two stations, which I took part in.

Subic na Subic lumayo

IT WAS as if nobody cared. Nobody—except for a few people who had the patience to read the intermittent barrage of group SMS's—really knew where we were going. "Sa Batangas?"

"Hindi, sa Subic daw."

"Akala ko sa Bohol."

The date was sealed nevertheless—we were going out of town, somewhere far from the city, with the hope of being able to catch up on sleep as well as with each other. As if, given the daily hilarious lunchtime conversations we have at the callroom, we needed catching up at all.

But sleep we did. Inside the coaster, driven by an old, gracious man who was too careful that we should not figure into any accident, we were lulled to sleep. What were we dreaming of? Definitely not the last minute SAPOD referral for a fake emergency case, or the mechanically ventilated patient at the ICU whose diagnosis we weren't too sure of. Maybe we were thinking of the beach and the sand and what awaited us after the road trip.

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Nanay at 60

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We are our mother’s sons, says Manong Ralph, after reviewing a short video I took using my phone, our mother being the subject. We have the same expressions—how we wrinkle our eyes to prove a point, or how we moan “uhuh” when we agree with the other person but not a hundred percent, or how we hunch our backs after narrating a story. This is how we torment her: by making her uncomfortable with the virtual reality of her existence; by making her hear herself and the high-pitched tone of her voice; and by warning her that the said video will be posted on this blog—a website her friends from all over the world apparently visit, or so they had confessed during their high school reunion last year.