Showing posts from August, 2017


L’Avenir (translated, “Things to Come”) 2016, directed by Mia Hansen-Løve A philosophy professor divorces her husband, re-acquaints with her favorite student, and starts a new life during these transitions. The French fascinate me in that they can be so detached and emotional at the same time, like the scene when Nathalie Chazeaux (Isabelle Huppert) learns of her husband’s infidelity. “I thought you’ve loved me forever,” Nathalie says to him, then she gets back to her classroom as if nothing had happened. No caterwauling, no slapping of the face—the suffering is subdued, hidden, and repressed. She takes time off to join her former student, now a courageous political writer, in the countryside. She sends her bipolar mother to a nursing home, as if to emphasize that the old has gone, the new has come. She brings her charming cat, Pandora, with her. One can wish for better life for her as she starts anew. Rating: 3.25/5 Elle 2016, directed by Paul Verhoeven I don

My brother's culinary pursuits

My brother has gotten into cooking, and I'm just happy to tag along with and encourage his culinary pursuits. How cutting up vegetables or waiting for the water to boil relaxes him escapes me. My participation is in the eating and washing of dishes. For dinner he prepared a salad, sprinkled with lemon, slices of kesong puti and fresh avocado. The highlight was the salmon—so properly cooked, moist in the inside, a bit crispy on the edges, with the meat oozing with flavor in every bite. "It's also low salt," he told me as he poured me a half glass of Chilean merlot. He has read the review article on healthy diets I had emailed him. On some days he cooks me lassoir laswa , an Ilonggo dish of assorted boiled vegetables that reminds me of home. When it rains he cooks me pochero . We have the occasional fried meat, but this is more the exception than the rule—we eat it when we eat out. During breakfast he leaves me food in the fridge to microwave, knowing I am clueles

Sticking our necks out

It's a little less than a week before I bid farewell to the wards. I've rotated at the charity wards for three straight months (Ward in June, Medical ICU in July, and Ward again this August). No third year rotation has given me more fulfillment than being a Gen Med senior .  This month has been extra-special because I was mentored by our service consultant, Dr. Ester Penserga, whom I've looked up to—even as a medical student—for her wisdom, intellectual rigor, compassion, and the fact that, whenever she asks us questions and we can't answer her properly, she gives us negative million points, effectively rendering us bankrupt in her mental account of disappointments if these were tallied. But Ma'am Pen carries on with grace (and it's not such a coincidence that her daughter, my friend and colleague in IM, is named Grace), patiently reminding us to act as internists first of all and not as subspecialists, ensuring that we don't miss out on nutrition,

Hello, too!

I'm honored to have worked with these brilliant, wise, and young colleagues during my rotation as General Medicine senior. Thanks for this, Greco, Nico, Josh, and Inah. (Harold is missing.) Greco taught me compassion, Nico speed and focus, Josh humility, Harold determination, and Inah fortitude. To me, they're no longer kids but respected colleagues who, in a few years, will make fine internists, saving lives one patient at a time.

His eye is on the sparrow

I derive much encouragement from John Calvin. For this reason, Christ, after having asserted that not the meanest sparrow falls to the ground without the will of the Father, immediately makes the following application—that the more we exceed the value of sparrows, the greater care we should consider God as exercising over us; and he carries this to such an extent, that we may be confident that the hairs of our head are numbered. What more can we desire for ourselves, if not a single hair can fall from our head, but according to his will? I speak not exclusively of the human race; but since God has chosen the Church for his habitation, there is no doubt but he particularly displays his paternal care in the government of it.—Chapter XVII, The Intitutes of the Christian Religion, Volume I. 



Paradox Uganda

Once in a while I visit old blogs to catch up on my favorite online writers and personalities, many of them I haven't met but whose works have made me glad or deepened my passion for the things I do or should do—a habit I haven't gotten over, what with the fact that blogging is probably dead, or so most people think. (It's not.) One of these websites is Paradox Uganda , written by missionary doctors Scott and Jennifer Mhyre, whose love for the Lord has brought them to the unreached places in the world. Here's a story that hits close to home, something I experience regularly: dealing with a patient who requires surgery for an infection that's hard to treat. Years before, we had to shell out our own money to get the much-needed antibiotics (yes, including meropenem, as in the story) immediately so that the patient didn't succumb to septic shock. At Naivasha District Hospital, we don’t have the benefit of microbiologic cultures, so we could not culture any of

To kill . . . never!

Roger Velasco, you can be our graduation speaker! Needless to say, it should've read, " To Cure Sometimes, to Relieve Often, to Comfort Always. " Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed, Chapter 99, says, "A credo for oncology could be to cure sometimes, to extend life often, and to comfort always."

We always have time

From Dr. Al Mohler : David McCullough once told of Teddy Roosevelt during his time in the Dakota Territory and before his arrival on the world scene. Two thieves who had been on something of a crime spree in the territory had stolen Roosevelt’s rowboat, and he was determined to chase them down and arrest them. He chased the thieves for 40 miles of rough landscape, through deep snow and in constant danger of attack, and indeed brought them to justice. McCullough then tells the reader: “But what makes it especially memorable is that during that time, he managed to read all of Anna Karenina. I often think of that when I hear people say they haven’t time to read.”

Internal change

This is inspired by Austin Kleon's Newspaper Blackout Poems. The page is taken from the chapter on Iron Deficiency and Other Hypoproliferative Anemias of Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th ed. I do love his work.

John Ames

My Kindle Paperwhite, has arrived. I don’t fancy liturgy, but with my books and reading devices I take a peculiar distinction. What books do I upload in the Kindle cloud and sync with my device? What books should I read first? I decided on the following: — Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead , a letter of a 70-year old pastor from a small town in rural America, to his seven-year old son. I always treat Ms. Robinson’s works—Homecoming, Gilead, Lila—with a kind of sacrosanct awe. Her prose is topnotch. Relevant things happen that remain unwritten, a bit hidden from the narrative, which makes the imagination run wild. There’s a certain kind of peace and stillness to her fiction, as well, as if one can hear cicadas in the background as Reverend John Ames, after whom I’ve named my Kindle, settles himself in his chair to relieve his anginal pains. This is the second time I’ve read Gilead, but my appreciation for it has more than doubled. Maturity, or so I hope, gives a person a wider, deeper

In a sea of surgeons

I was in Hong Kong for four days to present a paper at an Asia-Pacific Urology conference, making me and Jay Magbojos the only internists in a sea of surgeons. We took some time off to explore Hong Kong, this trip being my second time—never mind the fact that I still can't figure out the locals' English accent, if they care to speak English at all. Vintage posters of Mao and other Chinese ladies line the streets near the Sheung Wan MTR. We figured this out because my friend and elementary-college schoolmate Trisha Moustafa, now based in Hong Kong, took us around her favorite city spots on our last day. Colorful murals make the buildings look Instagrammable. The trip won't be complete without trips to the night markets, this one near the Jordan MTR. I don't enjoy shopping, but I like sampling street food in the area. I'm a huge fan of sugarcane juice, usually sold here for 30 HK dollars. We also visited the Hong Kong Museum of History, where we visited