Wednesday, September 5, 2012


I FOUND MYSELF updating my patients' online database at 7:30 PM on a pre-duty day, when I should've been home, reading a good book. My feet hurt from hours of making sure all blood pressures were stable in Ward 1. My face was soaked in sebaceous secretions, and I just wanted to get something to eat. The call room's air conditioning unit wasn't working, and the humidity was adding to the stress of having a growing checklist of things-to-do in my mind.

It's not a wonder why people start thinking of quitting med school on their Internal Medicine (IM) rotation: there are just so many things to do. My friends who are already done with IM already miss it, but I remember that while they were in my present state, trapped in Wards 1 and 3, they couldn't wait to get out. One never really figures out how precious something is until it's lost. I'm only on my third day, and it already feels like I've been here for weeks.

Not that I despise what I'm doing—far from it. I have a feeling IM may well turn out to be the best rotation I will have in clerkship, but that it will not be a bed of roses where I can lie down and taste my wine. Anything can happen in the next four weeks.

I relish the teaching rounds with my duty team. Dr. Gelza Zabat, our senior resident, is a breath of fresh air. She likes to ask us questions to help us through with our thinking, questions that expose our ignorance, more than anything. Naturally the reward for correct answers are more questions, and there always comes a point when I have nothing else to reply, as my brain is emptied of all its contents, and all I can muster is a helpless smile, at which point she will say, "Assignment mo na lang 'yan, ha?"

I have to get used to the early morning Guazon Hall endorsements and the never-ending urgency to always come prepared. "Do I have the most recent labs?" and "What were my patients' most recent subjective complaints?" are things that hound me minutes before I enter the dungeon-like auditorium. Any student is called to present in front of an audience. A wrong answer inevitably merits more questions, and one can be asked anything and everything under the sun.

Sara Bareilles' beautiful, perky song, Many the Miles, is playing on the background while I'm writing this, a rather accurate rendering of what I feel at present.
There's too many things I haven't done yet
Too many sunsets I haven't seen
You can't waste the day wishing it'd slow down
You would've thought by now
I'd have learned something

I'm sleepy and all, but I look to the Lord for strength and rest. With the Psalmist I say, "Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you" (Psalm 116:7, ESV).

Tomorrow is going to be another long day.

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