What Your Doctors Always Promise You (But probably don’t tell you)

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RMC Department of Internal Medicine Residents with their Chairman and Training Officers.

 

As early as medical school, it has always been emphasized to never promise anything to patients –otherwise, we might just be giving them false hopes. For the science of Medicine is never stagnant and ever changing. Its art sometimes more philosophical than logical. And with the advent of modern technology and new discoveries, its practice has never been this sophistically complicated.

 

Medicine has its glorious moments, and it has its gloomy days. We’ve had patients who came in dead, but went home walking. We’ve also had days when we admitted a seemingly well patient accompanied by his wife in the morning, who unfortunately ended up a widow in the afternoon.

 

But no matter what condition your patient has –be it benign or toxic, simple or complicated, rest assured that we are doing everything we can. From the moment the very innocent-looking, young, and vibrant intern gets your medical history and examines you, to the time the tired and famished resident redoes all the things the intern did and makes your admitting orders, to the time your attending physician visits you, it doesn’t stop there. We prepare for each and every patient we see -from the usual late night readings, to the constant case discussions made during our regular conferences, to the daily rounds we do, until the day you are sent home.

 

So no, you will never hear us promise you a good outcome. But to tell you honestly, here’s one thing we, your doctors, always promise to do: that in every patient we see, in every case we encounter, no matter what the outcome is, we will always give you our best. That’s what we are trained to do, and that’s what Medicine is all about.

 

To burn all candles, exhaust all efforts, and explore all possibilites –all for the care and comfort of those who entrusted their lives to us. This is our promise to you. It has always been, and will always be.

Papasa ka.

Isang linggo na lang.

Isang linggo na lang bago ka kumuha ng pinaka-importanteng pagsubok sa iyong buhay.

Isang linggo na lang bago ka magiging ganap na Filipinong doktor -doktor na Filipino, para sa mga Filipino.

 

Huwag kang kabahan.

Huwag kang kabahan sapagka’t pinaghandaan mo ang pagsusulit na ito nang limang taon.

Simula noong una mong makilala si Gray, si Guyton, si Bates, si Katzung, at si Harper noong first year..

At nang sinubukan mong mahalin nang buong buo si Robbin noong second year.. kahit minsan ayaw niya sa iyo, binibigay mo pa rin ang lahat…

At nang ginabayan ka nina Harrison, Schwartz, Nelson, at ni William noong third year hanggang naging intern ka.

Kasama na dun ang iyong mga guro, mga seniors, mga residente, mga manong at manang sa ospital, at ang pinakamahalagang tumuro sa’yo sa iyong “hospital exposures” -ang iyong mga pasyente. 

Kaya’t huwag kang kabahan. Apat na araw lang ang pagsusulit. Limang taon kang naghanda. 

 

Magpasalamat.

Magpasalamat dahil sa libu-libong taong gustong maging doktor, ikaw ay nabigyan ng pagkakataong makapasa sa medikal skul at makapagtapos ng internsip. Magpasalamat dahil hindi lahat ng nagsimula ay nakapagtapos. Hindi lahat ng nakapagtapos ay nabigyan ng pagkakataong kumuha ng bord eksam.

Kaya’t sa natitirang mga araw bago ang pagsusulit, habang kumukuha ng pagsusulit, at pagkatapos kunin ang pagsusulit, ugali-ing palaging magpasalamat. 

Magpasalamat ka sa iyong mga kaibigan at kakalase -sila ang tumulak sa iyo na magpatuloy noong mga pagkakataong gusto mo nang huminto sa sobrang hirap at pagod nang pagmemedisina.

Magpasalamat ka sa iyong mga pasyente, mga seniors, mga residente, at iyong mga guro. Malaking bahagi ng nalalaman mo ngayon ay dahil sa kanila.

Magpasalamat ka sa iyong mga magulang -nandito ka ngayon dahil sa kanila.

Magpasalamat ka kay Sir Broli at sa team ng Topnotch -malaki ang naitulong nila sa pagrerebyew mo para sa eksam. Kahit hindi ka man nag-enrol, alam naman nating lahat nagpafotoks ka ng Topnotch Notes (aminin! Bawal magsinungaling bago ang boards, baka hindi i-“bless” lol)

Magpasalamat ka sa Maykapal. Lahat ng meron tayo ngayon ay galing sa Kanya.

 

Papasa ka.

Maniwala ka sa sarili mo. Lahat ng hirap at pagod na iyong naranasan sa paaralan…

Lahat ng pagpupuyat mo sa ka-aaral habang kumukuha ng vital signs q15 ng iyong mga pasyente para lang makapaghanda sa morning endorsements…

Lahat ng mga okasyon sa pamilya na hindi ka naka-atend, lahat ng pagtatampo niyo ng iyong mahal sa buhay…

Lahat ng iyon ay humubog at naghanda sa iyo para sa pagsusulit na ito.

Kaya’t maniwala ka, papasa ka.

 

Hinihintay ka na.

Naghihintay sa iyo ang mga buhay na iyong masasalba… ang mga tatay, nanay, at anak na iyong mapapangiti… ang mga estudyanteng naghihintay na iyong maturu-an, ang mga problemang pangkalusugan na kayang kaya mong mabigyan ng solusyon.

Naghihintay sa iyo ang Pilipinas. Ang Pilipinas nating mahal. 

 

Isang linggo na lang. Huwag kang kabahan. Magpasalamat. Papasa ka. Hinihintay ka na.

 


Sa lahat nang kukuha ng bord eksam ngayong Setyembre, sinasama ko kayo palagi sa aking mga panalangin.

God be with you always. 

 

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Pic c/o Internet.

 

 

SUNDAY THOUGHTS… on Dreams.

It’s the last day of my 5-day leave from Residency and I decided to wake up early at 430am and do my usual daily routine to somehow “acclimatise” myself for work that comes the next day.

 

It was a dark gloomy morning at my condo in Shaw Boulevard. As soon as I stood up, I did my usual routine -two glasses of water, Morning Prayer, and the proverbial 20 push-ups. Then a pile of books on the coffee table started to catch my attention –they were Adams and Victor’s, Snell, Carpenter, Anschel, White, Goldberg, and Greenberg. I startled for a while. Thoughts rushed in. And suddenly I felt weak, knelt down, and tears started falling from my eyes –at first drop by drop… and then they just dripped and gushed out like that of a dam full of water that finally broke.

 

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The Books.

 

 

“Why Lord?” I asked. “What is the meaning of this? What is the meaning of life?”

 

I couldn’t control my emotions at that time, so I did what every sporty, poignant man would do – donned my running shoes and ran my heart out around Ortigas. After a good 5 kilometers, I started to reflect on what happened earlier. Why the sudden gush of emotions?

 

Well, maybe because those books symbolized dreams. Dreams that for some reasons drifted away from me… or was it me who allowed them to get away from my grasp?

 

Dreams are probably something that connects all of us, because we all had it since we were kids, and we definitely still have it now –some with the same childhood dreams, while some may have shifted and changed into adult dreams; some still striving hard to achieve their dreams, while some already living their dreams.

 

This morning’s bewilderment led me to remember a homily of a good friend, Fr. Xavier Olin, SJ, that he shared at Carmelite Monastery during one of his visits in Bacolod (the City where I grew up and where I’m currently based).

He said,

It is important to know and define your dreams… for they will guide you in finding your life’s purpose… But it is more important to know God’s dreams for you… for they are the answers to your heart’s desires.

 

As we try to realize our dreams, may we never forget that no matter how big our dreams are for ourselves, the biggest, grandest, and most important dreams would still be the dreams of God for us.

 

Our biggest challenge is how to figure them out. Some find it in an instant. While some, would have to go through a long series of ups and downs. Some would even lose their way in searching for it.

 

Let us not give up in finding out God’s dreams for us. Because even God himself will never give up on us. It is just there. We just have to find it. We just have to listen to our heart’s desire. We just have to listen to Him.

 

So let me ask you, what are your dreams? Do you think they are God’s dreams for you as well?

Liham Para sa Isang (Bagong) Residente

Dear “walang-kwentang, walang-alam na Resident” Self,

Hello.

Kumusta na?
Pagod na pagod ka na?
Titigil ka na ba?

Mas madaling sumuko. Mas madaling talikuran ang mga pagsubok at mga bunganga ng mga taong palagi na lang galit sa iyo na parang wala ka nang nagawang tama (o mga taong akala nila ay palagi na lang sila ay tama).

Pero ang tanong…
Magiging masaya ka ba pag matanda ka na at naalala mo na minsan ikaw ay naging residente sa isa sa pinakamagaling na ospital sa bansa pero tumigil ka dahil napagod ka?

Pahinga ang sagot sa pagod, hindi pagtigil.

Sapagka’t saan man at ano man ang iyong propesyon, kung ginagawa mo ang lahat nang maayos at binibigay mo ang iyong “best” sa mga ginagawa mo, nakakapagod talaga.

Balang araw, matatandaan mo ang lahat ng iyong pinagdaanan -lahat ng pagod, luha, galit, at saya na iyong naranasan bilang isang residente, at iyong mare-realize na lahat ng ito ay kailangan mong maranasan bilang parte ng proseso sa paghubog sa iyo hindi lang para ikaw ay maging isang magaling na doktor, kundi para maging isang makabuluhang doktor na may malasakit at pagmamahal sa kapwa. 

Okay lang mapagod, sapagkat kung ang kapaguran na pinagdadaanan natin ay nakakapangiti at nakakabuhay sa ibang tao, mas pipiliin kong mapagod habang buhay.

Palagi mong tandaan, hindi ka nag-iisa. May seniors ka at consultants sa likod mo, at may Diyos sa itaas. Hinding hindi ka nila pababayaan.

 

Remember the prayer you once wrote…

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Nagmamahal,

Your Future “Consultant” Self

People of My Year 2013.

What is this list all about? The belief that what matters most in life is not how many people you can affect and influence, but how deeply you affect and influence even one person. You need not be famous to make a difference in someone’s life. Being a positive influence on even just one person you know, that is what counts! -Bianca Gonzales

As 2013 has just ended, allow me to share with you the top ten people who have made the greatest impact in my life during the past year.

1. Lolo Koko

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Lolo Koko (my mom’s father) is already turning 82 years old this June, but is still an active member of Bacolod Tay Tung Hugh School’s Board of Trustees, and still holds office as the Comptroller of the school for almost 55 years already! Talk about dedication and commitment! Whenever I get the chance to go home to Bacolod, I always make it a point to have lunch / dinner at their house -aside from the superb meals that Lola Daling (his wife) cooks, Lolo Koko randomly blurts out nuggets of wisdom during meals! #Priceless

2. Dr. Carmelo Canto

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Dr. Canto is a hot-shot neurologist / neurosurgeon in Bacolod City. I first met him when I was working as an ICU nurse at Riverside Hospital and our friendship blossomed when I entered med school. Having trained at Philippine General Hospital (for both Neurology and Neurosurgery), he’s one bad-ass consultant you don’t want to mess around with. But despite his elite and intimidating facade, he is one of the most kind-hearted philanthropists I know. Despite the very lucrative life his practice offers, at the peak of his career he decided to sacrifice a part of his time and offered it to medical students by serving as the Dean of the College of Medicine of the University of St. La Salle. He recently became Dean Emeritus, and concentrates his time teaching surgical residents, medical interns, and clerks at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital -of course, along side his neurosurgeries left and right. Dr. Canto will always remind me, and I guess all the students he has taught, of the most important thing that will get us through life in general -“common sense.” He still visits me here at PGH every now and then, and would constantly remind me “Fred, what’s important in this life is that we make a difference. It doesn’t have to be something big. It can be as little as the daily habits that we do… how we talk to patients.. teaching our juniors.. and being responsible for the things we do.”

3. Dr. Bien Nillos

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A friend, a teacher, a fellow writer, a mentor, a father, a youth icon, a stand-up comedian, a medical doctor, a social change initiator, a professor, and the list goes on.. you name it, he is it. Dr. Bien works as a program manager at the Zuellig Family Foundation. Despite his work requiring him to spend most of his days travelling around the country, he makes it a point to fly to Bacolod almost every week to teach medical students in La Salle and of course, spend time with his family. Dr. Bien has been a constant mentor of mine since med school days, and by some kind of divine intervention, he constantly pops up at Robinson’s Manila (which is like my backyard being a medical intern at PGH) when I am in need of his mentorship the most. Kudos, Doc Bien!

He blogs at http://freudianslipofabacolodnon.blogspot.com/

4. University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital Medical Interns Class of 2014 BLOCK W

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 Block W is composed of Dr. Sittie Pundogar, Dr. Hope Sagayaga, Dr. Edge Remonte, Dr. Lennie Teodosio, Dr. Kay Rivera, Dr. Mindy Santiago, Dr. Julie Reyes, and myself. And oh, Trix din pala (emeritus).

Our block has everything.. as in EVERYTHING! May mabait, may masungit / mataray o suplado / suplada; may malaki, may maliit; may nawalan ng iPad; may tumigil, may pumasok; may chill lang palagi, may agit agit agit palagi palagi palagi; may pumapasok, may umaabsent.

We may have many differences, and we may have been through lot of difficult times, but mahal na mahal ko ang block na ‘to. As I posted in my Facebook account during Day 1 of internship, I STILL feel lucky and blessed to be part of Block W.

Block W, da best. Different from the rest. =)

5. My IM RICs (Residents).

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Dr. Ariston Bautista aka Sir A Bau

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Dr. Madelaine Amurao

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Dr. Trish Remalante

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Dr. Sheena Sy

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Dr. Dane Sacdalan

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Dr. Bryan Lim

These 5 doctors are Internal Medicine Residents at UP-PGH. Sir A Bau was my service senior and Maam Mady, Maam Trish, and Maam Sheena were my RICs -with the intense RIC – SIC interactions that happen in the IM wards at PGH, surely they have taught me priceless lessons not only in clinical medicine but more importantly values such as humility, perseverance, and love among others.

I never had the chance to be the SICs for Sir Dane and Sir Bryan, but both of them are well known for the principles they live by and their unique characteristics.

Sir Dane = ubod ng kabaitan, nagtuturo, at well, gwapo.

Sir Bryan = enthusiasm and passion for learning! And of course the infamous line “Saan si Denor? Nakita niyo ba si Denor?”

6. Mikee Retirado

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Kat’s sister -pretty, smart, simply sophisticated, chic, witty… a girl any guy would ask for. She recently gave up her lucrative job in a multi-national company to pursue her dream of becoming a lawyer. Currently, she’s taking up Juris Doctor at the Ateneo de Manila University Law School. Thank you, Mikeebee, for being a model and inspiration for me and Kat.

7. Dr. Jonas Bico

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Jonas is the president of UP College of Medicine Class of 2014. A good friend, he is my partner in food trips, jogging, and my go-to buddy at PGH. A friend of many, Jonas personifies humble leadership.

8. Friends for Life

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Corazon Fos

Coree has been my bestfriend for almost 10 years now, and although we only meet thrice or 4x a year, our friendship never fades. Despite her busy schedule, she is always (and I mean ALWAYS) there to the rescue whenever I need her -both in Bacolod and in Manila.

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Bryan Camado

Bryan has been my fellow-acolyte since college days. A soon-to-be priest then bishop then Pope, he constantly inspires me with his ways of prayerful living and love for solemnity.

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Classmates

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My Pakner, Tina Robles, and friends

My classmates -people whom I’ve been with for 4 years in medschool, has always been a constant source of comfort and inspiration through text messages and calls. And recently, Tina visited me in Manila! See you all soon guys!

9. My Parents

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Needless to say, I am who I am today because of you both. Because you raised me up well. Thank you, Mom and Dad. I love you both to pieces.

10. Ma. Katrina Domenica G. Retirado

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 A soon-to-be dermatologist, the wind beneath my wings, my stronghold. Hon, I know we have been through a lot this past year, but konti nalang. Malapit na. And soon, we’ll finally be together.

Thank you for everything. I love you. =)