Friday, April 26, 2013

Last Night On Earth... With a Sandwich

On my last few nights as a dormer in Manila I would hunt down Smoketh and disturb her feverish studying for the renal boards and we would call Frichmond and we would go to... Subway. Maybe it was the finality of my dorm life (arte) after over 16 years of living on my own that made me want to make the last few nights memorable. For months I've been thinking of some kind of bucket list or such, and everyday that list would get revised, limited by time, funds, friends to drag around, and most importantly, laziness. And of course, the nagging thought: what's the drama. Because really, the only thing I wanted to do was eat a good sandwich.

And where should we find a good Subway branch but in some gas station in Macapagal. A few years ago DC Comics had a recurring advertisement feature in their books where superheroes were shown capturing crooks and such by using Subway sandwiches. It's like those Twinkies Cakes ads back in the late 60's and 70's DC Comics, if some you care to remember. One of the sandwiches Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman were pimping had one special feature: avocado sauce. Of course in Macapagal there was no avocado sauce, so I ordered the usual stuff with oil and vinegar and stuff, cold not warmed, with chips and a huge cup of sugar-rich soda. 

"Do you remember that old Tyra episode on cable where they featured a guy pornstar who felt discriminated?" I asked Smoketh and Frichmond. They don't, and just kept on munching. 
"He felt discriminated, because when they discovered that he was a porn star they fired him from his day job," I narrated.
"What was his day job?" Smoketh asked.
"Preparing Subway sandwiches," I said. 

And just because I'm really hungry I would gratuitously post a picture of Subway turkey avocado sandwich right now.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Flash Fact: Shameless Self-Promotion!

Recently met up with a college friend whom I haven't seen in a long time. She excitedly declared that she has finally bought our published book from Powerbooks. Thinking I have finally published a short story collection, she went through the pages and said "Bakit... puro liver?"

Yes, our book from the Health Series of Milflores Publishing, Fatty Liver, has finally been published. I, Katherine Lei-Mercado, and gastroenterologist extraordinaire Dr. Janus Ong have written this back in 2010 as part of our Internal Medicine residency requirement. UP College of Medicine Dean Agnes Mejia is the editor of the series. Other books already published in the series are My Kidneys and Me, Allergy, Anemia, Animal Bites, and Hypertension in the Young.

Fatty liver is an important medical problem and the lay should be aware of it. Truly I have miserably failed in my attempts in having a short story collection or a novel or an essay compilation published, but Fatty Liver traverses both medical and literary territories that I think it would be a great purchase. Also, the illustrations are... interesting.

While waiting for Dr. Ong for consultation with this book years ago, someone quipped, "Why would I buy that when I can just look it up on the internet?!" Indeed, why. Why? Because not only will you get a fun, educational book, with which you can indulge our dreams of signing it, you will also get to help many patients in the medical wards of PGH! Yes, all proceeds go to the Sagip-Buhay Medical Foundation, which raises millions of pesos each year for all our indigent patients in the internal medicine wards of PGH. Sagip-Buhay has provided mechanical ventilators (P1,000/day), high-end antibiotics like meropenem (P7,500/day), expensive diagnostics, and other medical needs to extremely poor patients who would otherwise be unable to afford these life-saving stuff. Am I in effect guilt-tripping you? Of course not, because whichever way you look at it, buying our book is a win-win situation for you AND the patients of PGH!

Other than the fantastic, well-written text (if I may float our huge armadas), you will also be treated to sophisticated illustrations by our illustrator... ME! AHAHAHAHAH. What experience do I have in illustrating these things? Why, when I was 5 until I was 12 I've written AND drawn 12 notebooks of comic books featuring my original superhero creation, Power Turtle, the stories of which are complete rip-offs of 60's Adventure Comics Featuring The Legion of Superheroes! Only my father and brother would read them, but those comic books were jolly good fun if I may say so MYSELF!

During the consultation process I've shown Dr. Ong my illustrations of chronic liver disease patients. These illustrations were put out to drive home certain points. Some of them he politely turned down, saying that they are like aliens and not really fit for this kind of publication. "It's like being drawn by people attending toy and comic book conventions and stuff" I think were the words. When we've submitted the final draft to our editor I sneakily put the illustrations back in, because truly she might find them awesome and awe-inspiring. Our editor's comments, "Bakit puro aliens?" Some of those drawings were henceforth left in the cutting room floor. But since you have kindly endured these paragraphs of self-promotion, I am hereby presenting you with...  for the first time to be seen in public (and aren't you sorry you are now part of this public)... the Director's Cut images!

This is cirrhosis! IT'S CIRRHOSIS!

A grotesque tuba-guzzling goblin with macrovesicular steatosis. Let's say he also has ehlers-danlos.


Fatty Liver is now available in National Bookstore. We've seen copies in Rob Ermita, Glorietta, and Mega Mall. AHAHAHAHAHAH.
photo by Kathy