Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ten Things About Surgery

The Year Level 5: ICC Year blog posts - stories and anecdotes, patient encounters and hospital drama, and the many colors of UP med school from the perspective of a third year. Here's the fourteenth entry, under our three-week rotation in the Department of Surgery.

But first, an explanation. As of this writing, we're halfway through the first week of Community Medicine - our block's last rotation - and have seven normal days of LU5 left. Then, it's the final exams, the comprehensive exam, and grand OSCE (the practicals) before the 4-month vacation begins. I meant to make this post right after the end of rotation, but instead found myself writing theater reviews for three consecutive weeks (I'm not complaining). So here's to memory!

1. The pata party. One of the highlights of this rotation was the suturing practice session. Our models were pork legs. Later, we had the legs cooked - fried to oily perfection - for one helluva atherosclerotic party.

2. This April, we Intarmed kids will be receiving our undergraduate degrees - BS Basic Medical Sciences - which is really another way of saying we now only have two years between us and that M.D. We had our graduation photo shoot one Saturday, and that thing on the lower left corner is my technologically clueless finger.

3. At the Surgery Minor OR, we were allowed to do wound closures on our own. My first (and only) one didn't look so pretty, though, which shouldn't really decrease my patient's aesthetic value as long as he keeps his shirt on and his lower back covered. Here's T and P, who celebrated their 2nd wedding anniversary on Valentine's Day.

4. It was during this rotation that the sister came to Manila to watch "Wicked" with her two brothers. And since she's an artsy little cat, I brought her to the National Museum. Carlos "Botong" Francisco's five-mural series depicting the history of medicine in the country brings back (dreary) memories of Humanities II and how we had to write a paper on those paintings. 

5. "Wicked" was the first time the three of us siblings watched a play together on our own. Since sister dear is a shy one and a huge fan of the musical (even though she doesn't know the lyrics to "No Good Deed," which makes her being a fan questionable), we headed over to the stage door after the show. Actually, we ran to the stage door right after the curtain fell, just as the rest of the audience were still recovering from the spectaculotion.

6. The day after we saw "Wicked," I ran into Steve Danielsen (Fiyero) and Emily Cascarino (Nessarose) in National Bookstore, Robinsons Ermita. (Well actually, I kind of stalked them for a while, just walking behind them to see where they'd go, and debating with myself over whether or not to approach them and prove I'm a "Wicked" fanboy.)  

7. Gela and I had this really creepy septuagenarian patient with a popliteal cyst at the OPD. While waiting for the resident monitor, we asked her, "Ma'am, if you can share with us one life lesson, what would it be?" She said, "Always seek the Lord." That wasn't the end of it; she rambled on about how she's seen apparitions of the cross and all that, and how Filipinos are really the chosen people of God. (Those are Amorosolos in the picture.)


8. Surgery is a menial rotation. It's like brushing sand on cement walls, or picking ferns in the forest, or painting fences in the farm, milking cows and growing mushrooms, feeding birds in the park, sharpening pencils, selling paper, ironing gloves and worn-out denims, mopping an entire house in a span of thirty minutes. So we played Spot the Teddy a lot!

9. Mediscene, the annual play competition of the College of Medicine, marked the last day of Surgery. Our class ended up not joining (here's an epic tale of lies, betrayal, and stupidity). But anyway, this was the second consecutive year where entries had to be musicals - an idea I strongly despise. Cora Llamas, Walter Ang, and his bestie Ronald Elepano were the judges (I invited them). The freshmen (Class of 2018) had an orchestra that produced elegant, enchanting music, meaning the others didn't really stand a chance as far as wow factor was concerned. Beat that. (The photo is of 2019, or the second year Intarmed kids.)

10. Let me immortalize the issue with the exam. We had two exams that were absolutely disconnected from the rotation. But here's what happened with one of the previous blocks: During their first exam, the resident monitor allowed them to look the answers up in the textbook. Said monitor even allowed them to take the exam home. Know that Surgery never changed their questions, until this happened, when some of them got 99%. The most scandalous, most disgusting part of the issue had nothing to do with our exam being totally new; it's that people who knew about it actually tried to sugarcoat, bury, repress the issue. It was never discussed openly; it was never put out there for everyone to know; and nobody - NOBODY - took full responsibility for it. When I found out about it, a week after our rotation had ended, I lost my faith in certain people. And you wonder why this country is the way it is? Excuse me while I barf - again.

Caucasian family watching fish. Greenbelt, Makati City.

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