Monday, February 26, 2007

Norweigan Wood

I just finished Norweigan Wood. I feel so depressed. It's such a sad novel. I also find disturbing the, um, sex scenes. How can I say it? Lahi ra kaayo'g morality si Murakami with regards to sex. There's plenty of those in this novel. Probably why I've felt and continue to feel so sad... because the characters are so lost in their own brand of morality... Oh, if they can only discover/ realize that there's such a thing as objective truth or natural law, and that the Truth is actually a person...

I can't really say I like Murakami. Maybe my opinion of him will change after I listen to his other novels. Or probably not.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

MV Doulos

I saw the MV Doulos just as it was leaving Pier 1 this afternoon. I saw it as I entered the SRP from the Plaza Independencia entrance. Seen from a distance, it's not a very big ship at all. Pare-pareho lang kadak-a siguro sa Superferry or Cebu Ferries. But it's amazing, to think that it's one of the oldest, if not the oldest, ship in the world, being younger than the Titanic by only two years. It is indeed a historic ship. Or put another way, it indeed belongs to the pages of history.

And I was very fortunate to visit it at the very last minute last night. I forced myself to go, despite the sheer fatigue that I felt from lack of sleep, because it was to be the ship's last day here in Cebu (At last I finally found the time to come!). I heard that the ship's present tour is actually its last. Its owners have determined that it has served enough (it has indeed lived up to its name, which means "servant"). Its time has come.

The ship was still packed with people last night. My eyes delighted at the sight of the books! My brother and friends warned me days ago that the books are not really that good, or interesting. Most of them are "religious" books, the rest are children's books. But I wasn't disappointed, really. I like to read "religious" books. I was hoping to find books by C. S. Lewis, his Christian apologetics. But I only found one of his Narnia series. There were also books by Jane Austen and William Shakespeare. But I ended up buying a compilation of all of Oscar Wilde's works. Lipay na kaayo ko ana. For Php 300, I think that's already a bargain! My brother bought a hardbound book on painting and a Special Air Service (SAS) pocket guidebook on surviving life-threatening situations or something. I didn't know what he wanted it for. I told him that such a guide will only be useful in doomsday scenarios, like if we were attacked by terrorists or if we were struck by some sort of catastrophe, but he went ahead and bought it anyway. He didn't find books on architecture. My mother bought a cookbook.

We shelled out about Php 1500 at the counter. It's nice because we've never spent that much money for books before. At least once in a while we spend money on things that matter.

Siguro nindut kaayo ang mga books the first few days the fair opened. Sayang kaayo last minute nami naka-adto.

What explains MV Doulos' popularity? Is it because it is such a historic ship? Or is it simply because we Filipinos are actually book lovers and it's just not that obvious? Hmmm... I think the latter is true... :)

On our way out the ship a black woman, one of the ship's crew, asked me if I was studying to be a doctor, because I was dressed in all white. I said I was studying to become a nurse, and she was surprised. "No kidding!" "But in Africa," she added, "we also have male nurses." I just smiled.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Before we began our clinical duty in Eversley Childs Sanitarium we had mixed apprehensions about the place. We thought that because it’s a "leprosarium" we will necessarily be exposed to leprosy patients. Some of us were concerned that we may somehow acquire the disease once we are there.

We were very wrong. ECS is a very, very clean and safe hospital. It’s the complete opposite of the government hospitals in the city. In the city the government hospitals are overcrowded and sometimes dirty. In ECS, the place is so clean and the environment is totally stress-free. The hospital grounds are so wide and there is so much greenery. There is no noise pollution (exept for the few motorcycles and tricycles that occasionally pass by the building) and the air is more breathable. It is really an ideal hospital.

Our earlier apprehensions about ECS reflected fears and misconceptions about leprosy that still lingers in our society today even after so many years. Leprosy has been around for centuries, in fact, yet to this very day there is still that stigma about leprosy.

During our clinical duty we’ve learned that leprosy is actually highly curable and that we need not fear it. We need not discriminate against those who have leprosy because in reality they are victims of the disease. They need to be helped and be accepted by society.

Jesus in the poor

"We begin our day by seeing Christ in the consecrated bread, and throughout the day we continue to see Him in the torn bodies of our poor. We pray, that is, through our work, performing it with Jesus, for Jesus and upon Jesus. The poor are our prayer. They carry God in them. Prayer means praying everything, praying the work. We meet the Lord who hungers and thirsts, in the poor.....and the poor could be you or I or any person kind enough to show us his or her love and to come to our place. Because we cannot see Christ, we cannot express our love to Him in person. But our neighbor we can see, and we can do for him or her what we would love to do for Jesus if He were visible."

-- Mother Teresa

Temptation and virtue

"Virtue is nothing without the trial of temptation, for there is no conflict without an enemy, no victory without strife."

-- Pope St. Leo the Great

Finding God in bad situations

"Many may not find giving up food and drink and a soft bed too difficult. But bearing an insult, a wrong, or hurtful words.....this is something to be done not by many but by few. God wants us to know how to find Him in all those things he allows to happen, and that can go against our likes and dislikes and preferences and upset our plans."

-- St. John Chrysostom

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

These Dreams

These are a few of Jim Croce's best songs:

These dreams

Time in a Bottle

I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song


Sigh... I feel so nostalgic.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


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I've been listening to The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami. The stories are sometimes funny, sometimes surreal, and often strange and weird... But I like the way he writes (Wait, is he even a "he"? This is my first Murakami audiobook, or book for that matter, so I don't know).

Eversley Childs Sanitarium

Our clinical duty this week is at Eversley Childs Sanitarium.

A few things about the hospital:

Eversley Childs was an American industrialist. In 1928 he donated money for the sanitarium to be built (I guess he's a philantropist). On that year construction was started and was finished two years later. It opened in May 1930 and was turned over to the government.

The sanitarium's area is very wide: 27 hectares.

It is the second largest and oldest sanitarium in the whole country (there are only 8 in total). The first is the one in Culion island, in Palawan.

It originally exclusively functioned as a leprosarium, but when a new and more effective treatment was developed in 1981 (Multi-drug therapy) which led to the dwindling of the number of leprosy cases, it expanded its services to avoid being shut down. Thus, today, it serves as a regular secondary hospital.

I read this touching account of a woman who was admitted in ECS in 1939 in this website: The Oral History Project of the ILA Global Project on the History of Leprosy. I find it helpful to know about the place's history. It feels less alienating and more interesting.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Alabama Rain

I really love this song by Jim Croce:

Alabama Rain

Lazy days in mid-July
Country Sunday mornin's
Dusty haze on summer highways
Sweet magnolia callin'

Now and then I find myself
Thinkin' of the days
When we were walking in
The Alabama rain

Drive-in movies, Friday nights
Drinkin' beer and laughin'
Somehow things were always right
I just don't know what happened


We were only kids
But then I've never heard it said
That kids can't fall in love
And feel the same
I can still remember the first time
I told you "I love you"

On a dusty mid-July
Country summer's evenin's
A weepin' willow sang its lullaby
And shared our secret


Walking in the Alabama rain

I love just about every song by Jim Croce, but especially the one above. His songs are the theme song of my childhood. Those were such happy, innocent times. I remember I would be sitting in the rotunda in the Redemptorist compound, my feet so small they'd hang above the ground. It was always night time when I came out of the school (I went to St. Francis of Assisi in grade school; no, not the funeral homes, but the school in the Redemptorist compound). My karate class always ended at night. I always hated it when I finished my karate class and I found when I got out of the school gate that my parents were not there yet. I'd walk to the rotunda with fear in my heart, afraid that they'd forgotten to fetch me. I always felt like crying...

Then they would arrive, in our red Nissan turtle-top pick up, and I would run so happily towards them. My mother and I always sit in the front. And I love putting my little face before the freezing blast of the airconditioner, and watch the green light of the controls of the car stereo. I would press on the buttons and skip from station to station. But my father always had cassette tapes ready. We would listen to Jim Croce all the way home (we lived in Pardo then). Sometimes we listened to John Denver, Kenny Rogers, America and Don McLean. And I remember, I always was a very fanciful boy, because I always imagined that I was the one singing those beautiful country songs, and I was performing in front of my classmates at school, putting them in awe at my talent, and serenading them with my songs.

Alabama Rain. I wonder what the place Alabama looks like. Someday if I can really go abroad with my future family I think I'll go to Alabama. I wonder if the place won't look so alien. Of course, it will look very alien. But the name will always be a part of my childhood.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Charity for everyone

"All our religion is but a false religion, and all our virtues are mere illusions and we ourselves are only hypocrites in the sight of God, if we have not that universal charity for everyone - for the good, and for the bad, for the poor and for the rich, and for all those who do us harm as much as those who do us good."

-- St. John Vianney

A very busy week

This is our busiest week yet. We've been having exams and oral reporting daily. We've covered whole units of our MS and Pharma book. Yesterday and the day before that, we spent most of the afternoon just taking notes. No breaks. Our hands ached. Our CI talked a bit too fast that my penmanship deteriorated and looked like a doctor's handwriting. My stomach grumbled and complained. I thought all the while: "Risk for imbalanced nutrition, less than body requirement, related to cancellation of recess" or something.

Tomorrow, one final quiz. I have to read up on the different bowel surgeries and the different inflammatory diseases in the GI.

The DR nurse's role

If you're a first-timer in the Delivery Room you might find this useful. These were our responsibilities in St. Anthony Mother and Child Hospital (The DR nurse's role varies from hospital to hospital):

If you're the Handle:
  • Prepare the anesthesia (Lidocaine) using a 5cc syringe
  • Prepare the OS
  • Support the patient's perineum when there is already 'crowning' (when the baby is about to be expelled) using a sterile pad (In the Cabrite Birthing Home in Labangon and Estardo Birthing Home in Lapu-Lapu, we were actually allowed to be the ones to pull the baby out)
  • Note the time of delivery and the time the placenta was expelled
  • Assist the doctor during suturing if an episiotomy was done (prepare the needle and suture)
  • Do SOAPIE for the mother after the procedure

If you're the Assist:

  • Wipe the baby's mouth with an OS
  • Clamp the umbilical cord at the middle with a Kelly curve forcep
  • 'Milk' the cord (towards the baby)
  • Clamp the cord with the Kelly straight and cut in the middle with a Mayo scissor
  • Bring the baby to the table prepared for him/her
  • Do suctioning (the mouth first and then the nose)
  • Wipe the baby's body thoroughly using OS soaked in water and Lactacyd
  • Do SOAPIE for the baby after the procedure

If you're the Cord Care:

  • Wipe the cord with OS soaked in alcohol from the bottom up at least 3 times
  • Clamp the cord this time with a, um, cord clamp (several inches from the baby's belly)
  • Wipe the top of the newly-cut cord with OS soaked in alcohol at least 3 times
  • Wipe also the base of the cord
  • Measure the baby's head circumference, chest circumference, and length in centimeters
  • Weigh the baby
  • Administer Gentamycin eye drops
  • Administer Vit. K IM at the anterior portion of the left thigh
  • Administer Hepa B vaccine at the anterior portion of the right thigh (if ordered)
  • Take the baby's footprints and the mother's thumb prints
  • Take the baby's vital signs
  • With the baby clothed, bring him/her to the mother for 'latching on' and note the time (We were advised to allow the baby to latch on for not less that 30 minutes)

I wonder why we didn't do APGAR scoring. Murag ang staff nurse ra'y nagkuha.

If your patient is still in the labor room, take her vital signs every hour. Do Leopold's maneuver to determine the baby's position and take his/her heart rate, using a stethoscope or a cardiotocograph. Monitor also the contractions (its duration, interval and frequency) every 15 minutes, or continuously if the labor is already active. Inform your CI for any abnormality.

The Basilica del Santo Nino museum

The other treasure of the Basilica del Santo Nino is its museum.

Its collections are mainly the different Santo Nino images (statues) that the Basilica has received from devotees through the ages (they are made of different materials: ivory, hardwood, etc). Along with them are the different vestments of the Santo Nino (they are changed every year), the oldest of which dates as far back as the 16th century. There are also jewelries, toys, liturgical materials and centuries-old books.

The museum is located at the basement of the Pilgrim Center. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 8 to 11:45 in the morning and 1:30 to 5:45 in the afternoon. Entrance fee is Php 10.
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