Archive | September, 2005


The Hunt for Potatoes

Posted on 20 September 2005 by Flisha

potatoesGim and I, we love to cook. Well, really, the truth is that Gim loves to cook for me and I love to eat what he cooks. (Over the span of only 3 years, he has developed the man’s intuition for what the woman wants for dinner.) That’s really the secret of a strong relationship. Food.

If in some terrible tragedy, Asia would suddenly lose all of its rice crops and there was not the slightest possibility that rice could be revived, potatoes would be the next big thing. (Look at the Americans, isn’t their favorite food-related inquiry the famous, “Want fries with that?”)

Damn, but I love potatoes. Fried, boiled, steamed, burned, mashed, diced, quartered, pounded, bashed, crushed, stepped on, just kill it, I’ll eat it!!! And Gim, my darling Gim, he can incorporate it into any dish in any way. So, anyway, a few days ago, I was craving for potatoes. It had been a long day (the ending at 9PM kind) and all I wanted was some cheap fries. (We could really have just bought a batch of Jollibee fries at P40 but for that amount I could make 4 more batches at home.) So, Gim and I went hunting. Remember, it was 9PM. And in Zamboanga, that’s a late time.

We must have walked the entire length of Gov. Alvarez St. (newly named Buena Vista St.) just to look for potatoes. We rapped on all the closing doors of all the little stores and carenderias we could find, only to be told that they had already hidden their goods under their beds and that there was no way, short of a national emergency, to retrieve them to sell to two poor, hungry souls on the street past dinner time. There were some times Gim and I were forced to blurt out, “We’re gonna pay for them, you know!” We were starting to think maybe the reason they didn’t want to show us their potatoes was that because we looked like beggars foraging for food, only we were in polos and slacks, but I guess we looked so physically ravaged they thought we were financially destitute as well.

But alas, no luck. We even tried some of the grocery-style stores, you know, the glorified carenderias. In our desperation, we even tried to ask some appliance stores whether or not they sold vegetables. They didn’t. They were so rude, too, staring at us as if we had grown two extra heads on our shoulders each. Hey, we were hungry!

OK, by now you’re probably wondering why we didn’t just head to the nearest Bagsakan (night market) and go get our potatoes there instead of bothering sleepy retailers at their homes. Well, the simple answer is, we weren’t that hungry.

Anyways, we went home tired and hungry that night. And since I was so disappointed that there were no potatoes to be found, I dejectedly lay on the bed for an hour staring at the ceiling in the hopes that potatoes would miraculously appear before my very eyes. Thankfully, my Gimmi wasn’t the unproductive kind. After my one-hour meditation, he gave me Chili con Carne for dinner. He had found some tomatoes, some chili and lots of ground beef in our refrigerator and did some magic with those ingredients to produce a very tasty meal. But it would have been better with potatoes.

So, yesterday, I went to the supermarket really early and splurged a hundred pesos on potatoes. Plus P50 for white onions, another favorite. And I bought some canned goods and some eggs and whipped myself and Gimmi up a great junk food dinner — corned beef with potatoes and onions, scrambled eggs with onions, tuna with onions and lots and lots of deep fried and salted potato slices.

Ahhh… until the next time I eat potatoes.



A Look Into the Life of a Medical Student

Posted on 16 September 2005 by Gim

“You are the resident on duty at the ER and an eleven year old boy is wheeled in. He was stung by a bee fifteen minutes ago, and is now in severe respiratory distress. His blood pressure is 40/50, pulse rate is 140 beats/minute, and has a respiratory rate of 34 breaths/minute. His capillaries refill in about 5 seconds and his nail beds as well as his lips are starting to turn blue. What will you do?”*

doctorsAs my mind raced to think of how this patient was to be managed, I felt the familiar rush of adrenaline such as I get during debates. The above scenario was just one of the 108 questions I had to contend with a couple of hours ago during my exam in emergency medicine. The last few weeks rocked! It was a sharp contrast from our first few months in medical school. For the first time, we touched on topics ranging from syncope (fainting) to anaphylactic shock, which is a severe, life threatening allergic reaction. These were real medical issues based from real emergency cases, unlike the *yawns* how-to-prepare-a-good-acetate-slide module of the last month.


Last sunday was my first ER (emergency room) exposure and boy, was it thrilling! We were on duty from 11 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. The first two hours were uneventful. There was nothing to do but watch the Manny Paquiao versus Hector Velazquez super featherweight bout (Paquiao won by knock out on the 6th round! =P) shown on TV in the doctor’s quarters. They started coming in just after lunch. Our first trauma patient was a 20 something construction worker who came all the way from Olutanga in Zamboanga del Sur province. Two fingers of his left hand were missing and bits of skin and muscle were the only thing that kept a third digit from completely being severed from the rest of his hand. It turned out that he had boasted to his drinking buddies that a quitis (a type of firework-rocket) wouldn’t explode if he gripped it tighty (he reasoned out that since oxygen was needed for combustion, gripping the explosive tightly would prevent oxygen from entering thus preventing combustion). So much for poorly tested theories.


As the afternoon wore on, more patients streamed in. Most of them were MVA’s (motor vehicular accident victims). One elementary school teacher was hit by a motorcycle as she was crossing the street. She sustained a nasty cut on her head and a possible skull fracture. The intern in charge showed us how his gloved finger easily slid through the gaping wound and into the skull. As we were huddled around the school teacher, a middle aged man was rushed in with a bleeding ulcer. One of our instructors, who was on duty at the time, showed us how to perform a rectal exam and insert a nasogastric tube. My sympathies went out to the patient as he struggled to swallow the tube, gagging and choking along the way.

05june25(35)I guess the highlight of the day was when one of the interns let me handle a patient. Well ok, I didn’t exactly admit the patient but she let me take the history, do a complete physical and take the vitals. She even asked me what diagnostic tests I was to run and how I was to manage the patient. The best thing about this was that she agreed with what I thought should be done and that the patient was managed based on my suggestions. Haha! I went home that day feeling MD (murag doctor! hehe.)

md0018lgThe practical exams were fun!** I felt like Superman as I snatched a woman from the jaws of death, like McGuyver as I carefully threaded an improvised urinary catheter up a woman’s vagina. hehe. What was funny was my buddy Marvin’s reply after I asked him why he flunked the urinary catheter station. He said and I quote Cosa man yo sabe? Ya planta lang sila puki adelante kumigo kabar ya spera cosa yo ase! (What do I know they just placed a vagina in front of me and asked me what I should do with it!) Now that elicited a few laughs.

Feel the speed of thought. The words of my debate trainor echoed in my mind as I thought of what to do with an 11 year old boy in anaphylactic shock. Hmmm, maybe a dose of epinephrine would do. 0.1 mg/kg, 1:1000 dilution, IV. Or perhaps dyphenhydramine would do the trick? I opted for epinephrine followed by diphenhydramine. Here’s hoping I got it right! ;P


*The actual exam question was changed to protect the writer from any exam leakage charges.

**The emergency medicine module culminated in an Objective Structural Clinical Exam (OSCE) which was held yesterday at the Ateneo de Zamboanga University School of Medicine. The OSCE’s involved simulated scenarios with simulated patients and rescusitation dummies.

Rotation of 05jun26(22)



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