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.
Being the youngest, I have the luxury of being always treated when we go out to family outings and what not. Being the youngest, I never have to think about really paying for anything for anyone unless it is an emergency; I would usually just save my allowance and buy something for myself or so.
Sure, I would treat the family out to dinner sometimes (I treat my friends more often) but technically, the money I saved up is still from my parents; this is the first time since I became a licensed physician and earning my own money with hard work that I can say that I treated my family with my own money.
It just so happens that it is my mom’s birthday so all the more special.
Now my dad didn’t come along (again); he isn’t much of a guy that likes going out, plus he feels that someone needs to watch the house, so he really decided to stay at home. He just made sure we brought him loads of take out.
So there we were: me, my mom, my sister (Doc Deb), and Doc Jap, having dinner in this placed called Ichiban (Stylized as 1chiban, seeing as it stands for 1 in Japanese), but don’t let the Japanese name fool you, there is a multitude of different meals here and not limited to Japanese. However, if you know will so well, you know I love Japanese food, albeit, still having a world of difficulty using chopsticks.
It felt great having to treat this bunch of people after getting treated by them almost all my life. It is my way of giving back although I know a dinner is not nearly enough to pay them back for all the gifts, support, and whatnot, they have given to me being the youngest in the family.
I can’t wait til the next time we all go out like this, hopefully my eldest sister, Maggie, would now be here, at least for vacation, and my dad will be confident enough to leave the house, so we can all be complete, and hopefully, by then, whether or not I treat again, or simply get treated, the mere fact we are complete, I would be just as happy.
Here are a few shots of the evening. These were shot using my phone and my sister’s iPhone.
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.
I had planned to go to the mall today to get some school supplies and some rechargeable batteries in preparation for my upcoming review. My move is fast approaching, so I need to make haste in buying all the necessary things.
I also had plans of either buying more Steam Wallet cards; so in case there is a good game on sale while I am reviewing. Or a new plushie that can become my mascot for my review.
A little bit of history people, yes, I do love plushies, but it is strange that a guy like plushies, or stuffed toys to most people. Well, it all began when I was in high school, a girl, who was a close friend of mine, gave me a little Teddy Bear for Valentine’s Day, and since then, I was always fascinated with plush toys. I do not buy myself plush toys, majority of what I own in my room are given to me by my close friends… or girls that were… yeah.
Sure, I was given Teddy Bears by my family when I was younger, one notable bear, simply named Teddy, was given to me by my eldest sister, and is one of my cherished plush toys. But it had to take a girl, outside my family, on a Valentine’s day, to get my fascination of plush toys up and running.
Like I always say when I give out stories… Like every great story, it’s all about a girl.
Thus, why a guy like me like plush toys in the form of cats, bears, and anything GEEKY. The latter can be gaming wise, computer wise, science fiction wise. The 2 former, well, it is self explanatory.
Now we know why I wanted to but a plush toy today.
Time for us to return to today’s interesting happenings.
So, I was there at the mall, after at least an hour after setting foot in the mall, I spent nearly 30-45 minutes just sitting down. It seems that my right knee still can’t take long walks. I found myself just watching the kids play at the back of the mall where there is a large open area for people to either sit or have some play time. I was just watching these kids running, jumping, and it got me choked up thinking, “Man, I wonder if I will be able to run again… or even jump?”. Yes, those thoughts have been circling my mind thanks to my injury since high school and subsequent surgery last year.
I was just sitting there, watching them play, and I just felt like an old man. I’m sure I will be able to have a complete recovery, but I will have to wait until my exams to return to rehab full time.
Looking at those kids gives me something to aspire for: I will run and jump again. And I will be able to do it better after my full intensive rehab is through next year.
Let us face it, my life and chosen career didn’t really give me enough time to recovery completely from my injury and surgery.
When I finally mustered up the required strength, I powered along towards the bookstore and bought everything a student going for review classes needed. I am all set for the most part. I still need to find cheaper alternatives to Field Notes and a better note pad for taking down, well, what else? Notes!
I was also able to buy some cheaply priced AAA Eneloop batteries that can be used for my recorder as I study; hey, talking to oneself and then playing it back seemed to help me back then. And it also serves as a replacement for my stolen AAA Eneloop, which were intended for my DSLR’s flash remote, that was unfortunately used with my penlight at the hospital and was that was taken away from me. Such is life.
I then ran into one of my best friends, Mick, and boy was I happy. Not only is he my trusted friend for nearly 10 years, but we both seemed to have gone through very sour relationships. We are a dying breed, me and Mick. Not that many guys would sulk about a bad relationship – they would try and find another girl to either show the world or the girl that they are just fine. But me and Mick? Nope. We take our respective relationships seriously, and when things go bad, we both sulk.
He was the first when to have his relationship go sour and he was quite open about him being down. I soon followed; I tried making things work, but alas, I had to let go. But unlike Mick, I was never open about having good or bad relationships; they were always very private for me.
Knowing that he was in the same boat as me; sulking around, etc. I reached out to him and asked if he ever gotten over the hurt, yet. He wasn’t. I was really not alone. For in my case, I also wasn’t really fully healed.
Running into him, we both shared our experiences of our respective sour relationships and just gave each other a pat in the back; in time, we will both find another girl that can sway us, until then, we will take it day by day, it may hurt, but we both learned from each of our experiences.
But why does learning have to hurt so much!?
And yes, maybe I do still miss her…
After the strange sharing of life stories, it was time to just be the 2 geeky, witty guys we are known to be. We are natural comedians, though both of our jokes run along the lines of pop culture, geeky/techy things, and the like. Our jokes will not make our other friends laugh, but together, along with our Fil-Am friends, will kill.
His high school friend happen to see us just chatting while at Starbucks and decided to join us, too. As you all know, I am a free lance musician; I started playing the guitar, my forte, in high school and been in a lot of bands. But since entering medical school, I have left most of my bands to concentrate. Mick is also a guitarist, and to my delight, his high school buddy is a bassist. We tossed up the idea of creating a new band after my exams – I am happy Mick is in on it, because I can surrender lead guitar duties to him. I am already tired of being the lead guitarist. Too much stress.
After sipping the last remaining fluid that is called coffee and munching down and some cookies, we entered the mall again in search for the plush toy. I wanted a new mascot, a guardian, or a familiar, for my desk, my PC desk to be exact. This will also serve as my mascot for my studies. I wanted something in the vein of Charizard or if I am lucky, either a Cacodemon from Doom or a Tonberry from Final Fantasy.
As we entered the area that sells plushies, my eyes went straight onto a Bowser. It spoke to me and it was the most bad ass plushies out there. Hands down! I had to get it. So got it I did.
Just look at this thing, for under 10 bucks I am surprised by the wonderfully well built plush toy this is! And upon getting this, I can let it join his Super Mario plush toy siblings!
Finally, we decided to leave the mall, but not to head home, rather to a local computer shop where we played some Heroes of Newerth (hereafter HoN). I don’t normally play MOBAs; I used to play League of Legends but not to a degree where I am near pro level. Out of all the MOBAs out there, I enjoyed Smite the most because of the controls. I am not fond of Real Time Strategies, whose control scheme seems to be in every MOBA, but in Smite, it uses First/Third Person controls that PC gamers are a lot more used to. – WASD controls.
So, when Mick was inviting me to play with him since last year, I was always finding ways not to play, however today, I had no choice.
I was surprised, I was able to pick up the game fast as it was really like any other MOBA game I ever played. Sure, I didn’t rack up the kills today, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. As to whether I will continue this in the future? Let us wait and see. I am currently installing it on my system, but as MOBAs go, I still enjoy Smite. Then again, I am not a MOBA fan as much.
Now it was time to separate ways with my best friend as we both wanted to go back to our homes. It was nice seeing my best friend, talk to him about my love life, or the lack thereof, and it’s ensuing problems it brings, as well as hear his story of his similar fate with his love life… or the lack thereof again. Got to buy my school supplies, batteries, and BOWSER! My mascot! I also got to chat with a new acquaintance in the form of Mick high school buddy and play some HoN.
Overall, today was just a way for me to unwind before the big review. It got me to deal with my sour relationship and able to talk about it when I otherwise can’t talk about it with my other friends (it helps that Mick is in the same boat as me I guess). It was just a great day.
And to cap it all off! I came home to this burger. It may look burnt, but boy was it tasty. Carcinogen tasty… Just kidding. Maybe… I don’t know.
I plan to meet up with most of my close friends this week before I move to Manila and I will make it as fun and worry free as today.
Yesterday, once again, I had little to no sleep, but had to had to battle on through the day because me, my mom, and my sister, were to visit my grandmother (mother’s side), visit my late grandfather’s grave (still, from mother’s side), and visit the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag, where I have always gone to before ever school year when I was a medical student, and now I visited for my upcoming review and eventual board examination this March 2016.
I have often said, I practice my religion in my own personal way; a lot of my friends would often be surprised that I have a small prayer book or a rosary with me when we were still students and up to the days when we were all having duties as senior medical interns.
I may not show it as much as others, but I do believe in God and all the miracles I can surely equate it to His doing and I am thankful.
Like I said, I worship/practice my belief in my religion in my own personal way. I often feel that I need not let anyone else know that I believe in God, that I pray, or anything of the like; I feel it is as if I am trying to show off that I am a good person. I like keeping a lot of things in my life as private as possible… er… some aspects of my life private… because, hey, I am blogging, I do have social media site accounts, so my private life can be so much. I will only show what I want to show.
But saying that I like keeping things in my life private including how I worship, then why am I blabbering about it here now?
Of course, even if there are things you like to keep to yourself, sometimes you do have that rare spurt of the moment where you feel like talking about it. So there…
I always go to Our Lady of Manaoag every start of the four years in med school to always ask for guidance during my studies, and of course, for family. And it always brought me security. It made me feel more relaxed tackling what would be daunting tasks for a mere human being to tackle on his own.
Everyone know I like collecting, be it guitars, Gundam kits, miscellaneous action figures, and anything that is basically geeky and collectible. Well, every time I visit Manaoag, or any religious sites, I always love looking at their rosaries and the like. And through the years, I have gotten a lot of rosaries; I get at least one rosary with me when I go out. It keeps me safe.
I also like getting mini/pocket prayer books, because I will admit, there are times where I forget a prayer, and if I am on the go, I can’t always be assured that I have internet to browse through the web and find said prayer.
Each item I get for myself, I love. Of course, there is always one or two items that you are most excited about.
My favorite rosaries are wooden rosaries given to me by one of my professors in medicine. They are my go to rosaries when I go out or when I pray and will continue to be my go to rosaries. During my visit yesterday, there was one rosary that you can say “spoke to me”. It was beautiful in my eyes… partly due to the fact I love the color blue. This new rosary will be added to my go to line of rosaries.
And the other item I was so happy having is this mini figurine. Along with the pouch it comes with, I can place a rosary in it and can have it with me in my travels.
After saying all my prayers and asking for all guidance for my upcoming review and exam, it was time for us to visit my grandmother. She lives in Pangasinan, so it was no question to visit her after we visited Manaoag.
Upon arriving in her house, since I was banking on 30 minutes of sleep before leaving our house in Pampanga, it was no surprise that after having lunch, I sat in the couch, and was knocked out; I slept a good hour and a half.
My grandmother understood, and decided not to wake me up. I promise when all these exams end this March 2016, I will be more attentive to her and not just sleep.
After having that hour or so sleep, it was almost time for us to return to Pampanga, but not until we visit my late grandfather’s grave.
It is tradition here to visit the graves of your loved ones during November 1-2, but we were too busy to visit his grave then, so we were making it up yesterday. And for good measure. I told him about my upcoming exams and how, when he passed, that I was just in second year in medicine, and now I am but an exam away from being a full fledged doctor.
After all that is said and done, it was time to get knocked out in the car, going back home. Do not worry, I wasn’t driving.
It has been quite awhile since I said “today was a good day”, and yesterday certainly was one of those days.