Thursday, August 19, 2010

Over dinner with old friends, I jokingly told them I wanted to be a plastic surgeon

After what seemed like an eternity of after-class meetings, I got a text from an old friend, Katrina Magallanes. Now a student at the UP College of Law, she was in the Supreme Court to attend the Hacienda Luisita hearing, and she wanted to meet me. I was excited, of course. This was the classmate I often teased in elementary school. I wanted to know how she was doing, if she has been getting enough sleep, or if a man has been brave enough to finally ask her for a date, with her intimidating credentials and all that.

Surprisingly she was with her blockmate, Karla Ogena, my good friend from high school. Unless you're from the province, you wouldn't understand the bond that's automatically created when you're introduced to someone who has lived in the same place where you grew up. I think Katrina and Karla immediately hit it right off—with their penchant for incessant, girly talk and strange Ilonggo gossiping. I was glad to see them both.

"I'm sorry it took me so long. I just got back from a research meeting," I said. "I was telling my classmates that we experimented with Staphylococcus aureus when we were in fifth grade."

Kat was elated. She made a guava cream of sorts to check if it had an antimicrobial activity against the bacteria grown on Petri plates. On the other hand, I experimented on calamansi. Some Petri dishes got contaminated, some were okay. In the end, Kat's group won the inter-school contest.

We were all famished, so we had dinner at the mall. It was a welcome retreat from my normal routine.

"Are you enjoying law school?" I asked.

"It's very stressful," Karla said. And they went on to tell me stories of their brutal class politics, their overly competitive classmates. It was almost amusing. After all, a great way of relieving your own torment is to listen to others speak about theirs.

They were curious with how I was doing. "Med can get extremely demanding, but it's a conscious effort to have a wider perspective of things." I told them that I touched a leprosy patient and interviewed a lady dying of bone marrow disease.

"Do you now have a specialty in mind?" they asked. It's the question I get asked most often, the answer to which remains elusive to this day.

Jokingly I said, "Plastic surgery. This country needs plastic surgery."

They were startled.

And then I realized how plastic surgery is one of the most misunderstood professions in the world—with the media-generated hype and all that.

(Just so you know, registered plastic surgeons do a whole lot more than noselifts. They help burn victims recover their original appearance; they do facial reconstruction on patients from accidents.)

"But no, seriously, I really don't know what I'll be taking yet," I said. "I'll probably know my inkling if I get to rotate in the wards come fourth or fifth year. It's still in my prayer requests."

We had ice cream and talked some more. But the night was getting late, we were getting sleepy, and as I saw them hop on the cab that would take them back to Quezon City, I thanked God for these friends who would gladly defend me should malpractice complaints be hurled against me in the future.

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Blogger Katrina Magallanes said...

Lance!!! Hahahaha! I still can't get over the plastic surgery. haha

Sat Sep 04, 01:15:00 AM GMT+8  

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