Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I am slowly reconfiguring my life to take on more studying. Good thing about leaving the demands of a thankless government frontliner job - you appreciate the beauty of being unhurried. You think about a lot of things.

While waiting for my pages to load (with my crappy-ass 56K modem), I have on my lap the latest Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. I am amazed at having finished medical school without really reading a significant portion of this book. Or any major book, for that matter: Schwartz for Surgery, Williams for Obstetrics, Nelson for Pediatrics. The saving grace is that at least I knew who the authors were for our recommended books.

Some people would dismiss this as an underachievement. True, I was never fully motivated to read through all those books. But what I learned, I learned hands-on, on the ground. The hospital that I spent 3 years of medical school in and 10 months of clinical training has only one thing that it could be truly proud of - its excessive number of patients with wide ranging diseases. And most of them not having money to have these diseases properly worked up.

Anyone can argue: "You can study after your duty hours." There has been no other human endeavor more exhausting, frustrating and thankless than practicing medicine in that hospital. You see other people in other hospitals with more humane conditions, and you ask yourself why you did not apply to a private hospital, or go abroad in the first place. If you had the nerves of steel (or the narrowminded assumption that your life IS medicine, and cutting off or refashioning relationships around that concept) then you can muster the courage of reading a passage in your favorite yawn-inducing book.

But, I digress. I may start another incoherent ramble about how underpaid and overworked doctors are, so I am stopping myself.

I am obliged to study lest I face a future more uncertain than it is right now. So, one day after conquering Vayne Solidor and stopping the Sky Fortress Bahamut in crushing Dalmasca, I am back reading the blue-bordered pages of Harrison's. Just to prove that unlike other people I know, I don't have a stick up my you know what and pretend to be a know-it-all.

I may have qualified for MENSA, but that doesn't mean I can't spend 80 game hours to beat a Final Fantasy game. Or watch Gunslinger Girl and be touched by the characters' sense of sacrifice even though they have lost a lot already.

Next game: "Magical Hat No Buttobi Turbo! Daibouken" for Sega Mega Drive. (Japanese version of the Sega Genesis game Decap Attack, but different) I always heard it playing in Linda's Computer Game Rental Shop when it was still in Toting Reyes St. Starting up that ROM made me want to order a bottle of Fanta Green Apple, but Fanta was pulled out from the Philippines years ago.

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