Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Daw Is Alive.

Smoketh was walking somewhere in PGH a few days ago, and said she saw an intern in scrubs with a frantic look on her face. A frantic look on her face while walking really fast, holding up an X-ray film against the light, while walking really really fast. We all know what frantically walking interns look like, and what they sound like, ie, the clanging of that bunch of keys clamped on their belts with dozens of paraphernalia (micropore, trodat, scissors, etc). Others would carry belt bags, which I think is cooler because belt bags with lots of pouches make you look like an over-illustrated Rob Liefield 90's X-Men character.

Back to intern-in-scrubs-frantically-walking-while-holding-an-X-ray-plate-against-the-light. Smoketh has described her more succinctly: Parang naintubate yung patient nya at malapit na syang kainin sa endorsements. Back in the wilderness years I would get nauseous every morning come endorsement time. Too much unnecessary shouting.

While watching the intern Smoketh thought she recognized her. It looked like... The Daw. She almost screamed "The Daw!" except... she realized that The Daw is dead. No just kidding, The Daw is still alive. But Smoketh has realized that The Daw has already graduated two years ago. Could have been a fantastic horror story, but let me clarify, The Daw is alive, very much alive and feverishly studying.


If I get rich the first thing I'm going to buy is a secretary. Hire. The first thing I'm going to hire is a secretary. Person.

I just suck as hell when it comes to forms and papers and other adult stuff. Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore and I have both agreed when we got into the same fellowship program that there couldn't have been a worse combination when it comes to making asikaso stuff. We should have been joined by JD-Lu, Djana, BL, or any other batch mate, so we could just lie down and wait for already filled-up forms that would just need our signatures. But it has to be us, so we take turns doing these adult stuff with much high-degree whining.

It just dawned on me that the medical boards are coming, what with all coffee shops being populated by people frantically trying to memorize all sorts of things. The most toxic thing about the medical boards for me, however, would still have to be the PRC application. Of course I've waited until it was near deadline, so in the middle of the rain I traveled all the way from the province to PRC, only to be turned down immediately. They wouldn't honor my birth certificate, because I've brought my original punit-punit birth certificate which my mom has searched for in some baul, but apparently you have to bring that shiny yellow thing you order from some agency or something. I went home crying ie, umuwi akong luhaan. In the rain. Drama as fuck.

This sort of stress, of course, is just the sort of excuse we need to do crazy, self-indulgent things. I stopped by Glorietta, bought an action figure and boatloads of comic books, and ate a giant Subway sandwich with so much gulay. Subway sandwich with so much gulay. Mmmmmmmmm. Someone bring Subway to Rob.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Form Five, And Yet, Because. Yes.

Finally had our first day of class. The word "finally" usually implies that we're waiting for something with excitement, but this time I just don't know how to start this paragraph properly and don't want to further think of a better intro. Our fellowship program has this compulsory masteral program attached to it, so a couple of days ago Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore, The Black Mariah, Lakitu, and I dropped our chemo-ing to attend in UP Manila.... the Freshmen Orientation!!! Complete with Students' Handbooks. The powerpoint slides showed us stuff like "Grades: 1.0, 1.25, etc." and "A grade of incomplete means etc." and I realized that we really cared about this stuff.... decades ago. We looked around at all the incoming masteral students, and we were surprised because we were expecting really old dudes. To our surprise, WE were the old dudes, or maybe we're just wrinklier and look totally drained of life force.

While frantically roundsing this morning what should UHBJAW text me but: first day of class pala ngayon, at 11am! Start of classes in twenty minutes! So I immediately ceased my chit chat with the patient while making timpla those damn chemicals. I tend to get so engrossed with their stories while I fix their meds, more specifically I get engrossed at some of their seemingly genuine... calmness. And even peace. Truly it must have been a long dreary process to get there, but there's just something inspiring about it all.

The four of us got to the classroom late, unprepared as fuck. To the level of:
Prof: Are you officially enrolled?

We just looked at each other, because we actually didn't know. Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore saved us all with an unintelligible string of words:

Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore: Sir, uhm, Form Five, but not, I was told, or the Office, Registrar, did not. Ahoy.

Something fantastic like that. And the lecture started without further incident. It was only later that we were told that we are not officially enrolled yet because... hindi pa kami bayad ng tuition fee. AHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


"May lecture mamya," Zombie 4 said while in the OPD.
I usually concentrate and try to zone out everything whenever I mix chemicals, for fear I might mix things the wrong way and accidentally create a weird living creature, but those three words broke my concentration. Like a wet blanket thrown in my face (sorry, have been trying to use that expression for quite some time. I just find it.... fun).

"FF?!?" I automatically asked.
"FF." Zombie 4 declared with finality.

FF, of course, stands for Free Food, for all of us perpetually hungry, soulless, wage-less automaton zombie androids. I now regret having missed those opportunities for free lunch at the mess hall back in the day. I would whine then that I no longer want to eat brown sauce, I no longer want to eat a silver fish in some sabaw, but now, I would eat a silver fish mixed in brown sauce in sabaw! In vinegar!

Before coming home this afternoon who should text me but my mom, who said she and my dad would visit me and would I want to meet her in Shakey's and what food do I want they would treat me to dinner. A couple of years ago I would offer to pay, or just tell them I'd go for the cheapest food if they would pay, but this time I could not help it and texted back in pure patay gutom fashion:

"Yes! Shakey's! I'll have chicken! And pizza! And rice! And milk shake!"

At which point I heard The Daw in my head declaring: That Tho Thad.

Mulder and Scully Recommend

Our music recommendation for the night is the song Mushrooms and Roses by Janelle Monae from the fantastic album ArchAndroid. I've discovered her album while browsing through possible downloads, I mean purchases, a couple of months ago, and I had no idea who the heck she is or haven't heard her anywhere. But truly who could resist an album entitled ArchAndroid, with that look on the cover where she is wearing on her head... a city. A Kryptonian city. Kandor. Truly she could be a villain in a Supergirl comic book, or a villain who turns out to be a friend who turns out to be an alien-Kryptonian android-mutant hybrid--who is dying so Supergirl could have a dramatic moment.

For a while I've forgotten that Janelle Monae is in my iPot, what with thousands of great songs competing for my attention, until tonight while walking along Rob and what should play but this weird-sounding song and I suddenly snapped into a haze and mumbled: Mushrooms, mushrooms and roses. It's like this weird combination of Radiohead and... and.... I don't know why but she reminds me of a tiny female Prince. Or The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. TAFKAP. The Symbol. The Prince. The.

My iPot is evolving into a fully-developed, living creature. It's starting to develop... empathy. Like it senses my current state of mind, be it a zombified state or whatever, and it starts playing apt music. Or if it doesn't sense anything, it just exhibits fantastic randomization skills. Unlike my old iPot 2 years ago, whose favorite song is Give Me Novocaine by Green Day. I could be happy, fulfilled, or already filled up with so much IV meds, and it would still play, from its thousands of songs, Give Me Novocaine.

Two nights ago I've received this text message from The Daw, a reaction to a song that suddenly plays in her iPot: Why the fuckery do I have this song.... Maghintay Ka Lamang by.... Ted Ito?!?!

See, iPots are sentient beings.

Disenchanted And This Plane Cannot Fly Fast Enough

Soon enough you get through all these things and mature and have all of these experiences and survive them and and live through each challenge one by one by one, and you become stronger and your threshold for pain increases on a daily basis, and it would take so much to faze and unsettle you. The downside with having hurdled all of these trials is yes you get stronger, but at the same time you lose that sense of wonder, that sense of getting genuinely amazed at something. Smoketh and I have been discussing that it used to be that we would be brought to our pediatricians, and they would seem like the most remarkable, all-knowing, and compassionate figures of authority. That the very sight of them eases every pain instantaneously, and you hold on to their every word, and that the care is genuine. Or the wonder of graduating into something, getting into a new phase of life that promises wonderful transitions, like these kids at the bookstore happily carrying their brand new notebooks, or college students pleased at the schedule in their form five's. Or the wonder at your elders' insights, because they are full of conviction and you could cling into them, and be free from all sorts of danger. Or even the wonder and amazement that the lateral neck mass has shrunk by this much, and you get thanked profusely. Ultimately sadness--or worse, numbness--seems like one long default punctuated only by moments of transient happiness, like finishing a download of a huge file of old comic books, or eating fantastic pizza.

We get old and we become disenchanted. It's adaptive, but also kind of sad.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Fantastic X-Men: First Class

After escaping the OPD ran ran ran to the callroom to find.... boxes of free lunch! Ahoy! FF! ie, FREE FOOD! And for dinner, I tagged along in an RTD in Gumbo, an RTD which... does not concern me! Thank you Smoketh for letting me tag along the RTD about... anti-hypertensives! AHAHAHAHA. Round Table Discussions, ie Free Food, ie Entanglement, should constitute diverse subspecialties or so we believe, so Smoketh brought me, a pediatrician, a gastroenterologist, and The Daw who will someday subsubsubspecialize in clara cells or kupffer cells for.... Free Food!

And you know what Free Food entails.... enough money saved so I could finally watch The X-Men First Class! With Frichmond, Smoketh, and The Daw I watched the fantastic movie, and the movie is so fantastic my disbelief at the crapfest/trainwreck that is X-Men 3: The Last Stand has intensified to even greater unbelievable heights! I only minor in Marvel, so my X-Men knowledge is more limited but I know certain details: That Angel/Tutubi Girl first made an appearance much much later, in the early 2000s Grant Morrison reign, The New X-Men! Grant Morrison's X-Men run is excellent, and you should get it. I major in DC, but now DC is rebooting its entire continuity. More of my fangriness at this in future entries.

The Daw's expressions while watching were so genuine we all forgot she has already seen the damn movie. For some reason the four of us laughed at things nobody laughed at. In particular the bromance scenes of Prof. X and Magneto where one common thought ran in our heads: Master Frodo! Oh Sam. Master Frodo! Oh Sam.

After the last full show we marvelled at the emptiness of the mall as the strong winds were going insane outside. The movie was so fantastic it left some sort of cannabis effect: we laughed at everything. At the pail inside the mall catching rain drops dripping from the roof. At the wind. At... Tutubi Girl. At..... Master Frodo! Oh Sam. Master Frodo! Oh Sam.

The next day I watched the crapfest/trainwreck that is X-Men 3: The Last Stand. Where Dark Phoenix was more like.... The Magenta Phoenix! Where Cyclops, Professor X, and hundreds of people were.... disintegrated to smithereens by the Magenta Phoenix's awesome power!!!! Darn you to smithereens Halle Berry!


In the past month three out of the eight fellows in our section had CT scans done on themselves because after the fifth young person with some form of abdominal malignancy comes in with only some kind of "non-specific abdominal pain" as the initial presentation, you would get quite paranoid too. My weight has effortlessly crashed and I had been feeling all sorts of pain all over as I had whined many times before, so I thought there was an indication. I used to scream, "No to diagnostics!", that I would rather get surprised as I see myself all yellow and covered with lymphadenopathies all over and then I would just prescribe to myself: best supportive and palliative care. Except,  the fear of some organs just popping inside like fully-blossomed... cherries (talagang dapat isingit ang cherries) and the constant prodding of everyone made me get a CT scan as well.

I was pleasantly surprised as I was getting a CT scan, because the aircon was in full blast, the people were nice, there was that nice whirring sound to remind you you're in some high tech device area, the gown smelled clean, and the CT scan machine looked gee whiz swell. I immediately regretted the damn kaartehan, however as I guzzled the 1 liter of oral contrast. Think of that old classic Magnolia Chocolait bottle, filled with Amoxicillin or liquid Paracetamol. Or Amoxicillin + Paracetamol, ie, mag-asawang gamot.

And so I lied down on that bed part of the machine where you lie down, then it elevated a few feet from the ground with the now louder whirring sound, and the bed swooshed far into the tunnel where the radiation blasted me. Before going in I told myself that this place being this place something would obviously go wrong, but so far nothing has!

But, except, of course, obviously, during the last ten minutes of the procedure.

Technician: Namatay po ang power ng machine, hindi namin ma-explain. Sabi ng consultant hindi nyo na kailangan ng delayed phase, so tapos na po tayo.
Me: No problem. Pwede na po ako bumaba?
Technician: Opo.
Me: (Waiting for the bed to move out of the tunnel and then move down to the floor)
Technician: Namatay nga po ang power. Kailangan nyo na po lumabas.

And so very much... bemused, I wriggled wriggled wriggled out of the damn tunnel while still lying down and then jumped down the floor. I had hoped that as I jumped down the gown exposed some of my disgusting nether regions for everyone to see. In retaliation.

Smoketh and I immediately looked at the findings on the screen.
"Well you don't seem to have liver cancer, or some stone, and your kidneys are OK," Smoketh chimed in.
"Look Smoketh, you could see my..... but in cross-section."

Immediately after the procedure all sorts of abdominal pain disappeared. Yes, yes, we can now safely conclude: contrast media cures all sorts of pain.

Overheard in the Elevator

True, you don't need to actively eavesdrop while in the elevator, except when people are whispering about suspicious activities, but it's more fun to imagine that you're eavesdropping, because then you feel like you're crouching behind some bushes, and you can write run-on sentences like this. Eavesdropping in the elevator could be quite depressing, as I have eavesdropped a couple of months ago that Elevator Girl gets a much bigger salary. Elevator Girl sounds like a super hero name.

I am suddenly reminded that classes have started because there are now clerkies walking around with excitement. Apparently kuya intern is touring or orienting the newly thrusted clerks as they were going up the elevator. Being a newly-thrusted clerk is a scary state, because I remember the first resident's order I had to carry out in my first ever clinical rotation. I felt totally depressed, conspired against, and... toxic when I saw my first order: For sputum AFB x 3. And whenever I see: Refer to SAPOD... parang guguho ang mundo. Until I became a SAPOD myself years later, and I would not read the damn thick referral forms and just get the name and locations.

So while in the elevator:
Intern: Alam nyo na ba kung paano magbasa ng chart?
Clerkie: (panicked voice) Paano nga namin malalaman kung anong labs ang dapat gawin?
Intern: Ganito lang yun, kapag "FOR serum creatinine", kailangan mo gawin. Pag "FOLLOW-UP serum creatinine", kailangan mo na lang i-follow-up.
Clerkie: Ah. (relieved)

And of course, because everything should be about me and I intend to be inggit of everyone, I am inggit that at this moment this is Clerkie's only concern. I apologize for all my whinifications back in 2004. Hopefully come 2018 I would apologize for my current whinifications, but I doubt it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


After getting a haircut what should I see but the longest line for... X-Men First Class! Callistus Netromedev has already seen it and thinks it's fantastic. Having no money and having to subsist on Wow Ulam I am thinking of downloading a really bad copy. Also, any money I have set aside for movies this month has been usurped by last week's purchase of.... toys! In the Annual Toys and Games Convention in Rob. I got the DC Universe versions of Zatanna in her fishnet stockings, the 60's version of Dick Grayson Robin, and the 60's version of The Riddler. After buying them toys I stared at them in glee, but how quickly glee turns to hate when I realized I had no money for food. Because for all my claims of fishnet stockings fetish I would never eat Zatanna's fishnet stockings.

I had to be contented with what was showing on TV, and for some reason the past weeks Glitter has been on repeat, as if I hadn't seen the damn show too many times already. The hilarity of Glitter knows no bounds, as you can just check in on any scene and there would be something to laugh at. In this week's scene Mariah is making a video for her song Loverboy in silver underwear and being mauled by muscular men. Boyfriend comes to rescue. Doesn't sound funny when you speak of it, because some things are just unspeakable. 

Turned the channel and yet another repeat of one of the many seasons of Top Chef. In the Judges' Table Padma was making toxic a contestant for the rather bland tomato something. Whenever Padma gets high and mighty we always expect a contestant to say, "Wag kang aarte-arte, napanood kita sa Glitter." AHAHAHAHAHA. 

The next morning who should text me but The Daw, asking if I've seen First Class and if I had any inputs. I don't have any inputs because I haven't seen it, because what I've seen this morning is.... Alvin and The Chipmunks Part 2: The Squeakuel. Sometimes weekends can be just... sad.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Sea

is the title of the second album of one of my favorite artists, Corinne Bailey Rae. The Sea--the body of water--  is something you behold, I am not even sure what the verb to behold means but it just seems like the right word to use in your dealings with something as grand and as magnificent as The Sea. The Sea. I am just thinking of The Sea because it's been months since I've seen or heard or touched or became one with The Sea being washed up instead in worries and rejection, but right now I am imagining waves of water just getting crazy with my face plopping down against it--and I suddenly feel severe facial pain as salty water assaults my nose and the salty water crushes my cribriform plate and the bleeping salty water rolls over directly to my brain to snap me out of this pag-iinarte.

See, if you really want to snap out of whinification, emotional pain, ennui, or just plain mundane inarte, you can do it on your own, and in very few sentences too.