Showing posts from December, 2015

6 Months after Clerkship

This is an auto-publish post. I orignally wrote this letter last July 2015. 
Six months since I wrote this letter, I wonder what have changed?
Assalamu Alaykum wa rahmatullah!
Hey dude, it’s me, your pre-clinical clerkship self a.k.a. the self that you had (hopefully will still have) before you started your death-defying ordeal called “Clerkship”. I know this is crazy, but hey, since when did we ever consider things “not crazy” huh? Perhaps, right now you’re about to begin your most challenging year in Med School. And the anxiety is killing you already—you don’t know what to expect, you feel like you know nothing at all! Don’t worry, that is exactly what you are supposed to feel. Just give it a few days and you will get used to the feeling, the pressure and slowly you will find yourself adapting to the new environment you have.  Or maybe you are already in the middle of your clerkship year: Now far more confident that you were the past years. Getting your way with all those days tha…


"Bantay" or "watchers" are those who come and stay in the hospital to accompany the patient. Mostly, they are the patient's parents (notably, mothers), grandparents, siblings or even cousins. Sometimes, they are just a close relative, a friend, a neighbor or even at times, just a stranger, a passer-by. We see them everyday. We interact with them almost at all times. Although we often neglect their mere presence, we cannot deny that they are among those who play an important role in the management of our patients' health and well-being. 
This is just a portrayal of how a day of a "bantay" begins as they enter the hospital for the first time through the Emergency Room....
*I used the Tagalog language in this post as I found it the most relevant and appropriate in this setting.  ==== 
“Kayo po ba ang bantay ng pasyente?”
“Opo. Ako po.”
“Ah, OK po. Eto po yung mga kailangang gawin. Kailangan po namin siya kunan ng dugo para po sa laboratories niya tul…

A Discussion About the Tausug Mindset

“Tell me about yourself.” Our professor asked us before beginning our case discussions. My group mates started by telling their names and then their future careers (future Neurologist, Surgeon, Medical Oncologist, etc.) until it reached my turn. I was still unsure what “specialty” I will go into, so I just answered the question with what I can think of best:
“I am Ahmad from Sulu. I love to travel and do photography. My dream one day is to publish my novels.”
“Oh, I have been to Sulu a lot of times,” said our professor who is a practicing surgical oncologist in PGH, “my last trip there though was in 1996.”
“Ma sha Allah, really sir? That’s nice sir! What did you do there, sir?”
“We stayed and volunteered in IPHO-Sulu. Did a lot of charity services doing surgeries for free.” H mentioned names of some Tausug surgeons back then, some I knew by name some I don’t. I was somehow elated to find out that another great physician have visited my dear homeland before.
“It was a nice place. Until…