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Showing posts from June, 2020

Know your God

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At ASCO Breakthrough 2019, Bangkok, Thailand

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Morning situation

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Singapore skyline

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To incoming interns: the harder one is usually the right one

Dr. Glenn Wakam, surgical resident at the University of Michigan, gives five tips to incoming interns. These are gems. 1/6 Today I gave 5 pieces of advice to our new @UMichSurgery interns. Dr. Glenn Wakam, surgical resident at the University of Michigan, gives five tips for incoming residents. These are gems. First I asked them if they had a culture. “Not yet” I suggested they would soon and when they were chiefs, they would own the culture of the residency. They will create it starting now. So my 5 tips👇 — Justin (taken over by @DocWak) Dimick (@jdimick1) June 25, 2020 #1 Ask for help. Call your chief. The goal is to be safe, not right. The value this enforces is humility—a cornerstone of the “new” surgical personality. #2 If you come to the fork in the road and their (sic) are two choices, the harder one is usually the right one. Get out of bed and check on the patient. This is integrity: doing the right thing. #3 Lean into your education. The difference between b

Ma'am Jane at the Registrar's

Caused a ruckus at home when I looked for my med school diploma. I called mother, who panicked when she couldn't find it. Important documents are kept in my father's attachĂ© case or hidden in the console table; my diploma wasn't there. I emailed and called UP Manila, spoke to Ma'am Jane who said the diploma wasn't there anymore. "I graduated in 2014," I said, just in case the staff overlooked. It turned out my diploma was in the flat all along, hidden in an undiscovered box. I called the Registrar's Office to apologize. "My mother will scold me," I said. Ma'am Jane, ever the accommodating lady over the phone, laughed and said, "It's okay, Doc." 

In the heat of summer

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Laguna.

Not luck

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Dr. Ester Penserga, in her keynote address in yesterday's virtual graduation, Department of Medicine, UP–PGH.

The Virtual Graduation

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Of all the graduations I’ve had, today’s virtual ceremony will stand out in my memory. I was in bed, my ears plugged to bluetooth earphones linked to my laptop. I logged in Zoom at 8:58, two minutes before the rites began. On the opposite side of the small condo was my brother, who was in a separate online meeting. We could hear each other mumble, but not enough to make out the actual words. Drs. Vanessa Co (Gastroenterology) and Deonne Gauiaran (Hematology) hosted the event. They were, at some point, my senior fellows when I was a fledgling Medicine resident. They’re consultants now, official members of the Department of Medicine’s stellar faculty. I remember that Ma’am Van sat with me and my friend Carlos Cuaño (who would himself proceed to gastroenterology training) to help us prepare our end-of-rotation report on pancreatic pseudocysts. Sir Deonne was our chief resident when I was a first year IM resident. (He has done so much and so excellently, and we’re only about the same age

Midori traveler's notebook

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Alunan Avenue, Koronadal

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Laurent Binet's HHhH

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Walk to the mall

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Since Tatay's death, Father's Day has become a day of remembering. After streaming the church sermon on Boaz and Ruth, my brother and I walked to Podium. I wanted to see if I could replenish my collection of acid-free paper. Manong wanted to get on with the walking: some 2.6 km from the house. Sweaty and thirsty, we had lemongrass juice at a Thai store. Manong bought pastry for snacks, then we walked home. Malls remind me of Tatay. He liked being with people. He preferred crowded malls where he could bump into a random person and talk with him. He had a way with people, a certain warmth that made them say things to him. He liked getting to know others. In the afternoons, he dragged me to KCC Mall, so I could join him and his friends from the local biking club for coffee. Happy Father's Day!

Nineteen

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Mary Grace Café, SM Manila. I took the photo last year, when lounging in a cafés was not a matter of life and death.

Sarcoma multi-disciplinary conference

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Friday mornings, monthly.

Trips

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I went to the Philippine Medical Association office in North Avenue to get some certifications. Before I booked a car, I called the office to be sure. It was my first time in three months to be in Quezon City. After a few minutes I got what I needed: certificates proving I am a member in good standing. I hailed a taxi that took me to the PhilHealth office in Pasig. The driver wasn't familiar with the building. I coached him with the instructions from Google Maps. We missed a turn because he couldn't hear me through the plastic wall. I got my professional accreditation in 15 minutes. It was starting to rain. I hailed a taxi that took me home. The driver sang. I was just in time for lunch.  There were people everywhere: in the streets, in malls, in the roads. Traffic was terrible along EDSA-Cubao. If not for the masks, one would think the pandemic is over. Far from it, actually. More people with Covid-19 are getting admitted at PGH. If you don't believe the DOH census (I have

John Calvin on Ephesians 1

I dragged my friend and colleague, Harold, to visit the Reformation Museum in Geneva last December. This was after the poster presentation at a major immune-oncology conference, which we had the privilege of attending. On our way to the museum, we dropped by the Reformation Wall where John Calvin's monument was in the middle. John Calvin holds a very special place in my spiritual growth. The Institutes of the Christian Religion is one of my favorite books of all time; it is in the same place as St. Augustine's Confessions .  I was surprised to read  Calvin's commentary on Ephesians . The internet is an endless source of fascination. Here he writes about Ephesians 1:3a, "Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." The lofty terms in which he extolls the grace of God toward the Ephesians, are intended to rouse their hearts to gratitude, to set them all on flame, to fill them even to overflowing with this thought. They who perceive in themselves discove

Waiting for the train

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EDSA MRT station.

Annotations

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Blue and pink inks.

My TWSBIs

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In between cleaning and ink replacement—Diamond 580 and Eco Rose Gold, among my favorite writing materials.

Hushed tones

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At the Medical Oncology Office, UP PGH.

Historical pen at Solidaridad Bookstore

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Owned by the writer F. Sionil Jose.

Morning devotions

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Laos Tea

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From Laos.

Midtown Diner breakfast

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With Fred and my book, Hermit in Paris, by Italo Calvino. I took the photo pre-pandemic, when I could while away the time in cafĂ©s. I miss Midtown Diner. I wonder whatever happened to Kuya Ruel, Ate Angel, and the rest of the Midtown Gang? 

Café essentials

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A good book + fountain pen (a TWSBI Eco Rose Gold, medium hard nib) + single shot espresso.

Our intern rotator Joyce

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Her report was on triple negative breast cancer.

Libing well

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National Bookstore, SM Light Mall, Mandaluyong City

Pens and friends

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In an unexpected stroke of generosity, my friend and colleague Fred gave me a Pilot Custom 823. Inside the Grab car, I couldn't believe my eyes as I opened the package. I'd been dreaming of owning this pen someday. It is elegant. The ink flow is wet and smooth, the way I like it. This is the same pen that the writer Neil Gaiman uses. Certainly, this will occupy a special and permanent place in my humble collection. My heart is brimming with gratefulness. Thank you very much, dear Freddie. When I checked my draft, I realized I had misspelled colleague. I added the extra "ue." Here's the correction. I also want to demonstrate how thick the lines are that you're able to see the variation in ink flow. After about a million signatures, it's time for Pilot 823 to get TLC. Should I go to Pilot or a pen repair place? pic.twitter.com/blHjDAkniJ — Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 23, 2016

"He will never see her again"

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From Laurent Binet's magnificent novel, HHhH.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

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Short and sweet novel by Chinese-French author, Dai Jin.

Walk in the park, Seoul, Korea

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Laguna

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Empty

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Dropped by the mall today. Relieved that physical distancing measures were in place. The lady guard was impressed when I shooed my brother away. "Social distancing! One meter! Move back!" I said. Then Manong treated me to Japanese takeout. Been craving for meat cutlets. Episode one of Midnight Diner Season 3 was about a singer whose husband loved pork cutlets. Not a good idea to watch it at night before sleep; you will feel hungry.

Colors

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Parker Vacumatic, vintage.

Ampersand

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Epilogue

I did not go out, not even for a morning walk on the eighth floor. Instead, I watched a series of online videos, including great speeches by American presidents, like President Obama's address to the British Parliament. It made me wonder why our nation's leaders don't give good speeches anymore. I watched a video of former President George W. Bush during the unveiling of his White House portrait. It felt like a lifetime ago when decency, respect, and kindness were celebrated. I also finished Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy, and devoured the third chapter of James Wood's The Nearest Thing to Life, a collection of intelligent, engaging essays. In the afternoon, I did some online catching up with close friends. Mike, who is based in Australia, shared a photo of the sourdough he made. My initial response was shock, followed by awe. I asked if he made the starter himself; he said yes. I asked further if he had a Dutch oven; he said he improvised. It was a Pinoy ove