Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Don't be fooled

The national elections is just 44 days away.  

I've talked to some staff members in the hospital about the candidates whom they plan to vote for.  Some have decided but a great majority is still confused, although most of them have narrowed down their choices to two candidates.

As my way of helping those voters who are still undecided, I will be posting on this blog, articles  and videos about the candidates, most of them aspiring for national positions. I will do my best to carefully choose the articles which I will feature and I will make sure that these articles are worth spending your precious time.  The main goal is to help the undecided  decide and and finally choose the candidate who who will earn their vote.

Since aside from chismis, forgetfulness is already becoming a Filipino culture, the goal of this blog is to remind you, readers and voters, to cast  your votes wisely.  I will remind readers and voters that some politicians have occupied positions in the government for years and years but did not have any significant achievement to improve the lives of Filipinos.  Some politicians woe voters so they can fatten their bank accounts and their asses when they occupy positions in the government.  

So voters, here is your first reminder.  Don't be fooled.

Here's my first serving for you, articles from two of the few columnists whom I admire most.   One is a woman who almost became my professor in college, had I decided to turn my back on my ambition to become a doctor and become an economist instead.  The second one is one of the persons I wish to meet.  In one of his articles before, he wrote that he is friends with and admires my paternal grand uncle, a chess master.  I hope to meet this writer someday and have my picture taken with him.  

They are very credible and seasoned columnists and these featured articles, which are both from their columns in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, truly deserve your consideration.  After reading, you should be able to rule out one candidate from your list.  (By the way, I tried to edit the font size a thousand times and it still does not change to normal size.  I'm sorry for the inconvenience.  My laptop, Max, seems to have a mind of its own.)

Get Real : Awesome (claims)
By Solita Collas-Monsod
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Posted date: March 27, 2010

AN ORGANIZATION I BELONG TO, THE Movement for Good Governance (MGG), has, as one of its objectives, raising the level of discussion and quality of information during the election campaign, so that the information that voters obtain on candidates are not just those provided by the candidates themselves (which are naturally going to be self-serving) but have been subjected to scrutiny for either feasibility (as in their platforms, which require the assessment of experts) or authenticity (in regard to their claims, which require investigation and drudgework). That way, the voter will be in a much better position to choose their leaders for the next three or six years.

Manny Pangilinan's TV5 has picked up on MGG's work and will jointly sponsor a five-part special series that will in effect showcase the results of this scrutiny. And since Sen. Manny Villar's TV and radio ads far outnumber the ads of his opponents, they provide much more grist for an investigator/evaluator's mill.

Take the ad, for example, which roughly translated goes something like this: "Have you experienced sleeping on a short bench in the market? Or the death of a brother because you had no money for medicine/proper health care, so you were helpless? Well, I, too, have experienced all that. Which is why, when God blessed me with a good life, it became my vow to help those who have nothing. If I really wanted to get richer, I would just go back to being a businessman. If I could get out of poverty, I can also do it for you. This is my vow: to end poverty." The TV ads are highlighted by a 1962 picture of the young Manny and his younger brother Danny-the year that Danny died-as well as a Villar family picture.

The message being conveyed is simple and powerful: he was dirt poor, but God got him out of poverty; and he has vowed to do the same for others. And he is sincere: he is not running for president to make money-because if he only wanted to get richer, all he needed to do was go back to being a businessman. It is indeed a great ad. One viewer's reaction was: Awesome.

Awesome, indeed. Because documents sent to me turn those assertions on their head, so that the only thing accurate about the ad may be the family pictures.

First there is the matter of the copy of a death certificate of Daniel Bamba Villar indicated as issued by the NSO. According to that document, Daniel Bamba Villar, son of Manuel Villar and Curita Bamba, address xx (number illegible) Bernardo Street, North Balut, Navotas, died at the Far Eastern University Hospital on Oct. 13, 1962, at the age of three years and eight months, of cardio-respiratory failure due to leukemia (there is something about red cells, but the writing again is illegible), after a 13-day hospital stay. In the space for informant, the signatory is Manuel Villar, father.

Now, that Daniel Villar was brought to a private hospital-FEUH had the same reputation then as Makati Medical or Manila Doctors or St Luke's would have now-rather than, say, a government hospital like the Philippine General Hospital, or San Lazaro, does not necessarily disprove the Villar ad contention that his family was poor. It is not unusual for families, however poor, to do what is necessary in order to secure the best care for their children, and damn the consequences. That it was Funeraria Paz (one of the two top funeral parlors at that time), as indicated on the same death certificate, that took care of the funeral arrangements, again does not necessarily contradict the "I was poor" contention, for the same reason.

But then, Villar does not just say in the ad that his family was poor. He said his brother died because there was no money for medicine or medical care. That appears to be clearly contradicted by the certificate.

Moreover, there is the matter of the address provided by Villar senior: apparently, from pictures and on-site investigation, Bernardo Street in North Balut is part of San Rafael Village, a gated community, equivalent at that time to FilAm Homes in Quezon City. A copy of the Transfer Certificate of Title for the property-which is a 560-square-meter lot-has also been provided. Now anyone who can afford to buy a 560-square-meter lot (the TCT shows that Villar senior borrowed P16,000 from the GSIS for the release of the title-which at current prices is roughly equivalent to P1.266 million) is not exactly consistent with being dirt poor.

Finally, there is the matter of Senator Villar's assertion that if he just wanted to get richer, all he needed to do was get back to being a businessman. Again, the documentary evidence: his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) for 1992-the first year he joined government as a congressman-showed that his net worth was P75 million. After nine years of being a congressman, and eight years of being a senator, his most recent SALN (2008) shows a net worth of P1.047 billion. Being in public office surely has paid off for him.

There's The Rub : And still, ‘mahirap’
By Conrado de Quiros
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Posted date: March 30, 2010

MANUEL VILLAR HAD A MOST INTERESTING answer to the pile of evidence that they were never poor and that his kid brother did not die because they were poor.

His brother, he said, was in fact rushed to FEU because it was an emergency, and nobody thinks about expense during an emergency. But he was taken in as a charity patient. He died in any case because they could not afford the cost of his treatment. Their house in Tondo was so small all nine of them slept side by side on a single mat under a single mosquito net. That was what made his father take out a loan from the GSIS to buy the property in San Rafael payable in 20-25 years.

Even if these were true, and they can be easily disproven (except for the part where they all slept on a single mat, which only they can say), none of it makes things better, it makes them worse. They speak of values, or scale of priorities, or sense of proportion that do not commend him for president.

At the very least, why the utter powerlessness in the face of getting a brother cured, or at least in getting treatment for him, and the sudden powerfulness in the face of getting a house built? If you can secure a loan for a house payable in 20-25 years, why can’t you secure a loan for hospitalization payable in a lifetime? What kind of sense of values or scale of priorities is that?

The loan from the GSIS is already a dead giveaway. If you’re poor, you have no access to institutions like the GSIS. Access is one of the definitions of not-poor. Certainly access to government institutions is not a feature to be found among the dirt poor, which is how the bearded, motorcycle-riding, pistol-toting, “5-6” loan shark became a feature of the landscape. Even if you did manage to apply to the GSIS, the chances even then of getting a housing loan from it if you’re really dirt poor are, well, about the same chances as that story that Manny Villar really came from poor is true.

This thing particularly resonates with me because I know whereof he speaks. I do come from poor. We rented a tiny place in Naga City for P15 a month, and its ceiling was so low the American Jesuit who visited us had to stoop at the doorway to get in. We slept on a single mat under a single mosquito net, which was fine in the rain but not altogether pleasant in summer, notwithstanding that the temperature in the province, being smog-free, tended to fall drastically at night.

When my younger brother got polio, we all rushed to Manila to get him cured. We had nothing to sell, which is why I understand the full meaning of that word “proletarian,” whose fundamental condition is having no property. At least the Villars had their house in Tondo which they could have sold if it came to that. By dint of my father borrowing from kin and friend and taking advances on his pay, and by dint of him vowing as well to make a novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help for whatever help she could give, my brother recovered. Not completely, he still suffers from a limp, but he recovered. My father honored the vow he made to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, completely wholly despite the cure being arguably partial (he was not one to bargain with Providence) dragging me along every Wednesday late afternoon to the Naga Cathedral (“Why me?”) for it.

It’s called resolve, it’s called resourcefulness, it’s called dedication.

A friend not quite incidentally texted me the other day to say, “How can you be poor and study in the Ateneo de Manila?” In my case, simple. I did not pay a single centavo for it, a whole slew of scholarships did. In fact I not only did not pay a single centavo for it, I brought home a few pesos saved from my allowance by dint of eating bread with marmalade as palaman for supper. What can I say? I was brilliant then as I am now. Which allowed me to escape a lifetime of poverty, in more ways than one: I not only escaped the crushing physical poverty of want, I escaped the even more crushing spiritual poverty of need. That is the need for more and more money, whatever it takes, which is a far more impoverished state than the Grapes-of-Wrath kind.

Which brings me to the Pandora’s Box Villar has opened by his insistence on waging a campaign based on his claims of knowing the poor. Because even if you grant that he was so, then all he did was to escape the poverty of want by embracing the poverty of need. The need to accumulate more and more lands and titles and money than you can possibly use in a hundred lifetimes.

In my time, many of the brilliant poor, who were scholars in various universities, saw where they came from and decided they would devote themselves not just to rescuing themselves from that plight but to rescuing others from that plight. The teeming others stuck like flies in a flytrap to untold misery. They became activists.

Today, that is seen in the heroism of someone like Efren PeƱaflorida who came from poor but decided not to become rich in ways Villar will understand but to give back to the poor and become rich in ways Villar won’t. There he is, opening the minds of the poor in narrow alleyways and spacious cemeteries with his kareton classroom.

All Villar did was, well, the same thing Lucio Tan did, and Lucio Tan has a far more valid claim to having once been poor, having true bote-dyaryo origins. You do not become a billionaire by sympathizing with the poor, you become a billionaire by screwing the poor. By selling cigarettes as a cancerous crony, by resorting to diversions, extensions and outright dispossession of others long before you become a senator. Weren’t the activists who are now with him charging him not too long ago with land-grabbing?

Villar wasn’t just mahirap once, he remains mahirap today. So in ways that go beyond the pedestrian meaning of poor.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

In awe

I jolted on my seat and was awakened from my not-so-deep sleep when my body sensed the seacraft's noticeable change in speed as it was about to touch the pier.  I glanced at my wristwatch.  Five minutes before eight in the morning.  I had a few minutes to spare for disembarking the vessel and then taking a tricycle ride to the hospital where I work.  I decided to prepare my things instead of trying to get a little bit more of this thing which is a luxury for us doctors - sleep.

With the slings of my backpack chained around my shoulders, I watched by the window near my seat.  The blue green waters of this island greeted me.  It's wide expanse was decorated with waves, big and small, dancing with glee, like a child who had longed for, and now is finally reunited with a parent who has been away for a long time.  The proud mountains also welcomed me.  As I looked up to them, I thought, 'Who could ever miss them?'  Tall and still green,  and sadly, unlike the mountains of the Queen City of the South,  they do more than manifest their presence.  These mountains are lined up like pretty candidates of a beauty pageant.  Truly nature's art work.

My mind and my gaze were both about to wander further when the seacraft slowed down even more then came to a halt as it finally touched the pier.  The crew then started throwing the ropes that would anchor the vessel.  After that, the gang plank was positioned with care  so that the passengers, I being one of them, would be able to cross the other side safely and be back on land again.  The passengers would then be off to where they are supposed to go - most of them foreign nationals and a few locals will be taking a tour of this beautiful island of Bohol.  Others will be going home to family and some will be like me, who come to this island not for rest and recreation, but for work.

As I witness this seemingly ordinary scene unfold, I realized that I have lost count of how many times it has been replayed in front of my very eyes.  Not that I mean to count it though but I just felt like a disc stuck at rewind - the vessel approaches the pier, the crew unroll then throw the giant blue ropes, then the passengers, a group made up of a mixture of races, would disembark.  The walkway then becomes a man-made rainbow as it is crowded with luggages of different colors and sizes.

I witness this scene two to three times a week since I have been crossing the seas on this part of the archipelago for around three years now.  Amazingly, I never get tired of witnessing it over and over again.  Instead, there is some kind of excitement that dawns on my each time these scenes unfold, all with generally the same characters playing the same roles.  Why I do not get tired of it, and why I get excited, I do not exactly know why.  I continue to wonder.  I continue to be in awe.  

As soon as the passengers disembark, the calm atmosphere of the pier instantly transforms to the ambience of that of the marketplace.  Some passengers giggle with excitement as they think of the treats waiting for them in this world-known tourist destination - the  famous Chocolate Hills, the Philippine tarsier which happens to be the smallest primate on this side of the earth, and most of all, the most sought-after Filipino hospitality.  

Some of the passengers, especially the tourists, for posterity's sake, take a picture of themselves at the Port of Tagbilaran,  while I belong to the very few who can't wait to get my way out of the crowd, or else I will be late.  Being late would mean patients would have to wait.  Believe me, letting patients wait is something which we medical people always try to avoid since time is of the essence in saving lives.  

Saving lives.   I am proud to say that I do that almost everyday.  I save lives because I am a doctor.  A physician.  A healer.  I may be the most unlikely person whom you could instantaneously identify as one.  Petite and with a slender physique, I could easily be mistaken as a high school student, sometimes even as a grade school pupil.  I used to be annoyed when people, most especially patients, smile and tell me that I seem to be very young to be a doctor.  Their smiles initially did not convey any hint of sweetness to me but  instead overflowed with mockery which was absolutely unnecessary for someone like me, who was then trying to grab the chance to live and act like an adult in order to gain respect as a professional.  However, as years continue to pass, or to put it bluntly, as I grow older, I have learned to read the smiles in the way that they should be.  I have learned to smile back and  enjoy the flattery that go along with the remarks. 

However, there is more to flattery that makes me stick to this profession.  Indeed we physicians cannot live by flattery alone.  It is the fulfillment that I get out of this profession that gets me through the busy schedules and the demanding duty hours.  It is the fulfillment that I get out of this profession that makes me last a number of days even with only a few hours of sleep and two cups of coffee running through my veins.

A mother's smile and the sigh of relief and security she gives out right after she delivers her baby.  The cry of a newborn baby.  The privilege of being the newborn's first human contact as he or she is brought out to a world which is wider and wilder than the mother's uterine cavity.  A simple thank you from the parents of a pediatric patient whose wound which he got out of child's play has just been sutured.  Another thank you from an adult patient who just recovered from a severe bout of infection, or experienced relief from excruciating abdominal pain.  I remember reattaching and suturing up the dangling and shattered ears of a waiter after his head was trapped between the doors of a closing food elevator.  It felt like I was sewing up meaty pieces of a jigsaw puzzle entitled, 'The Revenge of the Food Elevator' or 'Look, Ma, I got my ears back and they're whole again!'  Engaging in a conversation with a patient who is this time  already talking back to you, smiling and thanking you for everything - all good signs that he has finally got out of the comatose state he was in when you first met him at the emergency room. The smiles on their faces  which are overflowing with thankfulness, and which are louder than and more profuse than their thank you's.  All these priceless moments,  make me tick and inspire me more to be the best physician that I can be.

I could not picture myself to be in any other profession although in the tiny crevices of my brain I have entertained thoughts of being a chef or a photographer.  Not that I dread or look down on other professions, of course not.  I will never do that.  The glaring irony here is that now, I could not picture myself to be in any other profession but in the past it was actually difficult and near impossible that I would be where I am now.  

I come from an average Filipino family belonging to the middle class of the economic stratum and my parents are simple rank-and-file employees with big dreams for their children and with high hopes that their children would never go through the poverty they had to deal with as soon as they first saw the light of day.  Life was already hard in the Philippines  when my parents were born, as it is now.  But I believe some things are just meant to happen and through God's grace, I indeed became a doctor.  The first doctor in my family.

My love affair with medicine started way back when I was very young when I remembered someone asked me what I wanted to be with when I grow up.  That was actually when I was older than six years of age because my kindergarten yearbook says I wanted to be a teacher.  But teaching and the art of healing, I realized, are so closely related, and one is as noble as the other.  I answered I wanted to be a doctor and the rest was history.

I would like to believe that my love affair with medicine is a process that  is continuously evolving.  It  is not untainted with imperfections.  There are those days when I have to drag myself out of the bed, and in my case out of the bed and on to the pier.  It is not spared from challenges  especially those times when you need to be strong and  you need to maintain an unfazed stance even as both near-death and death reveal their faces to you, all depleted with emotions except that of maybe pain and  helplessness, all ashened and gasping for air, grunting and screaming inaudibly yet paradoxically in a deafening way.

But I do not get tired of that.  I do not get tired of everything medicine at all.

I do not get tired with lining up for my boat tickets.  I do not get tired of seeing that scene at the pier over and over again, by my window at the seacraft.  I do not get tired watching the men throw the ropes that will anchor the boat to the pier.  I do not get tired and impatient as they position the wooden plank with care, it being our gateway to dry land.  I do not get tired of hearing the  cacophony of passengers' voices at the pier.  

I do not get tired because of all those signal the beginning of a new day.  Those  scenes  are a prelude to a day which will again be spent in saving lives, and most importantly, those scenes remind me that indeed,  I  am  living  the  dream.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Need you now by Lady Antebellum

I first heard their song before I saw them on television, being interviewed in the Today Show.

I heard their song while I was in the Keys, and I immediately loved the song.

Some nice things to know about this group:

1.  They got their name from the name of a subdivision where they happened to pass by  while they were brainstorming on what to name their group.

2.  They are not dating with each other.  

Why am I posting this?  Because, out of my love for this song, I dream to reproduce a cover of this song. Someday.  Who knows.

by Lady Antebellum

Picture perfect memories,
Scattered all around the floor.
Reaching for the phone cause, I can't fight it anymore.
And I wonder if I ever cross your mind.
For me it happens all the time.

Its a quarter after one, I'm all alone and I need you now.
Said I wouldn't come, but I lost all control and I need you now.
And I don't know how I can do without, I just need you now.

Another shot of whiskey, cant stop looking at the door.
Wishing you'd come sweeping in the way you did before.
And I wonder if I ever cross your mind.

For me it happens all the time.

Its a quarter after one, I'm a little drunk,
And I need you now.
Said I wouldn't call but I lost all control and I need you now.
And I don't know how I can do without, I just need you now.

Yes I'd rather hurt than feel nothing at all.
Its a quarter after one, I'm all alone and I need you now.
And I said I wouldn't call but I'm a little drunk and I need you now.
And I don't know how I can do without, I just need you now.
I just need you now.
Oh baby I need you now. 


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Talk with more sense, reap benefits

A study recently published by Dr. Matthias Mhel, a psychologist at the University of Arizona, revealed that people who talk deeply and with sense are happier than those who engage mostly in small talk. 

This is a surpise because all this time we were made to believe that if we wallow in shallowness and not delve deeper and talk about serious stuff, then we will be fine.  No worries at all. 

Apparently, as the study shows, that is not the case. 

The study included 32 men and 47 women who agreed to wear an electronically activated recorder with a microphone lapel that recorded 30-second snippets of conversation every 12.5 minutes for for days.  This created what Dr. Mehl called "an acoustic diary."  I would like to call it an "acoustic Big Brother."

Resarchers analyzed the conversation snippets and categorized them as either small talk or more substantive ones.

Results showed that the happiest person had twice as many substantive conversations, and only one-third of the amount of small talk as the unhappiest person. 

Small talk made up only 10 percent of the happiest person's conversation while it made up almost three times as much of the unhappiest person's conversation.

This study is indeed interesting.  However for me, it poses a which-one comes-first-the-chicken-or-the-egg type of question.   Do people talk deep because they are already happy to start with?  Or do they talk deep in order to become happy?

This study has also has subjectivity screaming from all its seams.  I still find its results counterintuitive.  I look forward to more studies about the subject in the future. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ang Kaban ni Silay: Last Song Syndrome

Welcome to my treasure chest of memories. 

First on the list, my last song syndromes.  This will only be the first and I assure you, more will be coming - songs, poems, pictures, and who-knows-what - as we dig deep into the treasure chest.

Operatively, a last song syndrome for me would be a song with lyrics I can write out of sheer memory.  This is a true example of how memory works.  Your neurons or brain cells develop synapses or connections that grow permanent over time, that you are able to retrieve the data easier than you do using a computer.  This hit me last week when I just sang these songs out of the blue while I was in the shower.  These songs just came out of my mouth spontaneously, like they have been living there for years and they just decided to go out of their  'house' to sort of, take a walk in the park.

You wouldn't believe it but I paused from scrubbing myself using my Favorite Thing No. 6 (Read: Organic loofah made from dried patola), because my mouth and my memory just surprised me big time.

Caution:  Cheesy content.  Well, you can't blame me.  I was in high school when these two songs came out and I asked my dear father to buy me a cassette tape of this album.  I lost the cassete tape, but the song is still within me.  I told you, sobrang cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssyyyy!!!   

I was pleased and surprised at the same time  to find these videos in YouTube.  That should be my Reason to Smile No. 21 - Finding an old favorite on the internet when I least expect to.  Feel free to sing along.

Lyrics typed out of memory.   

by Geneva Cruz

Let's go ride down to the beach and be alone
In a world where no one else has known

How I love the fragrance of your sweet cologne
That I smell
As I sit close to you

Well, we've known each other for sometime now
Though I know that's not so long
You haven't held my hand
Tell me, 'Is there something wrong?'

I will follow
Though you're naive
'Cause I believe in our love

I will follow you
Boy, don't you know
That you're the same sweet person
And I love you
I really love you

In my heart there's some place
You will always be
'Cause I love you dearly
Can't you see

We can hear the shower of the rain on us
As we sit together at the station
There's no one around
And we can't hear a sound
Just the rain
That falls on you and me

And then when I see you start to look
At the clock that's on the wall
I wish that I knew why
That it makes me want to cry

I will follow you
To anywhere
The wings of love will fly me there
I will follow you
'Cause can't you see
With you is where I wanna be
I mean forever

You're the one
That truly means so much to me
'Cause I love you dearly
Can't you see

Never felt this way before
And I love you forever
I will follow you
Can't stay away
And everyday I promise
That I'll love you
Because I love you
I really love you

I will follow you
I will follow you

I will follow you

by Geneva Cruz

On the day that we met
I thought you'd just be a friend
But as the days pass by
I feel the love grow deep inside

Everytime that you smile
All my days are filled with laughter
I know that you love me
But we are just too young for love

Never knew the reasons why
But when I look straight in your eyes
I feel the love grow deep inside
Deep inside

Love can wait
Love can wait
Why do you keep goin' on?
Are you true to me?
I know that love can wait

Love can wait
I hope that you can wait
Now that we're too young
Can you wait for me?
I know that love can wait

Moments that we have shared
Mem'ries I'll keep forever
I now that you'll be there
To spend our lives together

Never knew the reasons why
But when I look straight in your eyes
I feel the love grow deep inside
Deep inside

Love can wait
Love can wait
Why do you keep goin' on?
Are you true to me?

Love can wait
Love can wait
I hope that you can wait
Now that we're too young
Can you wait for me?
I know that love can wait

I promise
I'll be there for you
I'll keep our friendship
All my life
Hoping that
When we get there
We could start anew
This love would all come true
With you


Love can wait
Love can wait
Now that we're too young
Can you wait for me
I know that love can wait
I know that love can wait

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Unbelievable but true

Looking for weird news has appealed to me lately. Here's one I read a few months back. This one is not funny, but unusual and true, and has a tragic ending. Again, this one's taken from Pilipino Star Ngayon.

Celfon sa ari, coed yari Ni Joy Cantos (Pilipino Star Ngayon) Updated September 14, 2006 12:00 AM

CAMP CRAME — Kakaibang sex trip ang ginawa ng isang 18-anyos na kolehiyala sa kanyang ari na naimpeksyon dahil sa celfon kaya napaaga ang pagsalubong ni kamatayan may tatlong araw na ang nakalipas sa Koronadal City, South Cotabato, ayon sa ulat kahapon.

Dahil sa kahihiyang sasapitin ng pamilya kahit binawian ng buhay ay itinago sa pangalang Dory, ang biktimang estudyante mula sa kilalang kolehiyo sa nabanggit na lungsod.

Batay sa ulat ng Koronadal City PNP, isinalaysay ng pamilya ng biktima na nag-masturbate ang biktima gamit ang kanyang celfon Nokia 8210.

Gayunman, napalalim ang pasok ng nasabing celfon sa loob ng ari ng dalaga kaya nabigo siyang mahugot pa ito.

Napag-alamang nakiusap ang pamilya ng biktima sa pulisya na huwag na itong pangalanan dahil sa matinding kahihiyan na maaaring idulot sa kanilang lugar.

Matapos ang tatlong araw na pananahimik habang nasa loob ng ari ang celfon ay napilitan na ang biktima na magtapat sa kanyang mga kasambahay kaya isinugod ito sa pinakamalapit na ospital.

Ayon sa ulat, nahirapang umihi ang biktima matapos na mamaga ang matris nito sanhi ng matinding impeksyon dahil sa celfon.

Dahil sa kumalat na ang impeksyon sa buong matris ay nabigong maagapan ang pagsalubong ni kamatayan sa biktima.

Posibleng nag-rapture na ang matris ng biktima matapos maimpeksyon dahil sa celfon na tatlong araw na sa loob ng ari, ayon pa sa ulat ng pulisya.

Tsk, tsk. What was she thinking? God rest her soul.

A short-lived panic attack

I had a short-lived panic attack this morning just before lunch.

I thought I lost my little green notebook. This green notebook cost me only Php. 12.25 when I bought it exactly this time last year at National Bookstore in Mango Avenue. It is indeed very cheap but it has served as my lifeline since.

With it, I am able to keep track of all my earnings and my expenses, from my trike fare from the pier to the hospital, and to my coffee indulgences. I pasted on it all my pay statements and even my deposit slips. Aside from my to-do lists and my grocery lists, I have also written on it the songs I am planning to download when I have the time and the books I am planning to read - yes, you're right, when I have the time. When a topic comes into mind, one that I think would be worth writing about in this blog, I immediately jot it down in my little green notebook. When I read something interesting, the little green notebook is just an arm's length away from me, and so I write anything on it, anytime, anywhere.

Yes, I am a bit primitive in keeping my lists, preferring a small notebook rather than getting a Personal Digital Assistant or PDA. Although I have also learned to use the Active Notes Feature in my phone, still for me, nothing beats my little green notebook.

For me, there is a certain kind of high when, after completing the task on my to-do list, I am able to strike out the listed task and bathe it in different strokes of my pen, until it is buried in black ink, and has escaped my sight. As far as I know, you can't do it on any techie gadget, right? All you can do is delete it and when you do that, you have no chance to revisit that list, relieve the exhilaration of completing that task, and finally crashing it out from your list. That is the reason why I love my little green notebook - so much. It is bloody proof that I have done something somehow.

While I was searching for my little green notebook in my piles of books and papers, I was thinking and worrying at the same time, that if I don't find it, I might be forced to replace my beloved notebook with my new and my very first Starbucks planner. Not that I don't intend to use it, of course I do intend to use it, but the little green notebook means a lot to me and it has proven itself very useful and handy in a lot of ways. The planner, which I know will become useful when I enter into residency hopefully in the months to come, has no mark of ink on it courtesy of its owner, except on a day in June, on which I wrote, "My birthday."

I also love my Starbucks Planner. It is bloody proof of how entwined my life is with coffee, but as of now, it will never beat the love I have for my little green notebook. At least not yet. Probably soon when the little green notebook needs to retire and be laid to rest.

I gave out a sigh of relief when I found my little green notebook in one of the piles of books and notebooks in my locker. It was like playing Hide and Seek with a kid. You know the kid is just in the house but you start to worry when you can't find the little rascal in his favorite hiding place. As for the little green notebook, I was pretty sure I packed it in my hand carry luggage.

Finally, I found it! I thought I saw the finish line but my days with my little green notebook is not yet about to end. This love affair continues.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

This one's funny but it ain't a joke

I got this article just this mid-morning, from under Pilipino Star Ngayon. I read this article aloud to my sister and she kept asking me if it is a joke. But actually, it isn't. This really happened.

Mag-asawang pasahero nag-away, eroplano muntik bumagsak! (Pilipino Star Ngayon) Updated March 20, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Isang eroplano ng Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight PR-843 ang muntik nang bumagsak habang papuntang Cebu dahil sa pag-aaway ng mag-asawang pasahero, kahapon ng umaga.

Ayon sa ulat, sumakay ng eroplano ang mag-asawang kinilala sa pangalang Rex at Jovelyn, sa NAIA Terminal 2 para magpunta sa Cebu at sa kalagitnaan umano ng biyahe nila ay biglang nagsigawan ang dalawa hanggang i-umpog ng lalaki ang babae sa bintana nito.

Dahil umano sa lakas ng untog ay nag-crack ang bintana kaya naman nagsigawan at nag-panic ang mga pasahero na sakay nito. Gayunman, inatasan ng piloto ang mga flight crew na sabihin umano sa mga pasahero nito na isuot ang kanilang seatbelt pero nakalma lamang ang mga sakay nito ng nakalapag sa Mactan International Airport ang nasabing eroplano.

Samantala, ang nasabing eroplano ng PAL ay hindi na muling nakabalik sa Manila dahil delikado na umano itong ibiyahe pa.

Pinigil naman ng Airport authorities sina Rex at Jovelyn para sa imbestigasyon.

Sinabi ng mga airport observer, na puwede umanong kasuhan ng malicious mischief at alarm scandal sa minimum at reckless imprudence resulting to damage of property sa maximum ang mag-asawa. (Butch Quejada)

Haaaaaaaaay naku! I couldn't imagine how I would have reacted if I was in that flight too. I was laughing at the "untogan part" but on the other hand that was really dangerous because a plane is a pressurized environment and changes in pressure, I think, could affect the plane's flight and could also alter the oxygen supply inside the plane. Am I correct? Any plane enthusiasts out there?

Couples, keep your rifts inside the bedroom, okey? People dying from a plane crash just because of your marital rifts ain't a dignified way to die, you know. What a waste of lives that would be.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The dreaded "C"

This morning I decided to release my bible in Internal Medicine from its prison cell that is called my bookshelf. I have decided to review on cancer. This timely, or maybe, untimely, act of reading was triggered by the recent events that have happened to B's uncle who is not really doing very well with his battle against the dreaded "C". ( I don't want to call it the big "C," because I feel that if I call it that, I am exalting it, placing it on a pedestal. If possible, and if we could help it, we should not feel overpowered by any disease.) B's uncle is lying very ill in one of the major hospitals in this city. If you have time, please do help us pray for Father Bong.

Here is the introduction on the chapter about Cancer by Dan L. Longo, in Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine 16th Edition:

". . . patients experience the diagnosis of cancer as one of the most traumatic and revolutionary events that has ever happened to them. Independent of prognosis, the diagnosis brings with it a change in a person's self-image and in his or her role in the home and workplace. The prognosis of a person who has just been found to have pancreatic cancer is the same as the prognosis of the person with aortic stenosis who develops the first symptoms of congestive heart failure (median survival, about eight months). However the patient with heart disease may remain functional and maintain a self-image as a fully intact person with just a malfunctioning part, a diseased organ ("a bum ticker"). By contrast, the patient with pancreatic cancer has a completely altered self-image and is viewed differently by family and anyone who knows the diagnosis. He or she is being attacked and invaded by a disease that could be anywhere in the body. Every ache or pain takes on a desperate significance. Cancer is an exception to the coordinated interaction among cells and organs. In general, the cells of a multicellular organism are programmed for collaboration. Many diseases occur because the specialized cells fail to perform their assigned task. Cancer takes this malfunction one step further. Not only is there a failure of the cancer cell to maintain its specialized function, but it also strikes out on its own; the cancer cell competes to survive using natural mutability and natural selection to seek advantage over normal cells in a recapitulation of evolution. One consequence of the traitorous behavior of cancer cells is that the patient feels betrayed by his or her body. The cancer patient feels that he or she, and not just a body part, is diseased."

The introduction has a very palpable melodramatic tone similar to the script of a telenovela, which makes you forget that you are actually reading a medical reference book - the bible of this specialty. I almost felt like I was reading a novel. But this is real life and this is not fantasy. Cancer does erode the soul.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

If you're female and you drink alcohol, you might want to read this

Image from the Net

A recently completed research revealed that women who regularly consume moderate amount of alcoholic beverages are less likely to gain weight compared to nondrinkers and have a lower risk in developing obesity.

The study which was conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston followed up the drinking habits of 19, 220 female subjects for 13 years. 60% of the subjects were light to regular alcoholic beverage drinkers while the remainder reported zero intake of alcohol.

Study results revealed that the nondrinkers in the study actually gained more weight - an alarming average of nine pounds - compared to the average weight gain of three pounds among the light to regular drinkers. The risk of becoming overweight for alcoholic drinkers was also noted to be approximately 30% lower compared to nondrinkers.

This does not mean though that women should run and gulp all the alcohol that they want because weight gain is almost out of the question. One research also revealed that an overweight female has a more efficient metabolism compared to her lean counterparts and so she will likely gain more weight from alcohol than a lean woman will do. What the study wants to convey with these results is that, for female patients who drink and have weight problems, alcohol may not be the the only one to blame at all.

This study was reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine last March 8, 2010.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Peeping Toms and Janes

I wish we could take a peek of what the future will be.

Yes, there would be lesser suspense, and lesser moments spent pondering on a lot of things like, if your presidential bet will win the race, or if you would end up with the object of your desire, but I guess, there would also be lesser pain, a distant possibility of being hurt if you know ahead of time that you will never end up in each other's arms. As for that presidential bet, we would all - voters and candidates - learn the art of not expecting too much. Probably the candidate would choose not to join the race at all.

If we could take a peek of what the future will be, we would know what we will become while we are younger, and where we will be in the future. The only thing left for us to figure out is how to get there and become that person we know we were destined to be. We would know better if we should make a certain move now or not at all. Our decisions would be more intelligent, and probably we would stand by them with more conviction because we have already foreshadowed the outcomes of these decisions.

I really wish we could take a peek of what lies ahead. Now, I could only wish I saw all these hurt coming, so that in the past, I would have readily taken another road, instead of the one I am treading in now.

But life, they say, is about taking risks, enjoying the ride, and savoring the surprises - both pleasant and not-so-pleasant ones - that come along the way. And add to that, life is about learning the lessons too. With this recent not-so-pleasant experience, I feel like striving to become the living example of the adage, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

That gives me a sense of comfort as of the moment, and rekindles my flickering enthusiasm to immerse myself into this - to borrow fellow blogger Ligaya's words - adventure of life. What is even more heartwarming is the ultimate presence of family, friends, and the significant other, who, more than their words make me feel that they are willing to stand by me, and that I am still loved, no matter what. You all know who you are. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Driving the wrinkles away

I logged in to my computer at 1 o'clock in the morning and the next time I glanced at the window, the sun was already up. Thanks to this thing they call jetlag, I was able to make up for my lost computer time and I was able to stumble upon these humor cartoons at the Readers' Digest website, I have gathered my ten favorites so I could share them with you.

CAUTION: Absolutely great laughs ahead. These'll really make you chuckle, you might fall off your seat.

Talking about bad influence.

Uh-oh, I'll never drop a call to somebody who has this gadget. But I would love to have one for myself.

What else can we expect from the devil himself?


Go Frosty, you can do it! C -O-U-R-A-G-E!


Uh-oh! Don't sneeze too hard, my caterpillar friend.

So that's why they bounce like that!

I wonder what's it like to have sandwiches as patients.

Floating on Cloud 8, huh?

What makes you smile?

What turns your frown into a smile? What brightens up your face, boosts your mood to a sky-rocket high, and spills a bucketful of endorphins into your system?

Here's my growing list of reasons to smile. In random order.

1. A speedy internet connection.

2. Chunky strawberry bits in my strawberry milk shake.

3. A warm shower that lasts forever.

4. A day (or days) off from work.

5. Booking a flight online.

6. Frolicking in the beach.

7. Smell of sauteed garlic and onions.

8. A warm cup of coffee.

9. Waking up in the morning beside the person I love.

10. Planning a vacation.

11. A bacon breakfast prepared by Mom.

12. A movie date.

13. Coffee crumble ice cream.

14. Finding money in my pocket or in my bag pockets, when I least expect to.

15. A successfully cooked recipe. (Cooked by me of course.)

16. Singing a praise hymn with the church congregation.

17. Hearing a favorite song played on air.

18. Finishing a good book.

19. Family and friends who love me as I am.

20. Having monggo beans with pork in coconut milk for lunch.

Friday, March 12, 2010

It's funny how

Yesterday, I was up in the air (yeahp, inspired by George Clooney) on a 14-hour trans-Atlantic flight.

As if the lengthy flight is not enough to drive you nuts, their television system was out of control and it was not working. I noticed that technology seems to be drawing excitement these days, from teasing me, especially when I travel. Remember my trip to Florida, which made me come up with Facts I never knew I never knew? You could never imagine a flight that lasts forever and you have no movies to entertain yourself with.

Anyway, thanks to the airline's complimentary earphones, I got to listen to my Ipod somehow. I say somehow because the quality is not exactly impressive, but at least, I was hearing music. And given that, the poor quality of the earphones was forgivable. (No wonder why they give it away.)

I usually set my Ipod to random play, and yesterday, it decided to join the hype of teasing me. It played at least three songs which were all popular during a time when I was with someone hundreds of years ago. But things didn't work out with that someone, when we both found ourselves at a crossroad. And yes, that someone decided to choose a path which was different from the one I chose.

I was wounded then. Each time I would hear these songs, I would either press the forward key, or worse, press stop. Stop. Period. Silence. Then nothing follows. Oh yes, sometimes, tears accompanied by muffled sobs.

I am someone who's life is so entwined with my love for music, that songs bookmark major events of my life and represent major characters of my own lifestory. Yet the the hurt I was feeling was gnawing on that love for music, like termites do to wood, like cancer eroding the very soul.

But yesterday was different. When I heard the songs, I just smiled.

I didn't press forward or stop this time. I just listened to the songs in their entirety and smiled.

I smiled because the songs were not anymore the painful reminder that they used to be. The poison had lost its effect and the wounds have completely healed with no single mark or distortion to prove that they ever existed. However, my appreciation for the song remains untarnished. This irony of admiration and repugnance existing at the same time seems so hard for me now to put in to words but I know you know what I mean. It does not also mean that I have been nursing a wound even after a hundred years had passed. The wounds were healed long before. I bet my physician's license on that. It's just that yesterday, was a defining moment, that etched the reality of my healing on stone.

I realized, it's funny how you could just smile when you hear songs that used to be your songs with someone whom you used to care about deeply. Injecting a refreshing twist to that old OPM classic, actually, you remember the song but you don't remember the feeling anymore. You smile almost to the point of laughing when the song makes you remember how raw love was then, and how you both believed your love for each other was . . . yes, everything. Yet it wasn't meant to be. Never was, actually.

You smile not because you are bitter but because you realize that things have fallen into place now, (as for me, with somebody new, and it could be something else for you,I guess), and now you know not only why that something happened with that someone but also why that something had to end there.

When you find yourself in this state - a healed state, most would say - a lot of things are sure to happen. The songs keep coming. The smiles keep coming, and are peppered with laughter. And love is reborn. Stronger. Everyday.

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