Tuesday, February 13, 2018

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I’ll miss seeing patients here.



During my 24-hour shift at Howard Hubbard Hospital, just right across my grandmother's backyard in the quaint Polomolok town, I was able to reconnect with nurses who, when they met me, exclaimed, "Ay, ikaw na gali si Lance! Kadako-dako na gid sa imo. Ginakarga ka pa namon sang gamay ka." I even met a nurse who knew my parents' love story. My mother used to work as the hospital dentist, single, nearing her thirties. She would later marry my father, who was waiting for someone else in the hospital lobby. He had set his eyes on a physician but was eventually dissuaded from doing so when he met the petite dentist from Banga. My mother was in a hurry to get married. Tatay passed her stringent standards: he had clean fingernails. She married Tatay "by faith." Tatay claimed the marriage was out "of love." It's a boring story for what is clearly a match made in heaven.

The hospital packs so much personal history. Being one of the physicians working there, albeit temporarily, I felt the closing of a full circle. I enjoyed my time with the kind nurses, efficient staff, and the patients who wanted to get admitted for the most trivial of complaints—a three-hour history of cough, a lacerated pointing finger after manipulating heavy machinery, a snake bite from a cobra lurking in the pineapple plantation. We gave the anti-venom, and the lady was able to go home alive–that, after a brief stint at the ICU.

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