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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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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