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I can't believe he quit
Monday, September 22, 2008
I have been teaching in the LNU College of Medicine for almost ten years now. I have seen quite a few students who gave up the course, mostly because they are not persistent or persevering enough. I believe that intelligence is not the question because I've seen average students graduate and practice their profession as doctors.

At the start of the school year, he was the leader of the group, hence was elected as the class president. He had been very active in class - during recitations, discussions, and reporting. He takes care of every detail that needed his attention, for the benefit of his group. I cannot help but notice him. His prominence made me anxious to know more about him. And I learned that he was the summa cum laude when he graduated from nursing, and the son of a surgeon.

His performance was good. I believe he will be a promising doctor someday. And I was thinking that this man will bring the name of the school to the front pages of newspapers when he takes the physician board. But I was shocked to know that he gave up the course barely two months before the semester ends. Of all people... I cannot believe it!

His classmates gave no answer. He just said his goodbye without giving any reason. Maybe he will go to the States and work as a nurse. Earning money is easier that way while studying Medicine brings with it a lot of difficulties. I really have no idea. But how come his parents allowed him to study medicine when he has plans to work abroad. It was after all a waste of time and money.

If it is true that he will work as a nurse (this is only my hunch) in a foreign country, there is really nothing wrong to it and I'm wishing him well. But fulfilling ones dream is for me of prime importance. The feeling of regret is just too hard to bear when one is already old and there is no more turning back. It is something that will haunt you for the rest of your life. And I have seen it happen.
posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 12:20 PM   0 comments
Daytime Thieves
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thieves used to do their crime only at night or during the wee hours of the morning, when people are inside their houses, sleeping soundly. There has been several occasions recently when these criminals sneak out in broad daylight, just when people leave their houses to go to work, or just go to the grocery or market to buy whatever they need. In just a matter of minutes of absence, their houses had already been looted, emptied of all valuable belongings.

Just two weeks ago, a colleague experienced this kind of thing. He was in his clinic that day. By noon, he received a call from his wife that they had been robbed. His wife and daughter just came from the mall and bought some groceries. They were away for only an hour, imagine that. And all their appliances - television, desktop computer, a brand new laptop, magic sing karaoke - GONE! Plus all the jewelries, owned and for sale (the wife is a jewelry agent).

Several months ago, just after typhoon Cosme, a family had to move to a rented house while the house they own is being repaired because of damages caused by the typhoon. While husband and wife are at work and the kids are in the school, they also experienced the same thing. All their valuables including personal belongings were stolen. They were left with nothing except what they have with them at that time.

Will reporting to the police help? Well, they will just go to the place, look around, record the incident, and make kwento. Maybe just to appease the victim and make him feel that he is not alone experience wise.

It is best that we should be wary of what we say especially to strangers, be vigilant always, and don't leave the house unattended. Being friends with your neighbors may also help.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 9:10 AM   3 comments
Just for Laughs
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Sample medicines coming from drug companies, and given out by medical representatives to promote their products are getting fewer nowadays. To cut the cost of promotion, they give out mostly fliers, small boxes of tissue or cotton balls, local magazines, carton fans, or just about anything which is made of paper and which would make our trash can full at the end of the day.

I was going through the magazines before throwing them away when I came across one with "Just for Laughs" corner, my favorite section in any magazine. A few laughs will make your day. So I'm sharing this with you.

Painless labor for mom and dad!

A lady and her husband, who went to the hospital to give birth to their child, heard of a new technology from the doctor, which would transfer the labor pain from the mother to the father.

The couple were both excited and very much in favor of it. The doctor however said that, to start with, he would transfer only 10% of the pain, as even that small amount of pain would be too much for the father. They agreed and the doctor started the transfer.

The father did not show any signs of pain as the doctor kept on increasing the amount of transfer. The transfer was complete at one stage with 100% pain transferred to the father. The father was comfortable even at that stage and the mother delivered the baby. The couple left the hospital with the baby, literally painless and ecstatic, only to return home and find the mailman dead on the porch! by Edwin Villapa

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 9:31 AM   0 comments
Happy Birthday, Ralph!
Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I was initially scheduled for cesarean section on September 8, 2001 by my obstetrician, the reason why I had myself admitted on September 7. But so many mothers wanted to deliver on that day so that their kid's birthday would coincide with Mama Mary's. My doctor had to move me a day later so she can accommodate them. I didn't mind. What mattered most to me was to have a safe delivery. And Ralph turned out to be a very healthy baby.

It was an unexpected pregnancy. I did not know until he was already two months in my tummy. I was so glad yet a little apprehensive at the same time. I was not ready for another difficult pregnancy like my previous one. But I just continued with my normal routine until it was time for me to deliver. It turned out that it was not a difficult pregnancy after all.

From infancy to toddler stage, it was not difficult either to take care of Ralph. He would sleep for long hours especially when I put him in prone position on my chest, while I lay on the bed. I watched him sleep during his early days and softly caressed his soft body.

As he began to eat solid foods, I noticed that his taste is so bland. He prefers to eat spaghetti sans the sauce, bread without any kind of spread on it, just plain mayonnaise on his toast, and plain rice. He hates it if I prepare fried rice, especially the one with lots of ingredients in it. He would painstakingly get rid of all the solid ingredients from his rice if he had no choice. He is a very picky eater and he hates new recipes. He would prefer the same thing over and over again. But he loves anything sweet - from candies, chocolates, cakes, ice cream, etc. The exact opposite of his elder brother.

He started playing Game Boy at age two. The toy was actually a gift for his elder brother, Raymund. But the moment he set eyes on it, he fell in love with it. And it became his right that very moment. He tried so hard not to depart with it, putting it on the bedside table while he sleeps, and brings it with him wherever he go. He started to bring it to school when he started schooling at age three. What amazes me is his ability to finish an entire game within an hour or two. And he would be asking for a new cartridge again.

He has this penchant for playing and manipulating computers even at a very young age, even at an age when I was not sure yet if he can really decipher the words. I had this feeling that he understood computers very well, as if he and the computer are one.

Ralph is now in grade 1. His interest to his subjects seem to diminish as compared to his performance during his preschool years. I'd like to think that he is just having a hard time adjusting in grade school. Maybe because of staying long hours in school, so many subjects to study, left and right assignments, long hours of studying.

His attitude changed a lot, too. He would cry at the slightest provocation, even at just the sight of a list of things to memorize. I'm taking it easy on him though. I just hope that he'll be more confident and develop a more positive attitude. I know he will get by.

Today, Ralph turns 7. How time flies so fast! We celebrated his birthday this weekend in Baguio City, where he shopped for the things he loved most - toys! He bought several Spiderman toys including 2 Spiderman cartridges for his Game Boy.

Ralph, we love you so much. I want to thank you for being a good child and for just being there.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 12:00 AM   2 comments
Dad's Pinoy Bistek
Thursday, September 04, 2008

This is my dad's version of Bistek. He used to cook this dish when I was still young and it became my regular baon on school days - from preschool up to high school. When I went to study in Manila for college, Dad would bring it with him whenever he and Mom visited me and my sister.

This recipe is quite special to me. It has a nostalgic effect not only to me but also to my sister. I missed this dish so much that I made it a point to have a kilo of beef during those Saturdays he was visiting us. I thought it was high time that I learn to cook it.

Dad generously shared his procedure. On the first time he did it, I just watched. Then I was able to do it two times before I got it perfectly. There were no measurements given to me and I had to rely on my taste. It was on my third attempt to cook this dish when I was able to get a picture. My family love it, I'm sure you will, too! Anyway, here is how:

Ingredients:
1 kilo of thinly sliced meaty part of beef
2 eggs
2 cups vinegar
1 cup soy sauce
1 onion
1 whole garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper (add more if you like)
1/2 teaspoon ground pickles (optional)

Slice the meat thinly and pound a little. On a big mixing bowl, mix the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper with the beef, massaging them into the meat with your hands. Add the soy sauce and vinegar. When everything has been thoroughly mixed, add the eggs (and pickles if you want). Mix again. Make sure every part of the beef is well coated. Leave the mixture in the refrigerator overnight.

Next day, heat around one tablespoon cooking oil in a pan then saute the beef, onion and garlic. When the beef changes color, add the marinade and let it cook until beef becomes tender. Add salt and pepper according to your taste. That's it. Enjoy your meal!

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 1:07 PM   0 comments
Meet My Maids
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Getting and maintaining maids are some of the domestic problems most mothers have. My sister is not an exception. She changes maids almost every month, and finding a new one always means trouble. When she is able to get a new one, by the time the maid learns the routine she is again ready to go. I am lucky enough to have two maids who had been with me for years, even before my child Ralph came into this world.

Meet Lanie. She came from Tabugoc, Pandan, Catanduanes, the very place where my husband was raised. She was just 17 when she came to me, a girl so naive, though she worked for a few years in one family in Manila. I taught her how to cook, her primary job then, and how to properly clean the house. During those times, she relied on my instructions, doing only what I asked her to do.

When I became pregnant with my second child, I asked her to be his nanny, and she gladly agreed. I brought her to Manila when I was getting ready for my operation (2nd CS). She was with me in the hospital when I gave birth, up to the time we came out of the hospital, and to the day we went home to the province. She was so thrilled to see the baby, to hold him in her arms, and to learn the basics in taking care of him.

She was very good in her job, and I learned to relax and to go back to work after a few weeks of giving birth. She learned to love my son, treating him as his own brother. She reported to me through the intercom any concern that needed my attention. She saw Ralph's firsts, and she would gladly show me his new developments.

It has been ten years since Lanie arrived, Ralph is now in grade one and turning 7 on September 9. She watches over him even in school. I know she loves Ralph very much, even fighting for him when he is about to be bullied. She is the first to complain when she notices that Ralph is not given enough attention.

Meet my other maid, Gina, Lanie's cousin, now in her 40s. She came as a substitute to her sister, Bing, Raymund's nanny. But since Raymund does not need anymore close supervision when she came, her assignment became cooking and cleaning the house, among other things.

She wakes up at the crack of dawn to prepare the day's first meal, goes to market, cooks for lunch and dinner, and brings the kids' lunch to school. She was not perfect when she started especially when it comes to cooking. But she eventually learned in time. Now she cooks so well and can definitely earn a living with her own carinderia in the future. She has been with me for seven years now.

They came when me and my husband were just starting out as a couple. They have grown with us, became part of my family. They work spontaneously at home, no need for me to tell what needs to be done. They have done so by the time I notice.

I'm sure not everybody will agree with how I treat them- they eat at the same time with us, eat what we eat, comes together with us in family outings and all family activities, including attending the Holy Mass. I will do the same to anybody who comes after them.

They have their day-offs. They are free to watch movie with friends, attend parties, or celebrate birthdays at home. Of course they have their own moods, as they are only human. But when they have learned their lesson, they know how to say sorry.

What I love about them is that they know how to sacrifice their own schedules for the advantage of my family. Six years ago, when I was scheduled for a back operation (discectomy and laminectomy) which coincided with Lanie's schedule to visit her family in Bicol, she decided to postpone without me telling her to. It was something I appreciated, sacrificing her once-a-year vacation so that she can take care of the kids while I was confined in the hospital.

I know that one day they will leave to have a life of their own, especially when they have found Mr. Right. It would be hard to let go, as they have been part of me and my family. But when I tell them so, they would say that they will still take care of my kids' children, laughing at how they would look by then.

There is no secret in making them stay that long. I just let them feel that they belong.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 7:06 AM   0 comments
And he is gone again (Part II)
Monday, September 01, 2008
(I'm so glad our internet connection is back and I can blog at home.)

Our action was met with rejection on his part. He decided not to come anymore on Saturdays for follow ups. He asked us not to wait for him anymore, that he is old anyway and nearing death, and that we should not take it negatively if he refuse the love we offer him.

Of course, it hurt me a lot. It dawned on me that no matter what happens he will not leave them. Even if it costs him his life.

I was still waiting for him on the fourth Saturday, hoping that maybe he will change his mind, but he did not come. I let the day past trying to forget everything that happened. Questions like: "Was I being selfish?", "Was my decision wrong?", kept haunting me.

On a Sunday at ten in the evening, he called up my husband. He was not feeling well. We just came from a party that night and I was so exhausted. I decided not to see him anymore when he arrived at our house, knowing my husband can do his job well. It was a wrong decision, for he did not called nor visited again.

It has been two weeks, and there's no news from him. I'm hoping that he is okay. I wish his condition will not worsen, in which time he would see us again.
posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 8:29 AM   0 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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