Journal of a Lockdown No. 51
The weekends have bled into the weekdays. Today is a Saturday, but I think of Mondays, and the long patient queues in the clinic, my harried colleagues shouting "Labas po muna ang hindi pa tinatawag!" to the crowd of patients and relatives who barge into the private cubicles at Room 107 to make sure that their oncologists will, in fact, see them, because the family had moved mountains to rent the barangay ambulance so their fathers and mothers and children and friends can find medical help after harboring their tumors for so many years because they had no money. We see the patients one by one. We listen to their stories as we figure out what is wrong. Sometimes, when the prognosis is poor, the reassurance we give them is the truth: that no matter what happens, we will do our best to care for them. In the course of the day we receive tokens of gratitude from people who barely had the money to get here. I remember the poor widow from Mark 12:41-44 who gave everything she had for the Lord. To be at the receiving end of our patient's sacrificial gratitude has been one of the greatest joys of subspecialty training. Today I remember my patient EM, who has metastatic breast cancer. She gave me this malong as a parting gift. I promised her I would use it. Last week, it was my blanket. Our patients think we have comforted them, but it goes both ways. I miss EM and my patients, and I hope they're still alive and well, that the Lord would keep them and their families safe, that they will be healed.