June 23, 2007


My Lakbayan grade is C! WTF? So Saaaaad! So embarrassing that it inspires one to go backpacking across this God-forsaken yet sublime country of ours.

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out atLakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

June 17, 2007

Yet Another Afternoon

This Father's day I'm spending my time alone at home simply relaxing and listening to the silence of the walls of my house, walls impregnated with memories gone by. The photos with such smiles that speak of happier times, the blooming Vandas at the gardens that are living reminders of my parents, the flaking paint from the verandah ceiling, are some of the things left to remind me of their existence. And such cannot assuage this reinforcing notion that I am living in a surreal nightmare. Reminds me of Stephen King's The Langoliers.

Apart from the usual folks here: Nana, Norma and Jan-jan, my uncle B and his four Korean pseudo-spawns, there's no one else. My parents are living together in another address which is currently located in a 4x4 ft. hole in the ground amidst grassy lawns and marble headrests. So, while the entire country is spending their salaries to honor their padre de familia, others like me prefer to stay home. This, I empathize with the countless Filipinos separated from their loved ones- OFWs working in foreign lands, orphans languishing in rescue centers, and children whose parents were killed violently. How lonely they must all feel.

Still, it is cruel and arrogant to assume that everyone must fit into boxes marked "Normal Family." Normalcy is relative. Though it is in paper, in reality it's difficult to digest. Still, it would be nicer if we can still have that taste of being in a normal, complete, extended, non-dysfunctional family, wouldn't it?

"Losing family obligates us to find our family. Not always the family that is our blood, but the family that can become our blood. And should we have the wisdom that would open our door to this new family, we will find that the wishes we once had for the father, who once guided us, for the brother, who once inspired us..."
-from the movie, Finiding Forrester

June 09, 2007

Chanson d'Espoir Perdu

by: julsitos

Is there a sun beyond this night
to light my footsteps by?
Will they, the stars and moon burn bright
to share the tears I cry?

Tis the darkness, cold and hidden
so far from human touch,
blind, comforting and guilt-ridden,
filling the heart so much.

And yet the Lord has made it so
that men shall not despair
alone in death nor shall they go
consumed without compare.

Though wise men speak in flourished tongue,
to soothe this quivered mind,
to cloak in velvet, dreams unsung
in folly most unkind.

Forgive me, Lord, one cannot cope
the demons that have won.
Sustain this soul where there is hope
and rest where there is none.

June 03, 2007

The Unbearable Sadness of Being

The day Dra. Donut Kho died, the whole hospital staff wilted in their grief. From the nurses to the orderlies up to her co-residents, all of them felt a heavy burden weighed upon their shoulders with some even reinacting some parts from the film, "Crying Ladies" albeit trebled at a much telenovelesque tone. I felt bad when I learned about her demise. I saw Dra. Kho during my ER duty but I've never felt close to her- probably that's because I haven't had a one-on-one conversation with her. This is why I didn't cry for her passing.

Conversely, I broke down one ER night when my patient who went back for another check-up died. A few weeks prior to her death, this patient went to the ER due to chest pain. ECG findings showed to be consistent with angina. And Angina is just a Troponin away from being a Myocardial infarction. I strongly suggested to the family that she be admitted at the ICU pending a Trop-I result. This patient vehemently refused to be admitted and her children were helpless in forcing the old lady to do so. In the end, she went home against medical advice. Fast forward a couple of weeks: same patient came in due to chest pain but this time her lungs were congesting. Same ECG findings and her condition was not that good. Fast forward one hour: I was doing an Ocho-ocho on top of this patient's chest when the mother of the adjacent patient who took a swill of pestcide shouted at me complaining, "Why are you not giving us medical attention?! My patient needs help pronto! You're just trying to revive someone who will be dead anyway!" to which I retorted, "You have to ask the children of this patient if it's ok for me to leave her to die just so I can take a look at your patient who by her own stupid free will wished herself death anyway!" With that, the pesticide-drinking freak left my ER along with her ilk, and after a few minutes of hurriedly trying CPR, my own patient left this world.

People grieve for a lot of things but most cry because of a loss of a loved one. My mom once commented among her friends that I was a "dry" person- her acerbic way of describing me as emotionally unattached. That's true. I never feel grave emotions during melodramatic moments, of mushy-mushy sentimental moments or even a death of someone I am apathetic about. But after my parents died, I became more sensitive to the sadness of the someone's immediate loss. I feel terrible when patient's die and worse if I see his/her children, siblings, parents, co-workers wail and howl in front of the deathbed. It gives you a knot in the gut and your lacrimal ducts work overtime. I feel so bad because that patient could have been my mom, my dad, my sister, my other loved ones. And the feeling of death is oftentimes unbearable.

When my parents died, I was still in training and it was frustrating to see that I was helpless to do something for them considering the profession I was taking was the same field that could have saved them. It was gut-wrenching and mind-numbing. Now that I am in a position of direct intervention, I view patients who die under my service as that of my kin too. Perhaps this feeling of pain and sadness is merely a tranference of my own sad experiences, and that I am in a way making up for the times I wasn't helpful during my parents' death. And if my patient's die, I feel as if my own also died.

Naturally, not all patients were created equal, so it is only for those who I had a personal connection with to whom my tears are reserved. And limited they are.