I have decided to take the time off from my preparation of the USMLE because I finally lost it, I finally burnt out, I am finally tired at the thought of picking up my notes.
As the saying goes, “rest if you must, but don’t you quit”, thus here I am taking the week off until August 1, 2017, to resume my readings.
And it just so happened that my best friend from my B.S. Biology and Medical school days, and fellow physician, Dr. Lee, visiting the Philippines as he has a short vacation from his military training. In fact, he is down to his last month of training in the military and he and I will be focusing on our preparation for the USMLE as we plan to tackle it together.
Dr. Lee and I have been best of friends for more than 12 years now; he was 1 year my senior during our B.S. Biology years and we became classmates during Medical school days. And as they say, any friendship that lasts more than 7 years will most likely last a lifetime – it certainly seems that way.
Glad he came back and as per usual, I am usually the first person he contacts when he is back and we hang out like old times.
He is quite close to my family as I am with his family, so I was happy, but not so surprised, when his mother, who is still in Korea, got me a gift; I too will give his family a gift before he returns to Korea, because, apart from reciprocity, even if I hadn’t had a gift from his mother, it is just right and almost like an unwritten rule for us to always do such gestures.
Each time he returns here for his short vacations, we usually end up hanging out most of the days he is here; that eventually leads me to saying, “Man, Lee, I see nearly everyday that each time I close my eyes to sleep, I see your face and I end up getting scared to sleep at all.”
Anyways, it is great he is back even for a few days as it coincided with my decision to just take a break from my readings; it really helped me cool off my burnt out demeanor.
Come August 1, I feel I would have found a new sense of vigor when reading.
I may not have that many friends in total, but the number of friends that I do have, I feel are the most real and closest friends I can ever have.
Most of my close friends are from my college days and my post graduate days in medical school. Just yesterday, I finally got to catch up with my closest friend, my brother, in medical school, and obviously, fellow physician, Doc Joed.
This was a long time coming as we have made plans to hang out for months on end, but things happened to make us cancel it all the time.
He is my brother in medical school as we both we from B.S. Biology (though different universities), and we share the same passion for research (experimental more than descriptive), and finally, the 1st letter of our surnames are close to each other in the alphabet that we usually land in the same group for the 4-5 years we were in medical school (5 years if we include post graduate internship), thus it is no surprise we are close like brothers.
Such is life in that planned activities never push through, but spontaneous plans seem to push through by way of sheer adrenaline, hence, when we just decided to hang out in the country’s capital just to roam around the city and malls, we made it happen albeit the gloomy skies that opened up and rained pretty heavy.
Braving the rain, we arrived at our stop, SM North EDSA…
After lunch, we decided to shop around; as usual, my number 1 priority in shopping would be for my hobbies… action figures, PC parts, etc. The least of my priorities was shopping for new attire, which was Doc Joed’s main priority apparently. Needless to say, he bought a lot of new clothes and such, then with out really thinking much, I bought some clothes too that I found were nice… something you don’t here me say everyday, “I bought new clothes”, as I seldom really do so; I let my mom or sisters take care of that for me as they know my fashion style (or the lack thereof).
After looking around some more the mall, we had the chance to hang out and catch up with one of over very 1st residents that took good care of us and taught us well during our clerkship days, Doc Anna!
Next was perusing the mall again and also its neighboring mall, Trinoma, looking for at everything and anything we may actually purchase; not to be outdone by my brother, I was on the hunt for a Logitech Driving Force Shifter to add to my ever growing passion of Sim Racing (we can’t have him just spending alone now would we?) and to pair it with my Logitech G920 Driving Force Wheel and Pedals.
Having bought the things we want, fairly satisfied going around the malls, and having caught up with everything that needs to be caught up, we decided it is time to head back home.
Honestly didn’t get nearly all the things I was planning to get in this trip, but what matters to me was that I got to see my former mentor/resident, Doc Anna, and finally got to hang out with my bro, Doc Joed. Things like just talking about anything under the sun without having to pretend you’re someone else makes it quite liberating especially in this world right now where you have to think twice what you say (I usually don’t care about thinking twice anyways) lest you want to insult someone.
Looking forward to another hangout/trip like this in the near future; a geek like me, though truly an introspective and less outgoing, should consider seeing more of the world… helps to de-stress…
Anyways, I will most likely make another post about the Logitech Driving Force Shifter just to give my thoughts on it. I will no longer be reviewing my peripherals as in dept as I used to as it is now time consuming and I don’t have the luxury of time since I need to prepare for USMLE and I still have jobs as a physician to give more of my time to.
A week ago, I was blessed to have hung out with my friends from college whom I have known for 10 years now.
One of them, Lee, happens to also be my classmate in medical school on top of being a friend of mine since B.S. Biology days where he served 1 year my senior. Upon graduation from medical school and finishing up our senior internship, he had to move back to South Korea and serve a mandatory 2 year military training. We were able to catch up since he had 10 days of vacation here before going back and finishing up his training that will last 10 more months.
For the 10 days he was here, we hung out for 5-6 days, it sounds funny, but that shows how much our friendship is. We are closely knit, as we both known each other since B.S. Biology and became classmates in medical school and had to go through the hardships of medical school together, simply makes us like brothers.
The saying goes, you’re friends in medical school or during residency training will be your friends for life. No. That is wrong. They become family.
During our hangouts, we also decided to meet up with our other close friends for 10 years. We couldn’t possibly see all our friends of the past 10 years during his 10 day stay here, but we made the most of it, and hung out with our closest.
First batch of friends we met up with were Bin and Eugene; Eugene was my classmate in B.S. Biology and followed me and Lee to medical school, but we are not batch mates. Bin on the other hand, was also in B.S. Biology and was Lee’s classmate in Biology.
We ended up talking like a bunch of old men and reminisce our B.S. Biology days; great times they were. And we are happy to have all met each other and became good friends that up to this day, we can easily call one another up and hang out. We topped off the night with talking about, what else, but video games, while having coffee. Just the way we like it.
We then decided to hang out with the other half of our friends 2 days later, for they weren’t available to hangout with the 4 of us prior. Von and Janet are from B.S. Psychology, a course that is under the same room as us, College of Arts and Sciences, and they were Lee’s batch (Making me the youngest one. Obviously.). A tidbit is, Janet then pursued Nursing and we stumbled on one another in the hospitals when I was a clerk and an intern.
We first caught Dr. Strange, and being a real physician myself, I was a bit critical in some points of the movie. But it is fictional, so what can I do? Then again, they could have consulted a medical professional because there is definitely going to be a medical professional watching this film and they will, like me, criticize those scenes.
After the movie came dinner. More jokes and reminiscence of the good old times ensued. It felt great.
Coffee as always tops off our nights when hanging out; I don’t drink beer and thankfully, they don’t seem to like drinking beer as of late, so coffee it was.
These hangouts with our close friends for 10 years were more of Lee just catching up with me and them since he left for South Korea. However, I found that it was also good for me. As I gotten older, I really started going out less; as Lee returned, that was the most I went outside and hung out with friends that I ever did in the prior months. It helped me restart myself more than it did for Lee in my opinion.
As I end this post, I am once again contemplating whether I hang out with my friends this weekend or stay in like I always do, but having hung out with Lee and my other good friends, I am starting to lean on hanging out with friends and going out again.
We always say that we wont forget a certain batch of friends, most people will say high school friends, others would choose college friends. For me, as much as a I loved and enjoyed the company of all my classmates from the different phases of my school life, it will come to no surprise that I hold my medical school classmates above all else.
It may seem cliche when I say this, but having to go through literally hell and back during my medical studies with them; all the blood, sweat, and tears; all the tiny arguments and patching up at the end of the day; they all meant the world to me and sharing it with my classmates made the experience of medicine a lot more tolerable.
This is why I hold them so dear and thankfully with me, even if I had some arguments with some of them, I never ended up hating any one of them. They are my friends for keeps, they are my friends for life. Nothing can compare to what we went through together. No one else can understand.
One great thing about my batch of friends in medical school is that it is far easy for us to hang out; all we have to do is make sure it doesn’t get in between our commitments as doctors, after which, we choose a day, and we hang out, like we were still classmates just hanging out after class.
We are all comfortable with eachother that saying anything, absolutely anything, we are just fine. Showing that whatever we have been through as classmates, strengthened our bonds, and no amount of insults or jokes can sever that. In fact, it is a strong showing of friendship having to joke and insult eachother and it is nothing to one another.
I am mentioning all this friendship stuff as I was able to catch up with 2 of my former classmates at medschool that are both currently residents in the department of surgery in AUFMC, namely, Doc Opal and Doc Anne.
It was nice just to catch up with eachother after all these months of doing our own thing in the world of medicine. It was just like a regular day for us; we caught up, talked about life and training, and just had a great time like we were classmates all over again.
Here we are just having coffee, after which, we spent the entire day walking around the mall. One good tidbit, is that Doc Anne bought herself a ukulele. Partly my fault, as we are both musicians (I play mostly guitar and keyboard, she plays guitar and drums) and I wanted to look for an amplifier, and while we were at the music store, she saw the ukulele on good sale. Needless to say, like a good friend, I forced her into buying it. It was all goo fun.
We then had dinner and after which, we all went out separate ways. Having a sense of clingy-ness, we all made sure we got home safe and swore we would all hang out again some time in the future.
And I surely can’t wait to do this all over again. Hopefully this time, we can get more of our former classmates into the mix.
Four more days until I make my move to Manila for the review classes and eventual examination, so I am doing my best to meet up with my close friends just to catch up and have a better feeling as I enter another phase of my life with well wishes.
For today, I wanted to catch up with one of my closest friends in medical school; she already took the medical licensure exam and she passed the exam to become a full fledged doctor. Apart from catching up, since she already passed the exam, she can also give me encouragement as I enter the review classes this weekend and give off great tips on keeping my head up high and such.
Before meeting up with my good friend, I had another rehab session for my right knee. Good news came today as my atrophied right thigh has gain some bulk again and nearly the same size as my left thigh. I will have my last session for the mean time on Friday and will continue on while I am in Manila with home exercises.
While having rehab, I was greeted by one of my mentor’s secretary, because I repaired his iPad and was slightly busy to come see me in person, and I was also tied down in rehab to meet him in his clinic. So, his secretary came to pick it up, but without leaving a lovely surprise by my mentor!
Dr. Edwin gave me, as well as my sister, lovely apparel from UNIQLO and it was a big surprise; I normally do not charge or ask for anything in return when repairing gadgets. I just enjoy fixing them. And when he decided to gift me, it was really something I wasn’t expecting today. So, my big thanks to Dr. Edwin. This will serve me well during my studies in Manila.
Now, I went to the local mall where, like what I mentioned above, would want to meet a close friend of mine…
She, Dr. Vyel, has been my groupmate since first year of medical school, so that is nearly 5-6 years of friendship. I appreciate her as a very reliable groupmate and a great friend; she is my confidante in medical school; I may tell her my problems, no matter what they can be, and she can do the same to me; we can give eachother good advice, and in the point of view of the opposite sex (although I never do listen to her advice at times… about girls I like). She can be very frank, especially when it comes to the girls I crush over or go out with and the girl is not up to her expectations for me – just like my sister. Makes sense why they get along. Overall, like any other friend who really cares, she just wants the best for me, and I too, want the best for her. She is a true friend of mine and I am glad we shared the difficulties of medical school together.
We simply had coffee at the local mall’s Starbucks, and out of topic, the famous red cups that brought about a lot of controversy was there in all it’s glory. A smart marketing ploy indeed; yes, I believe this is a marketing strategy to have Starbucks be more visible again on media sites, like how they intentionally misspell your name on the cup — whoa, wait, I have veered off there a bit.
Anyways, we had coffee and caught up with eachother’s life and she gave me a great pep talk for my review and the upcoming exam. We get to talk about our future plans on our respective medical specialty training and also talked about our friends and what specialty they are pursuing. We were also reminiscing our days in medical school and how we missed our classmates and our antics; the days when we were clerks and how those hardships we had really helped us in preparation of being a doctor; our internship and how we just had a blast with our mentors and our clerks where we enjoyed teaching the clerks; to now… her being a licensed physician and me, thanks to my injury and subsequent surgery, be taking the exam this March 2016 for my license.
After coffee we decided to have some ice cream from Cold Stone since we couldn’t find any good place to get a snack or two. Man, that was my first time eating there since I am not really a fan of ice cream, but I was surprised when they mentioned that one of our orders was ready and he was mumbling something I couldn’t really decipher at first, next thing I knew he threw the ice cream cup at me to catch it. It was a surprise and good thing I had fast reflexes to catch such a thing in a very short time frame. Vyel was happy that I was the one that stood up to get our orders because she was certain she would drop the cup when thrown at her. I am unsure if this is really how they serve it or if it is a guy that is receiving the order, either way I found it a nice twist to what would be just any other ice cream parlor.
It was nice just catching up with a great friend; a friend where I need not restrain myself with silly honorifics or the like. Someone where I can simply be me and just talk hours on end about anything about ourselves.
Again, another friend that I can tell stories of my sour relationships with and she, like I said, was brutally frank about some girls I went out with since they never live up to to her expectations, would just tell me “See, I told you so!”, and I won’t really mind it if it was that frank and pointing out that she warned me that I’d just get hurt. Sometimes, I need someone to slap the truth at me lest I will always see the lies.
Finally, we went our separate ways ans suddenly I am missing all my classmates; the ones that I shared the struggle with at medical school; the ones that know what it really means to give off sweat, blood, and tears for a cause; the ones that have seen the worst and best of me.
I miss hanging out with them and just making crazy jokes that most are not understood and they just forced themselves laughing. I miss the dry Tagalog humor that may or may not involve me. I miss just… being with my friends for life.
After my exams I will find time for all my close friends in medicine. I want to hang out before long, or else we may lose sight of eachother. I also want to thank them for putting up with a guy like me as their classmate and accepted me as one of their good friends.
I should take back what I said… we aren’t friends… we all are more than that. More than family if that even makes sense. Our bond is different from any simply family or friends bond. We will surely have eachother for the rest of our lives, and as we may be going to different hospitals for training, different specialties, we will definitely support eachother. I love them.
A few more days, until I move… I will take it as easy as possible, read a few chapters here and there, and definitely have fun meeting up with my close friends, as many as I humanly can, to have a better feeling about the move, the review, and the exam.