Thursday, July 27, 2006


i need a hug.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Practice Partners

"why don't you try to push it in deeper like this," she said as she pulled the vaginal speculum towards her, deeper into her orifice. She had her legs on the stirrups while my head was between her thighs.

"oh ok, now i see your cervix better," i replied.

"now, when you pull out, be careful not to hit the urethra."

"there, i'm almost out now, did i hurt you?"

"you did great. now try to feel for my ovaries. put two fingers in me while palpating my abdomen with the other hand"

"ok," i said while spreading some lubricant across my gloved fingers. "you'll have to guide me through this because it's been a while since i last did this."

"no problem, that's what i'm here for. and you're doing fine."

"i can't seem to find your ovaries."

"try doing this," she takes my hand and guides it along her lower abdomen in a fast motion. "keep those fingers inside me pointed upwards while this other hand flicks for the ovaries."

"oh there they are," i said with glee.


R has been a volunteer for medical students and doctors to practice their skills on for nineteen years now. K, guy in the other room has been doing the same thing for 5 years. The purpose of the exercise was to teach us how to conduct these sensitive examinations as humanely as possible. I have done numerous pelvic exams on patients before but i have learned a lot of important points today.

Questions such as "are you comfortable?", "am i hurting you?", are pretty much the standard questions around here. Getting immediate feedback from a live patient provides better insight on the proper way to go about these exams, to make us more sensitive doctors, and, maybe, better ones.

Thank you, R and K, for doing the medical field a big favor.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Small Talk

Last week, I was walking (syempre wala akong kotse) from home towards one of the hospital buildings for some orientation thingey when it started to rain (aba! at ang lalaki ng patak!). I opened my giant umbrella and smirked, “Hah! I came prepared!” But the rain poured really hard that I had to take shelter at the nearest edifice. My slacks were wet halfway up my knees. It didn’t seem like the sun was going to shine soon so I decided to call my brother-in-law to fetch me and drive me to where I was going.

I reached the orientation meeting early and ate breakfast. Soon people started to arrive and another resident took the seat beside me. The appropriate thing to do was to introduce myself.

Me: hi, I’m Duke, family medicine. ( and I shake her hand)
Her: I’m R_____. Neurology. How are you?
Me: I’m good, thank you. And you?
Her: Same here.

While we were waiting for the speaker, I decided to start some chit chat. But I really had nothing to say.

Me: the weather’s bad, no?
Her: yea, and the traffic too. It took me almost an hour to get here.
Me: I hear it’s going to be raining for five days at least.
Her: really? That’s not good.

And then I had nothing else to say. Had it been a Filipino conversation I wouldn’t have had any problem. Everyone around us was engaged in small talk that I felt I needed to say something…..hmmm….something….

Me: D’ya know that my socks are wet inside my shoes?
Her: You’re gross.

Toink! Toink! Toink!!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Start of Residency

I finished everything in a rush last Saturday, bought my plane ticket at 10pm, finished packing, and then flew out of the Philippines at 5:50am. Photofinish? I’m good at that. I hadn’t slept all night though. Had there been a little david pestering me on the plane, he would have ended somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

I spent 23 hours traveling and trying to catch some winks in between flights that I almost missed boarding my Hong Kong to Sanfo. Good thing this Filipino seaman woke me up. He’s been avoiding my efforts for a little chit chat so I decided to sleep instead.

Anyway, I arrived in Houston exhausted but happy that I was almost home. During the drive to Galveston, I felt like it was just yesterday that I was here. Nothing has changed.

I started unpacking that same night and went to bed late. On Monday morning struggled with my tie (shucks, I’m going to wear a tie often now. I’ll miss my tshirts), I showed up for orientation at my building and everybody was happy that I made it, though three days late. Everybody is wonderful. My co-residents are nice and the staff is just perfect.

I got my badges and beeper later this week. I guess they own me now. They can page me anytime they want. My badge opens doors (kewl!) and I have a scrubs card too. I can get my scrubs from a vending machine and when I’m done using them I just return them to the same machine for washing. My PDA will be issued maybe next week, loaded up. The hospital and clinic computer system is something I’ll have to learn. It’s so much different here from the Philippines that I can’t help but feel sorry for patients back home. But then again, there’s nothing much I can do about it.

And so it goes that after 1.5 years of bumming around, I find myself tied to a training program. No more waking up to whatever time I want to, no more staying up late whenever I want to, no more watching tv the whole day, no more staying online the whole day, no more pestering people to talk to me when I’m bored, no more wondering what to do when I’m bored. Oh what the heck. Now I’m going to earn my own keep, and buy whatever I want as long as I can afford it. I can live with that.

So here’s to a new life.

atticus, thank you for the shirt and the book. appreciate it. :)
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