[Repost. Written 2012 April]
On the 23rd of March, dressed in black gown with green stripes and a (should I say, unexpectedly cool) barrette, we were HOODED. Publicly, we were introduced as WHITE COAT worthy.
It marked the first day of the LIFE we chose. As such, we are welcomed to ANOTHER YEAR of learning, of having a feel of independence while still absorbing as much as we could from our seniors. We are NOBODY’S RESPONSIBILITY anymore. We will work as pseudo-employees without license numbers. Our faults will make or break our still budding careers. This is the critical phase of being unprotected. Mess up and you are on your own to clean your mess. REALLY cool isn’t it?
I’m sounding too negative because I’m scared. I’ve always been scared. Every time I still ask myself , What the hell am I doing? Where the hell am I going?
At that day though, my mind is clouded, my heart hopes but my soul accepts. Whether it’s really the will of my deep persona or some random fate, I’ll just go through with the flow.
Just as always, in moments of SANITY, I decided to just take one cup at a time.
He was about 6 months old at that time. On most days, he was left with our nanny and a helper. I was staying at a dorm near the hospital. I knew he has low grade fever and seemingly mild cough and cold. Just a few hours after starting my duty, I got a call from home saying that he was rushed to the hospital because he turned blue (cyanotic). With my few clinical experience at that time, I thought of the worst but at the same time I was not sure what to do and who to turn to. I was afraid to ask my seniors if I could go home. It was a weekend. I was too shy to ask my groupmates initially and I knew if I go off duty without a replacement, the whole group will suffer.
I ended up crying in our quarters. It was then that our clerks monitor, Dr. SC, came to look for an intern. She saw me, heard me. I remember she said “Why are you crying? … Of course you can go home, it’s your child… Just call for someone to replace you on your duty. “There would be someone willing”, she assured me.
I ended up calling JDT, one of my batchmates. She willingly agreed. I was eventually able to go home when she came for duty.
Looking back, the decision is simple right? Go straight to the hospital where he was admitted. But it wasn’t easy for me. Fear ate me up. It’s like I had an immature understanding of what duty and accountability means. I was only a clerk at that time but I felt I already have the responsibility to be 100% present when I am on duty.
This was the incident that made me think of how I would handle my priorities. I am a single mom and I am a novice physician. I can do both. But at that time, I decided that if I will have to choose, it’ll be my family.
I know some collegues will not completely understand. I know some may think it seems easier to leave the job to go home, thinking it’s R&R. They don’t know we get ashamed when we feel we become additional burden to the workforce because we have to attend to problems at home. I know some, in their minds hope they also have a child so they can get “perks” of additioal leaves – sarcastically. (This I heard during internship).
I know there are really those who understand. If I have to choose, it’ll be my family. I have to set aside my initial plan of becoming a full pledged community doctor because I want to be close to the neighborhood in which my son will grow. I have to choose the training that will allow me to go home as much as possible – even if it means 3 hours travel home, with only 30 minutes quality time left to spend with him. I have to accept doing reports, projects in my free time in the hospital and cram the rest at home. His social and emotional growth is more important than mine.
WE HAVE OUR LIMITATIONS. As your doctors, rest assured we are doing our best to serve you. Unfortunately, sometimes that’s all it is. Service. Our knowledge and skills and compassion and care. But we cannot give our own lives to you. We have our family to feed and take care of. We are workers just like you. It is the job of the hospital to provide equipments, laboratory and medications. If the hospital fails to provide, it is your responsibility to look for funds and if not at least look for help. The hospital has social services to help provide for the indigent but has limitations as well. We can sometimes donate but we cannot exhaust our own wallets.
There’s only so much we can do. Trust me, it frustrates us as much as it frustrates you.
Health “care” itself has no limit but those man-created medical care gadgets have. The sadder part is that limitations is monetary based which reminds me of another thought. Those who are truly in need find it hard to “borrow” money but those who have excesses can borrow at whim “millions” of credit. We know why; it’s because return of investment is more assured from the rich, but still…
AFTER 12 DAYS here, this is my official solitary day off. My parents dropped by last weekend and as well as last Holiday Thursday (because the kid has been crying and pleading that I go home). He’s starting to get used to our set-up. Maybe because it’s a happy trip every time they get to visit. The long ride calms and entertain him. There parks/playground to explore around and of course that always makes him ecstatic. It’s also somewhat sweet that he *thinks* he would like to work here. Whenever he goes here, he fixes his bag, puts notebooks and pens then tells Dada to just drop him off because he will go to the office just like me.
I’ve been to the Supermall with them. The kid experienced to ride a mini Log Jump including a bit of water splash (hmmm, the idea of E. Coli freaks me a bit but …. eeew-okey). We were also able to purchase one of the toys he wanted that we only thought we could buy abroad (rationale: we give in sometimes and because I personally think, this certain type of toy is worth collecting).
Anyway, the in betweens.
I am on my second day of outside rotation here at Hospital R. “R” because the location is like a retreat center. The compound is isolated from the progressive city, even unknown to a lot of people from surrounding city. It’s a specialized center for research that’s why it only caters to specific cases. It is literally a hospital on a hill. Clean, neat, trees everywhere. People are friendly but as one of the two physicians on the whole hospital say, you’ll most likely find yourself alone most of the time. You will see the patients at the ER and make rounds on the ward by yourself and with a lot of time in between in your hands –
— except in moments like this…. “Pedia po, we have patient at the ER”
I’ve spent a few minutes thinking on how to start this entry, but who cares.
It’s just that a couple of days ago somebody reminded me of my journal writing. There were attempts but I only end up hoarding web addresses and keeping ’em private and unused. I don’t write anymore because on most times, I am doing – work 70%, play and cuddle 20%, study 2%, sleep 8%. (Exagge!) I didn’t actually do the math, but those numbers seem close enough. Sleep is to be shared with “me time” and “me time” could include playing the piano, playing with beautiful scrap papers, useless internet surfing and people stalking, and this… writing.
(days after beginning this post….)
My son just got through what I thought was a simple community daycare but turned out enough to mold a child like what a private nursery school would give. He loved it there. He love his Teacher L and have a couple of friends. He aced his class without any pressure. At home, I think we were able to instill in him a certain love for learning and sending him to daycare for is only to help him have better social opportunity. We got more than what we asked for. Aside from being the first in his class, he also got the special award “Batang Aktibo”. He deserves it. If you could just see him perform! He has his own *wigglier* variations of a1-2-3-kind of interpretative song.
Part of me misses reading writings such as this. It is one of the things that got me hooked online. I get to read personal diaries. I get to read creative write-ups that come from the heart. I get to read articles without any other influences. Nobody’s caring if it’s Palanca worthy or not. Grammar and syntax not much focused but content does and how it appeals to the soul.
It’s a plus to have close friends who write. It’s a given that we talk differently in writing as well. There’s more freedom to feel, to express what is hard to speak of.
I guess, this platform also paved way for me to get to know that one person I can truly be comfortable with. One day, I knew that was the kind of friendship I was looking for. It was something deep, unexplainable sense of connection. … well, youth. When you are young you have… (insert cliche)
I just can’t let go of this story. I was browsing my other blogs and saw this.
Run, Daddy, Run