Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Childhood Trauma

Mrs. Therese has recently dragged me to Charles and Keith, that bright, shiny store in Rob selling expensive shoes with all sorts of glittery contraptions and buttons and stuff. In a totally reprehensible lookist manner I asked Mrs. Therese, if, for instance, you're ugly, would such expensive shoes and bags add anything to your look? I know, sometimes the id just takes over and I say these nasty things, as if I'm not a troglodyte myself. "Of course it would," Mrs. Therese said, which is expected as Mrs. Therese is the earth mother sort.

This despicable lookist outlook probably stems from childhood, because we always need to source our bad attitudes to some childhood trauma and such in a pop psych manner. Back in high school our Sibika and Kultura teacher (or was it HEKASI?) asked us this question:

Teacher: Caucasians, what are Caucasians?
Nobody cared.
Teacher: Caucasians. Yung maputi, matangos ang ilong, blue ang mata, matangkad, in other words... perfect!

Which brings us to my total ineptness in science and anything related to science and how it stems from a similar childhood trauma.

Teacher: Inertia, what is inertia?
Nobody, of course, cared.
Teacher: Inertia. It's the tendency of an object in motion to remain in motion, or an object at rest to remain at rest, unless acted upon by a force. For instance if I have my dog just sitting there (points at an invisible dog) and I call it, "choooo!" and the dog is not in the mood to come to me and just stays there... THAT is inertia!

See, we can always blame childhood trauma for everything.


And in just a few days... the annual interns' Sunog! Wherein the interns would raid the various departments, hogtie residents, and drag them to a bonfire in the basketball court!!! We can hardly wait, or as one of my high school teachers would say, we can hardly can wait, for the complete list of the residents who would burn--- BURN!!!!-- in this year's Sunog. Although of course, there are special personalities that could be made Sunog as well, such as nurses, consultants, nursing students, or as Eliza would say, crocs and croclets. At this age I am now too numb to think of someone to Sunog, but if pressed and if I really could, all I want to Sunog is... a patient. I don't even know him, I don't even know his face, I don't even know whose patient he is or what he's afflicted with, but he deserves to be made Sunog for... pooping. Yes, pooping. I know we all poop but last Saturday he pooped in his bed located in the middle of the ward... and ran all the way to the rest room at the end of the ward leaving a looooooong trail of yellow milky gunk throughout the middle aisle, and it even seemed like he didn't run in a straight line, more like in a zig zag to poopify more area. Come to think of it the crap was not even milky yellow, it was more like maize. You know maize, that strange color in Crayola 64 that accompanies the equally strange periwinkle and apricot.

Strange. It would be strange to see new faces come May 1, and having crossed over from 2nd yearhood to seniorship we've had maximum interaction with this years'batch of interns, or as Smoketh would say, jinterns. We've worked closely with them, and unlike some of my batchmates efficiency and work ethics were but secondary criteria if at all. The main criteria was hilarity, intentional or not.

I know you've heard all of them unsolicited advice, that this is not the end but merely the beginning blather blather blather, as everyone has told us in our graduation crap from kinderhood to med school. Just how many fucking times do we have to begin something? Is there even an end in sight, with everyone claiming that this is just the beginning? Is the end point death, or more terrifyingly, Alzheimer's disease? Is death the end goal of everything we've been working for? If that's the case, then why can't we just cut to the chase and just, like, die?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Poverty Reigns Supreme

Upon reading my derisive entry on her abject poverty Smoketh has declared that it doesn’t matter if she’s poor now, she knows she will get rich very, very soon. Also, she proclaims that she may be sleeping under a bridge and wearing rags right now, but truly, no one can take away her breeding. What breeding, I asked her. With her chin up glistening as the sunlight hit her face she said, and to quote without any additions or hyperbole, “no one can take away my ability to speak impeccable English, my fine taste in clothes, and my over all demeanor as an alta sociedad.” True, Smoketh, but I did catch you a few days ago pulling a patient’s tray of food, screaming, “No! It’s MINE!” Indeed, even the National Bookstore anti-theft sensor things sense Smoketh’s poverty. Upon walking right past them they blared out wildly and everyone in the vicinity gave her an evil look.

For the past week Smoketh has been saved from total hunger by two things: free hotel food and food PF’s from patients. I accused with much meanness that she might just be pretending to be nice to her patients, giving them all sorts of pharmacologic, non-pharmacologic, anticipatory, and post-anticipatory advice as if each consult were a graded OSCE, and even doing a complete SCREEM evaluation with genograms at that, just so the patients would think she’s nice and give her food. See, if you really want to be mean you can do it. But in fact I’m only subjecting Smoketh to this verbal abuse only because I know for a fact that she’s not poor, in fact, she’s a total bourgeoisie (sp). I went to her house a few years ago and it has a moat, all sorts of antique canons, a maze of stairs, and such.

Smoketh’s sort of poverty has reminded me of a movie I saw in HBO some ten years ago about Bill Paxton and his wife and his simple-minded brother finding loads of cash from some plane crash or something. Wife didn’t want to return the money, because she no longer wanted to “pass up on the soups, salad, and desserts”. Which reminds me, since when did people become too finicky with eating? Smoketh and I have enumerated that a complete meal would compose of: soup, salad, appetizer, main entree, dessert, coffee, post-coffee mints, smoke, intra-smoke mints, post-smoke mints, and finally, water. Daaaamn you, poverty, damn you to hell!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Poverty Rules!!!

Er, I mean, poverty sucks. Because truly life is already hard as it is, having to deal with the prospect of dying in a few years from cancer, the very real tendency of losing one’s temper and killing someone and getting incarcerated and getting raped in prison, and the very real threat of meeting your parallel universe self and getting annihilated to bits in the process. And now they expect us to deal with having no money. Smoketh is currently living in abject poverty, having to scrape the sauce off the bottom of the Tupperware after their drug-company sponsored lunch just so she would have some sort of ulam for dinner. To save up on toothpaste she places a practically empty tube under a car wheel and drives over it just enough to squeeze out the remaining stuff. A few days ago I saw her ask a bantay for the cup of ice used for ABG because truly, Smoketh would need something to drink. A few hours ago Smoketh has told me, “Ang sarap ng Chillz ng Mini-Stop,” and I informed her that it must be the poverty speaking because she would otherwise be guzzling a huge expensive cup of Gloria Jeans’ Voltage. I am being blasé about it now, but in a few months I know I could sink much lower, pilfering galletas rationed to patients and such. But you know what, it doesn’t matter. We have all been trained to live in poverty since grade I and we have our teachers who had precognitively thought of this plausibility to thank for it because obviously, that’s why we’ve been required to declaim “Alms, alms, spare me a piece of bread” for years and years.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Had I known that this field would require too much thinking I would have probably pushed through with my initial career option of being an action figure cabinet arranger/decorator, yes, truly we can invent careers, because I have a special skill in posing them action figures in great poses and relevant groupings and crap, but not with this thinking business! Back when I was a clerk assisting a caesarian section operation in my OB rotation the rather chatty residents were asking me what specialty I would choose, and since I loathe children and loathe wearing scrub suits even more only internal medicine was left, so I said with much boredom, "I.M" and chatty resident said "Wow gusto nya mag-isip," which, apparently, is a truism, and now I am trapped with too much thinking, which is probably good practice should I one day join Survivor because I would be able to think who to vote out if there are two hidden immunity idols and there's a merge and there are nine of us and I have two people in my alliance one of whom is a bitch but still, still, what are the chances of me getting into Survivor now that I have trochar holes on my belly and I wouldn't look good shirtless in an island and by virtue of which I would get easily voted out, and besides I would probably be deemed too whiny, too weak, too whimpery, too annoying, too predisposed to writing long run-on sentences which would only be good in a romance novel sex scene to simulate hypoxia in an troglodytic, fugly wallflower reader who would fantasize over the painted guy on the cover modelled after Fabio whose face was ruined when he was riding a roller coaster and a duck flew and slammed against his face?!?

And in this field people are so obsessed with "inputs". What are your "inputs"? Why does this person write looooong entries without any "inputs"? I don't know what to do I need your "inputs". Inputs inputs inputs inputs inputs!!! And if you say inputs too many times it starts sounding bastos, just like that neuro drug Keppra. Keppra Keppra Keppra. Which reminds me, back in ophtha rotation, Len-Len and I asked the resident what the procedure was, and he said "canthutectomy," and we giggled like morons to no end.

I long for those days when saying "I don't know," would put an end to things and was totally inconsequential, and the astute reader would point out annoyingly the old blog entry wherein I deemed saying "I long for" as total phoniness, but truly, I long, I LONG for those days without consequence. Back in the wilderness endorsement years when the residents were bordering on hellfire evil a question would be screamed at me and I would confidently say "I DON'T KNOW!" and the question would be passed to Smoketh, who would then say "I DON'T KNOW!" in better diction. Nobody would get sick with our "I DON'T KNOW's", nobody would lose a parent with our "I DON'T KNOW's", nobody would get bleeping intubated for our "I DON'T KNOW's" but now, now, people could genuinely, like, die.

Friday, April 9, 2010

We Want Them Veneers

Wow, people are really waifing up. The still on going Internal Medicine Biggest Loser is turning out to be quite a doozy, as we are enjoying seeing previously plump people turn into total waifs, and it would have been totally enjoyable if not for the fear that these people could actually die. Yes, die. Permanently. The latest graph shows that one person has lost 6.5% of his/her original weight in... two weeks! Obviously this would eventually need expensive work-up for some occult malignancy, but it doesn't matter, because all of them are looking excellent. The success of this contest is now begging for suggestions on new reality-type competitions in the department, and we get all sorts of suggestions. All very interesting, but what would be most interesting, of course, is Survivor. I don't know how this would work, I am just excited at the prospect of voting people out. Or perhaps we can just parlay the already ongoing IMBL contest into The Swan, wherein the residents would actually get nip, tucked, sliced and diced under an operating table. And da Vince veneers, yes, we want to see people in da Vinci veneers.


My hypergraphia is sometimes useful, as I am always being approached by our good friends to write speechifications for the souvenir programs of our fund raising activities and such. I would never comply, except that the prospect of writing for some really powerful people is quite tempting, as if I'm inhabiting them for two seconds and I am actually powerful myself. Nah, not really, I hate the thought of being powerful, I am content with my little corner of uselessness. But still, since I'm pretty useless in all the other aspects of these activities I might as well help in any way I can. And besides, if not really to pretend I'm powerful, it's fun putting words into other people's mouths, no not putting, more like ramming down their throats. This time, Papa Ruter indicates that the speech would be credited as being spoken/written by four powerful people. I love schizophrenia.

But obviously I can only spew so much cliche and platitudes and niceties and such, and since this is the tenth speechification I'll be writing I would need to eventually regurgitate old stuff, keeping in mind that to regurgitate also means to vomit, and vomit sour, fetid crap at that. And not only do I need to vomit stuff, I would also need to mish-mash the vomit that's already on the floor so it would not be too recognizably regurgitated to the two people that actually read it. The Man has recently given me an excellent birthday gift in the form of a pack of chocolates, and in her birthday note she has thanked me for risking esophageal cancer time and again for regurgitating deadly acid. There's nothing like a chocolate-y pat on the head from The Man.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

And For Today's Whine Speciale

1 am, shirtless, in bed, wearing only boxers. Me. Disgusting, right. But it’s bleeping hot, and the electric fan in full blast was blowing warm gas. While in the middle of my sleep dreaming of being in a toy store full of DC Direct action figures on sale I suddenly woke up gasping, diaphoretic, and totally fetid. “Ang ineeeet,” I whimpered. I put a shirt on and ran out of my room, cursing my fate for being poor and unable to afford airconditioning. I ran in Orosa, ran, ran, ran, okay maybe just walked, but it’s more fun to say ran ran ran, and a few houses away was a circle of inebriated guys howling and screaming AFTG in some late night party. I looked for an establishment, any establishment, with airconditioning, and could only find the nearby 7-11. “Cuuuuuurses,” I said as I stood in front of the aircon. Actually I didn’t say it, I must have just whimpered a pedestrian "potah", but it’s fun to pretend being Gollum in these times of despair.

Shrinking Violet-- Salu Digby!!

Six years ago-- SIX!!!—everyone has somehow tapped into some weird crazy mutant weltenschauung (sp?) and had the infernal collective thought to invoke something called BRP, ie, brief reactive psychosis, ie, to instantly transform from a perfectly sane person into a total loon who would run from the wards and abandon his dutymates, the unpushed meds on the nurses' station, the unfilled blood vials, and such. “Ay, nag-BBRP sya,” says your perplexed and rather infuriated dutymate as he watches you while you tear out your own hair and eat your own hair and eventually crap out your own fucking hair, if you don’t choke on it first. Sometimes you can forgo with all the dramatics, you can just opt not to appear one day, turn your phone off, and play all mysterious and dead. It is still advisable, however, to give some form of notice, as your absence might not be noted at all which would sort of make you tampo. Of course in the final analysis BRP could all just be a total inarte, because truly we are yet to see someone get dragged to the local psychiatrist. I did go to our local psychiatrist one day in med school, though, and that was totally voluntary, with no dramatics, no histrionics, and such—I just walked in and gave all sorts of excuses to be prescribed some meds.

I’m not very lucky with shrinks. I can still remember vividly that my parents had brought me to some psychologist’s house in some posh village when I was 7, after having experienced something which would later be diagnosed merely as some pedestrian night terrors. It was December then, and as she asked me to draw some stuff (a person, a tree, a bird, the usual crap) on her dining table I could not concentrate as I eyed all the extravagant Christmas gifts and shiny stuff she received from her other patients on the table. Maybe part of the therapy is she would give me some chocolate after the session, I thought, some form of reinforcement crap. I wish I were kidding but after the entire exercise she gave me a piece of Storck. It was the 1980’s, and my parents yelped as they received a check of P800/hr. “Hindi na tayo babalik dyan!!!” my mother pumped her fists to the skies as we boarded our run-down army-type jeepney and drove back to the province.

Then let’s see, I had a psychiatrist when I was ten (the night terrors were very recurrent) with whom I was able to follow up for quite a number of years until high school. In med school almost a decade later she became one of our lecturers, and her hair was dyed sparkling gold. This depressed the crap out of me. Eventually I got lucky with the local shrink and I knew he was genuinely smart—he figured out I was semi-malingering (semi, not fully malingering) after one session. Instead of another prescription he just offered me a ride home.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Phony adventuristic tibak mode over! As Smoketh has so succinctly pointed out, UP Diliman days are over, there is no point speaking in such strained Filipino, I've just been making it difficult to read. It is indeed sad, but the reality is that the UP Diliman days are over, they've been over for ten years already and it is now time to belatedly move on, no more getting into class in tsinelas, no more rebuffing unwanted attention from nefarious religious groups in the Sunken Garden, no more walking out of classes to take to the streets at the slightest provocation, no more walking around and getting in the wrong jeep. Come to think of it, I never did get to memorize all the nooks and crannies in the campus, always finding myself in some strange path or building and wondering how it could have magically happened.

The ones who never seemed to figure out that these days are long gone, however, are the older doctors, having supposedly walked out of the hospital a few days ago. Interesting, brave, and such, but come to think of it, not really. What would have been interesting, brave, and such is if we residents walk out, since we're the ones staying in the hospital looking after everyone's patients anyway. But we wouldn't do it, because as I told Callistus Netromedev who has recently coaxed me to leave, people could genuinely die. And no politico-administrative whatever issue is worth that. Ooooh, blog entry starting to actually turn into some political editorial shit, but it wouldn't be complete, would it, it wouldn't be complete without mentioning these tibak buzz words so let me mention them for completion: proletariat! bourgeoisie! political prisoners! free the political prisoners! no to imperialism! Marx, Lenin, Castro! Tie-dyed t-shirt!!!!!!!!!!

Wiggle and Wooh

Went to church in our town last Palm Sunday and noted I haven’t been to church for quite a while. I looked around and didn’t know anyone, the priest I’ve seen only for the second time, and there were all sorts of new decorations in the building. After the mass everyone went to the middle, raised their palms, wiggled them in the air, and as they did they all said “Woooooooooh!”. None of them looked particularly like a woooh girl, but there you go. There are just some sounds that go together with something, as such as screaming “yey!” right after picture taking.


Ewan ko ba, nagising na lang ako bigla kaninang umaga at naisip ko na magsulat na ulit ng blog, parang ang tagal na rin kasi. Oo na, parang nung isang linggo lang naman ako huling nagsulat, pero dahil may sakit ako nagwiwiwithdrawal ako tuwing di ako nakakapagsulat kahit mga ilang araw lang. Sakit yan, isa sa maraming sakit sa pag-iisip na di naresolba sa pag-edad at maraming taon ng gamutan.

Pero naisip ko,naririndi na ako sa sarili ko. Pag binabasa ko ang mga blog entries ko, ang mga mahahabang pangungusap, ang mga run-on sentences, ang mga paikot-ikot na sinasabi, tunay ngang nakakarindi sila, kawawa naman ang ilang mambabasa ko. Kako, baka pag nagtagalog na ako mas hindi na nakakarindi, kaya nga't sinubukan ko uli't magsulat sa pilipino.

Maliban sa iba't ibang paraphilia at sakit sa pag-iisip mayroon din akong sipon. Oo, napaka interesante di ba. Sipon. Nagsisimula lang ito sa isang malalang allergic rhinitis attack at susundan na ng ilang araw na cycle ng barado at tumatakbong (runny) sipon. Nung isang araw nga kinonsulta ko na si Pyro, isa sa pinakamatalino sa batch namin. Pag nagkakasakit kasi ako nakakalimutan kong doktor din ako, kung anu-ano ang ginagawa ako at lalo itong lumalala.

"Pyro," sabi ko, "ano ba ang gamot sa sipon. Di ba hindi naman tumatalab ang antibiotic sa sipon kahit anong kulay pa ito."
"Nag-aantibiotic ako," sabi ni Pyro. "Sa umaga clindamycin at clarithromycin. Sa tanghali cefpodoxime."
Para sa mga sinusuwerteng hindi napadpad sa medical field ang mga gamot na ito ay matatapang na antibiotic para sa malalalang impeksyon. Nakalimutan ko na si Pyro nga pala ay umiinom ng propranolol, isang gamot sa sakit sa puso, tuwing kinakabahan sya.
"Minsan di ba mabaho na ang sipon," paliwanag pa ni Pyro.
"Oo nga, minsan kulay putik na ito at napakabaho. Parang pinagsama-samang sipon, nana, necrotic tissue, at kung anu-anong bulok na bagay," sabi ko.

"Anong pinag-uusapan nyo?!?" sigaw ni Dondee galing sa kabilang lamesa.

Ang galing, hindi ako naririndi sa sarili ko pag pilipino ang wika. At pakiramdam ko pa nasa UP Diliman ako ulit na naka tie-dye t-shirt, maong, at tsinelas at naglalakad mula PHAN papuntang Vinzon's para sumakay ng dyip.