Saturday, July 30, 2011

The end of an era

The first two years of med school consist largely of plenary lectures. This week, though, marks the end of that era.

Our rotations begin next week. I look forward to the idea of being in the hospital (as naive as that may sound to clerks and interns who'd rather spend the day elsewhere) rather than merely standing as a visitor, as we did in our first and second years for limited patient encounters.

For convenience, the class has been divided alphabetically into eight blocks consisting of 20 people each. Every block has an assigned department in the hospital to rotate in at a particular period in time. That means I'll never see my other classmates as often as I used to, and that my world will largely be confined to my block, which I have been blessed to have.
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Week 29: That old feeling

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Greatest Medical Mission of All Time

Abby Ortal and I co-wrote the script for the mini-skit that was presented during the Agape Freshman Orientation. We wanted not just to introduce our organization, but to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, a message that has transformed our lives. We're thankful for Pito Magno's idea, which we adapted. He earlier reworded the gospel message for the promotional brochure so that medical students could easily relate to it.

I'm still uploading the amateur video in Youtube.

We thank the Lord for using this presentation to effectively share His good news to some sixty medical students (about forty of whom where freshmen). And until now we are still overwhelmed by God's provisions; He has seen us through the entire preparations, from our finances, to the nitty-gritty details about the icing and toppings of the cupcakes. All glory belongs to Him alone.
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Week 28: Trauma

Friday, July 15, 2011


I'm thankful for the short-lived moments that break the monotony of an otherwise tiring day in med school. The stern, fragile glass of academic formality breaks down, and real life (no matter how imagined that concept is to the typical future doctor) enters the front door.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Take this cup away

A few hours from now—it's 2 am as I write this—Agape will host its freshman orientation treat. Everyone from the College of Medicine is welcome, not just the freshmen, so please, please come and drop by if you've got nothing else to do after class.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Nestlé short films to watch

Nestlé Philippines has an interesting project called "Kasambuhay, Habambuhay: A Short Film Anthology." I didn't catch the premiere in ABS-CBN (I don't own a TV), but I'm glad the films—all running for about 10 minutes—have been posted in Youtube.

Sign Seeker
Bien (John Lloyd Cruz) is head-over-heels in love with Kacey (Solenn Heusaff), a gorgeous lady from work (Solenn Heusaff). His friend (JK Austria) challenges him to ask Kacey out, but he finds ways to evade the issue.  He asks for signs if he should finally summon the courage to talk to her—an alarm clock, a strawberry for breakfast, all green traffic lights, a dog to overtake him, an elephant to occupy his parking space. The things he asks for border on the pathetic and impossible, but I find the concept rather charming. The love story is richly Pinoy. The songs are fun to listen to. The conversations sound like they do in real life.

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Monday, July 11, 2011


Over the summer, I downloaded a free application for the iPod called DoodleBuddy. It's nothing fancy—it's a lot like Paint in Windows, but you sketch with your hands, of course, and that makes it easier.

This is the plant my mother put on top of the table in our small patio, one of my favorite reading spots at home, especially in the late afternoon.
garden pot
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Random notes on Babel (2006)

— The movie has a subtle allusion to the Biblical account of the Tower of Babel, where it must have gotten its title. I heard a number of tongues spoken. One can't survive this movie without subtitles.

— Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has created quite a masterpiece: four seemingly independent stories weaved into one. The film spans different countries and cultures—America, Mexico, Japan, and Morocco. These stories happen in one time period.

— Here's a rough, chronological guide to the story. A Japanese businessman goes to Morocco for a hunting trip. He gives a rifle to his guide as a tip. The guide sells the rifle to a neighbor, who lives in a shepherding community. The neighbor needs it to kill that jackals that often attack the sheep. The neighbor has two boys who help him out in the trade. To pass time, the boys test the rifle. Because of sheer stupidity, I suppose, the boys shoot a tourist bus. An American is wounded, at risk of losing a significant amount of blood. The American's husband breaks the bad news to the Mexican nanny, the one looking after their two children in San Diego. Because she doesn't want to leave them, the nanny takes the children along with her attend her son's wedding in Mexico. Meanwhile the international community thinks the Morocco shooting is a terrorist plot. The news reaches Japan, where authorities are looking for the original rifle owner. He has a deaf-mute daughter, whose mother just committed suicide. She has lots of personal issues, and she pours her heart out to a police officer.
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Saturday, July 9, 2011


As soon as the meal is served, I start with a brief, routine prayer that goes something like, "Thank You, Lord, for this food. Bless this for my body's nourishment. Amen." Then I dig into my food. Many times, these prayers aren't heartfelt. I'm not really thankful to God for putting food on my table. It's all routine—a ritual devoid of meaning.
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Week 27: Oncology Module

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Along the cancer ward

Cancer Institute

We've been going in and out of the PGH Cancer Institute this week to interview and examine our assigned patients for the oncology module. The place feels very homey. There is a garden in the old building's atrium visible to anyone walking along the lobby. The rooms are quiet and relaxed. Not too bad for a government-funded institution.

But I can't let go of the fact that anytime, some patients we see—a few of them already balding after many rounds of chemo—may go and leave us for good. Nothing makes one think of life more than when one is confronted with death. And we will all die—we just don't know how or when.
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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Not-so-required reading for the ordinary medical student

I often get asked how I manage to read so many books while studying medicine. I almost always answer, "I make time for it." But I know, at the back of my head, that I'm simply not reading enough. Compared to some people I know, my older brother among them, the amount of my reading hardly makes for a comparison.

I guess you can call me the reading type of person. Most of my time online is spent reading written words—the blogs I follow, the newest short story in the New Yorker, the Saturday poems in 3 Quarks Daily, among others. While waiting for my turn in the barbershop, I grab old, wrinkled, outdated newspapers. While paying my tuition fee in UP Manila, I catch up on the latest novel I've downloaded. After exams, I go home and have a book lull me to sleep. Reading is the only time, apart from sleeping, when I'm actually quiet.
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I don't know how for how long these relaxing weekends will last, but I'm thankful for yesterday, when I joined the outing of my youth group in church. We went to a nearby pool, a couple of blocks away from our church building in Timog Avenue. For most of the morning, we played Guesstures, a modified charades game where one has to act out four words for a given time period.



A race against time, this game should make one appreciate the value of the spoken word. In ordinary circumstances, I could've easily said "bellydancing" and everybody would get me, but that morning, I had to act it out. And, no, I'm not posting any incriminating video of myself. I did shoot an amateurish video of other people, but I haven't asked permission if they'd like to publicly display their award-winning performances in this blog.
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Friday, July 1, 2011

Week 26: Infectious Diseases