The Surgeon's Logbook

surgery + medicine + photography + food + travel


Med School

This Should Keep Us Going

Got this text from my classmate Iaia which made me feel alive-and-kicking again. Thank you! 🙂

Destiny belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams and have the courage to pursue them. Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done.

With the upcoming boards, I think we need all the prayers, keep-it-up-quotes, and well-wishing that we need. It’s really really really hard. 😦 Makes me wonder why the human body is so COMPLEX, and how the human mind which studied the human body is COMPLEX-ER! Hay…


Never Say Die

Sabi ng GTEC ko: "Never say die!" Dapat ako din!

Ok din no? Hanggang sa kadulu-duluhang patak ng ink ng GTEC ko, nagpupumilit pa rin siyang sumulat. Never say die! Yan ang tunay na fighting spirit! Hehe. 🙂 I’ve been using this pen since June 1 when I started studying for the boards. Ngayon lang siya naubusan ng ink. Thank you to the makers of GTEC for creating such an awesome pen! Hehe. Huwag lang ibabagsak, kundi instant goodbye sa P60+! Hehe.

Don’t you feel elated too when you “finish” a pen/highlighter? Parang sulit na sulit yung pagbili mo sa kanya. Nothing is wasted. It served its purpose.

So ano bang point ko? Actually wala. Haha. Gotta finish surgery today! Then Legal Med/Prev Med na! 4 more to go!!!

Open House 2010

Just came from the MedChoir Open House this evening. About four hours off-reading/studying well spent! Hehe. Masayang makakanta uli, at makakita ng mga kaibigan, batchmates at bagong mga mukha sa choir! Hehe. 🙂

Tanders & Kids!
Basses!!! Yeah!

At siyempre, masarap na pagkain!

The Food!

Oh yes. Kahit na nag-aaral para sa boards (at punung-puno na ng backlogs), pumunta pa rin kami ng batchmates ko, haha. Adik. Bakit? Probably Kuya Mark S. said it best kanina while talking about why tanders keep on coming back:

“Probably because MedChoir changed us, and we helped change MedChoir.”

The Boardtakers with our review books!

Thank you medchoir for the past 5 years full of experiences (local or abroad!!), triumphs (and defeats! haha), fun, fotos, food and family! =) To more years of singing with you! Don’t worry, ang tanders ay parang athlete’s foot…we’ll keep coming back. 🙂

More pictures here.

Wildest Nightmare

I think I’m going crazy over the boards.

Wildest Nightmare! Photo from:

Just this morning, I woke up with a sudden gasp of air, full of sweat and with matching tears. Well, bukod sa napaka-init at nakapatay ang electric fan sa kwarto ko, nanaginip ako ng sobrang wild na bangungot!

I dreamt that we were all taking the board exams, and after the exams on the first day, as we were about to leave the testing center and discussing our answers in the exams, I suddenly realized that I DIDN’T FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS. Instead of writing A or B in the true or false part, I wrote the whole word! (Which was very weird and impossible since MCQs naman ang board exams, at scantron pa ang gamit, haha.) Anyway, I was panicking, hyperventilating and crying all at the same time. I then tried to beg the examiner to let me retake the exam, and of course, dahil madrama ang lahat ng mga panaginip, she didn’t entertain my plea. I just accepted it = I FAILED THE EXAM, felt helpless, cried and cried and cried, and before long…I woke up.

Nakakabaliw na talaga…when will this ever stop? According to my countdown widget, 33 days to go! F*ck, that’s a little over a month and I’m only halfway through!

Must-push-self-to-limit-and-then-surpass-it! a.k.a. Must-read-100-pages-a-day-and-then-50-more!

The New Secretary of Health

Dr. Enrique "Ike" Ona

A new Secretary of Health has been recently appointed by P-NOY, Dr. Enrique “Ike” T. Ona, former director of the renovated and refurbished National Kidney & Transplant Institute in Quezon City, a tertiary specialty PUBLIC hospital known as one of the leading kidney transplant centers in Asia.

Dr. Ona is quite unknown for the common people which probably explains the raising of eye brows of some when he was appointed by the adminsitration. Unlike the popular choice Dr. Jimmy Galvez-Tan (my own favorite, I really gladly thought it was him that P-NOY will choose), who’s really known for his uncanny ability to lead people (doctors, health care workers, and government officials) through his NGO and WHO work; connect with the masses through his various media appearances; and of course his previous achievements as past secretary of health, Dr. Ona’s own achievements have been unknown to most people.

Unfortunately, including me. I didn’t even know that he was one of the choices for the position until the news broke out this afternoon that he was already appointed. Dr. Ike is my brod in the Phi Kappa Mu, and I’ve met him only about twice during my undergrad years, so I didn’t get the chance to really get to know him. I only knew him as the topnotch Transplant Surgeon brod who headed the NKTI and brought it up from the ashes (literally and figuratively!).

That’s all about him that I knew until I saw this write-up from the graduation souvernir programme of UPCM Class 2008. He was their graduation speaker.

I’d like to share this with you so you could also get a glimpse of who Dr. Ike is. Remember that this was NOT written by me (but by Dr. Chay Sanchez of UPCM 2008). Also, it is not my intention to justify his being chosen through this write-up.

The post of the DOH secretary plays a vital role in the transformation that P-Noy wants to happen (or that all Filipinos want to feel, for that matter). The Secretary should be able to lead and implement projects, programs and laws concerning health which, for the past administrations, has not been given much emphasis or support. Who wants to run a country with an unhealthy population? I guess no one. We’re taught in the UPCM that health is a basic human right, not a commodity that only those who can afford avail. The DOH secretary should, at least, be able to uphold this assertion, as we say it in the hospital, WITHOUT FAIL!

I know Dr. Ike did an awesome job at NKTI, transforming it into the best transplant hub in the Philippines and in SEA, but no one can really tell if he can do an equally awesome job in transforming the DOH or the Philippine health care delivery system, or health education, or the national health insurance program.

But here are some points that, in my opinion, can justify why he can do great things in DOH:

  1. Leadership skills-wise, he’s been part of the government system as Director of NKTI for many years, and NKTI is under the system of DOH. He knows the ins and outs of government service. He even transformed the way NKTI procures/manages their funds such that it now becomes a self-sustaining government hospital (wonders when can PGH do this also…)
  2. He graduated from UPCM. ‘Nuff said. Takot na lang niya sa mga alumni kung may gawin siyang kalokohan.
  3. He’s Phi, and definitely a man of integrity, honor and justice.

So with that I offer my unwavering support for the NEW Secretary of Health, Dr. Enrique T. Ona, Φ ’57, UPCM ’62! Please steer the health care system of the Philippines to greater heights!

Dr. Enrique T. Ona
by Dr. Chay Sanchez, UPCM Class 2008

It has been a tradition to ask one accomplished personality in the field of medicine to inspire each year’s graduates as they start their journey. This year, the UP College of Medicine Class 2008 chose Dr. Enrique Ona, undoubtedly one of the Philippines’ best in the field of vascular and organ transplantation surgery, to share his experiences and thoughts about learning, living and loving the life of a physician.

A native of Sagay City, Negros Occidental, Dr. Ona graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Medicine in 1962. After passing the licensure exam for physicians, he decided not to join the clamor for the very limited residency slots in the Department of Surgery of Philippine General hospital, which were then seemingly reserved only for the top graduates and the “anak ng Diyos.”

Instead, he took his residency training in surgery at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, earning himself the position of chief resident and later obtaining fellowship degrees in surgery and experimental surgery in Boston and New York.

Training with other doctors from prestigious medical schools such as harvard, Dr. Ona realized that he was actually at par with them. “Kaya ko rin pala ang mga ginagawa nila,” he humbly thought to himself. It was then that he decided to train further as a Colombo Scholar in Organ transplantation at Cambridge University in England.

Realizing his social responsibility as a UP graduate, Dr. Ona came back to the Philippines to pioneer in what was then lacking in the country – organ transplantation.

Thus began his enviable record as a leader in his profession. He organized medical congresses and symposia, became an active member of international medical organizations and even had time for research. In 1979, he was recognized as the Outstanding Filipino Physician for Medicine.

One of the highlights of his career was his revolutionary work as the executive Director of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute. Believing that quality training, service and research are all possible if done systematically and with passion, Dr. Ona transformed the NKTI from being a fire-ravaged hospital into a modern, state-of-art health institution in just nine months. He established the most modern hemodialysis center in Southeast Asia and a word-class laboratory for hematology and oncology. Under Dr. Ona’s leadership, NKTI developed strategic planning processes for procuring funds to be used in the institution’s advancement. Indeed, much of what the NKTI is at present can be credited to his genius.

Despite his hectic schedule, Dr. Ona has not forgotten his alma mater. He is president of UPCM Class 1962, who have recently donated to the college a Students Lounge, where students may conduct meetings and practices, or simply, study. He is also a member of the Most Venerable Fraternity of the UP College of Medicine, the Phi Kappa Mu.

Dr. Enrique Ona is the husband of associate professor and hematologist Dr. Norma Ona. They have four children.

*taken from the Souvenir Programme of the 99th Commencement Exercises of the UP College of Medicine, May 18, 2008.

Saw this article from Yahoo news. It has snippets of PNoy justifying his choices for his cabinet members. Here’s what he said about Dr. Ona:

Health: Director of NKTI, Enrique T. Ona.

“In our interview we saw in him the potential to become a complete alter-ego, especially given the fact that health agenda is No. 3 on our platform. And he has been given instructions specifically with regard to expediting universal coverage of PhilHealth, one of our campaign promises,” said Aquino.

No. 3 pala ha. Tignan natin. 🙂

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On my 25th Day

Nababaliw na sa Pharma
Day 25: Going crazy, but still up and about!

Today is the 25th day of my board review. It was only last June 1 when I started opening my books, actually, Lippincot’s Biochemistry. Labag pa sa kalooban kong mag-aral. Napilitan lang kasi may biochem review kami c/o Siena (hehe, Dr. Pilones pala). But I think it was a good start. Pa-easy-easy nga lang muna, that’s why it took me almost a week (6 days) to (barely!) finish Biochem. The review class helped me jump-start my neurons to actually accept the fact that I am about to bombard them with lots and lots of fragmented information.

Reviewing for the medical boards is hard. Really really hard. As in rurok ng kahirapan sa buhay. Some of my senior brods even told me that they’d gladly repeat initiations than repeat preparing for the boards. I definitely agree with them. I didn’t expect this to be this excruciatingly painful in both mind and body! Masakit sa utak sa sobrang daming kailangang aralin. Sa katawan sa sobrang kailangan mong gumising nang maaga araw-araw at tumutok sa libro (na may pa-facebook facebook sa gilid, hehe) at mag-highlight nang walang sawa hanggang madaling umaga.

TWELVE SUBJECTS in TWO months. Twelve subjects which took us 5 whole years to “learn” (and unlearn) and now re-learning. Well, it’s best if re-learning is the case. But why do I feel that I am only learning these concepts just NOW?

Nakakahiya man aminin, pero parang ang daming mga bagay na dapat pala alam ko bago ako nag-ICC, Clerkship at Internship years. Sabi nga ng kaklase ko, madaming mga un-answered questions before na ngayon may sagot ka na. Mga tanong na tinatamad kang magbasa para masagot. Mga tanong na nung 2nd year tayo feeling mo masasagot mo sa Clerkship o Internship dahil masyadong mahirap sa level natin, pero nung Clerk ka na, nakalimutan mo na at feeling mo masyadong basic at pang 2nd year lang ang tanong. Siympre, wala pa ring kasagutan hanggang napilitan kang mag-aral para sa board exams.

Come to think of it, may malaking point din pala ang boards. Kahit na gaano pa man tayo magreklamo kung gaano ka-absurd ang mga pinagkukunan nila ng mga tanong (at ng mga sagot); kahit anong sabihin natin na “the boards only measures your theoretical knowledge, and not your clinical judgement!“; o kahit isinasa-Diyos na natin o ipinababahala kay Batman ang kahihinatnan sa sobrang hit-or-miss o chance-chance lang ng lahat ng mga tanong, kahit papaano, napilitan tayong mag-aral lahat.

I’m on my 5th subject now on the basic sciences. “Tapos” na ko on my first reading of Biochem, Micro+Para, Physio, Patho, and now Pharma. Next up is Anatomy. Sabi nila, dapat may 2nd reading ang lahat, especially the BASIC SCIENCES. Basic. Ba-sic. I’m sick of it. Nakakasuka sa dami ng kailangang aralin! Di na siguro sanay sa sobrang hardcore science. Applied na kasi ang nakasanayan sa clinics. Puro diagnosis, treatment, management, patient care, nurse-hood and manong-ship.

Ngayon, parang mas gumanda-ganda na naman ang pace. Nakaka-100 pages na ako a day, nung isang araw naka-200 ako, dahil ki-nram (crammed, haha) ko yung Patho to start Pharma as scheduled. Minsan nakakalungkot din kasi kahit ang dami mo ngang nabasa pero parang wala kang naaalala.

Ask me anything about biochem now and chances are I don’t know an effin’ thing about it. That was 3 weeks ago. Demmit.

Oh well, in order to proceed, I must accept, thus this GRAND realization that keeps me going everyday:

Mangyayari’t mangyayari din naman siya. Mag-eexam ka din naman talaga ng August. Wag na magreklamo. Shat-ap and just do it! Just keep moving!

Kahit gaano pa man natin gustong mag-whine at magdelaying tactics, the inevitable is NOT as inevitable as it may seem. It WILL happen on August 7,8,14 & 15, 2010. Isipin mo na lang, matatapos din lahat ng ito, iinom, malalsing at mag-cecelebrate tayong lahat sa August 18 when we receive the news of a 100% Pass! 😉

Sabi nga nila, we should own it to make it happen.

Papasaya tayo! Go 2010! We can do this! Let’s go for 100%! Let’s make UP proud.

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