Friday, March 31, 2017

March has ended

All the things I’ve learned and struggled with and suffered through the past two years—yes, all of them—have found their ultimate utility and fulfillment in my first stint as a General Medicine service senior. It was as if everything was meant to prepare me for this: leading the team of residents and students to sound dispositions, focusing the direction of management, and even arguing for or against certain clinical impressions.

Perhaps the highlight of this month has been the privilege of working with brilliant, humble, and hardworking people. Nico Pajes and Clare Enriquez were my two residents. I couldn’t have been happier. Nico, who even looks more pediatric than me, had mastered his working knowledge of human physiology. He was quick-witted, decisive, and, at times, hilarious. He read through our cases, looked through the little assignments I had thrown at him (for example, “Look for the evidence for withholding aspirin prior to surgery”), and charted with panache: short and sweet, just the way I like chart entries to be. I remember the time when, just as we were about to start our weekly consultant rounds with Dr. Jorge, two of his patients deteriorated before our eyes. We sent one off to surgery; we offered best supportive care to the other. He’d later tell me it was the most memorable day of his month.

Clare, who’s originally from Neurology but who’s rotating with Internal Medicine for the next six months, has proven to be a resilient, teachable, and kind physician. Never mind that I had bullied her—albeit lovingly—during rounds. She was able to make sense of complicated cases, had developed a keen smell for acute coronary syndromes, so much so that I had told her, “Have we not inspired you enough to take up IM?” Today, though, was something out of the ordinary. Clare’s patients were having heart attacks, seizures, and all sorts of problems—all at the same time—just as we were almost sure we’d be sending them home. Just a few hours shy of her shifting out, she managed to stand her ground and manage her patients.

Shout outs go to our physicians-on-duty—Ces Tuazon, Shobe Naidas, and Nikoz Reyes—whose management at the ER were always sound, who did as much as they could despite the deluge of patients who were coming in, and who fought for our rights.

How often does it happen that I’m the tallest in the group?

I learned so much, too, from Dr. Mike Tee, who made hard concepts understandable to our clerks and interns, who helped us push for surgeries, and who always replied quickly when we had questions. Dr. Jun Jorge who, despite being the chair of the entire department, always made time to do rounds. He treated us to ice cream one day, even if we didn’t win the bet (“Can you guess what the intraoperative finding of our patient with acute abdomen is?”—it turned out to be ruptured diverticulitis).

I’ll remember our brilliant students, too—all of them promising doctors who made sure our patients got the best care. They didn’t bicker over their responsibilities; they enjoyed the company of one another and were just too eager to help out. I’ll always remember our interns—Chacha Mercado, Gerald Mendoza, Jeff Manto, Marz Marquez, Athan Luzano, Joan Lampac, and Lori Lofranco. Our clerks—Ichi Nakamura, Carl Ortiz, Cel Yap, Therese Tuason, and Jeanie Uy—flourished in adversity. I will miss seeing them around.


Praise be to God for His goodness and sustaining grace. What a month this has been.



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