Werd!

Anonymous… as much as possible.

— February 10, 2016

There are a lot of street children here in the Philippines. It’s normal for them to go around the streets begging for extra change, but when you’re unlucky, you’ll encounter notorious kids who end up chasing you or ripping your stuff off of you in broad daylight. That’s what I’m scared of, which is why I don’t give spare change to kids on the street when I’m walking around. I do give food around when I’m in a car.

But it’s not an excuse for me to not lend a helping hand. This was today’s reading for the Bible.

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This is something I have to conquer, and something I’ve been praying for for quite a while now – a heart that is not just willing, but bursting to help. I’m ashamed of myself every time I don’t take every opportunity to give. I don’t like that I’m still afraid, but I’ll conquer this.

— February 8, 2016

I did not study the whole weekend, or so I think. I did try, but I studied much better at night. I had to force myself to swallow the words when the sun was up. I did read some notes, but I feel like I could’ve done more especially since we have today (Monday) off. It’s hard to study here at home especially because of the comfy atmosphere. Plus, my lower back really hurts. It’s starting to bother me.

My uncle’s girlfriend had a transient ischemic attack, and I wanna slap myself for not knowing what TIA meant at first. I did know, I just forgot the last word. I hesitate on the things I’ve learned and I realized I’ve been studying for exams all this time, and not because I will have patients someday. All the information I’m cramming in my head right now will be relevant, but will not be sufficient. I’ll have to know what to do with that information, which I’ll learn next year in third year, but first, I have to have a solid foundation of the what’s before I learn about the how’s.

I’m ashamed of myself right now. I claim to enjoy med school, but at the same time, I’m not doing my best. I dunno if that’s really the case, or if everyone feels as if the work they do is inadequate because they pile up so much information, that it’s impossible to really get anything or everything done. We don’t know when enough is enough, or if we’re just limiting ourselves because of what we’ve heard about med school. All I should keep in mind is that this bank of information will benefit my patients some day and if I don’t do my best, it’s not just gonna affect me, but them.

So study the day/ night away.

Sanity Break — February 2, 2016

Sanity Break

This is how I’m gonna call these moments from now on – these few minutes to gather my thoughts while the kettle’s boiling water. I’m about to have coffee and it’s eight in the evening. Exams are about to start tomorrow but we’ve been zombies for a month now. I’m getting used to lacking sleep. It’s making me feel like a phone I keep on using without really fully recharging it. I just take long naps whenever I have to and study the rest of the time… with a few breaks in between, of course.

It feels weird to be veered off your ultimate goal for the school year halfway into the year. I lost my chances at a scholarship because I failed to reach a grade for Neurology, which was worth 3% of my whole grade. For some weird reason, it also feels liberating. I’m not stressing about it anymore. Back when I was still qualified, I was thinking, if it weren’t for the scholarship, I wouldn’t be so stressed. I was also happy to be on the list, even if it was just for a semester, but it really was stressful. Maybe God heard that. The thing is, I’m not even worrying about my tuition right now. It’s one of the things events in life have taught me. God has always been there. He’ll provide at exactly the right time.

Paralysis of Fear — January 29, 2016

Paralysis of Fear

Fear may actually be my worst enemy. It all comes down to love vs. fear, as the 1 John 4: 18 said: perfect love drives out fear. I may be over-thinking about a lot of things, but really, it all boils down to fear. The thing is, I dunno what I’m fearing right now, but I know that when I’m too scared or stressed to face the week even before it has started, love is slowly starting to slip away from what I do.

I always thought I loved med school, but this week, it just made me realize how ridiculously hard it is. I am always intimidated by the seeming impossibility of it. By ‘it,’ I mean the workload. I started this week with a list of the things that would happen, and I worried about every item on my list. It’s Friday now. It’s over. It went on smoothly. Sometimes, what Jesus said really applies: They honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. If my heart is really with Jesus, there is no room for fear or worry, even if everything will seem to go wrong. Even if our preceptor is well-known for giving bad grades and being strict. Even though we will not be able to solve our patient’s case. Even if we’ll get horrible. Even if I already lost my one chance at a full scholarship for next year just because of a subject worth three percent of my grade. If the God I worship is truly the most powerful One who is full of love, there is no room for all this stress and sadness. I wouldn’t have to always make that hard, conscious decision to think positive and to motivate myself to work, because if it’s in my heart, it’ll be my life.

I was so busy with fear, it took a 79-year-old male patient to remind me one of the reasons I wanted to do this in the first place. He perfected the mini mental status exam and was so kind to us even though he hadn’t eaten lunch yet and was surrounded by young med students for two hours until 6 in the evening, performing exams and asking lots of questions. I was too blinded by all the work to appreciate how he smiled once in a while despite our lack of experience, even though he won’t be getting anything out of being examined by us. I forgot my definition of success, but I remembered I wanted to serve people like him. I was lacking willpower before studying, but then, I remembered that if I wanted to be qualified to serve people like him, I’ll have to love and work at this every single day.

I was aware of all of it before I came here. It won’t be easy. It’ll be fulfilling, but it can be ridiculously exhausting at times. I don’t think this kind of exhaustion goes without rewards. The thing I love about this is that the rewards will be worth a lot more than the things people in this world commonly chase. The work never ends, but it will be worth it in the long run.

I find this funny — January 23, 2016

I find this funny

Crying

I’m not alone. I’m still really embarrassed about the thought of crying in the middle of a small-group discussion in front of my classmates and our doctor (who was very kind). But when I approach him, I could show him this study (done by Harvard, nonetheless!) and maybe he wouldn’t be so hard on me. I don’t think he’d be hard on me in the first place. He’s kind and got worried when I walked out.

Damn, that’s one unique experience. I’m just embarrassed at the thought of probably being the first student in our batch to cry like a baby. I had experiences before wherein I was dejected even more harshly. I didn’t expect to break down at all. Anyway, I should get a hold of myself. My next Neurology session is with a patient, and it’s graded. So… no more crybabies allowed.

No generation is perfect — January 22, 2016

No generation is perfect

We all know the famous line “back in my day….” Most of the time, our parents or people from their generation would comment on something they missed from the past, something our generation doesn’t have now. Over all, I got the impression that our elders think their generation is better and more peaceful.

Just now, my mom and grandma had a fight about something very shallow. Mom was insisting that grandma shouldn’t put newly cooked dishes in the kitchen sink. Yup, grandma puts pots with newly cooked food in the kitchen sink. Mom said she learned from me that sinks are one of the dirtiest parts of the house with all kinds of microbes on it. Grandma was furious that mom washed her hands on the sink, when there was a pot there covered with a kitchen towel, that she should’ve used her common sense. In the end, grandma still didn’t see her point and told my mom to shut up. My mom did shut up.

Not sure if I’m biased here, but I think there are cleaner parts in the kitchen to put dishes on. Plus, it is expected that people wash their hands in the sink. It goes with other arguments, but the mentality of some (well, most) of our elders is that they are right because they are older, and your opinions do not matter because you’re younger. If you try to make a point, you’re being disrespectful.

Hmm. There is definitely something wrong with that. It leaves no room for improvement because of the narrow-minded thinking that younger people deserve less respect and older people are always right, no matter what, period. I say this because I heard my dad tell my brother when we were younger, “You’re only a child.” It sounds harsher in our native language: “Anak ka lang.”

Though there are a lot of things about my generation I’m not proud of, I’m sick of the times elders impress that our generation is a lot worse, as if it is all our fault we turned out this way, as if we raised ourselves to become like this. Bottom-line is that no generation is perfect. Every generation has its faults and strengths, and everyone deserves the same amount of respect. You can always learn something new from everyone – rich or poor, old or young – and the moment you think you know better or everything is when learning actually stops.

Oh, med school — January 21, 2016

Oh, med school

This has not been a good month for med student me. A while ago – well, yesterday, since it’s already 3 in the morning – I broke down. And not just any ordinary breakdown. I literally cried like a baby in the middle of a small-group discussion. And why? Neurology, that’s why.

We were supposed to have a tutorial for history-taking and physical exam for Neuro. Our doctor was kind to us, but he made me sit in the middle of the group and perform a mini mental status exam. I’m used to being grilled or fried like that. But I couldn’t answer. My mind was totally blank. And then, when the thought of my failed Neuro exam came to me and how it was still grilling me in another subject (Clinical Evaluation) when I thought it was over for now, I burst into tears, went out of the room, and didn’t come back.

Yup, it was embarrassing. Apparently, the doctor was shocked and tried to go to the girls’ bathroom after the discussion but I wasn’t there. Good thing we didn’t have a patient a while ago or I would’ve really disappointed myself. I’m going to apologize to our doctor when I see him. I hope he understands where I’m coming from. It’s not the first time for me to fail an exam, but because of that, my chances of getting a scholarship for next year are down the drain. If we weren’t financially strangled right now, I wouldn’t mind at all.

It’s stupid because I’m good at running away from my emotions but they’re also good at catching up with me. It always happens like this. I dunno why I never learn. Mom told me to cry it out to God before, but I didn’t want to. I convinced myself I didn’t have time for that. But then, it came out in the worst possible way.

Just another learning experience about how thoughts really do make you or break you. Thoughts are never as simple as we dismiss them to be.

— January 17, 2016

I finally told my mom something that’s been bothering me for quite a while now, possibly for a year.

I would like that guy if I could. It’s been a year. According to (500) Days of Summer, I have 134 days left to get over him till I’m screwed. But then, I’m not Tom Hansen. I might actually be Summer in this case. The signs are clear. Even people around us can see it. But today, I finally told my mom that it’s not any other film or piece of literature but good old Cinderella.

It’s simple. I’d like him if I thought I had the right to. Not that I think I’m worth less because I lost all the things I used to have – a nice house, a complete family, and a good background. Now, I’m at the bottom of the wheel. We’ve been staying in the mud for too long. I don’t even know yet how I’m going to pay for next year of med school because I just flushed my chances of a scholarship down the drain. The thing is, God has been faithful to us from the start. And I know He’ll be faithful till the end. Though we’ve experienced the down-est of our downs in our lives, He has never really abandoned us.

My mom told me he likes me. He must’ve liked me but according to her, I kept pushing him away. I’m not stupid. He’s desirable. He’s a practicing lawyer, he’s very good-looking, and he knows God (though to what extent, I dunno). I’d like him if I could, but I don’t think I should.

I’m just being realistic in this case, because not all people look to God. People look to people. As for me, I’m trying not to look to people, which is why I don’t dare look at the things I can’t have, things I know God didn’t bless for me. I can peek quietly from the corner, but if he’s not gonna make that effort to go to the corner where I am, I’m gonna keep waiting for God’s best.

Simple question — January 15, 2016
What an eventful first week — January 10, 2016

What an eventful first week

To sum it up:

  • I failed to get my target grade for Neuro. I am not on the running for scholarships next year anymore even if my GPA is still qualified.
  • I learned how to extract blood.
  • I learned how to do an ENT exam.
  • I joined a swimming competition.

It has been a whirlwind week and right now, it’s a Sunday and I’m exhausted. I have yet to go to church because of schedule changes (which I got really frustrated about). I hate it when things don’t go according to plan. I just react first and get overcome by my emotions before I plan out. This is why I was so distressed upon learning about my Neurology grade. Now I’m gonna have to worry about tuition fee for next year. Again. When I thought I was on the running.

I’m done with this crisis for now, but I struggled with it and wrestled with my thoughts to God. I also kind of wasted prayer and fasting week, which happened this week, too, because I spent it ignoring the messages thrown my way and focusing on how disastrous the situation is. My emotions were too loud, I can’t hear God’s Words anymore.

I chose the word “wrestling” because it really feels like that. I want to learn how to praise God despite the bad things of every day. Of course, there really are remarkable moments in life, but we tend to focus on the little bad things and accumulate them as if they can overthrow our blessings. Plus, it’d be nice if I spent more time thinking about solutions than complaining or worrying.

Anyway, I was almost about to doze off for Clinical Pathology that day during the lecture, when the doctor told us to go up to the labs. When we got there, the syringes, tourniquets, cotton balls, and alcohol bottles were laid out for us. It was like a burst of adrenaline. I didn’t want to try at first, but when I found out there were practically unlimited syringes, I had to. I did it on a good friend who had manly, visible veins, so I guess that was beginner’s luck. I saw him freak out momentarily when I left the syringe in place to get some cotton, since everyone was bustling around. My audience was laughing at me. I am seriously not gonna do that in the future. Forgive me, my friend.

The tutorial on ENT exam was also nerve-wracking, since there were long metal instruments on the table when we first came in, a light on a stand, and a mirror to reflect the light so you can view your patient’s mouth, throat, tonsils, nasal cavity, even the things behind your nose and the ones before the esophagus. Good thing our patient was cooperative, but the doctor was shooting questions on us as we were poking all these long, metal instruments inside our patient’s mouth. I answered a lot of questions wrong on my turn. I realized I had a weak spot for when I’m being put on the spot. My nerves get the best of me.

For the swimming competition, we had an inter-medical school sportsfest and our school joined for the first time. Our place was not bad for first-timers, and we only had nine swimmers on our team. It’s a bit embarrassing because I almost always placed last. Our competitors didn’t look at all like med students. They were legit athletes. I joined the team because I liked swimming, and we only had one pro. We struggled during training, but I knew I would enjoy it because of that – we struggled together. I actually forgot there was a competition, and freaked out about it a week before upon realizing it was nearing. It was a great experience, though, even if I’m still sore and tired and lacking lots of sleep right now.

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