Saturday, March 29, 2008

From Bedside to the Blogosphere: The Blog Rounds

In many a medical drama on TV like Gray’s Anatomy or on the big screen like Flatliners or Just Like Heaven, you’d often see a relatively older doctor shepherding a small herd of medical students from one patient to another. The former would be asking a student to present the patient’s problem, discuss the diagnosis, labs, and medicine appropriate for said patient. If the student is lucky, s/he’d be a hit with the consultant physician by churning out the correct answers. If the patient is lucky, s/he’d get the same items discussed to him/her.

This is one version of hospital rounds, the teaching rounds, a pedagogic tool by which young physicians learn the ropes from their mentors- the licensed MD- plus their unwitting teachers- the patients. It’s meant to be an exhilarating(?!) experience- what with all the chance to learn from preeminent doctors! but more often than not (especially for average medical students like myself) it was an excruciating experience. As you are on your toes all the time- it is physically and mentally exhausting. Physically- because the rounds usually last for hours on end and you’re standing 99% of the time. It is mentally exhausting, especially if the cerebral filing cabinet you’re supposed to be getting answers to impress your teacher with is home, not to knowledge, but air and some cobwebs.

Rounds are arguably one part of medical school life that I’m thankful I don’t have to go through ever again.

But, lo and behold, it has come back to haunt me. This time, though, I’m excited to participate in one again! But this time, the rounds have moved, from bedside to the blogosphere.

I’m venturing into THE BLOG ROUNDS, a weekly carnival of bloggers with health professions backgrounds or health-related interests or just interested to be part of it. It is the brainchild of BoneDoc, the mountaineering doctor and blogger currently serving in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao.

Here’s why BoneDoc put THE BLOG ROUNDS together; who the carnival participants are; how to join, and; where the carnival’s been hosted so far.

The topics currently have been a garden salad of topics- beginning with basic blogger concerns, mixed with health-related posts, seasoned with Philippine historical footnotes, a dash of technology, and generous scoops of insightful personal sharing. I’m excited to add my own to the great posts submitted thus far.

Take time to read the posts wherever, whenever you see this icon:

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Lord Is Risen! Happy Easter!


If God is with us, who shall be against us?
If He did not spare His own Son,
but gave Him up for us,

how will He not give us all things with Him?


Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Will it be trials, or anguish, persecution or hunger, lack of clothing,
or dangers or sword?

No, in all of this we are more than conquerors,
thanks to Him who has loved us.

I am certain that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor spiritual powers,
neither the present, nor the future, nor cosmic powers,
were they from heaven or from the deep world below,
nor any creature whatsoever
will separate us from the love of God,
which we have in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

(Romans 8:31-32, 35, 37-39)

(Photo: "The Ascension" from the Benjamin West Collection of the Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

BAGETSS for Lent, for the Holy Week, and beyond

Photo courtesy of kabayancentral.comNO- I am not prescribing that to atone for our collective and individual sins, let's do self-flagellation in the form of a screening of the erstwhile quintessential Filipino youth flick, BAGETS.

BAGETSS is a list that contains tips and reminders for us Christians to experience a fuller Lent and a more enriching Holy Week. Rest assured the items below will never be deemed baduy (not chic), will never go out of style. The items below somehow helps ensure that we'll always be 'in'- in God's favor.

B - Balik Panginoon, Return to God. In the midst of our daily toil, it is always fitting to allot a portion of our day to the Lord, moreso this season of Lent and the Holy Week. Attend church activities, go to confession, read the Bible, pray. He is just waiting patiently for us.

A - Alis galit, Be rid of anger. Anger is that slippery slope which leads to an almost endless litany of hurt, pain, and sin. Let go. Let God.

G - Gawa mabuti, Do good. Sincere acts of kindness for family members or strangers alike, when they become part of our system, ought to solve many of the world's ills. Let's start today.

E - Express love. A door held for an expectant mom, a well thought of comment on a blogger's article, biting your tongue as your dad scolds you for the nth time for hogging the phone. What we do to least of our brethren, we do it to the Lord.

T - Tanggal bisyo, Be rid of vices and bad habits. From smoking and excessive drinking, to gossiping about co-workers, to tardiness, to not flushing the toilet after use. If it kills your body's cells or it gives a reason for other people to kill you- kick that bad habit out of your system.

S - Sakripisyo, Sacrifice. Here are my Lenten decisions: no TV after 12 midnight and no late-night fastfood deliveries. They help me save money, get enough rest, be healthier. More than that though, these simple personal decisions allow me to somehow, no matter how feebly, be united in the Lord's sacrifice. Bearing our own crosses helps us remember, appreciate, and celebrate God's love for us, this great love that even prompted Him to give us His only Son...

S - Smile. A smile is often an outward manifestation of inner happiness. Inner happiness stems from finding satisfaction and contentment in blessings big and small. Blessings big and small have only One Source. A smile is therefore a symbol of God working miracles in our lives. Be a blessing yourself. Smile always!

May all of us encounter God in a very special way, this time of Lent, and always. His love endures forever. His love for us will never fade and loving Him will never go out of style.

(Thank you to Fr. Emil SDB for sharing with us this list during one of Lingkod Manila's First Friday masses.)

PhotoHunt: I Spy



One of the traffic jams I used to endure when I drove to my previous work with a non-government organization. It was the perfect time to people-watch and I have curious companions with me- one of which is peeking from the right side of the photo =]

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Weather is important for travellers and spies alike. What do you think? Take the survey below =]

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Blog Award Challenge


In celebration of The Blogger As A Writer, The Loud Cloud and The Composed Gentleman have teamed up to concoct THE BLOG AWARD CHALLENGE.

The back-to-basics, mental gymnastics, and cerebral jousts on the blogosphere begin on April 13th, but this early, there’s already a pre-challenge competition that sounds good. Click on the image above to win nifty prizes.

May the best blogger win!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Happy Women's Day!

To my mom, my sister, my grandmothers, my aunts, my cousins, my nieces, my friends, my teachers, my students, and mentors from all over- Happy International Women’s Day! Plus a special greeting to you, yes you!, my female-of-the-species blog visitor, on this your special day.

True to form, I woke up with a text message from one of our professors who is the concurrent director of our university’s Center for Gender and Women’s Studies and my inbox contained an email from another professor who is our Reproductive Health go-to resource person. In essence, their messages contained timely, timeless reminders about the importance of recognizing women’s role in society AND their continuing struggle to get their fair share of the world’s resources and opportunities.

I’ve read two interesting insights on the International Women’s Day celebration, quoted by our professor in her email: from the Gabriela Network and Lucinda Marshall in CommonDreams.org. These articles underscore two facts: that throughout history women have been subjected and are still being subjected to horrific circumstances secondary to their sex, and; throughout history, women have displayed and are displaying inspiring, incredible resolve to rise above the inequity. But more than celebrating the “triumphs,” these two articles are calling for continued collective action so that the gains of the past will be sustained and the rights and privileges still not being enjoyed by women will be in their hands soon.

In short, let’s make everyday Women’s Day.

To learn more about how March 8th came to be The Day for Women, read this rather succinct but substantial discussion from the United Nations.

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So how do we make everyday women’s day? One way is by making it a very deliberate effort to use gender-fair language. It is the use of language which devalues members of one sex, almost invariably women, and thus fosters gender inequity. It discriminates against women by rendering them invisible or trivializing them at the same time that it perpetuates male supremacy. Since language, to a big extent, articulates consciousness, we can help change the mindset perpetuating inequity and inequality by more careful word choices.

Here are some examples I’ve taken from the Gender and Development courses given to med students in our university.

Instead of ____, say _____... Repeat after me, altogether now:
Mankind … Human beings, society, men and women
Working men … Workers
Man in the street … Average person, ordinary person
Forefather … Ancestor
Layman … Layperson
Manning … Staffing, working, running
Manpower … Human resources, personnel
Chairman … Chair
Cameraman … Camera operator
Congressman … representative, member of congress, legislator
Fisherman … fisherfolk
Sportsman … sports enthusiast
Statesmen … diplomats, political leaders
Watchmen … guards
Policeman … police officer, law enforcement officer
Man and wife … husband and wife
Dr Juan and Mrs Cruz … Dr Juan Cruz and Dr Maria Cruz or Ms Maria Cruz and Dr Cruz or Dr Maria Cruz and Dr Juan Cruz

Let’s all help fight inequity and inequality and promote a more free world, one word at a time.

PhotoHunt: Different

PhotoHunt!


I snapped this shot two years ago when we were passing through the town of Dulag, in the province of Leyte, some 800-or-so kilometers southeast of the Philippine capital Manila. I saw one of these curious structures on the side of the road in front the house of the town mayor who invited us to stopover for breakfast in his home. I was too sleepy and hungry to inquire about their nature and purpose...

I think I saw several of them, at certain intervals, along the town's main thoroughfare. Each structure is about eight or nine feet tall, with a smooth unpainted finish. Upclose, a wooden pole skewers the "palm" and "fingers" portion of the structure. I surmise that it is a different form of either town or street name marker or a place to put up town announcements.

What do you think?

(I'm having loads of trouble wading through Blogger lately hence the weirdly sized photo on this entry.)

Update 3/11/2008:

I've just shifted to using Firefox as my browser. Blogger apparently works better with it. I managed to edit posts and photos using Firefox hence the erstwhile weirdly sized photo is now back to, um, normal.

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It also reminds me of an arm held upright, like that of a person being sworn into office. Sharing with you some of my thoughts on the 2008 US Elections. It would be interesting to know yours as well. Please feel free to take the survey below.


Friday, March 07, 2008

F is for frustrating

It's already been more than a week and still the Blogger team hasn't resolved its Page Layout issue. The vertical scroll bar only allows the display part of the widgets in my page, and with twenty or so page elements in my sidebar, I can only see half or a third of my entire page layout. *Hayayay*

I'm also having difficulty posting a new entry, saving drafts, adding new page elements and editing existing widgets, even posting a question in the Google Group for those needing help in Blogger!

*hayayay*

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UPDATE:

I can post new entries now (obviously!) and I've posted in the Help section of Google as well. If you're having similar problems, some suggestions on how to go around the stuck vertical scrollbar have been placed here in the Google Groups forum for bloggers in distress. My other problems have remained, as yet, unsolved...

Monday, March 03, 2008

Never lost, always found (12): In God's hands, as always

I’ve just come home from a two-day Lenten retreat with brothers from the Ang Lingkod Ng Panginoon (The Servant of the Lord), my Catholic community for single young professionals. It’s arguably one of the most intense 24-or-so hours I’ve been with/for the Lord. And in the course of the retreat sessions, He has made His presence felt and His directions clear(er).

The past weekend came all too soon after the massive February 29th interfaith prayer rally in Ayala Avenue, which we joined, along with other concerned members of the health sector and academe. Despite the encouragement of retreat facilitators to leave outside cares at the doorstep as we, well, retreat to God, I guess He wired me differently to the point that the first questions I asked of Him were precisely those related to the goings on in the Philippines-

What’s happening to my country, God?

Whose prayers have You answered or are answering?


With all the simultaneous masses being offered by either side of the political fence, plus the prayers being said by our Islamic brothers and sisters and other Christian denominations, I’m endeavoring a guess that heaven must be as crazy as the air traffic control tower of, say, Heathrow, Schiphol, or JFKIA days before Christmas. Maybe Malacanan’s prayers will be heard first and the truth will NEVER come out… Will the request of the 80,000-plus crowd in Makati last Friday and those of the millions all over the Philippines be granted? When? How?

True to His nature, the Lord responded to my prayer for wisdom in no uncertain terms:

I will bring my justice, it is not far away; my salvation will not delay. Is 46:13

I don’t know what’s there around the corner, but it’s enough that God knows. (Retreats are a treasure trove of one-liners whose brevity is inversely proportional to its ability to enlighten. This last one I cited is a prime example…)

Let’s all continue to pray for our country. As Jun Lozada, a main resource person in the unraveling of the ZTE-NBN controversy said in his short message last Friday, let’s pray and act for truth and justice to prevail in our land not because we hate the person/s in power but because we love our country.

That He is the God of Grace and Perfect Timing is more than sufficient for us. We are in His hands. As always.

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Special thanks to Joseph and other Lingkod brothers and sisters who wander into my blog and take time to read my random rants and raves. I do hope to hear (read?) your thoughts as well. God bless you more in the days ahead!