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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Valentine's 2K7

Like what I always maintained, it, too, passed. Valentine’s Day that is.

Sometime among the intervening hours between my last entry and V-Day itself, I’ve come to realize that it was mighty stupid to let this highly-“consumerized” day get the better of me. As Yosemite Sam declared at the end of a long and arduous duel with Bugs Bunny- if you can’t beat them, join them.

To say that my Valentine’s Day 2K6 was wonderful is an understatement. Of course this year was a far cry from the Valentine’s Day we had in 2005, when we were on ER duty at the PGH when some casualties from the Makati City bombing came in to be taken care of. If ever you’ve caught yourself cursing the day you were born simply because of the difficult time you’ve had in removing lice from your child or niece’s head- you cannot begin to imagine how it is to remove tiny shards of glass from the head and face of a bomb blast victim. Too much pressure and you embed the shard further into their scalp and skin. If you try to fast track things by making them shake their heads like a dog and you’ll find yourself the new challenge of glass particles coming into the eyes, the nose, etc.

So how did I join the happy Valentine fracas? First, I woke up early thereby allowing me to reach UP calm, safely and not the least bit harried. I chose to wear pink, just to get into the mood of the day. While I drove over a previously hit cat along Pres. Osmena highway approximately in front of AMA-Makati, the morning drive was uneventful, so much so that I even arrived 10 minutes before my scheduled small group discussion with my students.

Speaking of students, the night prior to the 14th, a student texted me-

Sir, May I ask a favor? Can we move our 8am small group discussion to 8.30? I want to bring flowers to my girlfriend in Vito Cruz.

I had a hearty, wistful laugh upon reading that message. There were times in the not so distant past when I would have requested the same from my teacher. It made my day, for some reason. Feeling a bit un-Scrooge-like, I replied-

Go ahead, Romeo. See you at 8.30.

So at 8.30am three of the four students I was supposed to meet were already there, including our very own Romeo. The fourth student arrived not long after- with two long stem roses for his female groupmates. Nice hehe The discussions progressed, they did their homework but much improvement needs to be done. Overall, though, I’d say they contributed to that V-Day being a good one.

After a quick lunch, I headed to our Gawad Kalinga site in BASECO, Tondo. We were requested to be there at 1pm because apparently a Singaporean donor was donating something. I wasn’t really in the mood since I still had to take care of some of my backlogs which my boss will surely remind me of when he sees me there. But I went anyway, regardless of the possible berating I’d receive (and deserve anyways!).

What I thought was a simple photo-op turned out to be a major production number. The president of the Republic of Singapore was the guest of honor for the symbolic turnover of P1,000,000.00 for our nutrition program in BASECO. The donation came from Singaporean children enrolled in La Salle Brothers-ran schools in the citystate. All the diplomatic trappings aside, I was able to talk to a volunteer doctor who can work with me in my GK site in Quezon City. She’s willing to give up a clinic day just to serve our residents in Brookside, for free. She’s more excited than I was: she’s already planning the lectures she wants to give. BASECO may have gotten a million but I got my own GK site a doctor with a golden heart.

At three pm, I rushed to meet my students again, this time in the Pasay City barangay they were assigned to work with for their community medicine rotation. They were in the middle of facilitating a mini team-building activity for residents involved in the nutrition program.
I must say the students did really well, having mobilized a good number of barangay folk to join the activity at a timeslot typically spent by the latter watching Wowowee.
At the end of it all, the residents had a fun time with the students, hopefully with a clearer appreciation and understanding for teamwork which is especially needed in their fledgling nutrition program.

After the session with the students in the barangay, I rushed home to change for a Valentine’s dinner with some very good med school friends. We met in The Fort and had a blast- true to our common slogan for the day: Alone but not lonely =) I reached my parents in time to greet them as their work day began in the States, just like me seeing the first greeting of the day coming from my sister.

So went a not-so-typical Valentine’s for me. I was able to spend a part of it, no matter how fleeting, with those who do matter. Like what the character of Anthony Hopkins wished for all his guests at the party tendered for him in the last 10 minutes or so of Meet Joe Black- I wish for all of you a life as lucky as mine.


Two quotable quotes from Valentine’s 2K7:

It’s better to be alone but not lonely kesa maging not alone but still lonely. - Ants Cordero, MD

Hindi tayo tao, hindi tayo hayop- BAGAY tayo =) - Inquirer LIBRE

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