Saturday, September 2, 2017

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Reunions—at bedside and over dinner

I’m writing this in my brother’s old computer, a powerful HP machine that runs on Intel. I like the sensation of typing in another keyboard, the unfamiliarity it creates. If keyboards were extensions of ourselves, then this machine feels like a different self.

Last night’s 24-hour shift was leisurely—I had almost complete bed rest, if not for a last-minute referral at the Neurosurgery ICU (NSSCU). The patient was about to be intubated by Mark, who’s in Anesthesia; all the final calls were being issued by Mairre, who’s in NSS; and I was there, too, the internist, to support them in whatever they did. “Ikaw na bahala sa antibiotics,” Mairre said.

Uy, 2014!” Mairre said—2014 being the year we had graduated from Medicine, a smorgasbord of different personalities now pursuing various careers. Aside from most of us who had pursued residency at PGH and elsewhere, we have in our roster an Inquirer columnist, a few doctors to the barrios (including one who mans the fort at Basco, Batanes!), municipal health administrators, and researchers/scientists who, not content with an MD, decided to pursue a PhD. That morning at the patient’s bedside felt like a reunion.

This is what I told Casti Castillo, one of my dearest friends from med school, when we had met a few nights ago: the joy and pride of seeing what used to be lost, sleepy medical students do the things they like to do, like cutting up people, or, in the case of internists, recognizing patterns and writing long notes in charts. My batchmates are now high up in the residency hierarchy; they head their charity services, for example, and they make the final calls. It goes without saying that the higher up one goes, the greater the demands that one has to live to. Casti, of course, is chief resident of Trauma at the Philippine Orthopedic Center.

I enjoyed that dinner with Carlo de Guzman (radiation oncology), Bon Buno (ophthalmology), and Carlos Cuano (IM). Joseph Brazal (General Surgery) also showed up but ate at the next table with JB Baltazar and the rest of their Surgery service. We couldn’t get hold of Bryan “Aljur” Ferrolino (otorhinolaryngology), but these men were my lunch buddies. I look up to them in more ways than they can imagine. While I miss the good old days when we treated ourselves to our favorite burger joint after exams (Wham, which had been out of business since three, four years ago), or when they made me choose where we’d eat most of the time; I relish the fact that they find meaning in what they do, living out, so to speak, God’s purposes for them.

But maybe this is too long an update about my life. I will take a comfortable, afternoon nap before I embark on studying again. Didn’t I tell you that residency is a life of exams?

Also, I like typing on this computer.

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