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And he is gone again
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
For three consecutive Saturdays my dad was with us. He came at seven in the morning. He joined us for breakfast after all needed examinations were done. He was always enthusiastic and happy, as if on top of the world. He shared to us a lot of his past experiences, most of them I heard so many times before. Except for his health and his already aging body, he is very much the same. He is still the dad I spent a lot of my childhood memories with.

First Saturday. He spent breakfast and lunch with us. In between, he chatted with my kids, asked them too many questions with regards to their studies. It was his first time to spend more than an hour with them. He was observing them and was constantly giving them advises. He went home after lunch.

Second Saturday. He brought us fresh produce from the market. How thoughtful of him. He looked more relaxed and at home now that he begun exploring the entire house, something he never did during his past visits. He stayed the whole day and even went with us when we attended the anticipated mass later that day. He bought crabs on our way home from the church, offered to cook, and stayed for dinner. It was late when he bade goodbye.

Third Saturday. Dad was his usual self, even happier I think. He brought with him some clothes this time. I was hesitant to ask but I suspected that he would stay for the night. And he did. He cooked ginataang tilapia for and ginataang alimango for dinner. I never knew he is fond of cooking anything with coconut cream. He never really did that when I was still growing up.

The following day, Sunday, Dad woke up earlier than all of us. Since it is my time of tutoring the kids, he spent most of his Sunday morning watching TV alone or talking to the maids. It was in the afternoon when he asked my husband to prescribe some medicine to his adopted son who is suffering from cough and colds. The boy came with the driver when the latter fetched him.

After he left, we decided to tell Dad through text that we love treat him and care for him but not with any member of his other family. There were previous occasions that we treated each one of them, and we allowed it because we were hoping that it would end there. But it did not.

(to be continued)
posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 11:14 AM   2 comments
Sunday, a Family Day
Sunday, August 24, 2008
I love Sundays! It is always the day I looked forward to every week. It is the day when the whole family is at home, enjoying our free time together.

Our family always spend our Sundays at home, except on special occasions when we have to attend meetings, birthdays, etc. It is the day when the kids make their homework, getting ready for the school day ahead. It is also the day when we watch TV or DVDs together. It is the day when I prepare something special for my family to eat. It is always my day in the kitchen.

Because of our internet problem, we just can't refrain from going out today. We need to go to the mall where the internet cafe is. To my surprise, there are lots of people in the mall. Even having a seat in the internet cafe took each of us 15 minutes to wait.

Outside the cafe, people are just chatting with one another trying to catch up with the latest news. Some are just window shopping, others are just plain lazying out wearing slippers and house clothes. Well, doing that is waste of time for me. I'd rather stay at home than walk endlessly in the mall trying to kill time.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 5:27 PM   0 comments
Avoiding Miscarriage
Several factors are associated with miscarriage. Oftentimes if it's not genetic, or a previous history, it is work-related. As doctors, we often advise patients to take a rest and avoid stressful situations. We also advise refraining from or totally avoiding smoking or alcohol consumption.

In a recent US study, it has been found that high doses of caffeine also increases risk for miscarriage. It was mentioned in the paper that high doses meant caffeine of more than 200mg. This is approximately around three cups of coffee and around five cans of caffeinated softdrinks.

So, if you are pregnant, it better to totally refrain from drinking anything with caffeine. It is better to be safe than to be sorry.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 5:07 PM   0 comments
No Internet Connection Again!
Today is Sunday, and I'm spending a part of it in an internet cafe just because we have no internet connection AGAIN. Our internet provider, Digitel DSL, failed to provide us connection for almost two weeks now for the same reason as before - stolen cable.

My husband already contacted their office but they just couldn't do anything. We just have to wait. But until when is really a problem. There is no definite date given.

The problem is we still have to pay in full though the problem is on their part. This has really affected my family. And that include the kids. Internet connection is really a necessity in our household.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 4:56 PM   4 comments
We did not sign the waver
Monday, August 11, 2008
Raymund, now a ten-year old boy, pursued his dream to become a varsity player. Of course, we are very supportive of him, preparing everything he needs for the first tournament, an event sponsored by Milo. Everything is now ready. BUT there's one last thing we had to do as parents - to sign a waver.

They (the organizers) don't actually call it as waver. They call the paper they are asking parents to sign as "application form". It is stated in the paper that "we, the organizers and the school, have no liability for whatever happens to your child during the tournament".

My husband and I refused to sign simply because signing will leave us with nothing but to accept the consequences just in case something happens. Basketball is a rough game and anything can happen. This already happened to a doctor-friend of ours whose daughter met an accident while performing in the cheering squad. The kid was on the third level, standing on the shoulders of her team mates who were in the second level, when she fell to the floor, her head banging on the ground. The father spent a fortune for his daughter's hospitalization with not a single cent from the school nor the organizers, just because he signed the waver. Luckily, his daughter is alive and the accident left no permanent damage.

We asked the school to allow Raymund to play, without us signing the paper. They then referred us to the organizers. The representatives of Milo called us up, asking us why we are "afraid" that something might happen. They said they prefer that Raymund be removed from the team rather than joining with incomplete requirements. But the school does not want to remove him knowing his capability. Raymund is the star player. And so he stayed.

It is not actually a question of being afraid. As parents, we want the best for Raymund. We want him safe wherever he is and whoever he is with. Signing the waver removes that responsibility from the organizers to take care of these kids, not just with Raymund. They just don't want any liability.PERIOD.

On Raymund's part, joining the varsity is voluntary, no one pressured him, no one asked him. He just like to do it, to play bearing the name of his school. And we pay the tuition fee in full, with no discounts, even him as varsity player.

The decision is that the organizers will have to observe how he play on the first game. If he is not good enough, he is out of the team. My son is quite apprehensive. I know he wants to say as a varsity player. We explained to him our point and I know he understands.

UPDATE: My son has been totally disqualified from the Milo tournament. But he is definitely joining the IRAA games.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 12:46 PM   2 comments
The Importance of Sleep
Monday, August 04, 2008
Busy individuals are so used to depriving themselves of quality sleep just to get things done. I myself is not an exception. Because of too many things to do and with too little time, that is the most appropriate thing to do at the moment.

Coming from a family of diabetics, I am at risk of having one. But with regular exercise, and at the age of 42, I do my best to keep free from the disease. And I can say that so far, I am successful in that aspect. Lately, I read a study conducted by University of Chicago that suppressing deep slow-wave sleep for three consecutive nights increases the risk of having diabetes. So, this I have to work on.

Slow-wave sleep is the deep, restful type occurring at the onset of sleep, that is during the first hour, interrupted periodically by REM sleep, then recurs again. It comprises around 75% of the total sleep time of a young adult. The brain waves at this stage of sleep are very slow, and there is decrease in up to 30% of the blood pressure, respiratory rate, and basal metabolic rate. It is the stage of sleep that restores the normal balance among the neuronal centers.

In the study, it has been found that depriving one's self for three nights of adequate quality sleep decreases insulin sensitivity. This means that the body's ability to process glucose is reduced and thus increase diabetes risk.

See, reduced amounts of deep sleep is really bad. It has been associated with aging, obesity, and metabolic abnormalities. Now, with diabetes. So, I see to it that I don't deprive myself of sleep three nights in a row, even during my busy days. I want to live long enough to see my future grandchildren, or even my great grandchildren.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 9:19 AM   3 comments
About Me

Name: Amelyn R. Rafael,MD
Home: San Fabian, Pangasinan, Philippines
About Me: Family Physician, and Associate Professor (Clinical Anatomy and Medical Physiology)
See my complete profile
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