Yesterday, we were at a family party and one of the topics was how to cope with losing a parent. All of my cousins seated at that table have lost either a mother or a father, and it was very clear that all of us had or are still having a difficult time accepting God’s plan for our beloved parent. All of us lost our parents to diseases, and I think that our parents suffered a good number of weeks/months before joining God in heaven. It was painful remembering and I know that most of us have not made peace with the fact that they are gone. While we wondered why God allowed them to suffer like that, we were still thankful for however short or long a time we were given to say goodbye.
How does one move on from losing a parent? How does one feel not broken, not left behind? What do children do when they miss their dead parents? I truly wonder. I know that over time, I have gotten slightly used to the fact that my dad is no longer around. But when I am reminded of him through other people, through TV shows, or through the things I associate with him, it hurts. It hurts almost the same way it did when I first felt his loss.
I guess it hurts more because I truly felt he was an amazing father. There are so many things I miss about him, and there also a lot of things which I know I won’t get to share with him. And that breaks my heart. I miss him picking me up from school. I miss sitting on the passenger seat and talking current events and politics with him. I miss eating chicharon with him, and later arguing with him because what he just ate was bad for his health. I’ll never get to hear him sing, never see his weird dance, see him play his guitar or hear his jokes again. I’ll graduate medical school and he won’t be there in the audience to smile and say he’s proud of me. He won’t be there to scare off the men who will try to win my heart. He won’t be able to walk me down the aisle. My husband won’t have to chance to sit down with him and have a talk over beer. My children will never have the chance be spoiled by him.
And I will never have the chance to take care of him better because at the time he got sick, I knew little about being a real doctor.
I’m afraid I will always be that daughter who lost his father and never truly moved on.
I remember when I was in nursing, part of our nursing history included asking our patients what significant events happened during the last 2 years of their life. I guess it was part of gauging if there was anything which could have affected their health, whether physical, emotional, mental, or even spiritual. If I were to ask myself that question, I could give a list. The past two years have been the craziest in my life, and it’s so unfortunate I wasn’t able to write about it. So it may be delayed but I’m doing a recap now.
For starters, my dad died. April 1, 2012. On a Palm Sunday. A day before my sister’s birthday. On the first day of medical clerkship. As much as I want to believe I have moved on from that, I guess I have not. I don’t know how to move on from losing a parent. Do people really move on? I think I’m just more used to not seeing dad. But I don’t think I have moved on.
In 3 months I will be graduating medical school. It’s as if 5 years went by. If I felt like the first 3 years were hard, well, I was wrong. Clerkship and internship were definitely harder and required much sacrifice. I know it’s not going to get any better as I move up the training ladder, but at least I’m getting closer to my dream. Oh, I was able to maintain my scholarship, so good for me.
I’m glad this is one of the things that hasn’t changed as much. If anything, I’ve gotten closer with my friends. I’ve managed to maintain strong ties with my college barkada despite not seeing them often. The same goes for my med friends despite the differences in our schedules.
My 6-year relationship ended 12 days after I turned 24. And for the next year it was an on-again-off-again relationship, with us trying desperately to make it work. It didn’t. One day I just found myself so overwhelmed and hurt that I was crying and coming clean to my mom (cause nobody in my family knew about that relationship). I knew I had hurt her, but she put her feelings aside and comforted me the way mothers comfort their brokenhearted daughters. Definitely one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I think I am still in the process of moving on, but I know I’m getting there. I tried dating, too. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. So now I am single. All the love I have to share can wait inside my heart first.
The next few months will be a series of changes for me. Comprehensive exams, graduations, boards, application for residency. But now I’m just trying to conquer one challenge at a time.
I should really be studying right now.
My mom, sister, and I visited some family friends a couple of days ago. There was Tita NP and her 2 daughters, J and S. I haven’t seen them in years. Ate S already had a 7 year-old son while Ate J just gave birth to a baby boy.
When we arrived in their shop, Tita NP was cradling the baby boy in her arms. She obviously was very proud of her grandson as she showed him off to us. I had the urge to carry the baby (hello, neonate), but Tita seemed very protective of him. She was quick to remind us not to touch the baby without rubbing our hands with alcohol. She soothed the baby when the baby cried. She basically attended to all of the child’s needs, even after Ate J entered the room.
I later found out that Ate J and her husband moved in to Tita NP’s house when Ate J gave birth. The couple already have a place of their own but they opted to live with Tita (who was living alone) when the baby came. They needed an extra hand with the baby. The way Ate J asked me questions, I knew that she didn’t know much about taking care of the baby. She asked if it was okay to let the baby cry for a prolonged time, or the difference between actual breastfeeding and pumping, and similar stuff. From their stories, it was evident that Tita NP was more hands-on with the baby. And then my mom shared about how lola was there for her when she gave birth to me and my sister.
Funny how Ate J seemed to need her mom the most when she became a first-time mom herself. Well, I guess whatever she needed to learn, she would learn best from her mom. I also saw this with my cousin and her wife when they had their firstborn. My Tita NP (cousin’s mom), practically moved in with the couple so that she could take care of her grandchild.
I know that when my mom becomes a grandparent, she will become a hands-on lola, too. She will take care of my children and my siblings’ children. But taking care of a neonate is where my degrees in nursing and medicine (and my future subspecialty training in neonatology) will come in handy. It brings me comfort to know that I will have the knowledge and skills to take very good care of my future children. It’s not that I wouldn’t need my mom - I just think that when that time comes, she will spend her time more on enjoying her apo than using that time to teach me even the basics of taking care of a child.
It’s fun how the little things I encounter on a daily basis help me realize such things. But even as of this moment, I know that my mom has already set a very good example for me and I wish I can be as good a mother as she is to me as I will be to my future children.
I recently got my Maxicare card. Since I was sick again, I decided to try using the card. I went to University of Perpetual Help Medical Center. On the 6th floor of the Medical Arts Building is where the office/work station/desk of the Maxicare representative was. She asked what I wanted to have checked and I told her I had cystitis. She then told me there was no internist available at the moment but an OB was available, and so she’d refer me to that doctor.
Personally, I’d choose doctors whom I’ve met before or who were referred by a family friend or another doctor. So going to the OB was a bit frightening for me, and honestly, very uncomfortable. I was the third in line and I was accommodated after about 30-40 minutes of waiting.
I won’t dive into the details of what transpired in the clinic but I just want to say that I kind of hate that OB already. She barely tried to establish rapport with me. She barely explained what she wanted or was going to do (although I knew already, but you get my point), and the visit was just… unpleasant. I’m guessing it probably has to do with the fact that I’m not paying her cash because of the HMO thing.
I’ve heard stories about those kinds of doctors before, like the ones who conduct PEs for those who need to get cleared for employment. They tend to lack ‘bedside manners’ and conduct things hastily, in a let’s-get-this-over-with way. Now I know exactly how it feels like to be treated like that, and I think it could be worse.
It’s not like they’re doing it pro-bono, right? I mean they also get paid by the insurance company.
To make the day worse, I had to undergo an ultrasound. The sonologist was pretty bitchy as well. If it was because of the HMO thing again I’m not sure, but the whole experience was just… disappointing. (The technicians and sonologist in the Hi-Precision, a diagnostic laboratory also here in Las Pinas, had better manners and were more gentle with me compared to the doctors I encountered in Perpetual.)
I guess what I can pick up from this is that I don’t want to be that kind of doctor. I don’t wanna be a doctor who doesn’t care if she establishes rapport or not. I don’t want my patients to feel the way I felt.
I also realized how one encounter with a patient can make or break a physician’s reputation. In my case, that’s one doctor I would never want to go back to. She’s also someone whom I wouldn’t recommend to anyone I know or care about.
If I had the choice I wouldn’t really use the card, but I have to be practical. Consults and diagnostics these days are expensive. I just hope that my next encounter with any HMO whoever will not be as disappointing or traumatic as the first one.
Earlier this week couple of friends and I visited the Myth of the Human Body Museum in Taguig. I have been looking forward to visiting this exhibit for a variety of reasons. One, I’m a medical student and I’m inherently interested in the human body. Two, I have heard good reviews about what the museum could offer. Three, I was hoping to actually learn more and compare it to what I have seen during first year Anatomy.
I went with three friends. We were hoping to get the tour guide to ourselves; sadly, though, we had to walk with a couple of nursing students. We were given the option to not have a guided tour and just explore the museum by ourselves since they knew we were medical students. But we wanted to listen so we went along with the tour.
There were 7 stops, if I remember correctly, and I believe I stopped listening at the third stop. By then another group of people were added to our group, and they just all seemed interested in what the tour guide had to say. It felt kind of crowded. Besides, I wasn’t really learning anything new with what the tour guide had to say.
So I was doing my own tour - I either went ahead or after the group. I looked at the specimens when nobody else was looking. I tried to keep my mouth shut and not comment on whatever (I was becoming bitchy because my legs and back were starting to hurt).
Despite not learning anything significantly new, I did enjoy the whole thing. I think it’s great how they preserved the specimens and how they positioned the bodies. It was weird, though, how the specimens were kind of small (the guide said everything shrinks with the plastination process) and looked kind of too perfect that they seemed fake. It was different from the specimens we saw in anatomy lab during freshmen year. There were also some “fake” specimens. Like the stomach which supposedly had an ulcer (according to the label) but all the rugae has been scraped off and there was really nothing to see. And the colonic nodule which appeared more like a sessile polyp. I wish they had more pathological specimens, but I guess that’s not the point of the museum.
I think it’d be great to tour around the museum with Dr. D or Dr. M or some of my professors, who could explain the specimens better. It also would have been nice to see a chest x-ray at least, situated beside the lung or something. Or a video of an angiography beside the image of the vessels. Or a CT scan.
If there’s still a chance I’d like to bring my family there. Show my mom what an atherosclerotic aorta looks like or show my dad what a cirrhotic liver looks like. Just for kicks. I think my siblings would be grossed out at the same time amazed with the bodies, too.
I haven’t been writing as much as I should. It sucks. The last time I wrote a decent blog was before junior year started. It’s been crazy. But I’ll share about that probably another time. I writing about something else in this post.
You see we have a maid who has a reputation of being a liar. We know that from her previous employer. But she’s young and she appears naive and I think we really needed another helper, so my parents hired her. She’s done a lot of crazy stuff (like getting our clothes… okay it sounds stupid that we haven’t fired her yet) but I guess this is one of the crazier things she did.
She was a poser who tried to send my photo to her textmates.
We found out because she used my sister’s extra phone without asking for permission. My sister first saw jeje (ohmygod) messages on both the inbox and sent items folders. When she looked further, she saw MMS drafts with my photos in it. Like my UP sablay grad photo. It was obviously taken using the phone’s camera. The MMS messages were never sent. But there were at least 8 drafts and at least 3 recipients. The maid probably didn’t know the MMS feature wasn’t activated.
We confronted her and she initially denied it. She did admit to using the phone, though. Well I grilled her. We had evidence and I wasn’t letting it go. She continued denying to my face. The other maid tried to talk to her later on, and I think what she said was, “Eh hindi naman na-send." OMG.
My parents kind of just shrugged the issue off, and my sisters were laughing about it. Well I found it kind of funny and stupid initially, but then I thought of the worst possible scenario (since I’m morbid like that). I told my mom that what if the maid didn’t know she was already talking to members of some syndicate? What if those guys stalk me or something? What if they have a grudge on her and then take it out on me because they think I’m her? Things like that. I overheard her talking to my dad, and I think they were at least alarmed by those things.
But the really funny part is that she’s still our maid. IKR? Oh well. I’m pretty sure she’ll be gone soon. I hope the replacement comes by next month.