Ahmad Sampang ibnu Hajiri, MD

A Personal blog by a Tausug medical student (now a doctor!) from Sulu and the stories that inspired him.
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Assalamu Alaykum! (Peace be upon you all)

This is rather late, but I will post it anyway :) For the sake of documenting things here haha. Sorry I wasn't able to post much these days (imagine the gap from Day 1 to 10! haha). I just don't feel like there are still readers visiting my blog anymore :( Sad. anyways, here goes!

Week 2: Anesthesiology Department

Day 8, Monday: It's all about Pain

Our second rotation as ICCs is in the Anesth Department for one week and the module title was "Intro to Pain" (huh! talk about subliminal messages, this must be some painful week). 

The orientation on day 1 was quite chaotic, to say it frankly. But here are the things I got: During our one-week stay in the department, there will be a single lecture about "Pain"; we will be divided into two groups with five members each and will be assigned to different "posts": Acute Pain Services (APS), Pain Clinic at the OPD, the OPD-OR, and at the Post-Anesthetic Care Unit (PACU). We will also be individually assigned with our own patient at PACU to monitor their Pain Diary wherein we interview our patients post-op and document their "pain" every 4 hours. Yes, you read it right EVERY FOUR HOURS! (But of course there are leeway strategies on how to do it :P). A paper report will be submitted as well. Then by the end of our rotation we are to present a journal paper about something that piqued our interest during our stay. There were also be some "conferences" that we will be ask to attend.
Welcome to the Dungeons!
Do not let the signs fool you, it is not the EXIT but rather the entrance to the department haha
It is under construction so, yeah you see those stuffs

The ever heart-pumping three-storey stairs you have to climb before reaching the department.
Goodluck to those no-exercise people haha

It is also during this day that we were toured around the OR complex in PGH :) I never really imagined that it would be that huge a space! The Anesth department was connected to the OR Complex in a rather dungeon-style pathway. We went from one OR department to another and was able to view a few surgical procedures going on. And as Anesthesiology is mutually connected to Surgery, we were also allowed to observe some surgery procedures during our "free" time. 

And oh, because ORs are supposed to be sterile, we were all obligated to wear our scrub suits :D Yay! Scrub days! (But the downside, we can't use those scrubs outside so we have to change every ow and then if we need to go inside the complex). It was quite tiresome if you ask me, but its for the safety of our patients so better comply with it :)
The OR Tour :)
Being oriented of the things to do and not to do: taking pictures.

Day 9, Tuesday: The Pain Diary

It's our third day in the department and things are getting better... By better, I mean better than the first day haha. So now we finally understood some few things that were left unclear to us on the first day: 

Fact 1: ACS is actually a moving service! It is not an office where you stay there! ACS is actually a group (or more correctly a pair) of Anesthesiology residents roaming around the different departments in the hospital and provide services (read: "pushing morphines") to patients needing anti-pain medications. Some of my classmates were given the chance to experience "pushing" meds :) thanks to the generous residents :) 

Fact 2: For the pain diary: We are ask to record their "Pain Diary" for every four hours that elapsed after their surgery. We need to ask them if they are still feeling any pain and then qualify those pain using the Visual Analog Scale or scoring them from 1-10 according to severity. Let's say the surgery was done in 10:30 PM, four hours post-op would be 2:30AM! How are we supposed to interview them 4H post-op in the middle of the night? 

We really don't have to visit our patient every four hours. We can simply visit them the next day and ask them if they felt this and that on this particular time (which more often than not they are actually dozing off). Your interviewing skills will really be put to a test for there are patient who really don't want to talk about it -_- So bring some bags of patience and diligence. Think about the dreams you have in life and that these few problems are nothing but small rough stones along the way. GO crush it!

Day 10, Wednesday: My first OR Experience

This is perhaps the most interesting thing that happened during my one-week stay in the department :) I was finally able to observe an actual, live surgical procedure! And we were right there, at the operating room with the great surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, interns and clerks! 

Meet my Forever-mates!
L-R: Roms, Lorvs, Me, Megs, and Karl
(Note: Basically, to everyone's annoyance--except us of course--we were nothing but space occupying lesions in a rather busy environment. But hey! This is for higher learning! And we are a university hospital, so they can really do nothing about it :) So long as we keep doing our very major role: Observers)

It was during the last three days that me and my group was able to enjoy most of the observations :) When we were assigned at the PACU and there were not much patients post-op, we were allowed to go in and observe in some surgeries. In those three days, we are able to observe the following procedures (in order):

  1. Right Scrotal Hydrocelectomy (removing the excessive abnormal fluid that accumulated in the right scrotum of the patient)
  2. Right Herniectomy (removal of an inguinal hernia)
  3. Right Middle Cerebral Artery (MCA) Aneurism clipping
  4. Laparascopic Cholesystectomy
During all those procedures, we were all left amazed by the skills and great dexterity our surgeons have. They were really amazingly performed! Our rotation in surgery will still be months from now but we were already excited to be in the surgery side soon :)

Day 11-12: It's not just about keeping patients asleep

By the end of the week, we were doing our posts, visiting our index patients, discussed about our paper report, attended two conferences (and one was quite a painful experience... nope not gonna write about that haha), had an extra lecture about acupuncture :) and lastly went to the OR again to observe more procedures and learn how anesthesiologist do their work. I could honestly say that I learned something new after a week in the department. Anesthesiology is not just about providing anesthesia during surgery but also trying to balance everything from keeping the patient asleep or awake and feel no pain while reassuring that nothing toxic will happen to each patient they handle. It is not just about sleeping, it's about sustaining life without pain while surgeons are busy opening up the patient. ^_^

Oh well! That ends my ICC Journal report on my second week as an ICC :D
I am actually enjoying it haha!

Next stop: Ophthalmology!

Salam Kasilasa!

(PS. if there may be some things I mentioned here that you did not like, kindly inform me about it ad I could explain :) That was a purely opinionated personal experience on the said department. 

Assalamu Alaykum! (Peace be upon you all!)

This is a fast post on my daily adventure in the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) as an ICC (3rd year) student. I may not may not edit this depends on the free time I might have. Contrary to what most medical students say, ICC days are not always benign and free; there are pseudo-benign and some toxic days as well. This journal begins today (I did not include the two weeks in Management course as they did not involve patient care and exposure :) This journal aims to document the daily experience and learning I had and will have as part of one of the most awesome group/block in our class, Block 6A! (Bllooooock Sixey!)

DAY 1:

Today marks the first day of our legit training as ICC Students. The last two weeks in management was quite benign alright, and this is the first time for our group to finally get real in patient contact and out-patient exposures. Yes, we had our fair share of lenient days the past two weeks and those actually made some terrible impact on our "momentum": We feel bored in reviewing our notes from last year, we utterly don't feel very much confident in facing our real patients, and after knowing that we will have a one-student-one-patient-one-resident scenario, we were all in a state of breaking down from nervousness! Even the usually confident ones in our group were spewing some nervousness after all! haha!

Our first rotation was Dermatology and we will stay here for only one week. This will be our last rotation in Derma (yup, until we graduate, unless we enroll in their electives). And so with that limited time we have, we were asked to grab the opportunity to learn the best we can in our short stay.


The first rule in derma is never ever be late! We have a log-in sheet at the Resident's desk with our names in it (there were no columns where you write what time you arrived, but the paper  was placed in a desk where everyone would know who is late and who is not.) The rule: be late in 15 minutes and you will be marked as "late". Be late more than that and you will be considered as "absent". Yes. Your existence does not matter anymore after than fifteen minute mark.

The call time for the department in the morning is 8AM and 1:300 in the afternoon. They also have this clock that is some 5 or 10 minutes advanced (compared to the Calderon time). It is better for you not to know the "advance time", just consider it as the right time :)


The second rule: All students must be in complete uniform. No scrubs. No type B uniform (in case you don't know, it's the white pants with white collared shirts), and of course type C is out of the question (colored shirts). Open shoes are also not allowed. So here we are feeling like real medical students after years (?) of being not so strict in our uniforms :P maybe it would be for the better hehe. We really have to look presentable to our patients after all.

A wacky pose after our lunch "meeting" :)


Our group is the department's first ICC group for this school year, and this year they have adapted a new module. A new way to let students learn more and appreciate their experience in dermatology better. Instead of conducting lectures, patient cases and SGDs, they made a new experiment. And we are the first ones to try it! haha! We love it!


If there is something a medical student must be prepared of, it's this. Know the Top 10 Skin lesions in the PGH ambulatory setting. These ten dermatoses (skin diseases) will be your benchmarks in your progress in this clinical rotation. Here is the mission: by the end of the week, each of us student must have at least directly handled 6 out of the 10, and observed the other 4. We were given these sheets of paper where we write the names of our patient, check if we have directly handled them or just observed from other students or residents.

They have a SIM (self-instructional material) that we would often use. It is helpful, but not at all times :) Just today on our first day we already had two pretty uncommon lesions that we were asked to diagnose @_@


This. This one rule made our palms sweat like crazy (or maybe it was just me) haha!
Well, during the orientation, we were told that each student will have to get at least two patients to handle per day, and each student will be supervised by the residents, one-on-one. Well, at least that's they told us. but today was more of a two-student partners working on a patient with one resident (there were fewer residents available that time). A consultant will also be assigned to a number of students, better be prepared if you were among them.


As I have said, we had a two-week semi-benign with our past module, and with this we felt like we were not ready at all with this sudden exposure we had: No more warm-ups! No more trials! These are real patients we are already handling! And we know almost nothing (yet)! At least that was what we felt on the first few hours... but after all of us had our first patient, the next one went rather smooth, Alhamdulillah/ :) It seems we just need to wake up and just feel the pressure to get our "sleeping" selves get up working once again.


Today was indeed full of learning :) Just on our first day, we were able to observe at least 5 of the common lesions. I have directly handled two patients with my partner, and observed three other conditions. But midst all that, one thing was certainly sure: We (I) still need to learn a lot more. I have to re-read and review our past lectures. I need to read more on the pathophysiology, treatments and managements of these conditions. Have to master each of them and at least learn the differences. Have to re-train myself in doing my directed history taking and physical examinations. 

This might be our first day as ICC students, but it is already a great "dipping our feet in the cold water" to see how things go. We might not have done very good today, but tomorrow in sha Allah we will do better :)
The Awesome Block 6A :)
After our first day in dermatology

with that I end this first day entry to my ICC Journal :)
See ya around in PGH guys!

Slam kasilasa!
Anakiluh, MD

This is another personal post. :)

The Second day was not so jampacked with schedules. I woke up feeling lightheaded and having this feeling of getting sick, but nothing serious. It was raining last night when I came home, and guess who never brings any umbrella? Yes you guessed right, it was me alright haha.

I actually planned on spending the whole day reading or writing in Bubblews.com but due to my not-so-well feeling and the on-and-off wifi, I was not able to do much; until my uncle called me, and asked if I could meet him. 

He was in Manila for the Bar Ops. I just remembered that it was actually the start of the Bar examinations and my uncle, a 3rd year Law student in Zambales is helping out in the bar ops. I went out to meet him, we had lunch together and the usual debates and discussions followed haha. Yeah, sorry we do that often. It’s a family hobby. LOL, just kidding, it was only between the two of us. Politics, law, history, family legends, personal lives (even marriage!) and even the little trivial things as why “Mapapel” is called that way (It’s a Tausug expression of arrogant, boastful people). He also gave me reading assignments to increase my “views” in life. He recommended I read these two books: “Art of War” by Sun Tzu and “The Prince” by Nicolo Machiavelli. Anyone got a summarized version of these? haha

Me and my awesome uncle Benn. Did I mention he already have 2 degrees aside from the current Bachelor of Liberal Law he is taking? He is a Registered Nurse and PO1 (PNP Police) as well. Yeah, talk about diverse professions. From my father’s side, we are the only TWO individuals taking higher education (MD and LLB) in our clan who came from family of nothing but farmers. I have one statement to this: “We challenge the status quo”.

And that’s how I spent my second day of Eid :)

Salam kasilasa,
Anakiluh, MD

It was already late in the evening when me and my friends went out of the restaurant after a long dinner and discussions inside. The rain just stopped, and my watch said it's already 5 minutes past 10 in the evening. I was still carrying the box of donuts with me, there were still 2 pieces of donuts left and they all decided that it would go the to student in the group (which unfortunately is me). I have no plan of bringing it home and so I decided to give it to the first street children we might meet outside.

As if right on cue, I immediately saw a trio of street children huddled in a corner outside this condominium for the elites, as if waiting for someone to come out from that building. I thought they were just waiting for some foreigners to pass by that they may ask for some coins. But they were not moving anywhere, they were just sitting there, and as I approached them, it was then that I saw, one of the kids about the age of 5 was crying. The two elder boys who saw me coming were hiding the tears but I could see, they were crying as well.

I thought it was nothing but petty boy fights: two older boys bullying a younger one. We all go through those. But this time I saw not those violent eyes hurting and bullying the young one but of those caring eyes, comforting the crying young one; and looking back at the glass doors of that territory of the riches... as if pleading, asking for something.

Curious as I may, I approached them and gave them the box and told them to share the remaining donuts with each other. They just looked at me at first, then the box, but they did not take it immediately. I had to lay the boxes beside the crying boy, before the elder boys took the donuts and (did not eat them) and placed them neatly on their plastic cups. I asked the younger one why he is crying, and he gave me this answer:

"Yung Nanay ko! Yung nanay ko hinuli nila sa loob!"
(My Mom! They captured my Mom inside!) while pointing to the man in dark blue uniform beyond that glass door.

"Kinaladkad ng guard nanay namin sa loob!" (The guard dragged our mom inside!) said the elder one, sniffling a tear, as he tried to be strong "Pasalamat sila wala tatay ko dito eh!" (they should be thankful our father was not here!).

I went to the guard with the dark blue uniform, beyond the glass door, and asked him what happened. he said their mother was only brought in for "questioning" and he did not gave anymore detail. I went back to the kids, knowing I can't do anything here but reassure them that everything would be alright. That their mom will be released, she was just brought in to be asked on something. the two elder boys we're trying to look tough I observed, but the younger one kept on crying, his tears flowing free as the rain that drenched me the day before.

I approached him, and sat closer to him. Told him to stop crying because if he won't, the guards might not release their mother. In fact, I lied to him, his mother is already on her way. And look! You have sweet donuts! Stop crying young lad, she will come I assure you.

He did started to calm down.
He looked at me with those eyes drenched in tears. And he simply uttered "Natakot po ako na ikulong nila nanay ko..." (I was just afraid that they will bring her to jail...)


With a heavy heart I left them there, hoping that their mother would really be released immediately. I really don't know what happened and I can not meddle with these things between them. But those little moments I shared with those kids melted my heart... I went home praying, hoping against hope, that beyond those glass doors, their mother will be set free and be with her loving sons once more.

I hope those young boys will find a better future one day :( I know this is nothing but wishful thinking in this place. Our political leaders never really cared for them. They are nothing but sore in the eyes to us. We never really cared that they are humans as well, in need of protection, of care.

(Sorry I just can;t make this one short :(


Assalamu Alaykum! (Peace be upon you all)

Last October 4, the Muslims around the world celebrated the Eidul Adha or the “Feast of Sacrifices”. We Muslims celebrate this every tenth day of Dhul Hijja, the 12th and last month of the Hijriya/Islamic Calendar. This celebration is one of the only two authentic Eids (celebrations) in Islam with the other one Eidul Fitr celebrated by the end of the month of fasting, Ramadhan [1].

So why do we celebrate this blessed day? And what do we Muslims do during these days? Again, as I always say in my posts here, I am no scholar in Islamic teachings, so I will be referring you guys to the more authentic people to answer those questions. You can learn more by going to these sites: Eid Adha QnA. Simply put, Eidul Adha is a commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim’s (Abraham, Peace be upon him) sacrifices and teachings. During this month wherein millions of Muslims visit the holy place of Makkah to perform Hajj (Pilgrimage, the 5th Pillar of Islam), those who are not able to perform it are given the chance to enjoy this blessed month through Eidul Adha. In this event, Muslims will offer sacrifices (cows, sheep, camels, etc) and distribute and share the meats (qurban) to the poor communities. This celebration lasts for 3 more days after the actual day of Eidul Adha [Source]. Again to learn more, please visit the links mentioned above :)


Now back to us. How did I spend my Eidul Adha? As usual, being hundreds of kilometers away from my family, I have to find ways to celebrate it with my other “family” in Manila: the Muslim communities. There were a lot of plans and invitations Alhamdulillah, but I could only put myself in a single place at a time hehe. Needless to say, it is always a great blessing to have a Muslim community in a non-Muslim country/city, it might not be as great as living in a Muslim place, but it is still something to be happy about. Alhamdulillah!

I went to the Eid prayer with a Muslim brother and fellow Medstudent. We prayed at Quirino grandstand (being the closest open-field prayer area to hold the eid prayer; it is Sunnah to pray in an open field during Eid [2], [3]).

Quirino Grandstand where we prayed.

Saw this carabao statue somewhere after the prayers. Nope unfortunately we cannot sacrifice this one, it's pretty hard and not edible haha.

Yeah, compulsory selfie after Eid prayer 
After the prayer and sermons, we met with other Muslim friends from our alma mater, I was the only Tausug in their company, but I have lived in Marawi for 4 years and I have met them during those days, so it was not a big deal :) We went to this Meranao family who hosted a simple yet delicious meal to us starving ones haha. I missed Meranao foods so it was great to be able to taste their spices once again. After that we parted ways, my friends went to visit their friends and students (some of them are professors already), and I went to visit my fellow Tausug brothers in Markaz Dar Attazkiyyah in Morayta.  

And lunch was satisfying :P Alhamdulillah
(sorry, no Qurban yet)
I arrived in Morayta a little late for their Eid Activity. I later learned that they have organized some parlor games for the brothers and sisters after Eid prayer. Too bad (or maybe it was actually a blessing) that I came late to watch it (or forced to participate in it) haha. Anyway, I went on greeting and hugging my fellow Muslim brothers whom I have not seen for some time. I have been busy (?) in the past months I was not able to attend to their activities :( We then had lunch later on, jampacked with intellectual and inspirational discussions with our Amir/Leader (which I enjoyed very much). It was also then that I was told that I will be one of the Emcees (Master of Ceremonies) in an Islamic Symposium on Monday. Of course, I accepted. It’s been awhile since my last MC experience.

I went home after some time, had some rest and phoned my family in Sulu, and I ended the day by watching one Independent Film in Cinemalaya hosted by Salinlahi in UP Manila (which will be another discussion). 

 So that’s how I spent my first day of Eidul Adha :) 

Salam kasilasa!

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just saying. -Dr. Ahmad