January 28, 2005

A Valentine Experiment

For the Times
by: Julsitos
For the times you worry at what hour I would come home,
I shall cherish the wrinkles on your forehead.
For the times you never stopped searching when I was gone,
I shall guide you through your blindness.
For the times you cooked for us even when you were already fast asleep,
I shall soothe you crooked fingers.
For the times you comforted me when I was wrong,
I shall look forward to your embrace.
For the times you advised me what is true,
I shall never forget your voice.
For the times you never stopped loving me inspite of my indifference
I shall forever love you more.

Happy Advance Valentine's Day everyone!

January 25, 2005

Word for the Day # 2

Floods, fires, disasters and earthquakes are great devastating events which usually shake the senses of a whole generation prompting it to immortalize it in its vocabulary. Here's my take on the most recent and worst disaster known to man in recent history.

Tsunami: Japanese. /choo'-nuhhh-meee/

1. A series of unfortunate events happening so fast you need not blink twice
e.g. Malaking tsunami naganap sa jeep nung nilabas ng kawatan ang baril.

1. To be inundated with dead, floating, rotting, unnecessary details
e.g. Please clean your room kasi mukhang natsunami dito.
e.g. Na-extend ang board meeting kasi mahilig magtsunami ang presentor.

2. To become the bearer of devastating news which one cannot go back to status quo after
e.g. Nung nalaman ni Celia na may kabit si mister, tsinunami na ito.

Manong's Balls

Manong, penge naman ng balls mo!

Sometimes if the wards are not that busy, my co-interns and residents would go down and exit the Emergency Room so as to take a 10-minute break from the hustle and bustle of hospital life. Confident that the patients we left are not that "tigokable" (our term for critically ill patients), we hurry down the elevators and pass the chaos of ER and walk across the asphalt road to this rickety orange cart where one can indulge in a Hepa-A infested treat. "Manong" (the generic term for all Manila ambulant vendors) was happy to see us for he immediately took out his half-empty plastic bag of fishballs and chickenballs and drop these to the hot oil.

I believe business was going well for Manong because if you stand under the fierce heat of the sun just to stir the oil while perspiration dripping down from your chin and no one is buying, then you are plain crazy or plain stupid, or even plain desperate. Wait, prolonged sun exposure can actually make people crazy, but not this time though.

So, armed nothing but recycled barbecue sticks, we began to prod and probe those little balls of paradise bobbing up and down in the sizzling oil. The aroma wafting from the wok was intoxicating. Our salivary glands were pumping full time. We waited and waited until those pieces become turgid, i mean inflated. You're not satisfied with turgid? Then, plump will do. I can almost hear my co-intern say "Uy, tumatambok na ang balls mo manong!" Wehehehe. We kept turning those fishballs and chickenballs until they have achieved a golden crispy color indicating that these are ready to eat.

Heaven knows where these balls made first contact. Can you imagine if his hands that cook the balls are the same hands that that handle his bacteria-laden coins, his sweaty forehead and equally sweaty handtowel, or even his snotty nose? How about if he has crabs (pubic lice) and continually scratches his groin and behind while handling the balls? The results are two-fold. One, you can thank the guy for a free extra flavoring, and you can expect to develop indigestion while performing a cholecystectomy later on. (A gall bladder operation can leave you standing on the operating table for at least 2 hours!- the longest I assisted was 6 hours.) But the worst thing one can get from eating his all-Pinoy grub is not diarrhea but Hepatitis A. Was the Hepa A outbreak in UST during the 90s due to fish-ball eating? I don't know. But I know seeing people in different degrees of jaundice has expanded my definition for the word yellow, which now includes the words teal, lemon, chartreuse, ochre and tangerine.

After waiting what seemed like eternity, we proceeded to jab ruthlessly onto the hapless balls. Sadistic streaks manifest momentarily as we enjoyed sticking each ball into the next stringing them in perfect array. Manong, satisfied that many came to poke his balls, began to open his sauces for which our "spoils of war" shall be dunked. There are three types of sauces which Pinoys know by heart: 1) sweet, 2) spiced vinegar, 3) sweet spicy. As to the ingredients, heaven knows what mysterious flavors and spices go into it. Some older folks say, the sweat from the Manong makes the sauces more piquant thereby delivering a distinct flavor from the rest of the commercially sold sauces. And the vinegar one...well, let's just say, it's homemade. And why is the sauce brown? Who know? Most probably, Manong never dared replace the whole batch of sauces from the start, for he may just replenish it everyday making the batch more flavorful, thick and dark knowing that all the residual sauces from the previous years are still there.

So, I settled for the sweet-spicy one while my friends and residents went to the classic sweet. With the sauce lathered on every corner of my chickenballs, I started chomping them down piece by piece with nary a care if Hepa A will strike or not. And my co-doctors agree too. Even if we know eating in this type of eatery is never free from bacteria and disease, we still are confident that contracting food poisoning is far from happening, besides, a lot of people (students, nuns, nurses, passers-by) have been making "tusok-tusok" in Manong's wok long before we entered the fray. So, in a sense, we are just part of the statistics.

And so after enjoying a respite from the daily grind, we realized that it's back to work. Not without a take-out first.

January 24, 2005

A Very Long Disengagement

It has been more than two weeks since I last blogged. And there has been a substantial blacklog of entries that I should have been working on, not that there's any pressure or anything (hehehe... who are we kidding?), but new ideas need fertile grounds to grow, hence the need to write.

Connecting People
I would like to thank all the people who went to the 1st Pinoyblog EB. It was a blast. The demographics of the party was certainly varied cutting through all social circles. I'm amazed that people from all walks of life and from different professions enjoy writing and blogging. I realized that there is no particular group of people who can claim they monopolize the writing arena. No literati or stuck-up wierdo author there. There were yuppies and professionals, singles and couples, young and not-so-old who came to enjoy the night. First at Cabalen, and then at Starbucks. Considering that there was no common denominator except for blogging, I am happy that we still get to know each other and to discover new things, new professions and new people. You guys are really great. I don't want to mention names cuz for one, I am terrible in memorizing names and secondly, I don't want to miss anyone out. It was my first EB in my entire existence and I enjoyed it. I believe a repeat is needed.

Intern from Hell
This January, we had an intern whose reputation is far from great. Being an intern, one is expected to have certain attitude and values in order to keep the whole co-internship machinery going and if one becomes the pasaway, then it creates a bad impression for you and for your future interns. Ever since she started with us, everything has gone awry.

One, she absents herself from going to "duty" (that 29-hour duty) for the flimsiest reasons. First, she contracted German measles (a 3-day fever became a 1-week vacation), then fever (dahil sa measles pa daw) and low back pain (due to assisting in surgical retraction.) The result is other interns who just came from duty yesterday will be pulled out for duty today, which does piss anyone.

Second, patients complain that her skills in wound car (which consist of only pouring sterile water into the wound and leaving it be) are far from the norm which consists of taking away dead tissue, putting in betadine and gauze.

Third, instead of helping out others who are "toxic" or lightening up the workload by volunteering, she avoids it and goes into a lengthy discussion ala Rene Saguisag pointing out that it's not her job description, it's not her obligation, so on and so forth. This really gets my goat. She won't help in the patients' rounds because she's an ENT intern (which still falls inside the jurisdiction of Surgery) contrary to what everyone has been doing so as to lighten the load. I returned her the favor too when we switched places. Instead of assisting in a surgical operation because of a lack of manpower, she begs off telling us that she's duty and duties are last in line to assist in the OR ...so on and so forth.

Last, because she rubs in our faces that she's the "apo" of the hospital director, she usually gets scotfree with many things including going home earlier than the designated cut-off time or making a fuss about doing medical abstracts. But thing she does best is sleeping (10pm) on the ward beds while her resident is still doing patients' rounds, answering calls and checking up on toxic patients. For most of us, the opposite is true: interns let their residents sleep by answering calls and toxic patients until the next morning. Now, everone knows her by her nickname, "Lady Lard."

A Social Amputation
Rationally speaking, losing one's cellphone is not a bigdeal. It's just a replaceable thing. Simply get another one. Considering the cost, I have no budget yet. Considering the numbers lost, priceless. Considering the sentimental value, who cares, I don't give a horse's ass. It's the functionality of the phone I'm concerned about. How can I contact my family? My friends? How can I be contacted for important stuff like reports, meetings, outings? With people becoming more and more dependent on using the cellphone, losing it (because someone stole it from my coatpocket inside the hospital ward) becomes more heart-breaking. AAAAARRRGHH!! Have to get one... have to get one... have to get one.... *thud* *thud* *thud* (sound of my head banging the table)

Movies to Watch
1. A Very Long Engagement - starring Audrey Tatou. Another masterpiece from Jean-Pierre Jeunet in the tradition of Amelie. Looking forward to its color-saturated cinematography. Out on theaters Feb.2.

2. Phantom of the Opera - Just like Evita, this Andrew Lloyd Weber favorite is going to be this year's "Chicago". God bless its director. I heard there's a bed scene between Christine and the Phantom... just kidding! Out on theaters by Feb 9.