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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