Thursday, April 24, 2008

time off from work

as promised here are the pictures from the nicest hotel i've ever been - the hilton hotel in mactan island, cebu....

this is the fascinating view when we arrived about an hour after lunch. whew! breathtaking....

what made me say this is the nicest hotel? hehe. i'm too shallow for this one. it's just because the hotel's motif is pink and i soooo love pink.

by the way, i did not take these pictures. i don't have the talent and the skill for it. that's why i wanna say thank you to my official photographer (hehehe) jubert.

though my stay was short, i enjoyed it from the view to even the smallest details. the staff were so courteous and i just love the big rooms.

the orange thing i'm holding is the official mascot of the hilton hotel in cebu. it is aptly named sebu.
see how lovely and breathtaking hilton hotel is especially during the night....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

just a glimpse

part of being a doctor is the perks afforded to us by people especially the pharmaceutical industries. my favorite is the fact that i get to travel... travel with pay, feed my hungry brains with new discoveries and meet new friends. so here's a few....

clark, pampanga.....we attended the midyear convention of the PAFP. i was with my co residents weng and paul. the place was nice and peaceful and soooo clean. we stayed at holiday inn hotel where the bacons are just amazingly delicious.

taken during the annual convention of PAFP in 2007. we were made to make a poster of the best practices in our department. this was posted in PICC. during this time, we stayed in century park hotel. i was with my coresidents intsik and styx with our chairman also. what was memorable about this trip was the dinner we had at claire dela fuente seafood and grill. the sumptuous meal served was just heaven.

PAFP annual convention last february 2008. this convention is the most memorable because i was invited to present a family case presentation on my patient with congenital hypothyroidism. i was honored but at the same time i was so nervous. like i told everyone else, i felt like i was going into a seizure fit few minutes prior to my presentation as seen by the pallor in the picture below. hehehe

see what i mean. it was a nerve-wracking experience. it was my first and hopefully not my last. i love sharing what i have learned and so i'm willing to present more cases in the future.

i should not forget bethel guest house where the first postgraduate course sponsored by the department of family medicine of silliman medical center was held last december 2007 during our 10th anniversary.i'm proud to say that we were the working committee of this successful postgrad. here's a glimpse of the hardworking people behind the success of this activity. this serves as my way of saying thank you to all of you.

next trip was waterfront hotel in cebu during the summit 2008 of Schering Plough last march. i was with the "oldies". we had fun, we joined the share ka na ba game and we emerged as champion.

charnes lang ni na picture.hehehe

last sept 2007 we went to the city of smiles for the PSECP annual convention. we were a big group. we had a convoy of 3 cars as we made our trip from dumaguete to bacolod where we had to stop several times since one of the cars got some problems with overheating. that was a long but fun trip. after the convention, we went to the old and famous gaston house in silay city where we had so much fun as we traced the roots of the gaston family.

just last weekend, i went to hilton hotel in cebu for another lecture. the place was so amazing. i loved it because it's the hotel where everything from the outside is pink. i love the view from the bar especially at night. unfortunately, my pictures from there are still in the cam which i left in the clinic. so let's just make do of my "self-portrait". the rest of the pictures will be posted in my next posts.

my trip to mambukal resort was also a memorable one. we witnessed the masskara festival and then we made our way to mambukal where the view was breathtaking and the food was just so sinfully delicious (reminds me of the cakes and coffee in calea).

with my bestfriends...

see you in my next post..

Monday, April 21, 2008

welcome home

i'm excited. i'm happy. i'm thrilled. my husband (Rey) is coming home soon. this is the time when different emotions characterizes my day.
by the way, Rey is a seaman. we've been married for almost 5 years now. guess what..., since then we were only together for a sum of 8 months. why? well, this is the subject of this post.
being a seaman's wife. actually, i don't like using the phrase "seaman's wife" because it reminds me of a movie entitled Lupe, the seaman's wife. it came out when we were newly married. i haven't seen the movie but i watched the reviews of that movie on TV and i did not like what i saw. that's why i never made it to watching the movie until now. though i despise using that phrase i can't find a suitable one to replace it. maybe gaya or brian or tonet can help me find the right term that's better sounding.
so what then if i'm a seaman's wife? people would usually ask me if being a wife of someone who works so many miles away is an advantage or otherwise. my usual answer is just a smile. being one has it's advantages and disadvantages.
let's start with the advantages. first and foremost, i'm the owner of my own time. i don't have to think of him and consult him in things that i do and in almost everything that i would want to pursue. i am living independently. if i wish to go and party all night (which i rarely do), i can do so without him questioning me when i come home late. whenever friends would invite me anywhere, i don't have to ask permission from him. i only have to decide for myself and then i go.
aside from that, i can wear whatever i feel like wearing. i can arrange the house anyway i want. i don't have to cook for someone, clean for someone, take care of someone. in other words, i have freedom. freedom just like when i was still single. ( this does not apply to those with children though). i can think of so many other advantages but as of the moment, i can't seem to remember anything anymore. i might get back at this in a while.
meanwhile, here's the disadvantage. mingaw. with so many miles between us, it's just too difficult and too painful to just even think about it. during his first contract within our marriage, i thought it was okay. i was optimistic that the months would just pass and he'll beback again. after his first contract and he was home, i was so happy i was able to survive it. and so i said, i'll get used to it. his second, third and fourth contract came and ended but i never get used to it. every year, the pain of being away from each other just increases steadily. it never went down. it was only then that i perfectly understood why some would become so depressed when their loved ones left them. (i was reminded by a patient who came to the ER catatonic, clutching her husband's dirty clothes with tears freely flowing. she never answered to any of our questions. we later found out that her husband left to seek greener pastures in the middle east just 2 weeks ago). that was just an example of how painful it is. i also realized that the "mingaw" could kill and could cause a nervous breakdown. fortunately, i never had one. i hope not. hehe
being married to Rey entails a lot of adjustment. it is characterized by a vicious cycle. this cycle starts with him leaving me for work aboard a ship that crosses thousands of miles and traversing different continents. it's painful at the start but then i get a bit of "getting used to being alone" that i become fine with it. i'm fine with me sleeping alone, eating alone, travelling alone. it's not really getting used to it but more of accepting the situation as it is. when i kind of get used to it, then his contract ends and he's back. then another round of adjustment has to be done. i have to get used to having someone sleep beside me with a loud snore (hehehe), someone who can't sleep with the lights on ( i can't sleep with the lights off), someone who wants to have his dinner at 5 pm when i just finished my afternoon snacks and a lot more. after a few weeks, i get used to having him around but then his vacation ends and his contract starts again. then another round of adjustment has to be done. and so on and so forth.
there's another disadvantage i want to talk about - communication lines. we get to fight a lot about why he's not calling or why he's not texting and vice versa. we fight a lot just because we can't express our ideas and emotions over the phone. a lot of miscommunication happens. tears are abundant with this kind of relationship. it's not just about communication gaps but a lot of suppressed emotions plus the fact that we both miss each other so much there's just nothing that could make us feel fine everytime the waves of nostalgia come. it's like getting married to someone who's invisible (my husband would object to this i'm sure). it's being married but being single as well. kind of confusing huh.
but life with him could not only be categorized according to it's advantages and disadvantages. we both need to be strong emotionally and spiritually for us to sustain our relationship and to make our marriage work. a lot of times, we (more often than not it's me) come to the verge of giving up but oftentimes we managed to talk over it and we both decided to just try harder to make it work for both of us.
after 4 years of marriage, the road wasn't that smooth for both of us given the differences in our upbringing and principles. with God's grace we're still here, going strong, growing wiser year after year. we've managed to give up some of our own practices to make room for the other. what's the best thing that ever happened ever since we're married... he was able to bring out the best in me. how? that would be the subject of my future posts.
to end this post, i would like to welcome my husband. he's coming home at the end of this week. finally, our "little" family would be whole again.
i would like to make a request to my loyal readers though (hehehe..). we've been trying to have a baby for the past years and we're hoping that this year we will get pregnant. so please help us pray that we'll have one soon...
till next post....

Saturday, April 12, 2008

a summer like no other

when the invitation to contribute to the blogger rounds by doc ness with the topic i know what you did last summer came, nothing came into mind. since time immemorial, i never spend my summer with something or somewhere that's really worth writing about. usually, it's spent at home or at work.

after while, i remembered, yes, i had one summer worth sharing because it taught me a lesson that changed the path i was about to take. this experience happened in 2002.

as a backgrounder, my parents barely finished their elementary years because of poverty. theirs were a family of fishermen and farmers. when they decided to get married, their only dream is to let all of their children finish school and so they strived so hard. their hard work paid off when i was in my first year in high school. we had a really good business - selling fresh fish in bulk. we had several fishing boats that brought the money in. because of that, my father dreamed of having a doctor in the family and since i'm the eldest, i was their first project in making their dream come true. after high school, i didn't know what course to take in college (just ike most of us i guess). my father told me to take a course that would prepare me in becoming a doctor. since i had no other plans back then, i took up biology. i finished it ion time and i took up medicine in 1998. i did not encounter problems financially during my first 3 years in med school. however, on my 4th year my parents had a difficulty paying my tuition then since 3 of my siblings were in college at the same time. luckily, my father received his share in sunlife for his plan and that paid my tuition off. i thought that my family was still okay financially then. little did i know they're struggling already back home. my parents would never talk to me about finances since they were afraid that it would affect my studies. since 1998 to 2002, i wasn't home most of the time (my parents were in bantayan while i was in cebu). after graduating in april of 2002, finally i was able to have a 3-week vacation prior to postgraduate internship. that 3 weeks made all the difference. that 3 weeks of summer changed my life.

i was initially matched with Perpetual Succour Hospital and i attended the orientation there. but since i wanted that 3-week vacation i told them i need to go home and promise to come back on may 1 to start my internship. that was really my intention - start on time and finish it as soon as possible to give me enough time to review for the boards.

and so i went home......

when i came home, the usually busy home was quiet that it felt strange. (we had a lot of workers then that made the house and the compound busy with people). i asked my parents why and they told me we're into bankruptcy for almost a year already. i was appalled. what happened to our comfortable and well-off life? all of our fishing boats were sold but the business was not able to recover. it was then that i realized the need for me to do something to help my family. i was showing signs of depression then. my parents worked so hard for that business but it did not last long enough to help us finish our studies. that whole 3 weeks of summer vacation was spent on watching tv from alas singko y medya (now umagang kay ganda) to the world tonight. as i was wallowing there, my parents did not say anything. i was left to tend to my own bleeding emotions. on my second week at home, i have decided that i could not start working on may 1 so i called the hospital and informed them that i could not go there as promised but probably on may 16. when may 16 came, i called them again and i told them i might start on june 1. then came june 1... i called them up again - i'm not coming.

the news reached my classmates. being a student that diligently finish things on or before the set deadline, i was a believer of not flunking any subject and finish medicine on time with flying colors. and so i did. my classmates then wondered why i decided not to pursue my internship. a lot of them called to ask why but i refused to give them an answer at that time. it was so hard to accept to the rest of the world that i need to stop because we can no longer afford it. i have decided to find a job. (at that time, the only one working was my sister who worked as a pharmacist).the only other source of income was the money we get from selling our properties. and so i went back to cebu and started looking for a job. since i was in the middle of not qualified and overqualified, i had a really hard time. but.. finally i was accepted as a medical indexer but i have to go through a process that would take 3 months before i can start working. but it was okay then. at least i found a job. a few days after that, my classmates started calling again. during that time, i was on the road towards acceptance - accepting that we were financially drained. i was able to tell my classmates that it was financial constraints that stopped me from continuing my internship. these classmates were bearers of good news. they introduced me to silliman where the interns were given 1,ooophp as stipend. back then the place was foreign to me and i didn't even know how to go there. but they convinced me to apply. and so i did through mail. i was accepted (thank you dr. Ursos). when i received the acceptance letter around september 2002, i was taken aback. what have i done? committing myself to two institutions - work and internship. i was in pure dilemma. because of that, i decided to go home since i was set to start my job on nov 3. on the last week of october, i didn't know what to do.

my father came to my rescue. he asked me what my priority was. i told him i need to find a job to help them and my siblings (there are 8 of us). he told me that what i was about to do was only a temporary kind of help. he made me realize that i would help them more if i become a doctor and practice as one even if it's the long road towards helping them. but i was adamant and i told them i can't wait for another year to be able to help them financially. i would not want to rob my siblings of the opportunity to finish school. but stubborn as i was, my father is a lot more stubborn ( i got it from him according to my mom). he told me and talked me through it. it was okay for me to pursue internship but my problem was the money i would need for the trip to dumaguete. my father solved that by texting his siblings. help came. having been used to living independently and not asking help from relatives, the help they extended brought tears to my eyes. i cried because i never thought that God's love can make miracles. i cried because just like everyone else i was grateful for those who helped. i had no choice then but to go to dumaguete and start my internship in silliman. bringing with me the hopes of my parents, i bravely went to dumaguete alone. a friend of mine came to welcome me from the port of dumaguete on oct 30, 2002. i was ushered into a dorm where i would live for free and i was told that the interns have free meals for the entire 365 days of our internship. wow. i was more than joyful. my problems were all answered by the mighty Lord and left me nothing to worry about.

and so i started as an intern on nov 1, 2002. from then on i lived with my 1,000php stipend - spending it only on necessary expenses like my laundry and toiletries.

i didn't know the blessings did not end there. it's true - when it rains, it pours. i came to gain new friends, confidence in treating and healing patients, came to know a lot of nice people and most especially, i came to love the place - both the hospital and the whole negros oriental. i fell in love with the place and the people such that i vowed to come back and train in silliman. i finished my internship on oct 31, 2003 and took the board exams on february 2004 and passed.

i fulfilled my promise and came back. since march 2004 up to the present, i'm still here. i'm on my last year in family medicine residency training program and i have decided that i'm going to practice here.

happy ending, right? that summer made all the difference. if i wasn't home then i would not know silliman and the joys of working with the people whom i fell in love with. maybe, this is His plan for me. this could be His master plan all along that i was just too blind to figure it out myself. i'm glad things happened that way. with that, i found my way to where i feel that i truly belong.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


as april ends, there's another big change that's coming up. (it's not what you think. it's not about my husband's homecoming.) that change is twofold-my favorite batch of interns for this year (hehehe) is graduating and will be leaving the SUMC family and a new batch of will be joining us come may 1. since i became the attendance checker (proud to be one - refer to brian's blog for the complete list of the batch) of this batch and the batch before them, i have learned so much from their youth and their love for fun. i have learned to love most if not all of them. i have learned to accept all of them though - for who they are and for what they're made of. a lot of them are smarter and brilliant than the residents. but of course, we do have the experience to brag about. mind you, that's level 4 evidence only. hahaha.

what i'm trying to say here is that i'll miss this batch. i think i'll be having a separation anxiety since they've become so close to me they've become like my family here. they keep me company during weekends especially that i live alone in this wonderful place called dumaguete. most of them have accepted me for my strengths and weaknesses especially in trying to teach them and make them get the most out of their internship. though it wasn't smooth sailing as i would have wanted it to be, it still was worth the time i spent in trying to instill in them punctuality, responsibility, honesty and integrity. i was glad to have made a few realize the fact that coming on time is part and parcel of becoming a brilliant doctor. jeanette, bianca and even brigitte made it to their last 6 months with just a few lates. that's quite an achievement for the three of them. though ver and ian have not made an improvement on that aspect, i still have a few more months to make the message come across because they'll be left behind man (they started their internship late).

another achievement of this batch is complying with the dress code especially the females. every morning when they come to sign in the logbook, you'll be amazed na wala pa nahurot ang dress sa lee plaza, cang's, water lily, marjorie's and unitop. they all looked so pretty and so becoming of a physician. keep it up! the males of the group have their share of looking good and presentable but a few just can't comply or won't comply especially ver's haircut.

i will also miss the trying efforts of kent and twinkle to learn more and to be at par with the rest of the interns. remember, no matter how many times you're going to fall and fail, stand up and strive further to be able to reach your goals and make your loved ones proud of you. i have learned to love the perseverance twinkle has shown and how kent has become honest in answering me (admit it, you've been bluffing during your first few months kent).

despite all the difficult times i had with them, it's still an experience i'm willing to go through again. i have learned a lot from myself by being with them. i have learned that i'm no longer afraid to ask for help from other people for fear of being criticized. i have asked brian for a PICC-fitting (can't find the right word) introduction of my case presentation ant it was indeed PICC-fitting. hehehe. i also asked gaya to make me a PICC-worthy powerpoint presentation of my case - just the slides. you might think i made them make my presentation. no, i made them myself except for these two.

my duties became easier because of them. most of them does not complain if i request them to do things for the patients of their co-interns. to name a few, there's brian especially if the patient was tonet's (hehehe - peace bri). there's sherwin especially if the patient was joan's. by the way, they're the lovebirds of the group. there's ver who does my requests after his excuses run out. there's laurjie who does not question my requests. there's gaya with her multitude of talents who does not complain even if giaway na sa patient kay sige ask questions. there's also ria, joan, tonet, aning, mel, chofi and emma who does things with a smile. emma has still to practice smiling more though.

for those of you who have passed the family medicine department, thank you for willingly sharing your family, lovelife and life with us through your genograms. it made us understand and accept you more. thank you for that opportunity of getting to know all of you. thank you for being so real.

to the gift of friendship and camaraderie, to all the fun and laughter we had, to the late night "sharing of ideas and insights with coke and bread", to all the fun memories we shared and will share in the future, i thank you for all the lessons i learned and the memories i'm going to keep forever dear in my heart. may you all pass the boards as soon as possible with flying colors and become the physicians with a heart that we all aim for.

(having been brought up in a family where the criticisms are never constructive but otherwise, i am so tihik when it comes to giving compliments and i have been uncomfortable with praises such that when someone says i look good in my blue dress, i can hardly say thank you as a reply because i don't believe he/she is sincere with the compliment. hey, that was about 3 years back. compliments do not come easy for me but for this batch i think i made an exception.)

this post is inspired by brian's latest post about superheroes. thanks bri.

Friday, April 4, 2008

fight or flight

fight or flight. from what i've learned in med school, this is the expected reaction when a crisis or a difficult situation comes. in my 30 years of existence, i can't recall a time when i did not think first to choose flight. i have always been a flight person. i did fight some of the time but more often than not it's flight. now i asked myself if choosing flight is cowardice. some may say it is cowardice. but for me, it's not. choosing which battle to fight has been my motto in life. whenever something comes up that needs my immediate action, i try to keep silent for a while to give me time to deliberate whether this battle is worth fighting for.

about 2 years ago, my husband (Rey) surprised me when he came home and said he has changed faith. that he no longer is a catholic. he became a member of the "ang dating daan" sect. at first i was in disbelief. i was in denial..thinking it's just a phase and he'll come around and be a catholic again. my hopes were high that this could not happen to me. after a few months, he told me he's going to be baptized in 3 days time. it was then that reality hit me. i could not say anything. i was tongue-tied. i wasn't able to say anything and i did not say anything for several days that followed. and so he went and became baptized. when he came home from the baptism, it was then that i cried. i cried because it was the first time that i came to realize that life would be different for us from that day and probably forever. i had so many questions at that time. what will happen to us during sundays? what religion will our future children follow? how are we going to pray at night before we sleep? how are we going to practice our faith in one house?

what followed was worst than the questions i had. he became so decisive to have me converted to his faith. he became so aggressive in debating with me and arguing with me about which religion is the true faith. it made our lives difficult. if you know my husband, he's so argumentative and he never gives up until he wins. but not with me. when the fights and differences became so unbearable for me, it was then that i started thinking if i should fight or should i take flight. it was a difficult situation since i firmly believe that our faith in God should unite us and should never be the cause for a married couple like us to drift apart.

it's so typical of me to choose flight then - to just leave and never come back. but having been married made the choice difficult. the dilemma was more than what i can handle. i don't think i can handle the consequences. i prayed that Rey would stop trying to convert me into one of them. but my prayers remained unanswered. until one time when he crossed the line and i was not in my best mood, i gave him an ultimatum - if he would try just one more time to argue with me i would really leave him for good. i didn't realize fight and flight could be so closely related until i said those words to him. it was his turn to become speechless. after a short while, he said sorry and promise not to try it again. he said he will respect my wishes and he will let me practice my faith as much as i allowed him to practice his. this happened just a few months back. it still is unresolved because we still have different faiths. i still go to church and attend mass alone. i still long for the day to come when we can be together in one faith. but for now...ending the fight and arguments is more than a blessing. it brought back the peace we once had and the harmony and the respect.

i admit it's not at all over. i know we still have to resolve this but for now i'm satisfied with the way things are. someday, the Lord will make things better for both of us in terms of our faith.
at the end of it all, religion could not replace our personal relationship with the Lord. what will matter i think is how we lived the life He gave us.

Rey has changed so much ever since he became a part of that religion. he became a lot better, a lot nicer, a lot loving, a lot caring, and he was able to acquire humility in the process of his conversion. ours may not be an ideal marriage nor a conventional one but the love we have for each other, i believe, is more than enough to withstand any more trials to come. our desire to be together for the rest of our lives can transcend any differences in faith.

so, fight or flight? well, marriage is a battle worth fighting for.