Friday, December 21, 2012

Cassandra On A Rampage

A dating rampage, that is. Having had no life outside medicine for twelve years, Cassandra has decided that she is a woman of the world. In the few times I would see her what should she regale me with but horrifically harrowing tales of dating horrifically harrowing men, sprinkled with the occasional fantastic fairy tales with fornicating frogs. Truly she is having her cake and eating it too, not to mention smearing her face with icing and licking the crusting icing off her fingers.

Just a few weeks after ditching Hellion and telling him that they are worlds apart in terms of jeje-hood, Cassandra met with Proky. Proky is an interesting character, and we know what people mean when they say that something is absolutely interesting. And just because we are protecting Cassandra's integrity as a dater, we shall not go into any horrid detail about the date whatsoever and just let this one exchange (an exact transcript, not the hyperbolic version I am always accused of making) during the date speak for itself:

Proky: (while staring at Cassandra) If I see a bead of sweat rolling on your face, will you allow me to wipe it off?
Cassandra: I'm not sweating so the question is moot and academic.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Turn Your Lights Down Low

Woke up at 6 pm with a crushing headache, the sort where you imagine a vise clamped on your head and you just hope that someone would very well make it quick and do the deed already. And in my phone, 8 messages. I was supposed to meet with a few friends for dinner. I already had my general rants organized in my head, as there are very specific rants you can only rant to very specific friends. One of the messages, of course, read that the thing was cancelled as the people involved are scattered all over. I drifted back to sleep and woke up a few minutes later feeling better.

I put a crumpled polo on, looked at myself in the mirror, only to see the reflection of a cockroach surreptitiously crawling its way to a half-open bag of potato chips on the floor, among other neglected and spoiling food--a plastic bag of moldy bread, two rotting mangoes, chopped crispy pata in a tupperware sitting there for weeks on end. I turned around to step on it, and as soon as I did it was gone. Of course it was gone.

I went out for token dinner by myself in the nearby barbecue joint. I ordered two hotdogs, a bottle of Coke, a cup of rice. Very few people were there--the usual customers probably in some high class restaurant for their Christmas get togethers or such. I ate the hotdogs and a few spoonfuls of rice. Keane started singing "Try Again" from the album Under The Iron Sea in my iPod. Followed by "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac. Followed by "Some Unholy War" by Amy Winehouse--three songs I never really bothered to understand the lyrics of but always sounded depressing as fuck anyway. My iPod has always been some kind of empath, knowing which song to play in my ongoing state of my mind, but sometimes I wish it would play the opposite-- like Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohen just to cheer me up. The song Walking in Memphis was played in one of my favorite X-Files episodes of all time, The Post-Modern Prometheus. As that song was playing Mulder and Scully were dancing with each other in a rustic pub. Come to think of it that episode was quite depressing in itself.

Thankfully "Some Unholy War" was followed by "Turn Your Lights Down Low" by Lauryn Hill. I love that song, and for once that night, something that wouldn't make you want to drink spiked Kool-Aid.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Forms and Requirements and Things to Pay

We had our hospital-wide residency and fellowship graduation this morning. Once again, as in the ten other graduations we've attended in our lifetimes, inspirational speakers uttered the phrase "this is not the end but merely the beginning". And don't we feel the endless cyclical beginnings. Sometimes I just want to hear "THIS is THE END! The REAL one. Congratulations!"

A few months ago during our mid-year convention, and again two nights ago during our holiday gathering with our  internal medicine residency batchmates, we've been fascinated at the wonderful stories of JD-Lu, Lloydie, Popopopokerface Popopokerface, Aids, and Djana as practicing general Internists. Two years ago they have wisely and courageously decided not to pursue hellowship and instead jump in to the real world. We have marvelled at their stories, and hoped to one day graduate so we could practice like they do. And then these things come up in the multi-thread conversations.

"Dapat pala during training nag-file kayo ng no income and then file the withholding tax forms you got for your stipends or else you would pay P12,000."

"Lalakarin mo dapat yung Philhealth, pay P14,000, then yung PMA kung hindi ka nakabayad before, around P12,000. Required din pala ang ACLS certificate, diplomate and fellowship certificates, etc certificates."

"Okay naman yung stocks dun sa isang hospital, P450,000 lang."

"Sa mga babayaran mo pa lang wala ka nang kikitain."

"Hire an accountant."

"Requirement din pala ito. Ito rin required. Lalakarin mo ito, tapos pupunta ka dito, required din yan, magbabayad ka nito. Fill up FORMS CT3, CT4, XFT, XFT-1, XFT-2, etc. Repeat 10x."

At which point our collective hellows' brains shut down.

"We take it back. Ayaw pala naming grumaduate! Ayaw namin! Ayaw namin grumaduate! We take it back! We take it baaaaaaack!!!!"

Beware The Gray Ghost!

It is with much authority that I declare the 90's cartoon series Batman: The Animated Series the best TV show of all time. It is not an opinion. It is an established fact, which I have established with authority and certification bestowed upon me by myself. I have recently watched the series again, and it is without question that is a perfectly wonderful series. I love the stories, the 50's art deco look, the general feel, the voices, the performances, the direction. It has my favorite interpretation of all the characters in the Batman mythos, in particular that of Bruce Wayne, Batman, Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon, and Commissioner Gordon. The show brought new life to old but overshadowed favorites like Killer Croc and Two-Face, created new fantastic characters like Harlequin and Roxy Rocket, and introduced me to my favorite tragic villain duo of The Ventriloquist and Scarface.

The first episode I have re-watched after years and years of not having watched the show is Beware The Gray Ghost. In it  Simon Trent, a washed-up actor who used to play a superhero on TV called The Gray Ghost is suspected of re-creating crimes that were originally done in the old TV series decades ago. Simon Trent is aptly and wonderfully voiced by Adam West.

Of course the villain turns out  to be this blonde bespectacled guy Ted Dymer who sells action figures!

"And I knew what else a toy can do. It can carry a bomb. It can hold a city for ransom. Oh the power of the toy! It can earn millions, millions for the little old toy!" - Ted Dymer while breaking apart a Batman action figure!

Ted Dymer has one of the best lines in the entire series as he watches his action figure shop explode and burn:


As Ted Dymer watches his toys get reduced to ashes-- toys he's been collecting for years which pushed him to crime!-- I could only give him a spiritual pat on the head and tell him: There, there. I understand.

Craptastically Convivialic Corpulence

There were a few peeeeekchur worthy non-events the past couple of months, and as I was reviewing the photos for deletion in my camera I noted that I now look like a ref. I have grown fatter than ever, with bulges where bulges shouldn't be.

While this infernal fatness may seem intuitively inconsistent to my impoverished state (having spent blog entries upon blog entries about having to ask someone to roll over his car over a toothpaste tube so I could make it said) I realized that my fatness is totally a function of having no money at all. In this regard a hellow's state of kahirapan is unique, because while I may not have the option to eat in Sbarro whenever I want, buffets and pastries and donuts and pastries are thrusted upon our faces and rammed down our throats all the time.

For instance, I usually wake up in the morning and go to the clinic with no plans to eat breakfast at all, having gotten used to a cup of coffee in sheer pagtitipid. However, what should I see in the callroom table one morning but a box of Krispy Kreme. We hate Krispy Kreme, horrified at the thought of a sweet donut coated in thick confectionary sugar dipped in chocolate with chocolate sprinkles with a huge Kit Kat bar sitting on it. But since it's THERE, and I was afraid I would go hungry later in the day, even if the thought of eating a sweet donut coated in thick etc is gross, I wolfed down... two donuts! In five minutes! Or when Gay B. brought back an apple cinnamon cake from Session Road, since I probably wouldn't go to Baguio any time soon in pure kahirapan, I ate TWO slices immediately! Or whenever we are treated to restaurant or hotel buffets, I would eat loads and loads of fatty lechon and paella and crispy pata and cherry pastries and plates and plates of sushi and salmon sashimi despite being extremely full, afraid that I would not have a chance to eat again later in the day! Add to that the fact that my patients from Aklan, Naga, Zamboanga, Batangas, etc. bring all sorts of native pastries and the ubiquitous Red Ribbon cakes for more happy eatification! In two words: Patay Gutom!

As a second, and possibly MORE feasible explanation for my craptastic corpulence, is that I have consciously stuffed myself with lots and lots and lots of food to gain lots and lots and lots of weight and somehow diminish my daily paranoia that I have, what else, cancer. In the past two years I have feared that I have all of these cancers, and since I don't want to do diagnostics and stuff I thought I would just use weight gain as a surrogate marker. Of course this is not absolute, but for now I would like to enjoy a few weeks of being paranoia-free.

And as a third reason, the real one: I don't exercise. I'm an M.I. waiting to happen.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


After attending a children's party Jerus, Ruth Marx, and I decided to walk around Glorietta. Jerus and Ruth Marx are two of my closest high school friends. Ruth Marx is a boy, but I've been calling him Ruth Marx for years on end because he's the only person other than me who knows who the heck Ruth Marx is. Ruth Marx has a special talent for singing--for one whole year he sang the national anthem during morning assemblies back in grade 6. When he begged off one day because he was sick he was reprimanded heavily by the authorities. Jerus, on the other hand, was the sweetheart of the nuns. A few weeks ago when we visited the convent of one of our nun friends they were still kilig at the prospect of this tall, bearded guy with huge veiny arms being in the convent. Ruth Marx and Jerus, along with Namtab Pots and Toms, have been sustaining me through fellowship training. Literally, sinusustentuhan nila ako ng pera at pagkain. They had to, or they would never hear the end of my incessant whinings about how peniless I am.

While walking along Greenbelt Ruth and Jerus decided they wanted to drink coffee. I tend to shy away from these coffee/desert things. Greenbelt means expensive stuff, and being in the present state of having to scrounge for food I reserve my extremely limited funds for something more basic, like rice. Also I am not a big desert person. My favorite desert is pakwan.

"J.Co tayo!" was one of the suggestions. I haven't eaten J.Co Donuts, and when we passed by the store the whole population of Makati was lining up for J.Co Donuts.
"J.Co sounds bastos," I said. "It sounds like masturbation." Obviously it was just me, being stuck in grade 6 forever.
The lines in J.Co are reminiscent of the lines in Go Nuts Donuts back in 2004, and the lines in Krispy Kreme back in 2010. When we were medical clerks Go Nuts Donuts opened a huge store in Robinson's Ermita to much acclaim. We would go on decking during duties just to line up at Go Nuts Donuts. A few months ago I went to Go Nuts Donuts to buy 2 donuts for myself.

"Pabili ng 2 donut," I said.
"Gawin nyo na pong anim para may libre pang anim!" Donut Girl said, pimping the promo.
"Anong gagawin ko sa sobrang sampung donuts?" I asked.

Back in first year high school one of the fantastically perplexing conundrums posed to us by our first year science teacher was: "Nasaan ang center of gravity ng donut?" Before any of us could give an opinion we were sent home so we could mull over it overnight. It was, in effect, a take-home exam. The next day everyone stretched their hands up to orbit to recite their intellectual discourse on where the fuck the center of gravity of a donut is.

"It's a trick question," Kenkerenken said. "A donut has no center, the hole precludes any center of gravity, hence a chocolate frosted donut has NO center of gravity."
Ms. Gloria just crossed her arms and smiled smugly in rejection of the stupid answer. Kenkerenken tossed back her hair to show her annoyance.
"Of course it has a center of gravity," Burkholderia Cepacia said in between gritted teeth. "You just let a donut stand up vertically and then you get the center of gravity."

I kept on playing Brick Game.

"Wrong," Ms Gloria declared with glee and self-satisfaction. "You need to cut a donut at one point, stretch it out so it transforms into a long piece of bread, then you put your finger in the middle. THAT is the donut's center of gravity!" Lightning thunder muzak.
"Imposible," Kang said. "Mapuputol ang donut pag ginawa mo yun."

That fantastically perplexing conundrum never ever figured in Physics, UPCAT, NMAT, or in any aspect of our lives.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Was making rounds a couple of days ago in the peripheral areas of the hospital, and having done most of our stuff in the Cancer Institute we sometimes find that it requires extra effort just to walk to these peripheral wards. First, because it indicates that our patients who are usually okay enough to have outpatient chemotherapy or uneventful inpatient chemo in the CI become sicker and would need to be brought to the emergency room or the medical wards. I sometimes let out an audible girly shrill whenever I see one of my patients in the ER wasted and extremely toxic after having just seen him well a few weeks ago.Second, it's a chore to walk. In fact it's a chore to stand up. Or wake up every morning to take a bath, brush my teeth, or groom myself. "Groom yourself? AHAHAH AHAHAHAH AHAHAHAAHHA" is what some of you might be thinking, and that is absolutely fair. As I was walking to the ER yesterday I saw Fulet Esplana and she said "You look so pagod!" I was, in fact, pagod--from sleeping, having woke-up quite late at 8 am AHAHAHA AHAHAH AHAHAHHA. It elates me whenever I see my Internal Medicine batchmates prowling the hospital, those five seconds of interaction are essentially the only social interaction that we get to have, until the next PCP convention.

After making rounds in Ward 3 I stopped for a while in one corner to reply to the many text messages I have received that morning, mostly from patients. I found it essential to give my number and e-mail away indiscriminately and discovered that it had more advantages than annoyances for both me and the patients. I sometimes forget stuff, and it's comforting that I can reach someone from Aklan if I forget to reiterate that they take prednisone for their CHOP chemo, or tell someone from Bicol not to come for follow-up the next day because of some surprise clinic cancellation. Annoyances include getting a few weird text messages, and getting a lot of that bane of all text message closers: "Text back ASAP."

As I was frantically replying to these messages who should approach me but some girl and some guy, whom I thought were med reps. I didn't know them, but seeing as it was one of those weird days when I was wearing my white blazer with  a steth around my neck, I thought that they might have just needed one final signature from any doctor for the day so I just signed on their signature sheets without looking, after which they handed me a flyer and said thank you. I mindlessly put the flyer in my pocket thinking it was some drug promo material. While eating grass later that day I read the flyer, and it wasn't some drug promo material. It was from some weird company, telling me their mission vision and stuff etc etc. The triteness of the mission vision with the stock words "proactive", "family", and "wellness" got me interested, so I kept on reading. Finally, at the bottom of the sheet was a telephone number, which I should call if I want to be... a medical transcriptionist.

Apparently people pick-up on my ennui and strong sense of world-weariness that they think I would require no more than a few gentle shoves to change professions. And they are absolutely right. Except that I don't want to be a medical transcriptionist, I want to sell comic books.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cassandra Cain Goes On A Date With Hellion

A few nights ago as I was sleeping comfortably in my tiny room I call The Coffin my phone suddenly rang violently and who should be on the phone but Cassandra, who was quite frantic. It was one of those cartoonish moments where you imagine spittle coming out of the phone, so I knew it was an emergency. It was pretty late, but Cassandra would not be stifled: "You are available for drinks!" she declared.
"I have no money," I said in an exaggerated bedroom voice.
"I'm driving and I will treat you to beer AND pizza!" Cassandra growled. More spittle from the receiver.
"Where?!" I asked.

While eating in Yellow Cab in Harbor Square Cassandra narrated the harrowing experience she just had. She apparently had a blind date with a guy called Hellion, whose face she wanted to ram down a poso negro.
"I knew it," Frichmond said in her wisdom. "Not to be a MALTA (matapobreng alta), noh, but as soon as you said that he was asking to meet you in Starmall I knew this would be a disaster." Frichmond reached for her abaniko and fanned herself.

Cassandra's date started well enough. Instead of Starmall they went to Trinoma, where Hellion asked that they meet in Jollibee. Hellion treated her to Jollibee, and in these times of poverty a free meal is a free meal. They introduced themselves, started to conduct themselves well as people who go on dates do. How are you nice to know you thank you for meeting me here. So, what do you do?
"Doktor ako," Cassandra meekly said.
"Ay talaga, yung tita ko pala may goiter," Hellion said. "Yung isang uncle ko naman nagka-tulo. Ano ba yung tulo? Yun namang isang pamangkin ko, etc etc etc"
Cassandra politely answered these queries. Those answers would essentially be her last words for the next hours, Cassandra later told us, because Hellion started talking about himself. For two hours. Occasionally Cassandra would try to get a word or two in, but he would not be listening as he would ask about these things again later in the horrid conversation/soliloquy.

"Nagka boyfriend ka na?" asked Hellion.
"Ah, isa, last month kasi..."
"Ako naman nagkaron na ng APAT na girlfriend!" Hellion announced. "At TAKE NOTE, yung isa tiga-ATENEO! Je je je je je!"
He didn't really go je je je je, but to Cassandra's ears he did.

Like a turd Cassandra just sat there for more minutes waiting for the right time to escape, but Hellion was just starting. Cassandra would probably let him talk himself to death, except that his last statement made her want to kill him herself by ramming the chickenjoy drumstick down his fucking throat.
"Ilang taon ka na?" Hellion asked.
"34," Cassandra said nonchalantly. 
"AAAAY! Hindi ka na magkakaanak nyan!" Hellion announced. "Ako nga pala 29 pa lang. Je je je je."
Cassandra stood up. "O sige, una na ako. Gabi na, baka mahirapan kang sumakay ng MRT," Cassandra said.

We like it when vitriol suppressed for two hours get transmogrified into free Dear Darla pizza and beer. Ahoy!

Pinna Melanoma Recurrence

A year ago I've posted much to everyone's disgust (or nonchalance) that I have pinna melanoma. Of course as soon as disgusting pus started spurting out of the pinna I sort of thought, maybe this isn't melanoma, maybe it's something more hideous, like an abscess. But the pinna didn't go back to its normal size. There was still some residual mass there, something dormant, something just waiting to explode or metastasize or turn into an alien (the one in X-Files Fight The Future with fangs and stuff, not the timid gray aliens from the TV show). And true enough, as soon as my immune system plummeted from some stressor, like hunger and general poverty, the mass grew back. "I think it's lymphoma," I told Frichmond and Smoketh as we were eating in Tokyo Tokyo. I've whined about it for hours on end through the snack in Tokyo Tokyo, through the kiddie play we watched, through the dinner in Aveneto, through the coffee break in UCC. Frichmond would no longer hear one word about it. "Ipaopera mo na yan kay kuya," Frichmond declared. Frichmond's brother is a plastic surgeon.

"Gaano na yan talaga katagal?" Frichmond's brother asked.
"Ten years." I declared.
OR day finally came and I walked to the plastic surgery clinic. All my friends were busy so I couldn't get anybody to come. I was the classic PGH patient, the one with no bantay, so if I suddenly died intra-operatively there would be no one to make decisions and everyone in the clinic would be annoyed as hell. Social service would then need to come in and a frantic search for contacts would be conducted. In genuine PGH fashion I imagined that as I walked to the clinic I would be told, "tumungo ka na", upon which a circular cut-out would be made from the wrapping paper of the sterile gloves and would serve as the sterile eye sheet. It was henceforth surprising that the nurse asked me to change into a sterile gown after which I was led to a fantastic out-patient operating room. As I laid prone on the operating table (which smelled great) a BP app was wrapped around my arm and a pulse oximeter was clamped on my finger. Layers upon layers of brand new sterile sheets were placed on top of me until they covered my entire body. My right ear was cut, the mass excised, and cauterized painlessly.

After the surgery Frichmond's brother declared that it was merely a lowly sebaceous cyst festering with hideous infections. As he was reiterating the steps on how to reduce the scarring and such I had to stupidly ask, wide-eyed and frantically:
"Wala talagang solid areas? Hindi po kailangang ipa-biopsy? Puro sebaceous lang, wala pong solid areas? Any solid areas?"
There were no solid areas. In a few short days my ear was back to normal, and with that simple procedure I felt great. Which made me think, as I stared at the list of plastic surgery procedures in the flyer I got from the clinic, what MORE if I will have THESE procedures! AHAHAHAH AHAHAHAHA AHAHAHHAAH!

(Dr.Espiritu, plastic surgeon, holds clinics in Manila Doctors. Yeah!)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ninth Floor

                One morning while leisurely eating her breakfast in their mansion Zlurketh’s dad happily announced to Zlurketh:
                “Get dressed. I have enrolled you in a modeling class.”
                Zlurketh choked on her sausage and aspirated some rice.
                “Gggbzrtzk?!” she said.
                Since graduating from hellowship Zlurketh has involved herself in so many things: the Rotary Club, yoga class, book clubs, trips abroad, local choirs, various avenues for meeting potential mates, and practicing medicine on the side. It was to Zlurketh’s father’s credit that he has thought of Zlurketh’s potential as… a fashion model!
                “But… but…” Zlurketh started to protest. In her head:
                Why the heck would I go to a modeling class?! Why the fuck would I need to get up early every Sunday just to meet people who would teach me how to do make-up and how to dress up?! Why the fucking hell would dad think I need a bleeping modeling class? Why won’t he just give me the tuition fee worth, what, three thousand pesos, so I could buy clothes in SM? Why the fuck should I….
                “I’ve already enrolled you for FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS! Get dressed and get in the car!” Zlurketh’s dad declared. “AHAHAHAHAAHAHHAHA!”

                In the modeling class were girls in their teens and twenty’s, most of them earnestly trying to become professional models. Zlurketh was introduced to Faciphaga Emasculata, some 40’s dude who would direct the entire program. On the first day Zlurketh was ordered to walk and toss her hair and strut and stuff.
                And just when Zlurketh assumed this was all for fun,
                “For your final exam after months of intensive modeling classes,” Faciphaga Emasculata announced, “you are going to take the runway in… Trinoma!”
                Since then Zlurketh has been going to intensive modeling training every Sunday. Her face would be assaulted with cakes and cakes of make-up, she would wear eight-inch stilettos, and pose in strange contortions for peekchurifications. A few days ago, while waiting for her date in Trinoma Zlurketh frantically gave me a call:
                “Faciphaga Emasculata posted one of my modeling pictures in Facebook!!! Rose Z said I should erase it!!! Here’s my password, erase it erase it erase eeeeeeeet! Wait how do I look in that pic?”
                I frantically erased the pic, after saving it in my hard drive. In the pic Zlurketh was lying in bed with her hair spread out, her right leg folded under her left leg. She looked a bit stoned with her eyes glassy and stuff, but she was still well made-up. Sort of like a model who was shooting up cocaine, got dizzy, and plummeted down from her penthouse.
                “Er, para kang nahulog from the ninth floor at nagka locked-in syndrome,” I told Zlurketh. “Pero yung ibang pics maganda.”

                But so far Zlurketh has been immensely enjoying the modeling class. Her confidence has shot up to astronomic levels, her posture has never been better, and she has lost 8 pounds in just two weeks with no evidence of malignancy. She has also become some sort of confidante among the aspiring models. While buying mineral water in Mini-Stop, co-modelling student Rozabelle asked Zlurketh what could be causing her palpitations. Zlurketh, having just lectured weeks ago on palpitations in a private medical school, confidently said that the most common cause of palpitations among women in their twenty’s is psychogenic.
                “Bakit, hija, may problema ka bang iniisip ngayon?”
                In the middle of Mini-Stop Rozabelle hugged Zlurketh and wept.
                In her head of heads Zlurketh rolled her eyes. “Tell me about it,” she thought.
                “There, there,” she said while patting Rozabelle’s head. “There, there.”

Monday, October 22, 2012


There are few unalterable truths in life, like if you stay up until 1am and turn to WOWOW back in 1998 you would see a Japanese guy doing a Japanese girl with all the sensitive parts and points of contact strangely pixelated. For more, here are MORE unalterable truths in life, and because we are in a nega mode these are mostly unalterable... annoyances!

1. The waiter's elbow or forearm will always brush against your straw as he reaches for something from your table.

2. I have horrible luck in raffles. I only won once in my life. It was during the Mini-Olympics when I was in grade 3. My name was the first one picked from the bowl. I thought I would get the major prize--the board game Scribbage. I quickly ran in front excited to get my Scribbage. I instead got an illustrated book of Little Women. I never got to read it.

3. You will at some point inadvertently come across the poetry and prose you wrote back in college. Back then you considered them as art expressing your angst and the general ennui of things, but now you realize that not only were your poetry and prose disgusting crap, but your angst and ennui were crap. No amount of existential crisis matches hunger, disease, and death. We are all going to die, either by some freak accident or some disease, which can be acute and fulminant with sudden extreme suffering, or chronic with prolonged extreme suffering. Life is great. Cheerio.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Contemplative Crap

And before we knew it we are running at four months to go before training ends. My greatest fear is to die before all of this wraps up. Or if not die, become debilitated for some reason. For instance, i've recently discovered a tiny pigmented thing on my sclera that could be melanoma. I've also noted recently that my voice has been slowly changing, like in patients with laryngeal ca. I sometimes cough. And have recurrent chest pains which could be a mediastinal mass or massive pleural effusion. At one point while taking my pulse I've noted that my heart skipped multiple beats--worse (or is it really worse?) than any malignancy I could just develop arrhythmia and suddenly die. Talo ko pa ang isang lola na may symptom salad, but just because the lola has a laundry list of symptoms doesn't mean she doesn't really have them. And even if these are just imaginary symptoms, I could slip while walking along Faura and get impaled in one of those metal construction bars.

To further emphasize that training is on its final leg people everywhere are losing their heads on what to do next. Pre-residents have recently completed the application process and would soon start in the department. Senior residents are graduating and are now vying for spots in various Hellowship programs. This reminds me that back in October of 2010 when we were contemplating on what hellowship program to apply for, I had absolutely no idea what to do, as always. I was counting on again copying Mrs. Therese's decisions in life (like her decision to go to medical school and then go to Internal Medicine), but she would eventually bail out on me. So while sitting and fixing my stuff in the senior residents' office, contemplating and whining on what to do next, I've decided that the best way to go about choosing which fellowship to take is by the classic, foolproof method of... voting out!

I listed all the subspecialties and one-by-one voted them out on certain grounds. The easiest, for example, was Cardiology: "Ayoko na mag-night duty ever EVER!" and then Pulmo: "Ayoko na mag-night duty ever EVER!" Of course it was probably just a matter of finding the reason for not liking something that I haven't really liked anyway, and I still feel that, despite all the extreme difficulties of the past two years, the pieces are maybe fitting together. Eventually the pieces would probably fit together to form one demented picture. Except if I die before March. 

I Opened My Eyes And It's A Lovely Day! (Bulalas Portion Part 2!)

This is the 2nd part of my two-part nonsense entry about the Strangeland Keane concert. To recap, in the first part I've discussed the following points (in a jeje manner):
1. That the SM Mall of Asia Arena is a culinary destination.
2. That I've whined and keened and wailed my way to watch the concert.
3. That Helliza thinks the concert is for depression portion.
4. That a mysterious character named F5 has arrived and who knew if we would see her again.

Finally at around 9:30 the band arrived and sang You Are Young, from their latest album Strangeland. Whenever a song from this album was being played the Strangeland wall decor would light up. We were ecstatic, except that from our seats we really couldn't recognize Tom and the gang. We made googly-eyes with the ushers and hoped they would let us go down to the lower box. To no avail. Keane played on. The setlist was shaping up to be identical to all their setlists during this Asian leg of the Strangeland tour. I've researched it beforehand. As with most artists whenever they would sing some of their older, more familiar songs the audience would get wilder and sing along more. In pure snootiness I've declared to myself that I wouldn't have that problem--I knew all the songs from Hopes and Fears, Under The Iron Sea, Perfect Symmetry, Night Train, and Strangeland! And then they sang Spiralling, making me tick off one of the things in my bucket list which is to scream "OOOOOOOW!" in a live performance of Spiralling.

By the time they were playing Stop For A Minute the ushers asked us to go down the lower box. There was a point when the band played the less popular, mellower songs in succession (Your Eyes Open, Try Again, Strangeland...) that I was afraid the audience's interest might die down a little, until they played a song I couldn't quite put a finger on, a familiar song that wasn't quite in any of the albums but a song that I really really like, and then the entire arena realized that they were playing... Snowed Under! Snowed Under is a B-side track from the Hopes and Fears album, and is in fact the song from which the title was lifted, "someone to understand your hopes and fears!" We went wild, and HTGOF had the misfortune of sitting beside me. AHAHAHAHAHAH AHAHAHAHA AHAHAHA! But the crowd experienced the highest euphoria at Somewhere Only We Know. And Bedshaped had that strange effect of making me want to drink spiked Kool-Aid, and should therefore be inducted in my list of Kool-Aid songs.

I left the arena extremely elated, except that the rain was pouring down hard. We lined up for taxi, and who should be right in front of us in the queue but... F5. 
"Meant to be kayo," HTGOF said.
"Yes, pero meant to be kayo ni Bonetelya," I said.

To this day Bonetelya is still in the arena taking pictures of himself. 

Bulalas Portion Sa Culinary Destination

Akala ko talaga ay hindi na ako makakapanood ng concert ng Keane. At oo, Keane na naman. Paulit-ulit di ba. Nakakairita. Para na akong magulang na paulit-ulit na nagpopost ng litrato ng anak sa Facebook.

Pangunahing kadahilanan ay kahirapan. Sa nakaraang buwan ay nagtitiis ako sa pag spend ng P16 per day, at dito ko na realize na kaya naman pala, basta gagalingan  lang ang paglilimas ng mga delata at ulam mula sa bahay para kainin sa dorm. Kung dati ay nahihiya kami sa mga magulang namin tuwing naglalabas sila ng malaking supot at tupperware para mag-uwi ng pagkain galing sa isang party, ngayon ay mas malala pa kami.   Kaya hindi ko na kako kayang ipagkasya na manood pa ng Keane, hanggang nag-email sa akin ng link ng sabay-sabay sina Namtab Pots, Helliza, at Toby na SALE ang tickets! Malamang ay dahil hindi naman super sikat dito ang Keane.

"Wala pa rin akong pambayad kahit sale," pa-whine na text ko kay Helliza.
"Wag mo na bayaran! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!" text ni Helliza.
Syempre babayaran ko, pero fifty pesos per week. Sa isang iglap ay nagkaroon ako ng ticket at mga kasama--si Helliza, HTGOF, Ken, and Deon. AHAHAHAHAAHHAHHA! Nakaka two-weeks na nga pala, wala pa rin akong naihuhulog.

Pagdating namin sa Mall of Asia Arena ay excited na pumasok kami agad kahit two hours pa bago mag concert. Gutom na gutom na kami at excited na rin kaming kumain dahil may napakalaking sign na nagdeclare na ang Mall of Asia Arena ay "A CULINARY DESTINATION!" Except! Hindi pa nagagawa ang mga destinations na ito at ang meron lang ay mga tindahan ng hamburger at burito. At pag nasa loob ka na ng arena ay... bawal nang lumabas! Kumain si HTGOF at Ken ng burito at tuwang-tuwa sila. Ito ay matapos ang isang oras na pagkilatis sa lahat ng pros at cons ng bawat fast food.

Isang oras bago mag concert ay pumasok na kami sa concert area at... wala pang katao-tao. Namatay na ang initial excitement ng iba hanggang sa may nakikita na kaming naglalaro ng Logos Quiz. Inentertain na lang namin ang aming mga sarili sa pamamagitan ng panonood sa isang lalaki sa audience na naka-bonet. Paulit-ulit niyang kinukunan ang sarili nya ng picture nang naka labas ang dila at naka-tagilid na peace sign ang kamay. Sa sobrang tagal nyang kinukunan ang sarili nya at sa sobrang tagal namin syang pinagtatawanan meanly and secretly ay nagkaroon na sya ng code name na ginawa ni Helliza: bonetelya. Nabore yata si bonetelya kaya pagkatapos ng isang oras ay lumipat na sya ng upuan. At duon ay nagpicture-picture ulit ng sarili nya for one more hour.

"May number ba yung seats?" biglang tanong sa akin ng isang babaeng tawagin nating F5. "Dito kasi ako sa F5. Pero kung dyan mo gusto maupo ako na lang ang lilipat." offer pa nya. "OK!" sabi ko. Apparently mag-isa lang sya manonood ng concert, at napansin namin na ang daming nanood na mag-isa lang.

"Muntik na rin ako manood mag-isa," pa-whine at pa-self pity na sabi ko.
"Hindi naman siguro weird manood mag-isa ng Keane dahil ang Keane ay para sa mga taong may DEPRESSION PORTION! AHAHAHAHAHAHAAH!" bulalas ni Helliza. For more of Helliza's bulalas portion, kailangan nyong basahin ang blog entry nya na ito:


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Not Dolls!

One of my many addictions is that I need to read at least four comic books per day. Even if it's already 1:30 am, I would need to sate this addiction. These days, what with the horrific--HORRIFIC!--DC's New 52 and Marvel's Avengers VS X-Men that seems to drag on forever, I've been reading The Simpsons Comics, mostly written by the magnificent Ian Boothby. And just because this panel captures the plight of all action-figure playing young boys in the world for centuries, this is my panel of the year:

And just when HTGOF (who had the misfortune of sitting beside me during the concert) thought I've shut up about Keane, I haven't. I'm still just trying to compose myself enough to write about it ahaahaha ahahahaha AHAHAHAHAHAHHA!

Friday, September 21, 2012

And On Yet Another Keane-Related Post

I've decided that I am NOT GOING TO WATCH IT! AHAHAHAHAHHHA. That ahahhahahahaha is of course akin to the ahahhahhahahhah when you realize you have appendicitis and would need to be operated on right now. Or the same ahahahahahha when you get to Shrine Mother Fucker 1 to download important stuff only to realize that their internet is down. To quote How To Get Over Facebook: What, they think we go there for the coffee? 

Because I've just recently computed my state of affairs for the next month and noted that I wouldn't be able to afford even the bleacherest of the bleachers. It's just the hellowshipness of it all, having had no salary again for the past 3 months and having to ask a friend to drive over an empty toothpaste tube so I could make simot what's left in it. In an interview with the contestants after Survivor: Outback finished its run 10 years ago one of them told Jeff that he thought they wouldn't really be left off to fend for themselves by the production, that at some point they would be given bananas to eat off-camera, an apparently totally wrong assumption. It was the same with hellowship. Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore and I thought then that they wouldn't really make us work for nothing to be supported only with sprinkled grace from the Military-Industrial Complex of Entanglement (M.I.C.E.) who would do so only when they feel like it, RIGHT? RIGHT?! Wrong.

Hence, no Keane for now. I only hope that Lauryn Hill, Alanis, xx, Our Lady Peace, Corinne, or Radiohead wouldn't come here any time soon, although I probably wouldn't have to worry about Lauryn Hill seeing as she has weirded out or something after the Miseducation of 1998. 

The next six months couldn't run fast enough.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Don't Know

Back in the days, way back in the days, during morning endorsements we would cower in our seats as the all mighty residents walked around the room brandishing their cat-o-nine tails and wearing knee high leather boots and fishnet stockings. I have just read a bunch of old Catwoman and Birds of Prey comic books featuring Black Canary, so my memory is probably all mixed up, but the fear we felt back in clerkship during morning endorsements in internal medicine was sickening. In one instance while endorsing in front one of our interns suddenly became very pale, hyperventilated, and passed out. The residents would not have any of this, so they all said: ARTE! STAND UP!

Again, fuzzy memory. I have read the pre-New 52 comic book Secret Six by Gail Simone where everyone is biting, sarcastic, and all-around mataray. The residents did not really say arte stand up, but they did ask people to assist her out of the room so she could eat breakfast. The intern never had to endorse ever again during the rotation, so we all tried not eating breakfast before the endorsements. For more, our resident monitor would call us after every endorsement for an extra dose of sermon blather blather blather. After a week we've become inured to all of this so we decided what the hellellel. As we were called one by one on why warfarin needed to be overlapped with heparin we decided, in our heads of course: WHO CARES! AHAHAHAHHAHH (insert earnest arguments here such as OF COURSE YOUR PATIENT cares! THEIR LOVED ONES cares! Your FUTURE PRACTICE  cares! Your BLABLABLABALBLAAAAA).

One by one we were called. Smoketh stood up.
Smoketh: Sir, I don't know.
Then she sat down. NEXT!
Mrs. T stood up.
Mrs. T: Sir, I don't know.
Me: Sir... I DON'T KNOW!

Obviously we just wanted the hour to be up, and eventually all three of us went into the specialty so eventually we cared, and we knew all this anti-coagulation stuff inside-out. We cared that the patients could bleed in the brain, etc etc ETC. We eventually took up different further sub-specialties, with Smoketh now more into glomerulus and stuff, Mrs. T into arthritis and stuff, and I into masses and stuff. A few days ago while whining at how horrifically dismal our lives have turned out Smoketh asked me something, a question I think she is planning to ask her students.

Smoketh: Ilang araw nga inooverlap ang warfarin at heparin?
Me: I... don't know.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Better Than This...

... is a song from Keane's 3rd album Perfect Symmetry. Obviously I'm still all worked up at the prospect of Keane holding a concert in Manila, at quite embittered that I couldn't drag anyone to watch it with me, so I have just been playing all four of their albums in my iPot repeatedly just in case I would not be able to make it to the concert which I've been waiting for for 7 years. That is just one aspect that life could suck at, along with unrelenting suckiness at health, finances, security, relationships, safety, and everything else. Which is just a segue for me to enumerate: Moments When I Promised Myself That I Would Not Want To Again Be In This Position Or Moments When I Said I Promise I Will Never Look Back Kindly At This!

1. ROTC- Because it is a waste of time. I remember having to jog around Vanguard 1 inch away from the wall every Wednesday just so I could "log in". At one point I thought no one was looking, so I walked leisurely, until I reached the logbook and standing there was commander of sorts or whoever. I got a million push-ups. Which reminds me, I COULD do push-ups back then AHAHAHAHAH I don't know what happened. All in all ROTC has been a complete waste of time, there is nothing redeeming about it, I vomit at its face. 

2. Chemistry 31- Or whatever it was the involves folding of molecules or stuff. The only redeeming quality of that summer of 99 was having taken the class along with Mrs. T and BB, who were excellent in imagining how those structures fold and stuff. Still, I remember sitting quietly at the kiosk near Palma Hall Annex back then thinking, no matter what happens I will hate this memory FOREVER! (the drama of youth).

3. Chickenpox of '89- I woke up one morning with the mother lesion on my right index finger and tried to pop it as much as I could, thinking that if I pop it it would not spread. Of course it spread, and I was banished to my father's secret room we called The Batcave. One of the perks of being sick as a child is getting everything that you want, and at that moment all I wanted was a 1988 Super Powers Robin action figure. I got it.

4. First Year Medical School- Because it generally sucked.
5. The Lost Year of 2007- When I moonlighted for a year, with no constant friends to talk to, and being generally lost in plans for the future and lost in the quagmire of self-pity. Because driving along the long high ways by myself with no clear vision of the future was horrifying, and I just wanted to have someone to copy life plans from.

At which point I hang my head in shame because right now, at this point, having gone through everything I have in the past year and a half and survived most of the things I did, with all the tragedies and terror and an even deeper sense of melancholy, I would happily go back to those five, much reviled moments that I promised I have no love lost for. Because at the moment, it seems that everything is, cue Keane: BETTER THAN THIS!



Everyone I know who's ever been to Thailand has been to Patpong. So while my real goal was to see The Reclining Buddha only because it was the backdrop of Sagat's battles in Street Fighter II, I, along with Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore, Kruskalwallis, and Zangief thought, while walking aimlessly during our second night in Taft Avenue, I mean Bangkok: We should definitely go to Patpong and watch one of those... shows!

Zangief asked for directions, and when we finally got there hordes of seedy men and women showed us laminated cards of the shows and their features (you know the sort: that it could spit out a pingpong ball, it could grab a pen and write, it could light a cigarette with a lighter, etc.) Of course we knew it would cost more than the consumable 100 Baht the guys were peddling, of course they were tricking us, of course we would say ick and gross and be ripped off in the end, and we almost chickened out, but at this point we declared that we would never ever go back to Thailand ever so we said: WHAT THE HECK!

I just wanted to see Sagat in front of the Buddha, but there was no Sagat. Instead there were: people asking for tips! Everywhere!

"Mukang may anay," Kruskalwalis whispered as we trudged along the broken, oily-sticky leather couch. Two performers were already in the middle. They looked dazed and wretched as if they've been doing this routine for years on end. One rammed a stick up hers and used it to make sungkit rings which she tossed into a basket. The four of us sheepishly chugged down our drinks. There were only two other customers, until I noted something: they looked bored as fuck and they had flash lights on their tables. Obviously not customers. The realization hit us: WE WERE THE ONLY CUSTOMERS!

Second performer reached for halved bananas and rammed them up hers. She positioned herself in front of us, and popped the banana out of her wrinkly candidaed cavern with an audible "WHOOOOOSH!" The banana flew violently across the room and hit my ipad bag. "GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" I screamed. At this point we decided it was time to leave.

As we were leaving the one hundred bahts each, the fake customers from the other seats stood up and accosted us along with two other huge women. All four women showed us a huge sheet of paper with an encircled "5,200 baht". We said we have no money. Like giant automated androids they all screamed in unison, "5,200 BAHT! 5,200 BAHT! 5,200 BAHT!!!!" There was no way in hell we would pay that, but we also knew they could very well maul us having no other customers around, so we forked in a few extra bills and ran the hell out.

"AHAHAHAAH AHAHAHAAH AHAHAHAHHA" we all nervously laughed as we ran away from the harrowing grottiness of it all. Incensed we went to a nearby ice cream shop, Swensen's. "Uy o we can share this banana split," I said. "I WILL NOT! EAT! BANANAS!" Kruskalwalis glowered. We walked for a good thirty minutes allowing the polluted air to dilute the kadiriness of it all, and just as we thought we have somehow gotten over it, I noticed something while we were sitting in the park.

"Uy o," I told Kruskalwalis as I pointed at a white stain on my bag where it was hit by the banana. "Stain nung banana na galing sa...."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Year And A Half Hence

Back in December 2010 during the fellowship applications period we had everything planned out, and Mrs. T was starting to read up on this drug strangely named bevacizumab, which I would sometimes mispronounce as vebazicumav (who the heck comes up with these names). And then something happened. Mrs. T just woke up one morning and decided she no longer wants to pursue a career where she would have to deal with masses and deaths. While eating siopao in the then-existing college canteen Mrs. T approached me and said she would have to tell me something.

"BUNTIS KA?!?" I blurted out as bits of asado shot out of my nose and splattered on her forehead. Of course she wasn't pregnant, it was just my impulse every time she gets all serious and stuff. And then she told me. To quote her: "Gusto ko na lang maggamot ng mga lolo at lola na masakit ang tuhod." It was sad, of course, as Mrs. T and I have been blockmates since college way back in 1997. After milking for sympathy and guilt and unleashing a barrage of self-abandonment issues I told her that it is what it is, but I think you're making the wrong decision.

And now, a year and half hence, after a longish contemplation on whether it would be time to finally hang down my head in shame, it is indeed with much shame that I tell Mrs. T if she could read this: "You were right! BY GOLLY GEE YOU WERE RIGHT! GETMEOUTTAHERE!!!!!" AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHHAH!

Too much bleeping deaths and other horrific things.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Colorful and Sophisticated

"Paano gumawa ng poster para sa poster presentation?" I frantically called up Thymes 2 days before the presentation in an event in Taipei. I have a rather different view on academic researches so I had tried to avoid them as much as I could, but eventually invisibility would run out, and like in Survivor people would notice you've been flying under the radar for weeks and weeks and conspire to vote you out for being low impact in the next tribal council! But we want the million dollars! Or anything! Hence the franticness. Thymes, a prolific researcher among other things, pointed out some important things like color contrast, fonts, lay-outs, pictures, and such, but as I looked at the clock ticking at 11:45 pm I knew I would have to carry out my original plan.

After a few lay-outing and re-lay-outing and using various colorifications and stuff as suggested by Thymes and various websites, this is how my poster turned out:

Like... a giant bond paper! AHAHAHAAHAHHAA! When all 60 plus posters were finally mounted I felt apprehensive at first that I had the plainest poster, then noted a Taiwanese poster exactly like mine... minus a logo! For MORE plainness! Katamaran and cramming aside, though, I had really planned to make it as plain and as short as possible because really, whenever I would read posters I only have a two-minute attention span and couldn't be bothered to read graphs and such. I am of the assumption that other readers have similarly short attention spans, which of course is not true. Or isn't it. I just find the whole concept of an academic poster strange, most specially one with blocks and blocks of small-fonted paragraphs. We would probably save up on money and non-biodegradable tarp if we would just print out hand-outs for everyone to read. Which is why I should win the next immunity challenge, or they would all vote me out for my, er, radical views.


While... eating sushi in a remote corner after the grueling ride at The Floating Market I struck a conversation with a pinoy couple also eating sushi in that remote corner. The guy was a family medicine practitioner and his wife was a radiologist in the military, and they were apparently also in Bangkok for some other convention. We shared the same sentiment regarding The Floating Market. Hair disheveled and sweaty as hell, fam med guy said, "Parang impyerno!!!"

Truly, it was parang impyerno, as we realized it was just a ploy to force us into each shop with overpriced merchandise under the blistering sun with no option to run away from the vendor because we were on a river under the mercy of the bangkera. Being cheap customers we didn't buy anything during the hour-long ordeal. "The novelty wore off 20 minutes ago!" Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore declared as we saw the long stretch of water we still had to ride through, planked by stores and stores and stores and buddhas and stores and stores and buddhas. The bangkera handed us local hats when she noticed we were squinting and whining under the 10 am sun. "No no no!" we cried in unison. After the previous night's horrific events involving projectile fruits and swindling bullies we've always suspected everyone to be trying to rip us off. Safely back on land we met again with our tourist guide who declared with glee, "Next we're going to a snake farm... by riding a boat through the river!"

We did go to the snake farm....'s gate! Otherwise if we wanted to go in we had to pay more money, because it wasn't part of the tour package. Apparently the theme of the tour is tour to the gates. We likened it to being toured in San Lorenzo Village, and being told that that is the gate of Enchanted Kingdom. We politely declined the snake farm visit, privy to the irony of its come on slogan, "The Most Exciting Show In the World!". We sat in a corner for an hour waiting for everyone to finish. After a few more unremarkable stops the tour ended and the four of us trooped to the mall for aircondition waiting for our flight at 12:45 in the morning. In a few hours we were back in the Cancer Institute chemo-ing, having sated our curiosity and more for temples, temples, temples, projectile bananas, temples, temples, people asking for tips, temples, temples.

We're Tumbling Down, We're Spiralling

Back then I used to keep a multi-folded brown envelope, with the label "Concert Emergency Fund". I would stash money in it once in a while, gripped with the fear that anytime some act I like would hold a concert here  and I would have to fork over a huge amount. I've only used it once, back in 1999 when Alanis Morissette performed in Folk Arts Theater. This was the era of her 2nd album, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, which was not as popular as Jagged Little Pill. The 1996 Manila leg of Jagged Little Pill, the "Can't Not Tour" in 1996 I missed, because Alanis was insanely popular then. We were in 4th year high school during that first tour, and while in Physics class Paco murmured that she knew how to get tickets.

"Eto, tawagan mo sya," Paco whispered as she slipped a piece of paper. She didn't have to whisper, but there was added fun in the cloak-and-daggerness of it all. We imagined someone would just swoop in and grabbed the paper with its secret contents. "May makukuha kang ticket dyan." Written on it was a landline number and the word "scalper". That night I furiously called the number, and, not knowing what "scalper" was then asked, "Hello, is this Scalper?" I wasn't able to get a ticket, but we were able to watch Alanis Live in Manila in 1999. It was a fantastic concert. My cousin and I said this concert would totally rock and we would sing along with the obscure songs along with the rockiest audience ever. This was slightly spoiled by the fact that we were sitting beside a family, with the 8-year old girl with a Winnie The Pooh backpack making bored grunts and covering her ears beside me. Maybe she thought she was in a concert of The Moffats.

Now I wish I've maintained a Concert Emergency Fund. Because who should be coming in October but... Keane! I've liked Keane the minute I've heard Tom Chaplin wail "The laaaaaaast time!" in a commercial in Studio 23 back in 2005. Hopes and Fears is an excellent first album, Under The Iron Sea is their token darker, less poppish sophomore outing, but my favorite is Perfect Symmetry. They've recently released Strangeland, which is probably not as fantastic but a worthy follow-up nonetheless. As soon as I've learned of the concert I've started asking people to watch with me.

"Isa lang ang alam kong kanta nila," RD Lugo said.
"Ano nga ba yung mga kanta nila?" asked Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore.
"Iba pa ba yan kay Keana Reeves?" was the question of Thymes.

Still searching, but will watch it by myself, even in the bleachers, if I have to!

Sunday, September 2, 2012


I have no culture, in the way that people define the concept nowadays. So when Smoketh proclaimed that she had free tickets for a Repertory Philippines production of the "Wizard of Oz" in Makati I said yes. We don't turn down things these days, specially if they are free. So that Saturday I ran to Greenbelt 1 and met Smoketh and Henj. I was pretty surprised that Greenbelt 1 is still there after all and pretty much intact the way I remember it years and years ago before the glittery new Greenbelts selling expensive things popped up. Minus the Triple V and Baskin Robbins. Such a dip into nostalgia, even if tangential, will not be complete if I don't mention Quad, Park Square, Glicco's, and Bun on the Run's Chori Burger. We like to take comfort into these old things and places, they make us feel like we used to be alive, that we haven't always been the nega zombies that we are right now. And for more, I'm using the pronoun WE when in fact I just mean I. There's more comfort in hoping that there is sharedness in angst.

Back to the play. Smoketh and Henj were already eating in Tokyo Tokyo when I arrived, and I noticed that they were fashioning a new do. Apparently they have been in Makati for hours on end already, having undergone digitalized nano-tech driven hair curling. "So ginamitan ba kayo ng pink rollers?" I asked. "Hindi na uso yun." Smoketh said. No longer uso as well, apparently, is Pagoda Coldwave Lotion.I asked them how much the curling cost, and wow those things cost a fortune. Before I could comment, sensing my aghastation (not a true word), Smoketh said, "Bakit magkano ba ang isang action figure mo?" This argument always ends any tendency to judge.

We walked around Greenbelt waiting for Smoketh's sister who had the free tickets, and we noted the play would already start in a few minutes.
"Naku baka hindi na natin abutan yung Defying Gravity," I said.
"Ibang play yun," Smoketh replied.
"Wrong play."
"The last play I watched was..."
"Rama and Sita?"
Come to think of it, the last stage play I've seen was in 1998,  a required stage play in Comm 3 in UP Diliman. Something about Lapu-Lapu or something else, starring Eugene Domingo back in the days.

The play was pretty interesting, with colorful costumes and songs and stuff. I would probably not be a stage play reviewer, because that's the limit of how I could describe it. I fell asleep after ten minutes. It was obviously meant for kids, as the entire auditorium was packed with elementary kids and their parents. There were portions with audience participation where the actors would ask a question to the audience. I looked behind me at the boy who screamed the loudest "YEEEEEEEEEEES!" Beside him was his father, deep in slumber.

After the cast bowed and stuff the kids ran in front to have their picture taken with the cast. A 15 year-old girl scoffed at the idea of her sister doing that and delaying their egress. "Hoy you used to that as well noh," her mom admonished.

And then I realize that I have my own standard of "culture": a cultural activity is any activity that does not involve the hospital or Rob.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bright Orange Envelope of DEATH!

Recently gave Helliza an orange plastic envelope containing around ten 10000IU enoxaparin syringes. Helliza was in a state of severe emotional distress brought about by strange happenings in the wards we used to call S.A.T. An S.A.T is a patient's medical condition for which we have no explanation whatsoever. Smoketh and I used to scream this in the ER (secretly, in our heads) when we could not figure out what was happening to a patient, so all together now: Shet, ano to!!!

Frantically Helliza ran back to the wards with the bright orange plastic envelope. "Be warned, Helliza," I warned her. "Whenever I used the enoxaparin from that envelope, the patient died. Three people used that and in a day or so they met their maker!" Lightning, thunder, muzak. Of course it could be argued that in all the instances that we've used the drug the patients were already deteriorating, necessitating the drug in the first place, but still, we could not discount the notion that this could be the BRIGHT ORANGE ENVELOPE OF DEATH!!!

But truly there was no time for superstitious nonsense, specially since enoxaparin is quite expensive. If I remember correctly a 6,000 IU preparation of the brand Clexane costs around a thousand. There used to be a cheaper brand, called Clexa, which sounded like it would go well with Mineropenem. The ones I had were donations I think from overseas, and the preparation would allow each syringe to be used in two doses. With this in mind Helliza dashed to the patient, then accompanied the patient to the 2d-echo, intubated her, started her on inotropes...

That night Helliza called to say that the patient died. For more, she said that in the hurly-burly of things the envelope disappeared. She searched all over the wards, in every nook and cranny, every crevice, but the bright orange envelope could no longer be found. She was able to get only one syringe.

"Let it be. It is an orange envelope of doom that should never be found," I said.
Which suddenly reminded me, written on the orange envelope is my name. If anybody found it don't return it to me, throw the damn thing away. THROW IT AWAY!!!!!!! Or donate it to patients with excellent prognosis to begin with.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Research Rules!

I've recently deactivated my Facebook account, following in the footsteps of Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore and HTGOF (How To Get Over Facebook). Interestingly, it was Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore who started the Facebook trend in our residents' call room when we were first year residents back in 2008. In fact it was Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore who created my account, because I was lazy like that. Eventually, maybe in just a few short days, I might realize that I want to get back into the thing again, but for now, I seem to be already reaping the rewards of having deactivated the damn thing.

1. Less aggravation. Admittedly I have followed some people specifically because of their infuriating, embarrassing status updates. Obviously there should be no basagan ng trip in Facebook, but there are those updates that we just find infuriating and embarrassing, and we continue reading those for sheer morbid fascination. Like there's a level of masochism, but we now realize that the less aggravation the better we actually feel during the day.

2. Less time on the internet. Like in the past few days I would just check my email, blog, read comic book news, and in 30 miutes I am done. And can hence do worthwhile stuff like lie down, stare at the ceiling, or rant with friends. I've stopped clicking at endless links and the comments on the links and links in the comments, because I no longer know what links my friends recommend. Fun!

3. More time to do research- is what Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore said. She has recently exhibited magnificent skills in research paper writing and statistical analysis, because there was nothing to distract her from realizing her full potential as a Researcher, a Statistician, and a Sub-Investigator of huge clinical trials. We should all emulate Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore.

Aroint Thee, Self-Aggrindizitation

A few years ago my contribution to the Sagip-Buhay projects, mostly headed by Hurricane K, Jing, Papa Ruter, and Fulet, has been limited to being... a ghost writer. While my co-residents were running around looking for money and stuff, admittedly I knew that I did not have enough socializing abilities, not enough drive to do strenuous leg work, and not enough rich connections. In fact I don't have any rich connections that I know of, otherwise I would have asked for some money--for myself. Knowing this I asked if there were alternative ways to help with the project, so I wrote press releases, some supposedly tearjerking, rather manipulative write-ups of patients' kawawa stories, and my favorite: ghostwriting for the really important people for their greetings page in the souvenir programs. I knew, or at least I hope, nobody ever read them because they were horrible.

Eventually the three years worth of events requiring souvenir programs spawned regurgitated greetings. People who knew me caught a few of the inside jokes:

"Let us shine the Blue Lantern of Hope..."- Because it was 2009, and the hottest comic book of the time was... DC cross-over Blackest Night series starring Green Lanterns of Will, Red Lanterns of Rage, and... Blue Lanterns of Hope!

"Sagip-Buhay enables us to walk the extra twenty miles to save a patient..."- Because at the time, the residents have been admonished for not exerting enough effort to get the biopsy results of a patient in a high profile case, and, to quote, "have not walked an extra mile"!

"But despite all these, there is no self-aggrandizement, no Messiah Complex..."- Because guess what was competing with DC comics' Blackest Night at the time... Marvel Comics' Messiah Complex and Second Coming storylines featuring the miraculous mutant birth of Hope, the mutant messiah!!!

Self-indulgence notwithstanding, though, that is the one trap some of us tend to fall into, some more frequently than others: self-aggrandizing, Messiah Complex. Working in this public hospital with poor patients, not being adequately compensated, having to sometimes shell out our own money, having to innovate in our management to fit into the square peg of abject poverty of the patient, we sometimes tend to feel like we are these heroes who do these things from the intrinsic altruism of our hearts, conveniently glossing over the fact, specially when we tell these stories to our friends outside the business, that most of these things are required or would incur punishments if unfulfilled, in the form of mortality reports, reprimands from consultants, audits, and even the most basic form of sanction: guilt. We like to rant about how the patients' poverty becomes our burden, then later spin the story into a wonderful success story with us as the heroes, and when they tell us we're such heroes we sheepishly say in faux humility that no no no, I'm just doing my job. Well if we indeed are then we wouldn't mind doing them without ranting, or the opposite of ranting, which is decidedly quite horrendous: over-dramatizing the story and amping up the kawawa factor of both us and the patients.

But having said all of that pretentious crap which is worse than a rant because it is a pretentious rant, ranting can be so much fun. Specially if you have the right audience, who would rant back with an even bigger rant. You would try to out-rant each other, with long maniacal cathartic laughs between rants, and you would all end up feeling much better and ready to wake up the next day and serve the country like the good, respectable doctors that we are.

Conclusion: Ranting is healthy and fun. So rant away!

Friday, August 10, 2012


Apparently there is a resurgence of debates about the RH Bill in the news. I am not aware, as unaware I am of the extent of the destruction caused by the recent storms, the Olympics, political news, showbiz news, generally everything. My excuse is that I have no television, no radio, and no interest to spend money on newspaper. I occasionally have access to the internet, during which I blog, read comic book news on Newsarama, and download stuff that kill the brain.

I therefore have, as of yet, no position on the RH Bill. If it were as basic as artificial method of contraception vs no artificial method of contraception it would have been easy, but surely, to quote high-strung aktibi-aktibistahan people during recitations and meetings, "HINDI ITO ANG ISYU!!!!" It's not like people can't buy condoms in 7-11 for decades anyway, so clearly hindi ito ang isyu. There surely is a lot of legalese and a lot of money involved, and since I have not read or probably will not bother to read the fine print, I am therefore being the hateful apathetic citizen and declare that I have no stand on the issue. Better this than storm the streets with no clear vision other than it's fun and cool. I am still embarrassed that I walked along Edsa during Edsa 2.

The whole RH Bill thing reminds me of when we were in high school, when we were met by the nuns and told us that the Cairo Conference is baaaaaaaad. None of us bothered to read about it or ask about it, our interest was just piqued by the nun's declaration: "Gusto nyo ba ng Cairo Conference? Pag natuloy ang Cairo Conference, lahat ng tao magsesex. Pag recess may makikita kayong mga kaklase nyo na nagsesex sa lobby!"

Obviously The Cairo Conference pushed absolutely none of our classmates to fuck in the open. In fact, I've just googled that The Cairo Conference has nothing to do with sex, sex in the hallways, or our prurient classmates. In fact, it was not even about reproduction. The conference, in fact, happened in 1943, and it's about alliances in World War II.

See, we have so many, so many things to unlearn. So much clutter, to be cleaned away and swept under the rug by... Wikipedia.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


You are 8. There is a storm raging outside. Your parents close the store downstairs and bring you to the upper floor. The winds are getting really strong and any minute now they can bring down the walls of your old, poorly maintained wooden house. The electricity is shut down, and initially all you can whimper about is how hot it is, but your mother admonishes that you cannot open any of the windows or the winds will destroy the house.

And although the howling winds are a little bit scary, you are more incensed at the discomforts: the heat, the humidity, the boredom. That is, until the storm intensifies further and water starts coming in through the cracking wooden walls and you start fearing for your parents' life. You see your father carrying a long, heavy beam all by himself. He climbs up the ceiling unmindful of your mother's protestations and jams the beam against the two walls of your house. The house is stabilized for now, and thankfully the storm starts to calm down a little.

To entertain you your father brings out a couple of boxes containing his huge collection of vintage comic books from their room. These things are precious--you've always wondered where he keeps these things, just how many there are, and just when he would let your grubby hands touch them. The wind starts howling again, the brief calm has already passed. Your father leaves you the boxes and goes back to working on fortifying the house.

You start reading, and you read and read for hours on end. You marvel at the adventures of the 1960's Superman, with the Superman 80-Page Giant as your favorite. You laugh at Lois Lane's endless attempts to prove Superman and Clark Kent are one and the same, her own comic book Lois Lane proving to have the highest comic index amongst all. But your ultimate favorite is Adventure Comics featuring Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes. Your love story with these characters begins, a love story that will be tested repeatedly, but will endure, for the decades to come. While in the other room, your father continues hammering away at the walls assisted by your mother, still trying to thwart the threat of the raging winds.

And so, while in your own little universe with these fictional characters, you forget about the storm. You forget the danger. You feel safe, and when your father comes back to you unscathed by the storm that has thankfully completed its course, you feel that you are truthfully, completely safe. 

You are in your 30's. A storm no longer fazes you, but you are fazed by the upcoming rent deadlines, your own health, the well-being of your family, your dying patients, the joys and tortures of your father's memory. But amidst these personal storms, this particular memory of the storm decades ago is the memory you keep coming back to, because in this memory you are at your safest, and you know that somehow you'll be okay.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Last Friday I hurried out of work at around 1pm, and ran to the cinema to watch The Dark Knight Rises! I could have watched on the opening day the previous day, but I realized I haven't seen The Amazing Spiderman. So just for completion I had to watch Spidey instead. I am one of those people who think that it's too soon to have another Spiderman movie, because although the third one tanked, it wasn't nearly as horrendous as, say, Batman and Robin. When Batman Begins was released in 2005 it didn't feel "too soon" just after 8 years since Batman and Robin, because we were in a hurry to forget the nipples and the plastic lips that protected Chris O Donnel from Poison Ivy's pheromonic kiss.

I did not like The Amazing Spiderman at all. I remember leaving the theater after Spiderman and Spiderman 2 genuinely awed and in good spirits because they were really fun without being campy. The angst and humorlessness of this version of Spidey just overwhelmed the entire movie, and Andrew Garfield's shaking head was kind of distracting. Maybe the sequel would be better, but for now, I still think they should have just made another superhero movie starring Garfield. Maybe a Daredevil reboot, I think he could play a good Daredevil with that level of angstiness. Except that movie would make it difficult for him to showcase his pretty humongous eyes.

Now The Dark Knight Rises. Spoilers here, of course, if anybody cares. Now that is a great superhero movie. Watch it back to back with the first two parts and we have one cohesive trilogy with a huge magnificent ending. I'm not sure why, but I kinda got all misty and actually teared up during the last few sequences. I would have probably lost it altogether if it was revealed that John Blake's real name was Dick Grayson after all, so good thing he was just a new, invented character. The final scenes were precious, and the tension just didn't let up. "Ayan, montage na," the nerdy college student beside me quipped.

My only real complaints: not enough Batman, as if the supporting cast were all trying to hog the limelight. And also, those sunglasses that sorta look like cat ears just don't cut it--we want a full-on Selina Kyle Catwoman, who cries MEOW and plays with her pet cat. And also, the first screen caps of the TDKR filming years ago showed Talia in costume and aptly identified her as Talia, so the supposed twist was quelled early on. But STILL, this movie is a big triumph for me. I regret that my father is no longer here to watch it with me. Or maybe he is.

Minimum Requirement

One year ago Smoketh, all distressed and visibly shaken at the misfortunes of being a hellow, has asked me how I manage to stay chill. I told her the secret: Just don't do your best.

Your best, as well as not doing it, are obviously subjective, as it might seem to others like you are making karir to the highest degree your job when in fact you're just doing it in the kebsest of manner, so there's a level of trickiness there. Furthermore, being in the business/job/field that involves saving lives and such, not doing your best might seem dangerous because it might seem to others that you don't care whether your patients die. We are all adults so we probably understand that I don't mean letting your patients die, in fact I don't think anybody cares enough to nitpick that statement anyway, but just to elucidate, I had told Smoketh that what I really mean is that to keep on maintaining one's cool in the hurly burly of things, the way to go is to just do the minimum requirement. Doing extra work is like, to quote that old quote, getting a huge rock and making it pukol on your own ulo. We vomit at extracurricular activities! We puke at volunteering for administrative work for self-fulfillment! We just snicker at the thought of doing extra research not required for graduation! We sneer at people making kandarapa for extra work that requires extra effort and steals extra time away from reading comic books and sleeping! Actually we don't sneer at those people, we love them and we cherish them without judgment, because they maintain the status quo and we avoid getting noticed.

In one of our masters class yesterday we answered a questionnaire that assessed our learning motivation. I was classified as goal-oriented, as opposed to being group-oriented or learning-oriented. The description of being goal-oriented in the questionnaire is very sophisticated and a little bit psychoanalytic, but what it really boils down to is that one who is goal-oriented has this mantra in his head while performing a required task: para tapos na. Gawin na lang para tapos na, isulat na ang paper para tapos na, isubmit na ang dapat isubmit para tapos na at maka-graduate na at makapag-practice na at tumanda na at mag-retire na.

Minimum requirement rules. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Decades ago in the midst of long-hours of brown outs I would sneak out our katulong's local comic books and read them with fervor in between my father's Superman and Legion of Superheroes. One such komiks was Kilabot comics. It was not scary at all, but it was quite raunchy, with lots of sex scenes. I can still remember the distinct weird smell of the paper, like wet basahan. In one story in Kilabot this family lives in a haunted house, and of course one by one the members are killed off by the evil spirit and such. The aunt is ordered to dance dance dance endlessly, until she dies from exhaustion. Of course she has to dance nude.

Two of the most commonly used terms in the damn komiks series are: "naaagnas", because something is always rotting, usually someone's face, and "hilakbot", because it's hard to draw characters' facial expressions so they are just described in the narrations as nahihilakbot. I am reminded of this particular hilakbot term last night when, as i entered my room at 11:30 pm, when what should I see but.... eight cockroaches crawling around, some with fluttering wings on the verge of flying! EEEEEEEEEP I yelped. There is no other way to describe it, I was really nahilakbot. This has happened before, back in June 2008, when, as I was listening to Alanis's recently released Flavors of Entanglement, twenty-four--I counted them--twenty four roaches just crawled in my room from nowhere. This is properly documented in my blog in.... Friendster! AHAHAHAHAHAHA.

But this time I was prepared. I nimbly reached for my can of Baygon and sprayed--SPRAYED!--at the disgusting vermin. I stepped on the bed, jumped, and sprayed at the ones crawling high on the walls. They didn't immediately die, but they fell, fell, and writhed in agony. More roaches came in! I cartwheeled and sprayed in 360 degrees and hit more roaches fluttering around. Die you motherfuckers, I was thinking. After a few more minutes I was gasping, both from exhaustion and the suffocating smell of Baygon. In a few more seconds I would writhe with the roaches on the floor, so I dashed out and ate sushi.

I then went back to the room and swept out the damn roaches.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Occasionally I make kulit my patients i haven't seen for a while and text them a generic text that it would be better if they could follow up and such. I went through my patient directory and then realized: patient A- dead. Patient Al- dead. Patient At- dead. Patient B- dead. Patient C- dead. Patient De- dead. Dead dead dead. DEAD! I winced and cringed and felt dreadful and stopped. Wag na lang. I resumed reading Avengers vs X-men.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Yet another self-indulgent entry! When I know for a fact that the few readers that I have have better things to do than read comic books and arrange action figures in their eskaparates! Either way I am taking this opportunity when I am reading comic books again to try and make recommendations because who knows, The Avengers movie or something must have interested you into picking up a funny book! Or dahil mahal naman talaga, download one! My comic book recommendations therefore!

1. Chew- by John Layman and Rob Guillroy published by Image Comics. The book features Tony Chu, a cibopath, ie, he can get psychic impressions from whatever he eats, such as lucid images of the beef getting ground when he eats hamburger, chicken getting beheaded when he eats fried chicken, and such. Practical use: as a police detective he only needs to take a bite of a murder victim and get an idea as to what led to the death. Fun fun comicbook! Grade: A+.

2. Wonder Woman- I've been whining about the DC reboot for over a year now, and I've skipped on most of them, but now I'm trying to catch-up and it is with much conviction that I declare the Wonder Woman reboot by Brian Azarello and Cliff Chiang totally mediocre. Grade: F for forgettable drivel.

3. Batman: Night of the Owls- Again under the DC reboot mandate, with all the bat books crossing-over and shit to create some sort of "event". Gotham has apparently been run by a secret cult or such composed of weird people in owl masks for centuries. A lot of exposition on the history of Gotham. Exposition we don't care much about. The pattern of the cross-over reminds us of The Blackest Night, where the same thing happens in all the books involved except with different characters. Batman is apparently the only character that DC is able to sell, hence we have this Bat-family of books being released in a month: Batman, Batman and Robin, Detective Comics, Batman The Dark Knight, Batman Inc, Batgirl, Batwoman, Nightwing, Batwing, Birds of Prey. Batman can be in all of these books at the same fucking time, plus in Justice League and Justice League International pa. Grade: B for broken promises. Because we thought we would get respite from these EVENTS! We hate events!

So as you can probably gather, out of the three books I'm reading right now I'm only enjoying one of them, so this entry is probably not entirely a recommendation. More like, what else, a whine, a rant, a babble, a testament to the fact that I haven't had a leisurely, normal conversation with a breathing human being for the entire week. Anybody wanna drink in whorehow?

Young Adult

Independence Day at walang pasok. Pwede naman akong umuwi ng probinsya, pero kako, mahal ang pamasahe, kaya nanatili na lamang ako sa aking kwarto para gumawa ng kung anu-ano. Isa pa, dahil Independence Day, more excuse para mag bloggeth ulit ng tagalog.

Sabi ko makapag catch-up nga sa mga komiks na matagal ko na gusto basahin pero hindi ko nababasa. Kaya nagbasa ako ng Uncanny X-Men muli na ngayon ay nasa isyu 13 na simula nang ito ay mag-renumber. Tapos binabasa ko rin ngayon ang Avengers VS X-Men. Nakakairita na kasi ang DC Universe ngayon. Wala nang point. Kaya nagpapaka Marvel na muna ako kahit ako ay DC by heart.

Nanood din ako ng pelikula. Ang pinanood ko ay Young Adult na pinagbibidahan ni Charlize Theron at Patrick Wilson. Nirekomenda kasi ito ng paborito kong comicbook podcast na, kaya pinanood ko na lang din kahit mukang boring. On the contrary, hindi ito boring! Ang pelikulang ito ay tungkol sa isang ghost writer ng young adult books ala Sweet Valley High na nag-sort-of BRP (brief reactive psychosis) nang inemail sya ng baby picture ng ex-boyfriend nya. Kaya bumalik sya sa kanyang small town at nagrenta ng isang kwarto sa motel para magsulat. Kunwari. Dahil kaya sya bumalik ay para akitin muli ang kanyang ex-boyfriend na si Patrick Wilson nga, na kasal na at may baby pa. Ang role ni Patrick Wilson sa mga pelikula nya ay yung guy na laging nilalandi. Sa movie na Little Children may asawa na sya ay nilalandi pa sya ng secret haliparot na si Kate Winslet. Sa Watchmen ay nilandi naman sya ni Silk Spectre kahit isa na syang retired, life-weary ex-superhero divorcee. Speaking of Watchmen, may bagong release ang DC Comics na Before Watchmen. May mga comic books na hinding hindi dapat ginagalaw, kagaya ng Watchmen. Nakakairita talaga ang DC Comics ngayon, dapat silang recite-an ng Anti-Life Equation.

And then. AND THEN! Na-realize ko kung bakit ito nirekomenda ng iFanboy podcast. Ito ay dahil ang pelikulang ito ay isang fanboy fantasy. May isang karakter kasi na single, maliit, mataba, mabaho, pilay, at walang ginagawa sa buhay kundi... mag-customize ng action figures! Kaya relate kaming lahat na ganito ang profile. Natuwa nga ako nang makita ko ang action figures sa table nya: isang Sinestro Corps member, Mongul, Nite Owl, at iba pa na cinucustomize nya. At, kaya ko masasabing isa itong fanboy fantasy ay dahil--spoiler alert-- sa kanya at hindi kay Patrick Wilson nakipag-sex si Charlize Theron. But not for lack of trying, dahil nilandi muna ni Charlize si Patrick to the highest degree at nang nag-fail ito ay tsaka lamang ito nakipag sex kay pudgy guy. Moral lesson: between a nice, tall, hunky guy who is married and an unattached pudgy guy with man boobs, wag nang mapili. Sabi nga ni Smoketh, di dapat masyadong mataas ang standard, in fact ang standard dapat ay: Basta humihinga. Even lower for Walking On Water, dahil para sa kanya: kahit naka-intubate.

Monday, May 28, 2012


For once I told myself, "I will not make rounds on this patient today". It just felt so... liberating (arte). Besides, I thought, the patient is in the able hands of Helliza. A few days ago I frantically called up Helliza at around 4:30. "HELLIZA!" I yelled on the phone, "Wag ka mag-thoracentesis ngayon! BUKAS NA! Bukas na lang! Baka may mangyaring komplikasyon! Mahirap mag pneumothorax or edema pag gabi na! Kagaya nang nangyari sa akin dati at nag na-nightmare pa rin ako ngayon pag naaalala ko ito!!!!"

Helliza was already doing thoracentesis while we were on the phone. And the phone was on loud speaker. For the patient and the family to hear. For more panic. How could I have known.

A few days went by with nothing happening, so I said "I will not make rounds on this patient today". I felt gleeful, sheepish, at the fifteen minutes I would save. It wasn't like I would be doing anything important, I would probably just spend the fifteen minutes typing whiny blogs, but the vile, vile thought of being nakakalamang was just so cheeri-o. As I was about to go to Rob extremely famished and being generally nega for being salary-less for five straight months now (talagang dapat isingit), I passed by the side of the ward where I would be seen through a huge open window by, of all people, that patient. His wife called me. I immediately felt sad. Minsan na nga lang makalamang I begrudgingly told myself, behind a wide-grinned smile and an enthusiastic, "KAMUSTA PO!"

I was instantaneously snapped back to roundsing mode, ie, generic rehearsed smile, modulated voice, tempered temper, nods and "uhuh" at the proper time. While in my head, a tiny girly whiny self-pitying voice goes: "I am so hungry".

Surprisingly, they were very few questions about the patient's disease. Patient's sister instead just handed me a huge supot of Jollibee through the window. After a token resistance, I got the food and ran.... ran to the callroom.

And skeletonized the Chicken Joy and slurped the spaghetti sauce off the styrofoam in ten seconds, all the while thinking "THANK GOD FOR FREE FOOD! THANK GOD FOR FREE FOOD!!!!" with spaghetti sauce smeared on my mouth and chicken strips stuck in my teeth and shame etched on my forehead like a guilty, soul-less, piece of hungry trash.

You should really make rounds daily.

Oh, Matter-Eater Lad

We hate going to malls on a Sunday, so imagine the aggravation of going to, of all the bleeping malls, SM Megamall. Everyone was in megamall, but it was the nearest place where we could dine after... going to church.

Smoketh and I are Catholics, but we occasionally dip into Christian worship services. This started in college, when I was still in my pretentious self-discovery crap mode and I would attend everything. The last time I got into a service was 3 years ago accompanied by Tits aka Titi. Recent events of anguish and stuff sort of made me want to attend again. I prodded Smoketh to come. I told her she could meet boys there. "See anyone you like? That one? Eh that one? Ayun o baka type mo," I pimped as we were making our way to the balcony. Smoketh, now being a consultant, is in a self-discovery crap mode. In the past couple of months she has beached in Bolinao, done scuba in Batangas, broken her leg while sand-surfing in Ilocos, traipsed along the fields of flowers in Bataan, gone to an assortment of church services, talked up random people in the street, and made asikaso all the papers and documentations she would ever need in her life. She has recently joined a random choir so she could meet boys. There were no boys.

So after church we started walking amongs the multi-crowds in Megamall, and I sort of tricked her into my ultimate destination--Jae's Collectibles. Jae's Collectibles is a tiny action figure shop that sells the sorts of toys I am into, and it's situated at the farthest end of the mall. Smoketh, still sort of fresh from her brokenleggedness in Ilocos, was such a boyscout as she limped through buildings A and B to get there.

And what should I see standing there in the eskaparate, as if waiting for me, but... a lose action figure of... Matter-Eater Lad!!! Matter-Eater Lad is a member of the DC superhero group Legion of Superheroes which was quite popular from when it started way back in 1958. The Legion of Superheroes first featured in Adventure Comics, which was my favorite among my dad's stockpiles of ancient comicbooks. Back in elementary and high school I would bring Adventure in school and show it to Namtab Pots. As a consequence only three people in existence are aware of Matter-Eater Lad's existence: My father, me, and Namtab Pots.

Which begs the question: Why is Matter-Eater Lad not any more popular? Sure his only super power is being able to eat anything and he comes from the planet called Pepto-Bismoll, but why can't he be at least in the same league as Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl, or even Proty? If he gets imprisoned he just eats the prison bars. Alternatively, he can just eat his way out by creating a tunnel in 10,000 munches. Writers have always struggled to create a storyline for him, as he can't just be in prison all the time.

So Matter-Eater Lad is unpopular. But at the present time, in this state of abject poverty, I wouldn't mind getting his powers. Because I no longer have to think of where to get money for my next meal: I could just eat the used syringes and be sated for hours.