30 April 2016

Today, I circumcised a child for the first time.

Circumcision is a common practice here in the Philippines because of our culture. Hindi ka raw magiging binata kung hindi ka pa nagpapatuli.

Every summer, a lot of tuli missions are held by organizations across the Philippines. There’s no class so the participants won’t have to be excused from classes after this minor surgery. Why do people do it? Organizations’ reason: service. Participants’ reason: free tuli. Win-win.

An organization I’m in, MSS, has been holding a tuli mission in Barangay Sauyo, QC for 5 years now. This is my first time to join because it coincides with my school year (and not summer vacation) so I don’t have to go home to the province. I didn’t realize I was scared until I was there. After shadowing someone, I had to do it by myself. Boy, was I shaking. I felt clumsy and uncoordinated; like I didn’t know what to do. There was a lot of crying heard because the event was held in a covered court so everyone’s just lying there side by side. I felt bad afterwards because I believe my patients should always get the best of what I have to offer. I ask myself, is that the best I can give? Shaky hands and jumbled words for instructions?

The experience has made me think why I’m here studying medicine in the first place. It makes me think if I really have what it takes to be a doctor. I don’t like the uncertainty I can offer myself as the answer.

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FOR THE UNDERSERVED.

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of old things and new

Today, as I was walking home (in the dark at 8 pm because of research), it was my first time to notice that there is a pedestrian lane directly from PGH connecting to the OUR (as in, a person need not walk to reach the pedestrian lane in front of Robinsons to get to the other side of the road). I don’t know if it’s new or if it’s just my first time to see it. Maybe they painted it recently. Maybe it was the dark surroundings that made the zebra lines stand out. Maybe I just don’t notice pedestrian lanes because in the Philippines, people are very undisciplined.

When I first started living in Manila (for my studies), I tried to really follow the rules: walking only on pedestrian lanes and waiting for the green pedestrian light. However, all my efforts were futile because vehicle drivers would either beep at me or attempt to run me over even when I am on the right. It would still be a red light for them but they would go.  Padre Faura is a one way street, but a lot would counter flow. It’s very hard to cross because there are no traffic lights for the drivers, so they never give way to pedestrians, even though hundreds of people cross there everyday. I am almost always forced to jaywalk just so I can cross the street. The drivers don’t respect the pedestrian lanes and don’t care that they’re in the school zone. It’s hard to walk on sidewalks because it’s crowded with illegally parked vehicles and street vendors. Walking on sidewalks is also a safety issue, especially now because I walk home late at night (again, because of research). That is where people attempt to holdap and/or kill you. Again, I am forced to walk on the road.

Ugh. I can’t understand people here. They want change but they don’t change for the better. I hope everyone realizes that there can be no change in the country unless the change comes from each and every single one of us. Yes, I am talking about the national elections come May 9. It doesn’t matter who we elect, because as long as we do not change for the better, our country will remain where it is now.

It’s sad for me because I never want to lose hope in our country. I know we can do better. I just searched for our country’s ranking according to corruption in 2015, and we have a Corruption Perception Index of 35 according to Transparency International. A score of less than 50 means there is serious public corruption going on, and I really hope someday soon that graft and corruption would be eradicated. Sana naman we have a little less “looking out for my own” mindset and more nationalism. I know it starts with the public officials kasi grabe talaga yung responsibility nila dito. I hope people would be accountable for themselves and for their offices na. We are ranked 98 over 168 currently. Yup, that low.

Conversation Initiator

I’ve discovered that there are people who exist that connect to others easily. They can make even the shyest of people open up and not feel awkward about it. I talked to Macky earlier this morning at the Health Service and he seemed like that kind of guy. I’ve never talked to him before, and at first, I was cold towards him. I don’t like talking to people. However, two hours later and with no doctor in sight, I started the conversation. I felt the sincerity in his voice, and it did not seem like he was forced to talk to me. His voice had an easygoing tone. I probably won’t talk to him again, but it comforts me that people like him are in this world and are all around me. I easily feel tired and I do not want to converse with people who make it seem like I should be grateful they’re talking to me. I will easily be spent. I do not have energy for those, and it pains me to say that most of the people I encounter give off a vibe that’s difficult to get around of. Granted, my various radars are always off, but when I feel something, it would be hard to convince me otherwise. I also talked to Jared last week in the Biochemistry laboratory. Even though he doesn’t know me, he kept the conversation going (at least until my group mates came back and I abruptly stood, never to talk to him again). I was surprised when he told me he was a shy person, because it seemed like he was quite engaging whenever he talked. He didn’t seem bored by whatever small talk I made (same with Macky) and looked interested. Maybe it was because neither of them looked at their phones at all during the whole duration of our conversations. I’m just glad I talked to new people this month.

Marupok

Miss na kita.

Kung sinabi ko lang ba ang mga gusto mong marinig, would you have stayed?

Akala ko kasi, mas pinapahalagahan mo ang mga ginagawa ko kaysa sa mga salita lamang.

Masaya ka na ba?

Gising pa rin ako at takot akong matulog.

May magagawa pa ba ako?

Sana naaalala mo ang mga pagkakataong ako lang ang pumunta sa mga laro niyo, at ako lang ang sumusuporta sa inyo laban sa mga trumpeta at cheerleader ng kalaban. Hindi ako nagselos, kahit alam kong mas mahal mo ang laro kaysa sa akin. Nakikita kong masaya ka doon. Hindi kita nakitang naging ganoon kasaya sa piling ko.

Sa tingin ko hindi mo talaga pinahalagahan ang mga sulat ko para sa iyo. Alam mo bang buong puso’t emosyon ang ginamit ko doon?

Hindi pa rin kita kayang pakawalan.

The pain rises and ebbs. I cannot make it go away. I long for the day I will not be like this. In another life, maybe.

Lost

It has been approximately three weeks since we broke up. I am not used to this, and I am not used to being this exposed to this world without a human shield. I have been floating lately. I’ve been lagging behind in school, which is not a good thing. I’m still in my first year of med school, and I’ve got a looong way to go. I don’t know how to manage my feelings; my thoughts are jumbled all over the place. I can’t think straight. I can’t study or concentrate. I can’t even type out a coherent blog post. I don’t know what I’m becoming. I feel and don’t feel at the same time.

I am in limbo.