Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2 Weeks Notice

She was about 4 or 5 years old and at the outpatient department for the 2nd time since last November because of a foul-smelling stuff coming from her right nose. Her nose was so swollen the first time that she was prescribed antibiotics and told to return after a week. But she wasn't brought back. The swelling subsided and even if the bad smell was still there her parents thought she would be ok.

She was brought back because the smell became stronger. All that could be seen in her nose was the mucous, and something black. And the smell... like something rotten.

She denied she put anything in her nose. But there was something black inside. It took almost 20 minutes to get it out - a now corroded battery which had been in her nose for about 3 months. With medications the smell will eventually disappear. But the battery had already leaked and could still cause the bones of her nose to collapse. Only time will tell. Hopefully this time she'll be brought in for follow up.

This is going to be something I will routinely see in the specialty I've chosen (finally). And the more I observe in the out patient department, the more I seem to be looking forward to start the training. Hopefully I'll also enjoy the major operations.

In 2 weeks I'll be starting my pre-residency. No salary for about 2 months. And there'll be 2 of us vying for the slot. I hope after 2 months it'll be me

Friday, January 14, 2011


All is well. Things have been falling into place like pieces of the puzzle. I finally faced the reason for my anxiety for the past few months - not the difficulty of choosing a residency program, but my not wanting to start training. I decided to try applying for ENT (a big part due to things I mentioned in my previous post) and so far I feel that I've made the right decision.

2011 is going to be a year of change and it seems not only for me but for a lot of people I know. Even the dates of the zodiac signs have changed :) After living the life of a Libra, I may be a Virgo after all.

Change can be scary sometimes but I think I'll get through. Now have to think of a new blog banner design to reflect the new things coming my way.

[UPDATE: so I'm still a Libra after all. Only those born 2009 and up are affected by the changes :| ]

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


when you're looking for something, you have to know, well, you have to know what you're looking for. So I shouldn't be surprised that after going from one hospital to another inquiring about available slots for residency that I'm not any nearer to making a decision because I don't really know what I want. At each one I was always asked, "What department?" and I didn't have an answer.

when mortals are faced with indecision they turn to a higher power and that was what I was doing while sitting at a bench near the entrance of a hospital. I think I was there for 15 minutes seemingly staring at nothing.

I don't know if my eyes were closed or I was so caught up with my thoughts that I couldn't see anything but suddenly I was nudged by someone and heard "bata pasok ka na (kid, go inside)". It was a doctor I knew who specialized in otorhinolaryngology (ENT - ears, nose, throat). I just stood up and followed him into the hospital making small talk. Just inside was another otorhinolaryngologist I knew. I parted ways with the 1st doctor and headed to the office where residency applications where accepted.

Why I was talking with the secretary about the open slots, a lady doctor (a resident) came into the office and sat next to me waiting her turn to talk to the secretary. As I was standing to leave, it just came to me to ask if there was an opening in the ENT department. And suddenly the lady doctor said, "yes". Turns out she was an ENT resident in the last 2 months of her training freeing up one slot when she did.

... so what do mortals do when we receive a sign?

... we doubt and ask for other signs.

and so I'm still looking, not knowing what I'm looking for.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Decade That Was

I’m at a crossroads again and saying I’m terrified is an understatement. The past 10 years was a fork in the road and it led me to:

1. a degree in Medicine
2. a degree in Nursing (don’t ask)
3. my first job (with pay)
4. my first delivery (of a baby)
5. new friends
6. old friends
7. 4 relationships
8. lose a laptop and 2 cellphones
9. own 5 cellphones
10. my first digital camera (S5IS)
11. my first DSLR (D5000)
12. Kalibo
13. Polillo
14. Baguio (5x)
15. Cagayan de Oro
16. Puerto Galera (3x)
17. Romblon
18. Subic (2x)
19. Baler, Aurora
20. Boracay (4x)
21. Christmas Vacations with Family (5x)
22. But the best thing that happened to me was I gained weight.

If you’ve been following this blog you know what I mean. There’s a reason I had so few pictures during before 2006 – I hated myself. I can see myself in medschool (2000-2003), clerkship (2004), and internship (2005) looking like I was the patient instead of the doctor. My long-time friends can attest that I looked that way even before 2001. Actually I was that way since highschool.

After passing the Medical boards I didn’t go into specialty training. I was tired of that life. I instead look for a clinic where I could work as a general physician. It was while working there that a medrep visited and recommended a certain chinese herbal medicine that could increase appetite. I had tried everything else before and even in I was sceptical I took this meds. The result: pictures Sept 2005 – April 2006.

My life changed.

Why am I writing this? Because this year I have to start my specialty training. For the next 3 years (minimum) I’ll have to give up my time, my income, vacations, sleep, and I just pray that my relationship is strong enough to survive.

If I had my way, I wouldn’t go into training but my future would be at stake. I have to.

Why am I writing this? because if I went directly into specialty training immediately after the board exams I would already be a specialist now. But it’s very likely that I would still look and feel the way I did during the first half of the past decade. If I went straight into training I wouldn’t be confident and happy about myself. I wouldn’t love myself.

I am trying to convince myself that those years weren’t wasted. I want to believe it was worth it not going into training immediately.

Because the consequence of that delay now means that my life as I know it will end, and will again start at 40, literally. While others will be enjoying the results of their hard work at that time, I’ll be just starting my hard work.

I have made a lot of decisions I regret but the past 5 years can’t be part of them. They were worth it.

I’m still (quietly) hoping that no hospital will accept me or for some reason find me unqualified but deep inside I know I’ll be starting this year and I can’t put it off anymore.

I just pray that somehow I learn to love what I do because,

“Time flies when you’re having fun.”


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