The Surgeon's Logbook

surgery + medicine + photography + food + travel

Early Morning

White Beach

I’d gladly wake up early every morning if only I’d see this every day. 🙂


Island Doctoring

Island Doctoring

Being an island doctor in boracay has its ups and downs. Yeah, you work close to the one of the best beaches in the world, but the myriad of cases that you see can leave you dumbfounded at times. I’ve seen AGE and otitis media left and right, as well as the usual SVI and URTI, but its them trauma and difficult IM cases that really gets you. Lack of the usually taken-for-granted imaging and labs in PGH makes you think: what else can I do to manage these patients?

A great learning experience especially in the symptomatic treatment, and a very humbling experience too.

All In a Month

Exactly 1 month ago, I learned about one of the happiest, most thrilling, and most fulfilling news in my life: I passed the medical board exams! I’ve been writing in this blog some of my ups and downs while reviewing for the boards in hopes of laughing all about it once I learned that I eventually passed. After nearly banging your head on the wall, and crying your heart out while hearing mass EVERY SUNDAY, or even hearing mass on NON-SUNDAYS, you then hear yourself say, “It’s not so bad after all.” Seems to me that all the hard work in (trying) studying every single second from June to August, and near-crazy moments then have all been reduced now to small absurd memories.

It’s funny, and sad at the same time, how badly I wanted to treasure those feelings of self doubt and trepidation while reviewing so that I’d be able to appreciate my dream of passing better, and then, as soon as I learned about the results, to totally forget all the hardwork I’ve put myself through.

Well, maybe its just me and my forever trouble with memory (the reason why I take lots of pictures and write in this blog). Or perhaps its just a phase. I’m still in cloud nine, even after a months time. Still too ecstatic to look back and remember the nullest of the null times, and too delirious to accept the future. I feel like I’ve been in a whirlwind of events, and trying my hardest to grow and mature. And sooner than I think, I’ll be yet again earth-rocketing myself back to ground and start anew. Passing the boards was never the end. As cliche as it may sound, it was just the beginning of a new chapter.

But before I delve unto THIS NEXT CHAPTER, let me first rundown on what I’ve been up to (no good, surely, haha) for the past month.


As soon as the boards ended, the partying started. Five straight days of partying with friends, classmates, brods and sisses! Siympre palaging kaladkarin, or, taga-kaladkad, kaya laging nakakainom. Haha.

Day 1 (Sunday) – Koi Bar (wherelse!!) with Bigaten Substance Abuse Group (BSAG)
Day 2 (Monday) – Koi Bar (no kidding?!) with BSAG (again!)
Day 3 (Tuesday) – Central (wow, change of venue!) drank the BadTrip pitcher, kasi badtrip kami nito, after hearing about the EFFIN’ FALSE ALARM. Hay nako.
Day 4 (Wednesday) – Guess where? Koi Bar! This was the night the results came out! with brods and sisses on the 2nd floor and BSAG sa labas
Day 5 (Thursday) – I forget. Hehe. But I think this is at Koi with brods. haha
Day 6 – And on the 6th Day, I rested, went home at QC and slept. The party animal needs some shut eye afterall.
Day 7 (Saturday) – another party, this time birthday & celebration party by Miya @ Limbo Bar, Fort

Miya's Party @ Limbo


So what was I doing just before the results came out? I spent the whole afternoon with the Disc Doctors, our class’ Ultimate Frisbee Team, who gets to play only by the command of our punong matres Sonny. Haha. 🙂 We knew that the results would come out anytime that evening, so we hurriedly ate dinner together at Shakey’s Katipunan for us to get home in time for THE RESULTS. Well, we didn’t expect that the results would come out THAT EARLY!!! Binky called Myx at around 6:50 PM telling him that the results were out and that he passed! Myx then asked Binky to check our names too as everyone were all frantically screaming-crying-texting anyone we knew who could also check. I, on the other hand, had my Macbook ready, connected it to the net…and *tried* to check. Myx called out each of us in alphabetical order…then I heard it: “Ge! PASOK KA!!!” as if I won in a noon-time game show. I felt numbness…then hot flushes…then PURE ECSTASY. I never felt that kind of happiness and relief ever in my life! All I can muster to tell myself was: Thank you Lord.  Myx then proceeded the “roll call” and as they say…the rest was history.

Sonny & Alric battling it out on the field!

Never have I imagined that I’d be spending that evening with the rest of my classmates. Since the board review started, everyone were already thinking where would they spend THE NIGHT. Some would opt to just be by themselves, turn off their phones, and just wait the next morning for the barrage of Congratulations! and You made it! Some saw their night as spending it with family. The most excited ones would like to do a vigil and wait for the list to come out on the net. Well, I initially saw that night to be spent at my home in QC, asking my sister to check it for me…if I got in, then we’ll all be happy at home! If I didn’t then at least I’d be safe from all the judgement, since I’m with my family. Who knew that Shakey’s Katipunan would be forever etched in the hearts of the 13 of us who found out that we passed the single most important exam in our medical career! Thank you to the Mojos & Dip, and the Chicken and Pizza. And also, thank you to the Top 5  JP Esteban for the gracious treat!!! It was a major major celebration for you! 😀

The 13 Disc Doctors who wrote history at Shakeys Katipunan


Celebratory Cake from Chocolate Kiss! Yum!

Earlier that afternoon, Ate Mimi asked me to buy her Dayap Cake from Chocolate Kiss. Little did I know that she wanted me to buy the cake so that when I came home, they’d be the one to surprise me with the news. It was sort of anti-climactic since my mom apparently already knew that I passed earlier that afternoon and she already told everyone at the house. Well, since it was time for a big big celebration, I still went to Chocolate Kiss to buy us some cake! Dayap was not available, but hey, my favorite Devil’s Food Cake was, so…I was extremely happy!


We partied our hearts out that night at Koi. It was really time for celebration! All the hard work paid off, and now we really get to call ourselves doctors in the truest sense. The lawyers must have it worse, the waiting takes 6 months before the results come out. At least sa amin 3 days lang. Hehe.

The next morning, Jae and the rest of Medchoir 2010 went to Tagaytay to devour the lunch buffet at Sonya’s Garden. It was Jae’s birthday treat for us, and also our reunion with one of our most missed medchoir ate, Ate Joy! It was a great afternoon filled with fun, pictures, and food. A great way to spend the first day after the board results!

Oh Hey You. - Dada & Ate Joy enjoying posing for my camera.
The birthday celebrant Jae and the girls of Medchoir 2010
Ate Joy missed posing for the camera, bawal kasi sa kanila!
Trinia: One of my favorite models/talents/guinea pigs!

Trinia, my forever blockmate since 1st year med, is always ready for the camera. Kahit anong pose ipagawa ko, she’ll gladly do it. Haha. I am actually her talent manager, so if you want to book her for your weddings/photoshoots, just give me a call and we’ll talk. Hahaha.


Sorry, this is just about it for now. I had to make this two-part since I have to sleep early because pre-residency will start at 8AM today, September 19. Probably wouldn’t get to update until pre-residency is over next month. Hehe. So again, good bye for now!

I am Happy

Lately I’ve been feeling a little bit confused over my BIG life decisions coming my way. For the last 7 years, I’ve been confined only to the walls of UPCM and PGH just living my life determined ONLY by a very small box I ticked when I filled up my UPCAT application form last August 2002. I think the last MAJOR MAJOR decision that I made that made me a more specific person in society was to pursue the interview for Intarmed. I told myself then that if I didn’t make it, then medicine is not for me. But I did. And out of pure jest, I accepted my life and just went with the flow for the past 7 years…

Now that it’s all over, I’m at another MAJOR MAJOR crossroad. Last week I passed an application form for Surgery residency in PGH. How I made my decision is a another story on its own. On one hand, I amused myself with going into Pediatrics — the easier way since my mom is a Pediatrician. On the other, of course, I wanted to pursue a career I’ve been dreaming of since I first laid my eyes on FHM our first lecture in surgery.

Pediatrics was my actually first love, and when I entered medicine in 2005, that was my goal. Eventually, the crying kids and disrespectful mothers caught up with me, and soon I found myself liking surgery more and more.

Training in surgery is great, and the lifestyle of a surgeon fits my personality more. I really want to become a surgeon, but it’s the long, arduous, and hardcore training years is what I’m reluctant to go through. Practice wise, I’m definitely going to have a DIFFICULT time establishing my own practice. Definitely NOT the easier path.

Until that day in PGH when I finally filled up my application form, I prayed and heard a voice in my head to tick “[ ] Surgery”. The hesitation was definitely there. Up until recently, especially that the entrance exam is about to take place in 2 days, my head is still in a blur. Am I ready to make THIS decision? A decision that I should NEVER EVER regret for the rest of my life? Is this what I really want? Will I be happy?

Then I read Kathy’s blog, and then Ivy reblogged the article below, and I began to enjoy reading Schwartz, and so many people affirmed my decision to pursue surgery…

I think I am happy. I should be. 🙂

What is happiness anyway? It hit me across the back of the head like an angry parent. There I was, minding my own business, wallowing about in a mopey state of woe at my dissatisfaction with my own life, when reality bit me fair on the butt. Hard. I regularly bang on (and on, and on) about the importance of independence, that is, not seeking a partner to complete ones-self, but rather, ones who complements us. I rant on about the importance of goals, incremental personal … Read More

via View from Wit’s End

Ge & Maan’s Party: MD Edition

Ge & Maan's Party: M.D. Edition Poster
Post-Boards High w/ Cupcakes!

Last Sunday, Maan & I had a joint thanksgiving party for family, friends & classmates to extend our gratitude to all those who made our becoming full-fledged doctors possible, and of course to celebrate our passing the medical boards! Booyeah! =) A great night of fun, drinks, and cupcakes!

Photo galleries of the event here & here. 🙂

Shared: In Practice: Dr. Google has mixed results –

In Practice: Dr. Google has mixed results –

Using the search engine can be a boon for physicians — if they do it right.

By Rahul K. Parikh, Special to the Los Angeles Times

August 23, 2010

During an otherwise unremarkable afternoon at the office, I was sitting at my desk plowing through paperwork when a colleague came knocking — and forever changed how I practice medicine.

“Hey, Rahul, what’s McMurray’s sign?” he asked.

It is said that a physician needs to carry some 2 million facts to practice medicine. Though I knew that McMurray’s sign had something to do with examining a patient’s knee, it was one of the 2 million facts that, like some tattered scraps of paper pushed to the back of a file cabinet, I had long since forgotten.

I shrugged and turned toward my bookshelf to pull down a decade-old volume of Nelson’s Textbook of Pediatrics. Somewhere in that tome was the definition of McMurray’s sign and how to elicit it on exam.

Just as I was reaching for the book, I had another idea. I turned back to my workstation, clicked on that little “e” to bring up my Internet browser and went to Google. I typed “McMurray’s sign” in the search box and hit “enter,” and up popped several links to YouTube videos. We clicked on one and, like two medical students learning the basics of our craft, watched the short mini-lecture that showed an instructor moving the knee joint to check for a positive McMurray’s sign. And with that, my colleague was off to try it on his own patient.

Eureka. No more pencils, no more books. With a computer and Google (sorry, Bing, statistics show that Google is where we go first and frequently) in your office and your exam rooms, it’s a whole new world — for better or worse.

Continue reading “Shared: In Practice: Dr. Google has mixed results –”

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