Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Excursion

For some reason the batch assigned Djanah and me to come up with the activities for the overnight batch outing last year. Djanah and I of course didn't prepare anything. Off we went to Subic, and of course there was a massive, massive storm, rendering the beaches unsafe for swimming and causing a huge black-out. Painfully bored everyone turned their attention to us, pressuring us to lay out our prepared activities. Djanah and I went in front.

"Walang activities!!!" I announced.
"Wala! Mag vivideoke tayo mamya at mag-iinuman pag nagkakuryente. YUN ang activities!" Djanah hissed.

Which led to genuinely annoyed gruntings and prolonged lounging around. By 7 pm the rains stopped and the power came back, everyone got drunk and nude and sang the most intubatably birit songs, and totally forgot about our absolute non-planning.

Until last month, because come this weekend we are once again going to have our batch outing, or as we like to call it in true elementary school fashion, EXCURSION, and who should everyone assign to prepare the activities but me and Djanah. Someone tried to make sense of this totally irrational collective decision-making.

"We know you don't have organizational skills, and we want you to develop it," Y Tori Can't Read informed me as she sat back and crossed her arms, a self-satisfied look on her face.

"Organizational skills mo mukha mo," I said.

Obviously it will rain once again. And just to patronize Y Tori Can't Read, Djanah and I are indeed harnessing whatever organizational skills we have within us.

"Magdala tayo ng Boggle," I told Djanah.
"Sige. Boggle. YUN ang activity," Djanah affirmed.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Exams...

How I suck at them. All those questions that look nowhere familiar, all those choices that look the same. It doesn’t matter that the multiple choices render a small percentage of getting it right, if I pick something randomly it’s bound to be wrong. It doesn’t mean either that I’m good at the more practical stuff, or in anything else non-academic. You see, kids, no matter what they tell you in school things are not always mutually exclusive—you can suck at everything. Oooh, self-deprecation. I love it.

And don’t even mention the move exams. What’s with the fixation with move exams anyway? My entire life I’ve probably undergone hundreds of move exams, from the botany exams identifying that a leaf is caudate shaped, to those histology exams identifying lamina somethings, and now to actual diagnoses based on a fictitious case. A 35-year old female farmer. Hah. A 65-year old woman with regular monthly menses. Hahaha. If I have my way it would be a 24-year old clerk abducted by a Papua New Guinean tribe who engaged in cannibalism. You know what I’m driving at—Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease!!!

The only good thing about these totally stressful exams is that no matter how you sucked there is always a huge wave of relief immediately after and a communal thirst for beer, singing, and oily food, and most importantly a communal urge to rant, rant, and rant. And my batchmates’ rants are always hilarious. They crack me up.

Over 3 years ago Ditz the Titz and I would always try to annoy everyone after a very difficult exam by parodying infernal GC’s (Grade Conscious). Ditz and I finished the infuriating OB-Gyne Internship finals in 30 minutes (after randomly answering all C’s), and as we walked along the aisle in the middle of perspiring GC’s we pumped our fists and vigorously exclaimed, “Yes! Yes! Samplex! Wooooh! Yes!!!”, giving each other high fives and laughing hyenically. Everyone shot us an annoyed glance. Hah.

Voltaging

TT recently pointed out that I could have probably finished an entire volume of Harrison’s if I’ve read it instead of all those thousands of comic books under my belt. Wrong, TT, wrong. I could have read BOTH volumes of Harrisons. Thrice. The DC Comics Encyclopedia itself is worth half a volume, and I’ve read it multiple times. Yes, TT, or as I fancy calling you now, Tits, I could have mastered Harrison’s inside and out including those chapters on bioterrorism and prions, but why would I? Yes, they will help me care for my patient in the future, and they can actually help me pass those exams, and they can make me look less stupid in general, but really, isn’t it more interesting to find out who the leader of the Black Lanterns is? Isn’t it more engaging to read the adventures of Yorick Brown as he tries to discover in 60 issues why all the creatures with a Y chromosome, including those sperm in sperm banks, just died automatically? And isn’t Wonder Woman wielding her Magic Lasso of Truth a billion times sexier than those peripheral blood smear photos? Yes, yes, occasionally I would have to take a stab at the important chapters that will help me care for patients, but Tits, Tits, Tits, we have to know our priorities.

And another such priority is music appreciation. While sipping Voltage in GJ’s and pretending to read Harry this is how study sessions with Smoketh turn out:

Smoketh: Ano’ng pinapakinggan mo ngayon sa iPod?
Me: Jesus of Suburbia by Green Day.
Smoketh: Green Day.
Me: Yes, it’s the 9-minute track from their epic album American Idiot released in 2005. It won rock album of the year in the Grammy’s, and the song Boulevard of Broken Dreams got record of the year. Billy Joel Armstrong and the boys later released a live version album of the songs called Bullet in a Bible, and it rocks.
Smoketh: Pakinig! (reaching at my left earphone).
Me: And this one’s Satellite by Dave Matthew’s Band. It begins with the guitar instrumental tututututututututututut. Tututututututututututut….
And thus are 3 hours consumed.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Re-evaluation of Old Values and Beliefs in the New Millennium For the Betterment of Tomorrow

No longer will I scoff snootily at the diagnosis “shock secondary to poor intake”. I can already hear you scoffing snootily, high and mighty intellectuals (HAMI). But I’ve recently had severe gallbladder pain, vomited just once, and didn’t eat or drink anything at all for just one day, and my blood pressure already plummeted down below normal and stuff. What, now you’re asking if there weren’t any other causes of hypotension, you HAMI—what, this is now an audit?!

In my delirious state I heard Jaydeelou make a formal announcement to everyone in the callroom: “Announcement,Agent Mulder is hypotensive. This is not a joke, hypotensive talaga sya”, and on cue Renrerenrenren immediately pulled my hand and fished for my wriggling veins. I woke up cogent the next morning and while everyone was looking away I pulled out the IV line and ran out of the callroom crazily in true PGH absconding patient fashion.

See, this should teach you (or just me) about scoffing. I am now re-evaluating and reflecting back on the things I’ve scoffed at before: the efficacy of pinulbos the penicillin, pasma, the concept of lagnat sa loob and goiter sa loob, usog, and chanting in front of dead chickens for wealth. So scoff, HAMI, scoff.

Smoketh? Smoketh! Smoketh? Smoketh. Smoketh? Smoketh! (and so on)

In a few months Smoketh will finish residency and will yet again be in a confusing crossroad. Crossroads suck because they are confusing, and I get easily confused. Back in 1997 when I couldn’t decide whether I would go to UP or to the other universities I applied to and all the deadlines for confirmation were looming we just boarded the car, took the C5 road for less traffic, and realized it was already approaching UP, hence UP. But this entry is about Smoketh and her confusion, not mine.

The options for Smoketh are, of course, a wonderful year-off, or a wonderful immediate training for some subspecialty. There is just no end for being a freshman in something, is there. We just keep on starting something, completing it proudly, only to be faced with a new, long, arduous task to begin. These series of tasks are endless, although this is not necessarily true, since all series of tasks actually do end, but they end in death. But again this is not about my annihilist introspections, but about Smoketh and her crossroads.

Crossroads. I just suddenly remember that this is the title of a Britney Spears movie back in 2002 or something. I was eating in Pizza Hut with my neighbors who apparently were planning to watch this horrendous film with some other friends after lunch. I got dragged into the movie, which featured Britney in all sorts of fetish costumes. For camp value, however, nothing beats Glitter. Glitter is the gold standard of camp.

Back to Smoketh. To correct an earlier statement, there is actually a 3rd option for Smoketh, which is to take a totally new career turn such as singing or conducting some choir while travelling somewhere far, or she can probably manage a band and travel in the bus with them and get all Almost Famous-y, singing Tiny Dancer and such. Almost Famous is a great movie, and its soundtrack a great album. My favorite song in the album is It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference by Todd Rundgren. Because indeed, I know of hundreds of times I could be in the most unfaithful arms that you always picture me… but those days are through!!!

Recently everyone has been prodding Smoketh to take-up training in a kidney subspecialty. This gets her mightily confused, as she has just, a few months ago, set her mind on a year-off. She always quotes that Jollibee breakfast commercial where a family just stays in bed and wouldn’t get up. Now that’s a huge attraction if there ever is one, staying in bed and not having to wake up at any specified time. I assure her, though, that she will get bored after doing it straight for one week, and that she should reserve such sedentation (not a true word) for old age. So now that the deadline is looming looming LOOMING, Smoketh is going to pick up that form, submit it to the renal office, and get ready for two more years of fun, excitement, and Voltaging.

Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie

So you have a crush (all together now: Yiiiiiiiheeeeee!!!!). You are what, 28, 30 years old and you are still having crushes. She is very pretty after all, and more importantly, you haven’t seen her before in this stagnant quagmire of a dump. You pine, you ache, you get elated all at the same time whenever you get proximal to her. You start playing Always On My Mind in your iPot on eternal repeat, all the 7 versions that you have—of Brenda Lee, Elvis, Willie Nelson, Michael Buble, Fantasia, James Marsden, and even the sucky one of Anoop, because indeed, she is always on your mind. You pine and ache when you don’t see her, and you pine and ache more when you do, but you just know, just know deep in your heart of hearts (because you are anatomically weird) that she is the ultimate, ultimate person for you. And then you notice a wedding band. You freak out.

Get a grip. In the first place, single or not, it’s not like you stand a chance anyway. In the second place, whether you stand a chance or not, it’s not like you won’t embarrass yourself and turn from a genuinely witty, funny guy to a total moron when you approach her anyway. In the third place, you are a genuine moron anyway.
And besides—remember your first ever crush in, what, Grade 4? What about the second one? Or the fiftieth?! Didn’t you tell yourself then that in your heart of hearts she would be the one? And then what happened? You parted class sections, you got busy, you got into drugs, and you totally forgot all about her. Or you saw her one day sneezing violently with a booger shooting out and landing on the floor with a “plop”, and every looooove that you had just fizzled away. Just think of all the fifty-two crushes you’ve ever had—what if you married one of them? Doesn’t the thought make you laugh out loud hysterically now?!? What makes this particular person different from that?!?!? Huh?!? Huh?!?

As I said, get a fucking grip.

Comic Con Carne

In the middle of roundsing at 10 am, this text message from Agent Orange Larfleeze: I’m already in Mega Mall for the Comic Convention. Ako pa lang ang tao. Can you refresh me on the story of The Orange Lanterns?

This got me rushing things, which is not advisable while roundsing—you get confused, you write all sorts of incomprehensible turd, you order all kinds of stuff for which you can get sued months later. And for more agitation, more updates from the already ongoing comic convention from Agent Orange: Parang maganda ang Orange Lantern T-shirts. Meron din red and blue.

Orange Lantern T-shirts! For the uninitiated, this boring catch-up: There are now Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Indigo, Violet, and Black Lanterns in addition to the already iconic Green Lanterns. Indeed, ROYGBIV + Black. Each one operates on a specific emotion, and my favorite is the Red Lantern of Raaaaaage. Upon receiving the message I started having weird facial tics, fearing that by the time I get to Mega Mall all would be left are the T-shirts for the Indigo Lanterns of Compassion or the Violet Lanterns of Loooove.

Apparently not too many people were interested in them t-shirts, because they sort of suck, obviously made from simple silk screening. The Orange Lantern of Avarice shirt was too thin, the Black Lantern of Death too thick, so I just got myself the Red Lantern of Raaaaaaaaage and Blue Lantern of Hope shirts.

A huge crowd was already in frenzy by the time I got there, some in costume which I happily did not recognize because I know zip about mangga and Japanese comic books. With so many toys and comic books I sort of panicked and I kept on bumping violently into people. I turned to apologize at one of the dudes I bumped and he just smiled a dead smile to match his bleary eyes, flashed me a peace sign, and droned, “duuuude”. Welcome to a drugged seventies hippie convention!

While crouching and rummaging through huge box of DC Direct figs at 70% off I heard a familiar voice amidst the noise, looked up, and saw Warburger. Warburger was a high school classmate geekazoid who was into collecting all sorts of things back then—X-Men comic books, Bong Barrameda trivia newspaper clippings, weird words, and such. While having a regular conversation with him back then he would suddenly blurt out of nowhere: “SPIZORINCTUM!!!!”--he did that sort of thing. I had a long fight with him back in 2nd year high school because he promised he could get me a ticket for the 1995 WWF Manila Tour, but he ended up getting just a ticket for himself, then went on to regale everyone with stories of how Bret Hart beat Owen Hart to a pulp the day after the event. I haven’t seen him in 10 years.

“Warburger!” I yelled. He stared for 15 seconds before recognizing me, and I noted that in his hands were bags and bags of toys and comic books. I had in my hand two cheap shirts. He now works in some oil company and is totally rich.

Fucking medicine.

“Hey haven’t see you in years!” he screamed amidst the crowd noise. “I now collect all sorts of things—stamps, comic books, statuettes, coins, action figures, and they are all in my room, which is not quite organized, my room is still a work in progress!!!” he continued. “I’m meeting someone who would sell me Marvel Universe figs, which are inferior to the 2004 Marvel Legends mind you—but the Red Hulk is so rare so I’m getting it—but I can’t seem to find this guy!!! And I haven’t seen him before!!!”

I proudly wore my Red Lantern of Raaaaaaaage t-shirt the next day while roundsing. JDpoop saw me in it, and asked why I was in a pambahay garb. One of the Red Lanterns is called Atrocitus, and he constantly vomits boiling blood to represent the uncontainable rage within him. He can also clamp his fangs around an enemy’s head and tear it off its neck. Ya hear that? Raaaaaaaage!

Simple Annoyances Part 2

Because truly, if we could derive happiness from, let’s say, a rock, then we also deserve to derive annoyance and throw a major tantrum from, let’s say, a whiny person. So here goes:

1. All these charger wires entangling with each other. Not getting entangled with, but entangling with. Because they are secretly alive.
2. Reverse Toilet Flushes: you pee, you flush, water rises, and somebody’s feces spring up out of nowhere.
3. Patay na Coke light.
4. Any duty phone beeping.
5. “1 unit platelet approved”
6. Mang Inasal Chicken Oil that can induce severe gallbladder pain
7. Med rep pens that don’t write. Cute med rep pens, but they don’t write.
8. The long and infernal road before blood can get hooked for transfusion
9. When, as the waiter places down your food on the table his forearm brushes against your drink’s straw
10. People starting their kwento with “Nakakatawa, kasi ba naman kanina…” because then I’m required to laugh.

Simple Joys (Insert Touchy-Feely Music Here)... Part 2!

Yes, there was a part 1. Back in the Friendster blog era in 2007, I think, when it still wasn’t spammed by invites for orgies.
As I’ve intro-ed then, there are simple stuff in everyday existence from which we can derive joy, which is a very trite (but still very true) concept anyway. But unlike my touchy-feely feel-good crap motivation then, this new list is written to snap me out of this 3-month old anhedonia. I am not making inarte—every food has been tasting bland, every conversation has been dragging, every comic book or toy has been… wait, they’re still fun. I love comic books and toys. They’re fun.
So in the spirit of that crappy white plastic bag flying in the air or whatever in American Beauty, here are some… barf… simple joys in life. Part 2!

1. The callroom phone being dead for one reason or another.
2. Writing these five wonderful words: Signing out from daily rounds.
3. Getting the free iced tea for placing first in Lazer Tag. I haven’t won it, I suck. But HIV has won gallons of the thing and I’m being vicarious.
4. Ambulance parking lot. Because you can schedule ambulance conductions there.
5. Fun facebook photos, of which there are only two so far: The Beef Jerky Uni-horned Mexican Alanis Whore photo, and the Nude Red Tyanak Climbing Mount Doom photo. Both alter-egos of Pam Patdu.
6. Finally finding a missing chart hidden behind a window or on top of that huge air humidifier thingie after hours of searching in the ER.
7. Voltage with Smoketh and Frichmond while fake-studying.
8. The Blackest Night.
9. A patient’s bantay finally showing up after missing for days on end.
10. Nubain. Mmmmm, nubain. It can make you vomit, but mmmmmm, nubain. No, wait, I’m joking, I’m not a junkie. But mmmmmm, nubain.

Once Again, Hair. Hair Hair Hair.

Because it’s that time of the year when the shadow of my head looks like a weird, alien mobius chair from the huge crop of hair I am always too lazy to cut. See my twenty other old blog entries on the topic, and see how I’ve failed to grow out of this problem, this constant annoyance at having to cut my hair. Constant annoyances and failures to grow out of specific problems are fun, if only because they let you regurgitate old blog entries and brandish them with new, annoying whines.

In my laziness to go to the barbershop I always end up applying a disgusting amount of gel to make my hair seem shorter, and when I went home for the weekend five days ago what should I see in our bathroom but my brother’s hair wax. I haven’t tried using wax before, but if the promise of the label is true that it would enable me to mold my hair into any shape I want then it would help me flatten my hair into a short-looking turd. So I swathed my hair with a huge amount of the wax and was amazed at how, indeed, I could shape my hair into a pear or a galleon.

Ecstasy followed, until I had to wash it off. No amount of shampooing could get the fucking wax off. It has now been five days since I’ve used the damn thing, I have never re-applied it, I have taken a bath multitude times since then, and I can still shape my hair into a fucking anvil.

I should have learned from past experiences that these weird grooming thingies of my siblings that just magically appear in our bathroom are booby traps. I’ve once seen a pink liquid soap in the bathroom called Dance, Dance, Dance, and it gave me major allergies. I’ve once seen some blueberry with milk and grains whatever body soap and it caused major exfoliative dermatitis. Yes, my brother and my sister are out to kill me.