Burning Out?

It is no secret that I am studying again for yet another licensure exam; heck, even if I wasn’t preparing to tackle another licensure exam, as a physician, I will still be studying, day in and day out, nonetheless.

Anyways, the exam I am talking about is the USMLE. I am originally an American Citizen, but has since become a dual citizen, adding my Filipino Citizenship into the mix in order to be able to take the license here locally and maybe train here.

Since passing the licensure exam here in the Philippines, I have been a bit confused as to where I should go next: Should I train immediately? Should I moonlight? Should I go on vacation?

A year went by and then I suddenly decided to move back to the States and tackle the USMLE so I can also be a licensed physician in the States, as well as being a licensed physician here in the Philippines.

It took a year to decide because I really didn’t know where my heart is… As much as I want to stay here and train and eventually have my private practice here, I feel as though I will not be able to live up to my full potential as a physician here. I feel that the language barrier, although I am able to speak a lot better Tagalog now than I ever thought I would be, is gonna be a huge factor in my training. Something as shallow as that is a real fear because in the world of medicine, there are no compromises… Not having to know the translation of a phrase and missing out on the diagnosis, no matter how benign the diagnosis is, is not a valid reason. And I want to train without having to worry about silly matters.

Thus, I decided, it is high time I move back home. My real home.

I have been studying leisurely since April just to get the hang of studying again, and come September, I will go full on study mode like when I was still a student. However, I have been losing interest in reading lately… I feel worn down… I feel burnt out.

Nothing can see to make me smile lately as my mind is always about USMLE and studying. Even when my heart is not into it, I force myself to read, and force myself to stay up in order to finish a certain number of chapters.

This is not really a good strategy as I am already feeling the effects of burning out and my exam date is nowhere near just yet.

As much as I want to cool down on some days like today, I end up feeling very guilty and then I start reading again.

I just wish I can read without feeling brunt out and I also wish that I can take a few days off reading, just playing games or whatnot, and not feel the guilt of skipping a few days or even a week.

I am in a very fragile complicated state right now and I thought of putting into words to let off some steam.

Did it help? I can’t say… But it feels good enough just to type some of these stresses of mine.

As always, I will just have to breathe in and breathe out… and pray. Better things are in store for me… I just can’t really see it or feel it just yet… but I just have to relax somehow and believe.

Til next time! PEACE!

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Lost in the Suburbs or so I Think

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…

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Yes, I look like a mess.

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!

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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.

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The humble haul: some clothes from Perry Ellis and a Logitech Driving Force Shifter

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.

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Getting knee deep into racing simulators

Alright then!

Til next time! PEACE!

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There and Back Again: A Trip to Singapore

Truth be told, it has been 11 years since my last air travel; it was way back in 2006 when I last traveled to and from America, so I was definitely excited, and a bit confused, while travelling to Singapore a few days back.

I was excited, simply because it has been 11 years since I boarded a plane, and excited because Singapore is one of the countries I have yet to visit, and by golly, I heard great things about it.

I was confused, since I don’t remember how to travel; I don’t remember where to go, what stations to pass by in the airport, and I don’t know the process for me to travel nowadays since I have a dual citizenship (I am both American and Filipino citizen, but only had a U.S. Passport). Luckily, my sister, who is also a physician, and also dual citizen, happened to have traveled to Thailand a month ago, and she got first hand experience when it comes to the extra paper works we needed as dual citizens.

Now, skipping the boring airport procedures, let us begin with me waiting to be board the plane: like I mentioned above it has been 11 years since I boarded a plane, let alone be in another country entirely, and with that thought, I guess I was a little too excited for my own good and wasn’t able to sleep the night before. This lead me to be a bit off the day of the flight, unsure if I can really stay awake during the duration of the flight. It also didn’t help that the trip to the airport didn’t help me sleep either, so here I am, being a wake for effectively 36 hours since I had work the day before, trying valiantly to enjoy my first air flight in 11 years.

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The waiting game…

When it is finally time to board the plane, I was right smack down in the middle of the plan, the middlemost seat, which in theory is the best as most people would say that you’d feel less of the effects of the flight there, of course, I would rather have the aisle seats, more specifically, next to the window, even if in fact, by the time you take flight, you’d see nothing but clouds and the body of water, but hey, I am easily entertained.

Thankfully I sat next to one of our friends also on the trip, who happens to also be my mentor during medschool, so it was cool that I had him next to me for the flight.

Overall, I am happy with the trip, it helped that it was just a short flight of 3 hours, so it was a perfect reintroduction to air flight as I plan to either visit Japan later this year or visit back home in America, also sometime later this year.

My only qualm from my first flight in 11 years is simply I ordered a certain breakfast in flight meal, and they got it wrong, it was tough to have it switched to the right one seeing that I am seated in the middle of the flight, so I let it go, but I made sure on the flight back home, I will have the right meal.

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At Changi International Airport with my sister

And so, we landed in Changi International Airport, and I know that most airports are better than NAIA, but wow, I was impressed by Changi, and all the more impressed when we were on the road; the lack thereof of traffic jams, the cleanliness, the overall beauty of Singapore, scream everywhere. I was blown away.

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Doc Jap showing the way to our chosen hotel as Doc Edwin looks unto the distance

Right off the bat, I will mention that we are here only for 3 days; the main reason we all went here is that my sister and our 2 other friends wanted to catch Coldplay in concert. I, on the other hand, just wanted to go around so I didn’t bother with a ticket. That is not to say I don’t like Coldplay, I do, I have a lot of songs that I like from them, but I am not a concert kind of guy. If it were The Cure, however, I will definitely watch them. I digress.

Being obviously a tourist hot spot, most people understand English, thus making it very easy for me to order food and whatnot, and feel very confident when the time for my sister and friends will inevitably will leave me for the concert. My confidence is further increased when the area, overall, seems to be a safe place, unlike here in the Philippines when the sun goes down, you have to constantly look over you shoulder and be vigilant. I am not trying to ruin the Philippines in terms of safety, but come on, people that live here will know what I mean… don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean.

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Looking for food
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A complete stranger… But I like her getup
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Lunch at the nearby Hawker with Doc Edwin

As the trio set off to line up for Coldplay, I decided to explore. I don’t plan on using the Taxi or anything of the like seeing that I wanna spend less on the commute and more on items, plus it makes it easy for me to see the actual sights and sounds, so to speak.

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Since I play lots of video games that are open world, I was not to worried about getting lost, and again, it helps that everyone speaks English very well. What worried me most was my knee; as you all know by now, I had surgery nearly 3 years ago and I still have difficulty longing long distances and standing for long periods of time. It was just the sheer adrenaline of being somewhere new that kept me going really.

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The weary travelling physician

Sure, I succumbed to fatigue, going in and out of the hotel I was staying in, Premier Inn Hotel, and then heading towards the nearest coffee shop to get a sugar rush in order to resume my exploration; I am a big Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf fan, but sadly, I can’t find any nearby, so I settled for Starbucks, my former love.

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Sugar rush!

After the much needed sugar rush, I am back on the road, exploring on my own. I was this close in getting to Merlion Park by myself, but having air traveled just in the morning and not having enough sleep to back it up, I reached the end of my energy tank, and had to call it a day and head back to the hotel. Overall, I had so much fun exploring on my own, tomorrow surely will be even better.

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Back at it again after my sugar rush

Next day… it started a bit slow, cos we all woke up late. Having washed up and ready to go exploring again, we waited for my former Resident/Mentor when I was but a wee medical clerk, Doc Noe, who has moved to Singapore and is a physician there, so who better to show us around than him, while my sister and 2 other friends, who are also physicians and my mentors, catch up with their colleague. Just 5 physicians hanging out in Singapore.

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Five Physicians in Singapore

Doc Noe then treated us to a nice hearty meal, and as the afternoon was ending, a photo of the former AUFMC IM residents along with their boss/mentor is definitely a must.

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Doc Noe!
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Jollibee!?

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Doc Chan’s Glare
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The gang after shopping at Samsonite since they had a sale
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From L-R: The Boss: Doc Edwin, along with the former IM residents: Doc Deb (my sis), Doc Noe, and Doc Jap

At the evening, we managed to meet up with Doc Jap’s high school classmate who happened to also have moved to Singapore; he also treated us to a delicious dinner and then showed us around.

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Though we didn’t get to visit places like Merlion Park and the like, Orchard Road was pretty neat by itself; lot’s of places to eat, shop, or simply look around. I was on the lookout for some action figures so it isn’t surprising that when I arrived in Singapure I would go straight to the action figure shops, sadly, no Macross figures in stock at that time. Maybe next time…

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Singapore Trip 2017

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Doc Deb, my sis!
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Doc Chan… Me… obviously

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The doctor…  the otaku
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Looking for my waifu

As the night turned into early morning, we wanted to see Mustafa since it is supposedly a 24 hour lot for electronics and whatnot, but we were just too tired already; we headed back to the hotel and of course, the packing comes next. Now since I didn’t really get to buy anything interesting this time around during my visit, it was relatively easy packing, especially when my sister bought herself a Samsonite luggage as pictured above. For my friends’ souvenirs, I decided to just buy a lot of souvenirs in the airport later in the morning.

Finally, had just about enough sleep for the trip back home. After a quick bite to eat, it is straight to the airport and on the way back home to the Philippines. After 2 and a half days away from home, I must say, I was already getting home sick, hence, I was very eager to hop on that plane and get home.

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Manila bound… isn’t it obvious by my happy face?

Upon arriving back home, the first thing that greeted me was the wall of humidity and heat; Singapore wasn’t really at its coldest at that time we visited, but boy oh boy, nothing can beat the heat of the Philippines. The next thing I immediately miss about Singapore is the free flowing traffic; back here, man, the traffic jams are a stuff of legend.

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HOME… One of my fave pics my sis took of me

I don’t know if it was apparent in the post, but I was slightly hinting that I am planning to go back to Singapore later this year, for I am a Formula 1 fan for 21 years now, and I heard that it may be the last Singapore GP in F1 for the foreseeable future (not yet sure), I jumped at the chance of finally watching a race live in person. I will also be traveling on my won for the first time in my life, so it all the more, it will be a special experience.

I have yet to book my flight, book a hotel, or even buy a ticket for F1, but I’m pretty much sure about this trip, just have to finalize the seating (gotta find good seats, of course) and ask Doc Jap’s friends what hotel to book into, and we are ready for the race!

Anyways, overall, my 1st flight in 11 years, thankfully a short one, and thankfully a beautiful place like Singapore to visit, was a fun and well worthwhile one. I am not much of a traveler, but honestly, apart from going back to Singapore for the race and going to the States to see my home again, I plan to go to Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan in the near future. Somehow, visiting Singapore whet my appetite for traveling. Maybe this geek should see more of what the world has to offer…

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After 11 years, I got to travel again…

Til next time! PEACE!

P.S.

I will add a few of my favorite shots I took with my DSLR (you can click on the title/caption to be linked to my Flickr:

The Other Side
The Other Side
The Daily Grind
The Daily Grind
The Light on Route 76
Light on Route 76
One Small Step
One Small Step
The Connection
The Connection

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What a Ride it has Been

9 months ago, I was finishing up all my paperwork and touching up my resume in order to become a university physician of my Alma mater; now, I am finishing up my clinic duty for the day and I would be done with my contract.

I have mentioned many times in my past posts that I was given the opportunity to become the director of the university health services, a full time faculty in several schools of medicine, and a post in the research department, but I had to decline most, if not all, of these since I have a greater goal – that is to start training real soon, or soon enough.

My goal is to train in the States so I need to prepare for yet another medical licensure examintion, the USMLE, which is divided into 4 exams; these are not just any exam that I can take them on a whim, I really need to prepare for these. I will be linking a future post on how I reached my decision in going back home in the States and hoping to train there.

As flattered I am by the university and my colleagues in the university clinic wanting me to stay, I am much more elated that they understand my goals and would not hinder my wanting to train as soon as possible.

I am the youngest in the clinic, and at the time I was hired here, I was only 3 months being officially licensed as a physcian. So, I felt that my confidence level is still low to lead a team or to be taken seriously. Thankfully, my fears are put to rest as the team trusted me since day 1, guiding me in things I am not to sure of, and more importantly, accepting me and making me part of their close knit family. The latter is the one I appreciate the most. I learned a lot and I had a lot of great memories… But it is being part of this family that will be the best part of this job.

Even if I am just a general physician here in the university, I do have my share of toxity (our term for a hectic workday along with difficult cases and whatnot); that is something quite rare in an out patient department setting like here in the clinic. I’ve seen cases like diabetic ketoacidosis in a 15 year old, Takotsubo syndrome, retinal detachment, etc. Now some of these cases are common in the hospital setting, but to be primarily diagnosed in a clinic like here, and with what little I can request in terms of ancillary procedures to confirm my assumptions, it is quite a feat for a young physician as myself. This helped me become a little more confident as a diagnostician.

And through it all, my colleagues never doubted me.

That really helps a fledging physician.

Such as what my collague and my mentor said yesterday during our pizza pig out, “I hate goodbyes…”, but honestly, this is not goodbye, more of a “see you all later”, even if I do become a licensed physician in the States and I train there, these colleagues of mine are now family and I have no doubt that in the future when we see each other somewhere down whatever road, we can easily get a cup of coffee or two, reminisce our days in the clinic, and just smile on how far we all eventually come.

With that, in a few hours time, Christian Udarbe, M.D., University Physician, would have signed out. And what a ride it has been!

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Til next time! PEACE!

Addendum:

This is Dr. Udarbe, university physician, officially signing off.

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2016: A Review

DISCLAIMER: Photos of celebrities are not mine. Credits to the owners.

Waking up on the last day of 2016, at least in this part of the world, at noon, gives me but 12 hours (or less at time that this post is… well… posted) to reflect on the highs and lows of the year. This may be enough time for most people to just give a one sentence summary of their 2016, but not me; this year has been good to me, and I will take you by the hand and take you back to the best parts of the year, some bad parts that are far and in between, and you will know why this has been my year.

Let’s start off with the obvious bad parts of the year, though it may not have affected my life directly, these personalities were a big part of my childhood that I can’t go unaffected by their deaths. I am, of course, talking about the celebrity deaths. Now deaths are never nice, no matter the person, no matter the time, and I felt that it was such a bad coincidence that their time came up in 2016 giving 2016 such a bad rap. The deaths that hit me hard were that of John Glenn, Mercury 7 astronaut; I am an avid fan of anything to do with space and the early 60s space race that led up to the Apollo missions and landing on the moon were of my favorite in science history. John Glenn and the rest of the Mercury astronauts paved the way for NASA and all other space agencies we know today and the science of space travel we know today. And like his flight before launch, God Speed… John Glenn.

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Next on my list is David Bowie; being a fan of the rock scene from 50s-90s, it is no surprise that I am gutted by his death. I in particular love his songs Life on Mars, Rebel Rebel, Starman, Heroes, and The Man Who Sold the World. You may ask me why Space Oddity is not in the list, if you know well enough, I tend to not like songs that become too mainstream. His style of music and fashion for his time was definitely ahead of his time. So influential that he influenced my all time favorite band, The Cure, to come into fruition. You are now one with the stars, Mr. Ziggy Stardust.

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Alan Rickman makes the list not for his contributions in the Harry Potter movies, but for my personal favorite movie, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves as the Sheriff. He definitely cut our hearts out with a spoon.

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Florence Henderson, now of course I wasn’t born yet in the original run of the Brady Bunch, I did catch a lot of the reruns and I remember watching them almost daily with my mom in the afternoons when I was younger. We honestly need more shows like the Brady Bunch again that shows family values, and having Florence Henderson as Mrs. Brady is perfect as she portrayed a mother to us all giving us wisdom.

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Erik Bauersfeld, the voice actor for Admiral Ackbar and Bib Fortun, as well as Kenny Baker, who portrayed R2-D2, both are, of course, from Star Wars movie lore, and being a Star Wars fan, this definitely gutted me. My love for science fiction truly began with Star Wars and losing them is like saying goodbye to my childhood and my humble beginnings for my love of science fiction. It reminds me I am no longer that kid anymore and I am an adult now, yet still loving science fiction and Star Wars.

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Speaking of Star Wars, we can’t cap off this topic without talking about my original princess, Carrie Fisher, who portrayed Princess Leia. All geeks like me would remember her in her Golden Bikini in Return of the Jedi, but I will always remember her for her smile in the outtakes; they were magical and perfect. This was the death that got me the most. And then sadly, her mother, Debbie Reynolds, also passed just a day after her.

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Now honestly, that is the only bad I can say that happened this year. Even if it doesn’t affect my life directly, like I said earlier, they were a big part of me growing up, and it is just a confirmation that I am no longer a kid anymore with their deaths. With that out of the way, let us talk about the good! This may take awhile, but don’t worry, I still have a firm grip on your hand on this one.

Let us begin with the good stuff with… what is the greatest thing that happened to me in my life thus far, and that is, of course, me becoming an officially licensed physician.

Now let us go back a bit to 2014, where I had my knee operation and forced me to delay finishing my medical internship by at least 2 months and thus also forcing me to miss out on the August 2015 Physician Licensure Examination with my classmates.

I will admit, I was envious when my classmates took the exam and all passed the exam, whereas I, still had to finish my internship and waiting for March 2016 for my exam.

Needless to say, March 2016 came by, 12 difficult exams across 4 days in 2 weekends, and 2 days later, on March 16, 2016, they announced the successful passers of the physician licensure exam and there was my name.

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I still can’t forget that day: I was out for lunch and coffee with my close friend Amanda, who was visiting the country as she moved to China for work and studies. She was here for a few weeks and we decided to meet up and hang out and just to help me calm down after the exam. The funny thing was I wasn’t able to eat a lot and she knows me well enough that I eat a lot despite my size, but I guess I was really feeling the effects of the exam at this point. After Japanese lunch (our favorite) and coffee we decided to go around the mall and we ran into my sister, Debbie, who happens to be a licensed physician too and is already a consultant at this point. The importance of running into my sister is apparent once me and Amanda decided to go home: I got a call from my sister, and since I just saw her in the mall, I thought she was calling me if I needed a ride going home, but it goes like this:

Debbie: Hey doc! (take note, we usually call eachother doc as a sign of professionalism and respect, so this was nothing new)

Me: Hey doc… sup?

Debbie: CONGRATULATIONS! YOU PASSED!

Me:…………………………………….YOU LIE!

It turns out her bestfriend since their medical school days and co fellow in AUFMC Section of Cardiology, Dr Cheng, called her up after Doc Cheng’s boyfriend, Dr. Lloyd, found out I passed when he was checking the website.

I didn’t really believe it myself since I was at the website and was like refreshing it every 15 minutes. So when I went back and saw my name, I was on cloud 9. Truth be told, my right knee still hurts but I jumped for joy and the pain of jumping on my bad knee was worth it.

The best part was when I stormed out of my room and shouted from the door to my mom just across the living room laying down on the couch watching TV. As soon as I said it, I just blinked once, and she was right at my face giving me a tight hug! Then my dad got home from his afternoon jogging and when he found out he ordered pizza for us and the neighbors. It was nuts!

I got a barrage of messages/calls and what not from friends and mentors and it was one of the best feelings of my life. But of course, I still have a long way to go so I couldn’t just settle with this. I still have residency training, hopefully midyear next year.

I will also mention that I lived in Manila for almost 4 months while I was reviewing for the exam and having to pack up the place and move back home it was a very unforgettable experience.

Then came the day I dreamed of forever, Oath Taking for the New Physicians where I got to see my friends from the review center and recite the Hippocratic Oath together while my family looks on is something that is embedded on my mind.

As soon as I became licensed, the very next day, it was back to the real world. By that I mean that I didn’t rub it in that I am licensed; I was never one to show off all the time anyways, so after the high of passing, I made sure I got my feet planting back down to earth the very next day. For new licensed physicians, they can immediately go training, look for a job as a general physician, or go on vacation. I for one wasn’t really looking for a job at this point, nor did I wan’t to go on vacation so to speak, but thankfully for me, I made enough of a name for myself as a medical student that I was given a lot of job offers the coming days and months. Heck, even up to this day, since I am not training yet, I am given so much job opportunities it is ridiculous.

My first few jobs were lecturing in my Alma Mater and my former review center, as well as a general physician in several institutions and mass blood donations. I knew I didn’t want to train yet, but I also didn’t wanna stay idle. So I took these simple tasks.

I was then giving a clinic schedule in a nearby diagnostic center and has now become a staple of my earnings. I was happy… I was working just 2 days a week in the center, then I got my other rackets as a general physician and professor elsewhere. I was earning enough to get the things I wanted and still able to save.

Then I was given another opportunity in school other than being a guest lecturer, I was given the position of University Physician. Now I wasn’t going to accept this but I thought that this may be a simple yet effective way to give back to my former university, AUF. So I took it and 6 months later, I feel my colleagues in the clinic is more of my family now than anything. I certainly did not regret accepting the job.

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I am well received there even if I am still a rookie so to speak that I was asked to become the Director of the University Health Services at the gentle age of 27! I had to control myself… As much as I wanted the prestige, this would mean I would have to commit more than just a year in serving as their director and it will hinder my plans of training for Neurology as my specialty. So I humbly declined.

Next opportunity was to be a part time faculty in the Department of Biochemistry in AUF School of Medicine. I was also very psyched about this as I love teaching and teaching in the school of medicine is one of my goals. to think, I am a 27 year old physician and a faculty in school of medicine. Awesome. It helps that I also love Biochemistry. But sadly, my sched in my various jobs at this point took its toll and I need to sacrifice this one.

Six months since I officially started working, meeting new people/colleagues, adding friends and memories, and of course, having earned and saved up enough money and reach my quota in saving, makes me feel really accomplished. And makes me look forward to next year, my year, the year of the dragon, for even more accomplishments.

Now as we wrap up 2016 in a few hours, I got my DSLR ready for my annual fireworks photography, got my family cooking up for dinner, and got my favorite games loaded up in my PC… Cap it off with a high!

Til next time! HAPPY NEW YEAR! AND PEACE!

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Tables are Turned

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View from the other side… Feels funny now that I am their examiner when it wasn’t long ago I was in their shoes.

It wasn’t that long ago when I donned the medical school proper uniform or even that of a 4th year medical clerk uniform. All the pain and suffering while studying on going on duties as a clerk is still quite fresh in my mind, and I do have some literal scars that are still oozing with blood from it all.

So when I was asked to help out in my Alma Mater for the current medical students’ exams, I was more than happy to help out and be their proctor/examiner for some subjects.

I wanted to give back to the university and the department that made my dreams into reality and never stopped believing that all my goals in life will be in fruition. Thus, simple acts like this can still go a long way in their eyes and then some. Plus, I am starting to acclimatize myself once again with the school policies as I am a guest lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry also in the School of Medicine in my Alma Mater and plan to help out in the lectures/reports/exams in the second semester. Helping out now will help get in tune with the medicine office and the people once again.

This is actually my first time being a proctor in an examination but still having the memories of being a student taking the exams quite fresh, I still remember the usual things my proctors would say before, during, or after the examinations, so I was easily able to adapt quickly and thankfully the students were very behaved so I had no problems during my first proctoring of an exam.

I will be proctoring other exams for the rest of the week and I am actually looking forward to it as it is quite therapeutic doing this. I hardly have to answer tough questions as I would have when I am lecturing, I don’t have to make hard decisions such as those times when I am in the clinic, and I don’t have to correct anything in the test paper as I am not the one that made it, I simply relay any questions.

And I need something therapeutic as the past couple of days up to weeks, I have not been my jolly self in the clinics I work in. Gone is the funny doctor that does his best to make you smile before leaving the clinic, now we have a doctor that seems to just wait til quitting time. The latter is something I don’t want to be remembered as; I have always pride myself as being a workaholic, a guy that gets the job done in spite of the toxicity, a guy that never shies away from a task as it gets tougher, a guy that is cool when it comes to emergencies, and a guy that will never tire even if overtime is a real thing.

I need something therapeutic so I can be that kind of guy again. Not sure what has happened to me in the past few days up to weeks. I probably took life a wee bit too seriously that I have lost track of how to have fun at work. There is a number of things that I can point my finger on as to why I am not my usual jolly self, but I can’t really pin point the exact moment where I felt the dread.

Thus I try to do new things, go places, and just try to relax – and being a proctor… simply a proctor, may help me. Here’s hoping it will.

So as the tables are now turned as I am no longer the medical student/medical clerk/medical intern, twiddling my thumb while having what seems to be a restless leg syndrome as I toil away at the exams, I am now the proctor and examiner looking at younger medical students that are now having the mannerisms I had during exams. It is a perfect circle. And pretty soon, they will also become proctors or examiners for future medical doctors… and thus, the cycle continues.

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Tables are turned!

Til then! PEACE!

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Another Day, Another Job Done

Now it is no surprise that I am juggling 3 jobs and other rackets that I have every now and then. My stable jobs are clinic duties in a diagnostic center and in a university as well as a guest lecturer in the same university. My other rackets would be a guest lecturer in different institutions, ER duties in hospitals, or the more usual, being a general physician for blood letting events.

Today, I am the latter, a general physician for blood letting. It is yet another day of the usual history and physical examination, prescribing medications if ever so needed, and just having fun.

However, today, I was joined by some clerks, who happened to be some of my good friends, and it made the experience even better. Now, when I have clerks, I usually give funny names for our team. Back then, I had the “Lizard Squad”, then I had “The Seawolves”, and now, we have “Team Packers”. Long story for all the origins of those names.

Needless to say, today, my clerks are all boys, so being all boys, we were slightly rowdy and talked about games, movies, comics; you name it, anything geeky or nerdy, we talked about it.

It was a very relaxing day honestly; no huge lines of patients, no emergency cases, and whatnot. Just 4 male doctors chilling out.

This blood letting event is a charity event by a family that lost their child to cancer 5 years ago and have been doing this annually for the past 4 years. A very noble cause and we were all happy to be a part of it.

Overall a fun and benign day for all of us.

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Let’s go TEAM PACKERS! I’m the short guy 4th from the left with a black 3/4ths long sleeves

Til next time! PEACE!

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