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Of Drivers and Long Talks

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I’ve always been quite the talker. So when I was stuck in traffic for more than an hour somewhere in Makati on my way to Sampaloc from Macapagal, I had no other thing to do but to engage the driver in a small talk. But only because I got bored singing to songs from a well-chosen Spotify playlist. I was meaning to ask the driver what the playlist title was but I figured we weren’t that close. Of the many days that I decided to study out and check out the new Starbucks branch, I chose today. Today when there was traffic that I did not anticipate. Today, when there was two-hours worth of rain and thunderstorm. Today, when truck ban was lifted. (It seemed like so.)

This week I’ve been on done a lot of commuting. A lot. And it’s Finals week. I had to de-stress as I’ve been taking examinations for more than a month now. Can you imagine? To keep my sanity, I had to see the inside of a shopping mall, eat out with Med friends, and of course, hang with my friends from high school. Why else would I call them my constants? Sigh. But enough about this misery. I know what my classmates are thinking as soon as they stumble upon this post, “how on earth did she find time to write something like this?” Beats me. To be honest. But this week has been eventful. I’ve been mistaken three times for being anything but a Waray-waray. The first one I forgot who asked; the second time by my dermatologist who thought that I was Ilongga because of my “malumanay” accent, which ironically is the very opposite of Waray accent. On the same day my Uber driver told me that I did not have the probinsyana accent when we were on the subject of probinsyanos living in Manila. I easily transition when the situation (and the place) needs me to.

Speaking of drivers, the long (just some two hours) of sitting down and talking with the driver was fun today. I met Kuya Ericsson today. He shares the same fate as me, as we both were named Baby Boy and Baby Girl, respectively. At least that’s what our birth certificates say our names our. There were so many things in common between us. We both graduated as nurses. He shared that the reason why he wasn’t practicing his degree was because he had a child when he was 23. He entered the BPO industry to earn money for his budding family. At present, he is happily married, raising their eight-year old child. I think that he is in a good place in life right now as both he and his wife are earning. Sadly, he can’t have more children because of unforeseen circumstances. He was so nice because he did not complain about the traffic even when it was I who was between him and seeing his family a little earlier. I’m really sorry. To make up for this I paid PHP 300 for a PHP 215-worth ride. Later on I received four calls (that weren’t supposed to be missed, by the way) from him. It was a little creepy so I didn’t bother returning the call. I then received a text message that said I was enrolled in a promo so that I only had to pay PHP 139. It was too much effort to go downstairs and get my change so I had him keep it. After all it was too much to endure two hours of traffic with me.

Thankfully, there are still nice drivers out there. Last Saturday I had the opportunity to meet this other driver whose name I forgot but I do remember that he doubles as an assistant cameraman for TV5. He is a proud father of two. He is surprising his eldest daughter with an iPhone 5S because he is a cool Dad. He hated the passenger before me because she didn’t behave well around him. He is a frustrated lawyer, but pursued being a seaman. He later on decided to give up working as a seaman as he can now afford a comfortable life for his family of four. Oh, and he’s been to our town in Eastern Samar. How cool is that? This is how we got to the topic on accents.
Like all children, I’ve been reminded countless times before to never speak to strangers. But here’s the thing, there’s something about talking to strangers that’s a little interesting. They can judge you for all they want because what little odds there are that your paths will cross again. You can openly talk about something without having to worry if they think otherwise because then the conversation keeps going. You’ll be surprised with the number of things you have in common, and the many interesting things there are that were once unheard of. But more importantly, at least for me, I’m happy whenever they talk about their family the way I do: all smiles, and optimistic. I wish all fathers were like them, hard-working and family-oriented. I wish all drivers were like them, careful and easy to talk to. I never heard them cuss, by the way. This is difficult to stop yourself from doing as driving in Manila can be a handful at times.

From where I’m sitting I can see my Med2 handouts calling for me, somehow shouting my name to have me read them. It is the least bit enticing and I need every ounce of motivation to read them right now because I am one exam away from clerkship. So, pray for me?

I will not re-read what I have written because I really don’t have the time.

Waking up and finding out it’s not my day

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I’ve been told by many that I have a problem with waking up. I know, who doesn’t? But this one’s legitimate. It’s a struggle.

I used to stay at a dormitory back in college. My good friend/ roomie Jja never fails to remind me that I’m the biggest loser when it comes to setting alarms. She never fails, up to this day. And I still haven’t changed. Even up to this day. There used to be times when she’d wake up to my alarms. It’s embarrassing. I can’t quantify how much I want to change. We all know it’s a bad habit, being alarm-dependent. And in my 22 years of existence, more than three quarters of which I have spent in school, I have never felt more sorry than today.

Why on earth did I allow myself to fall asleep when I know that I have an exam in Neuroscience 2? Last Friday, we already had a quiz on the same topics and as i have evaluated I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t, at all. So I told myself that it was alright because I have next week (that’s today) to make up for my last week. I was in for a big surprise when I read nothing, absolutely nothing, for today’s big exam. Have you ever been in a similar situation? Trust me you do not want to experience that. We’ve been having daily exams and quizzes for two weeks now, and maybe I am getting tired. I’m not giving up on my new-found dream, but maybe I deserve the right to actually complain. And even when I try to reason out for myself that I am just tired, then why aren’t my classmates? How come they are still functional? Optimally functional.

That’s the thing. There’s no one else to blame but me. For not setting so many alarms, for not waking up to any of the many alarms, and for being a little too lax. And even more so because I have even started putting the blame on others. How unbelievable can I get, right?

As expected, Neuroscience Quiz 2 was very difficult. I was so proud of myself after last year’s quizzes. While most of my classmates were busy memorizing answers to sample exams, I was hitting the books. Seriously, I was a total nerd for Neuroscience back then. I was studying because I enjoyed it. IF only I could get the zest back, and lose the perpetual exhaustion.

Where do I sign up for time management?

In our defense

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Please refer to the above newspaper article that has been circulating in social networks this week. I don’t think I can ignore it, nor bear not doing anything about it.

While I salute you for your brave statements in your now-published article, I think I’m only doing this out of respect. I should say that I am with you in calling to this country’s senators so that they could experience first-hand what it is like to find yourself in a public (supposedly prestigious) hospital. I commend your efforts in raising public awareness of the consequences for pretend doctors.

However, those could be the only positive notes I gather from reading your thoughts. I can’t help but comment on so many points, even stopping myself from typing the first things that came into my mind the first time I read your work. I talked myself into rereading because I might be missing your point. Did you write the article to get on the good side of Sen. Miriam so that she can back you up in saying that the hospital you visited is beyond disappointing? Or were you telling the world that you didn’t get the attention you think you were due? Because from what I read you were only as arrogant as the nurse you described to us.

Irresponsible Journalism

First, can you imagine how the doctor that paid attention to you and your patient felt when he read your article? How would it feel to a doctor to be called a fake doctor when he was only doing his job? Worse, when he is actually a doctor? To answer your question (your title), resident doctors are real doctors. Do your research.

While I recognize that it is your right to share about everyday experiences and topics that appeal to people or those that raise awareness, I think it’s unfair that you get back at people publicly, that is, releasing your personal vendetta against health professionals through a broadsheet read by millions of people where the people you write about wouldn’t be able to defend themselves. But good job in not naming them, or didn’t you only because you didn’t get the names since there were no name tags?

It’s still a bold move, sharing your experience. I ask you these: Do you think that publicly humiliating health professionals could get you better service from them? Once your article was published, did you feel a sigh of relief because in a way you were able to evaluate the hospital on how poorly they have served you and your friend? Did that sigh of relief alleviate the country’s problems on budget cuts in the health sector? I think not.

Calling on a Government

This begs the question: Are government hospitals really that bad? I’m not writing to drive away patients from public hospitals. As a matter of fact, I would highly recommend a government (general) hospital to anyone who wants to have quality care because they have the best health professionals despite limited resources. But, even our public officials can’t see that, because they know that pieces of equipment of advanced technology cannot be found in these hospitals? They prefer private hospitals to public ones even when a week’s stay in the most deluxe of rooms in the former is way, way cheaper than a day’s stay in a private room in private hospitals? I ask you to think and think hard, where does the problem lie?

Now I ask the columnist, when you found yourself at the emergency room for a friend, how many doctors were on duty. Can you estimate the nurse-patient ratio? Do you have anything against people not in uniform? Disregard my last question! I only asked because there are what we call relievers (Again, research is a function of responsible journalism.), who come to the rescue of areas having large nurse-patient ratios. It could have been that the nurse who saw your friend just came in and haven’t the chance to change into uniforms because the nurse saw it more important to assess your friend, and was later on turned off by how rudely you answered her first question. Also, residents needs not wear uniforms because well they’re pretty much on their own as they already are full-fledged doctors.

Good nurses make ocular surveys; the first sight of a patient gives him or her hint of what the problem might be. But it’s standard to ask what the problem is to accurately note the chief complaint of the patient, and consequently address the problem. Now, I think you would prefer this than a nurse who assumes what the patient’s problem is, and goes ahead with poor diagnosing and planning. That would lead you to publishing articles on medical and nursing malpractice. I certainly wouldn’t want that.

Moreover, did you have a good look around the ER? You weren’t getting your fair share of attention from you the doctor. But who was? You were made to wait an hour or two before your next conversation with a health professional. But who wasn’t? The point is that one must be open-minded. Did you think twice before judging others? Did you even consider for one minute whether or not the staff was having a bad day, or more difficult patients, or even more toxic patients such that the care rendered for your patient was delayed? Or did you think that not attending to you and your friend immediately was on purpose? Now, why would we do that? Not unless we are the kind of people who are worth talking about in publications.

But no one deserves such treatment. In the first place, rendering care should never be delayed. In the ideal world, doctors should be in the same room as the patient seconds within a call. In the ideal world, every health-related need should be addressed immediately, every order carried out when it should be carried out. But that’s in the ideal world. In a country like ours that is far from ideal, we make do of the resources we have. We learn to compromise, our experiences teach us to prioritize very well. We schedule our staff so that they have maximum amount of adequate rest so that they can serve others optimally, because we can only employ this many nurses in one ward any one night. We can’t cater to every procedure because some machines may not be available, either broken or operating on specific times only. Do you wonder how much the hospital owes the electric company?

Collective Effort, anyone?

We can only hope that the government wouldn’t turn a blind eye on our situation, and that the public be informed of the need for a better healthcare system, especially now that we are months away from electing (hopefully) responsible leaders. We have to know that for us to provide quality care we can’t cut the supplies short. We should get rid of band aid solutions: limit the number of doctors/ nurses/ other professionals employed because we can’t afford the salary, train doctors to tell patients drugs one and two are must-buys and the rest only when they have change, impose health professionals to communicate in English so we can cater to locals and foreigners alike, when that shouldn’t be the case. Think long term! How about we increase our budget allocation for the health sector so that health is indeed abot-kaya? How about improving the standard of education rather than exempting students from taking entrance exams only for us to say this country has more scholars? Then wouldn’t you say that we are indeed producing qualified professionals? And how about a more humane milieu for our workforce, and appropriate compensation that comes on time?

May this article serve as an eye-opener, as the author asked. But in my experience, you should see what it’s like having to stay in these dismal (Haven’t you heard it’s the new normal?) hospitals, longer? Lucky for you, you only had to stay for minutes, hours, days. What about those who are chronically ill who are constant need of medical attention for months, years, but can’t financially afford the rent for machines because perhaps the government has failed them once again in another way? While I ask you to cut our health professionals some slack because they have to put up with this upsetting situation every day, I also encourage you to look at the bigger picture. We have to be responsible for the things that we say, check and double check them, and to understand that what we have is only the product of what we can fight for. I’m sure that the author wasn’t at all pleased with her experience and just had to share her sentiments. If only we could make a more collective effort, a call more clarion, for the government to actually take notice, then there’s no need for another media ruckus.

Found a new hobby

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I’ve been trying this new hobby for two weeks now. Mom and I have been a little busier nowadays because we can’t stop baking. Take a look at these:

Well, it started when Little sis Bing made these Graham balls


Mom wanted to give baking some more time, afterall the oven’s just there waiting to be used. So we made this batch of Revel bars:


And because I enjoyed baking that much, Mom taught me how to bake Chocolate Chip Cookies. Some were more like breads because they never got that cookie-hard feel. I was feeling thankful when this batch came out of the oven just perfect:


But I was most happy when something like this came out of the oven:

    Boy, did it taste so perfect! It looked perfect and tasted perfect. Hahah!
Mom insists we bake an Upside Down Cake the next time, but I wasn’t sold on the idea. We’ll see. Hehe. I’m so happy with this new-found interest.

Road to RN

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Today is the first day of the May 2015. Nursing Licensure Exam.

Because I feel like  I have oi idea what the world outside of Medicine feels like in the past month, it was only last Monday when I remembered claiming my Nursing license.   

 Well, well, well, who do we have here? A registed nurse claiming her license! 

More than a month after the issued date of claim, I headed to PRC not expecting the long queue, armed with a handfan and a bottle of water. The items I had with me were with me because it was the summmer and it’s reason enough. Had I known that the building was full, I would have postponed heading there. Two hours later, I had my hands on my baby. Sorry, I can’t post my actuad ID. The feeling, for some, would have been surreal. I was just happy. It’s not because I’m not grateful. Believe me, I don’t think I can ever thank the high Heavens enough. I just feel like I could have done better. Around this time last year I was still in the province enjoying what was left of my vacation, while my college classmates were attending review classes. And I was among those who had to enroll in Medicine July of last year. The exam was last November. I wasn’t panicking. Even if I did want to study, I did not have Nursing books or notes with me. Well, I was convincing myself I did nit have the resources so as not to study just yet. 

My classmates who were also going to attend Medicine last year had the same plan – to attend the review on weekends. What we did not expect was that we had classes on Saturday mornings. That was our loss because that time was alloted to studyifor the board exam. Hoping that I weould feel more motivated because of the nearing date, I allowed pressure to set in. And so….  

Sometime in July i was busy watching movies with some new-found friends. Here’s a picture of our tickets to an awesome Marvel flick. 

 Sometime in August my review center switched buildings. As someone without a trace of sense of direction, I didn’t bother asking where the new location was. Instead, I brought some boooks with me and studied at a nearby coffee shop. Unexpectedly some of my college classmates joined me in the afternoon as they planned to ditch the afternoon session at their review center. Here’s evidence…

 Feeling tired from all the catching up I had to do in review classes, I had the guts to take time off  school reviewing and get a night life with some friends. Don ‘t judge me when you see this. 

  
As soon as the semester ended, my subsect – mates and I headed to this amusement park two hours away from the city. Really, I was thinking I had the luxury of time when it comes to reviewing. I think I really need one of those reality checks, if I even knew what those meant. I’m gutsy alright, but I wasn’t crazy enough to ride this one.


 Tic-tok! I figured time was flying by.   Because weekdays weren’t enough to cover everything, a few friends spent weeknights with me. I think coffee shops were happy because we frequented them night and day.  
   

The weekend before the actual boards, Dad came for a visit. Nah, he was attending a convention. They were housed at Solaire. While Dad was having dinner with the company, my sisters were having fun at the Casino. Guess where I was? At the cheapest restaurant I can find within the establishment. Sadly, it wasn’t at all cheap. I could hear my wallet crying. As common courtesy, I had to buy my sisters slices of cakes when they joined me later on that night. But that was sumptous anyway 

 

I was freaking out nights before the actual boards. On the very day, we didn’t have a helper with us yet, so I had to prepare my own meals. I went  so far as renting a cab and a driver a day before so as to avoid being late on those two days. The emotional turmoil that set in was too much to handle. I would never wish for anyone to go through WHAT i had been through. 

Again, I was unprepared to take this make or break exam. THANKFULLY, everything paid off. I even had a good grade which, I soon learned, qualified to the top 20. Thank God. Balancing first year Med and nursing boards was tricky, but getting through both at the same time was feasible. There isn’t much here about diligence, but this sure is a story of dedication. My hopes of becoming a Registered Nurse was the only thing that got me through. 

I wish this year’s examinees luck and optimism. Sometimes we aren’t left with much choice, but keeping a positive mind can spell all the difference. 

What I Learned from Bicohemistry

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I don’t think I will forget that fateful day I took my fourth shifting exam in Biochemistry. It left that kind of impression on me, this subject. Let me give you a brief background of how I fair in Any Science subject. 

I can’t say I’m dumb, simply because I don’t believe anyone is. I do well in all most subjects, except Filipino. I try to do my best during Science class. Back in Gradeschool, I’d compete in division or regional levels in these fields. Come. High School, I pretty much left my interest in Science behind, and focused on enjoyed Maths. I really did. It may have been cryptic for some, but it was my private language. 

Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and even Physics weren’t my thing, as I learned later on. Sure I’d stay long during elimination rounds, but I get eliminated anyway. (I know, right?! Who else had to go through that? You deserve a pat on the back, my friend.) In college, I had to endure DPSM subjects 5x. I passed them all, getting exempted at times. I’d have to say. Org Chem and Biochem were the worst. Although it seemed as if I was fairing well in Biochemistry, doing better than half the class did, I still didn’t get exempted from taking the Final. This is a sad story. 

Did I mention I am a Medical student at present? Don’t even start. I did have a hard time, barely passing some of my quizzes. I even failed an entire shift. Seniors, including my elder sister, said this is common. To me, this was unacceptable. But the thing is, I could not get myself to study harder in this subject. The topics were getting more abstrac, and the exam questions got even more complicated. And so, on the fourth (of five) shift, I was in for a ride. My grad was at the minimum, and this quiz was given on the same day as our third quiz of that shift.    

    This was how I pictured myself as I walked back to my chair after submitting my first Biochem quiz for that day. I was mouthing the exact same words, and the people who saw me were mouthing,  “I know, right?” and gesturing how difficult and crazy that quiz was. The only consolation I had for myself was that I wasn ‘t the only one who found the exam difficult.  But there was no denying the frustration I felt that time. Here was an opportunity I had for me to raise my grades, and I just let it slide. It’s not like I intended not to study, I just didn ‘t give it my all. The sad thing was that I knew it. Even sadder was that it was only the first of three Biochem quizzes. By the time I took my other quizzes hope was draining fast.  

In taking up that course, I figured that I should be more patient in reading, that nothing is ever easy, and that thinking that something is difficult will only make things more difficult. Assuming that concepts are understood when we really don’t is the first step in fooling ourselves. Because there are several lecturers, it is best to learn their examination styles. Some teachers demand the most specific words, others stick to what appears in bold letters. Some bother to give handouts yet ask questions that you only cone across during his / her lectures. No matter how annoying this sounds, we can ‘t blame them because it is our responsibility to pay full attention to them regardless of how much of sleeping pill they are. There would even come a point when I ‘d ask myself whether or not the lecturer was that knowledgeable or plainly showing off. Those times I can ‘t help but whisper, “Undivided attention. Undivided attention.” Times are trying when you look around and see that half of the class is asleep. Every point counts. 

Thankfully, I passed this annoyingly study time-consuming subject. I hope and pray I don ‘t go through all that hullaballoo again. The better me knows how hard I will work on my second year subjects. 

On to second year…  🙂

The many influences of KP

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I’m going home in a few days. I can not emohasize how excited I really am. I am going to miss the big city. But I don’t think anything can replace all-day laziness, getting up at noon, and no limit on any food that’s fresh. 🙂 But that’s not today’s story.

Let me introduce you to KP. Today I will be heading to some mall to fetch KP’s gadget. He’s this uncle of mine, whose creativity is overflowing. After losing his camera to some natural disaster (I’m sure everyone’s heard of Haiyan and it’s devastating effects on the Philippines), he now has enough finances to buy himself a new high-end camera. By the way, he is building himself a house. He’s that rich now.  *wink*
You know how when you were a  kid you wabnted to have someone to look up to. Well, both my parents were too busy to engage us in any new activity, that having KP visit us at home was a way of introducing to us new hobbies and new gadgets. For a while, he even got me into photography. But I didn’t have the skill, or the keen eye on things. Below is exhibit A.

  
                                                                                                 Exhibit A
Somehow, going home reminds me of KP. He kind of always surprises us. He does not live with us. My parents always want to have something new at home when we (my sisters and I) go back home. Most of the times, we would come home to parties, and KP will be there cooking the most delicious of foods in town (go ask our frequent visitors who have known him by now), and the most beautiful of flower arrangements. I told you his creativity is beyond any limit. 

May I also add that he is the best driving teacher around. In my college years, my father taught me how to drive. Mostly, it was my siblings and I who were scared to death. It was not because we were driving, but because our Dad would go all-Daddy on us like some high-ranking military officer. He’s a physician. When one day Dad was busy (as in most days), KP would come to the rescue. With him, it’s all chill. 

That is what I learned from spending time with him. When I grow up, I want to be like him. He may not have been successful with his first career (he studied Physical Therapy), but he is happy with where he is right now, and that’s all him. It’s one thing that he has put his talents into good use, and another that he is sharing with others. As far as I know, he is the definition of a happy go lucky person, not giving a care in the world. Of course he cares, he just preferes to see the brighter and lighter things in life. 

The things I stumble Upon

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So I have just come from an overnight to finish our Community Diagnosis final output. I was very tired from two months of 8-hour nursing work in the hospital, and all-nighters when I get home. To cut the long story short, my groupmate and I slept the night away out of exhaustion But before that, I was at a friend’s birthday celebration. It was a mix of emotions I had last night. 

When Isa and I woke up (when we weren’t really supposed to, as we shouldn’t have had any sleep), we hurried to each of our appointments back in Manila.  I felt awake because I had my dose of Venti Java Chip. I decided to check my e-mails and my social networks. I stumbled upon this:

 

http://www.upworthy.com/a-pregnant-woman-learns-her-baby-has-down-syndrome-people-who-have-it-answer-her-one-big-question-2?g=3&c=ufb1

I think back to my last two weeks at the hospital, when I had the opportunity to care for a particular infant. He has Down Syndrome. He was the cutest child in the Ward. I’ll say that even if it were uncalled for. He would cry when it weren’t his mother’s touch. eventually I was allowed by him to care for him when his mother was out to buy needs. 

I deeply appreciate his mother’s sacrifices, her every effort to be the most caring individual at the age of 39. She is such an inspiration. Although uncertain of his and her future, she did not show a sign of anxiety. She wanted to be a mother, and she is doing such a great job. I wish all the best for them.

The ER Experience

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Perhaps the best thing about my ER experience was the fact that I wasn’t on the receiving end of it. As a student-nurse at the UP College of Nursing, one can’t help but ask why I had to be where I was at. Simple. I was on duty.

September 3, 2013

 I have been assigned, reassigned, and then assigned again to an intubated client. Maybe my buddy nurse didn’t think that I wasn’t busy enough monitoring my patient, and the darned cardiac monitor attached to her, that I was given another client to attend to. So yes, I was staff nurse for a day. Almost. My primary patient’s ECG leads were loosely attached to her, her bed reeked because her relatives refused to completely clean her, and they have been ambu-bagging (manual resuscitating bagging) since the break of dawn. There was nothing to feel but empathy. IT’s a good thing they were Bisaya, the communication was at least easy. Having to tell them that I was Bisaya pud made the trust part easier.

My client didn’t upset me, because she was obedient. Her relatives were weary, but they managed to accommodate me in their crisis. It was actually the codes we’ve had that day. When I arrived at the ER for my duty, there were people crowding around this one window at the ACU of the ER complex. One of the patients had a code (cardio-pulmonary arrest). I was one of the lucky three, *rolls eyes*, who were assigned to the Acute Care Unit. There were patients who went into arrest, and then revived, and then arrested again. I knew right then that I wasn’t that lucky. Scratch that. I knew during endorsement that I was unlucky, having overheard two nurses talk about how they managed five codes in one shift. So much for first days, right?

Bottomline is that I enjoyed working with the intern who was assigned to my patient. Although he wasn’t as quick during procedures (I have to say that my client and her veins were a bit difficult), I felt valued as a nurse. At first I thought that he was looking down on me, as I was only a nurse. I thought that he was amazed that fourth year student-nurses like myself should have no idea was ABG extraction and AFB aspirations were for. I swear I heard him say, “Wow!” when I guessed the procedures. The thing is that I wasn’t guessing. All I wanted was for him to tell me what he was doing so that I could assist him in such procedures. I was about to suction my parent’s ET tube while he was doing his ABGs, that would have been very stressful for my client. I just appreciated that he treated me like an equal, getting my name and all. I tried to be as efficient as I can be, proving cotton balls, and doing techniques to aspirate phlegm. I even took two syringes because he was extracting blood from sclerotic veins. I got him two partly because I knew he would be needing a spare one, he won’t be able to get it right the first time. He also told me that his next rotation will be in the ICU. See you when I see you, good sir.

I had to pray hard for fewer codes the next time we go on duty at the ER. I was very much teary-eyed when I narrated everything to my parents. But as doctors, they too think that I shouldn’t get too attached, and that life at the ER has always been this stressful. People have to be on their feet.

September 5, 2013

 I met the good clerk, Ma’am Cza. If anything, she was very accommodating. She didn’t stay long because she had to attend the lecture this Dr. Samson had to give somewhere. The intern assigned to the triage was also approachable. At one point, he doubted the way I assessed the tachypnea my patient had. In my defense, that client had pulmonary tuberculosis, which is consistent with my findings. Nevertheless, he gave us cases to manage.

I very much appreciated the nurses at the ER. They manage to smile despite the stressors there are in the ER. They were cracking jokes, and kept telling funny stories. But our conversations were also very educational in that they readily answer questions we had on being nurses, on the foundations of nursing. I think that these kinds of dispositions are important in such toxic areas because they alleviate the gloomy mood. Thank God I met these people.

The ER complex at the Philippine General Hospital is like a mini-hospital within a hospital. It has its departments, and it never runs out of people. I feel very lucky to have been able to work here. 

On Those Who Have and those who haven’t

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UP Manila suspended classes before 12 midnight. Now this is news. It is routine for this school to officially announce suspension of classes in the wee hours of the morning. Exactly a week ago, a tweet from the administration said that students would we have to wait until 4 in the morning for the official announcements. Because of this, my roommates and I, who by the way were deep into studying, felt comfortable in having an early bed time. And so, at 6 in the morning, we were all awakened by an alarm clock (Now, I don’t remember whose). Having the same thing in mind, the three of us bolted up to a seated position, hopeful grins on our faces. I was brave enough to say what was on our minds, “Does this mean..?”, but was too excited to check for the announcements that I didn’t even finish my sentence.

After checking Twitter, and Facebook, we were all smiling. It’s not that we didn’t want to go to school. Okay, so you got me, I didn’t. Seriously, it’s the middle of the semester, and we all need a break. WE ALL DO. But now the way I see things has changed.

Today, Lulu, Kate, and I were too lazy to think of ways to get back in Manila from Antipolo. I think that I’ll have to provide a different entry for last night (Ranz’s birthday party). Anyway, there were harsh winds, and even harder downpours that were obstacle-like. It has been raining since yesterday. I contemplated against going to Ranz’s party. Having been giving the go signal by my parents, I felt that the entire decision rested on my shoulders. And so despite the bad weather, I went. We stayed up late. Since all three of us were tired and busy, we woke up at 9 in the morning. We didn’t get up until 11, when Tita Rose knocked on the door to remind us that food was a physiologic need. We were too busy doing our thing that we remembered we might have overstayed our welcome. We didn’t notice the time until it said 4 PM. By this time, the rain was getting heavier, and branches from weak trees were falling.

It was a long ride(s) going home. But my last mode of transportation was the most memorable. It was still raining hard when I was riding a pedicab to the dorms, when I saw a homeless man in his carton-built shanty to make for a home. He had a candle as his sole source of lighting for the entire four-walled home. He looked at me as my transit passed his little house. I wondered how he will be tonight, remembering PAG-ASA’s warning that Sunday will bring us moderate to heavy rains. He had a dog with him. I thought at least he had company. But then, I also thought of the cons of having a company. That meant less share of food for him. Until I reached the porch of the dormitory, I realized that there really wasn’t anything I could do tonight. It’s seven in the evening, and I have to feed myself.

I didn’t feel like eating tonight. A knock on my dorm room came at 9 in the evening, telling us to get out laundries from the laundry area before the winds blow them. And so I did. I thought of the old man. I know that wet clothes are the least of his trouble. It’s the damp environment that the one window in his house is causing him right now that he’s worried about. I know. Did he have anything to eat? I didn’t feel hungry, but I bet he was, or he might at least have wished that he had something to eat to keep him warm.

My train of thought was interrupted when I saw one of the sisters (my favorite nun) was working. She seemed to be busy with evacuating the water from the open area because, apparently, the drainage wasn’t working. I didn’t have thoughts before saying, “Sister, do you need help?” And even before she could say anything, I helped her lift basins and threw water into the sink. I thought we had better use for the water that would soon become waste, but then it wasn’t the best time to tell Sister Magda that. She was too pre-occupied and focused. Soon, my other dorm mates joined us evacuate rainwater. I felt happy helping my favorite nun. Later on, she promised us desserts.

Another dorm mate came. She told us that there now is an official announcement. We rejoiced. I thought “God is really good. He knew that I didn’t do academic-related stuff because I was too busy attending a birthday party. Praise God.” Then my dorm mates began complaining about exams being moved, and projects being delayed. But of course, it felt almost sarcastic. A rest day is all we needed. And there I was again, thinking of the old man. Will there be anything, any announcement, that’d come to him that would bring as much joy as an announcement of class suspension. I think I will never know. But I sure hope that he finds his family, or someone who is much much braver than me, and more willing than me to help him.