Awit ng Isang Alibughang Anak

Ako’y nakatanggap ng sulat noong makalawang linggo. Galing ito kay Uncle Sam. Sabi rito, ako raw ay inaanyayahan sa isang opisyal na interview o panayam.

Sa wakas! Hindi na ako pamangkin lang. Maari na rin akong maging anak. Ampon nga lang.

Matagal-tagal na rin naman akong naninirahan dito sa Amerika. Sa katunayan, dalawampu’t isang taon! Dalawampu’t isang taon ng pagiging dayuhan.

Naging masalimuot ang landas na aking tinahak para maging isang mamamayan. Iba’t ibang letra ng visa ang aking pinagdaanan. Nagsimula sa letrang B (tourist), naging J (exchange visitor), tapos naging O (non-immigrant with outstanding ability), hanggang naging H (non-immigrant worker), bago nabiyayaan ng green card (permanent resident). Mapalad pa rin kaysa ibang kababayan na ang visa ay TNT (tago nang tago).

At ngayon, iniimbitahan na nila ako para maging isang naturalisadong mamamayan (naturalized citizen). Sa madaling salita – maging ampong anak ni Uncle Sam.

Ito ay kung maipapasa ko ang aking interview.

Ito na ang huling hakbang sa pagiging citizen. Tapos na ang mga background check. Tapos na rin ang finger-printing. Interview na lang.

Madali lang naman daw ang interview. Maraming mga tanong ay personal. Maaring gusto lang nilang maniguro na ikaw ay mabuting tao, at magiging kapaki-pakinabang na mamamayan, at hindi palamunin lang at uubos ng buwis ng bayan.

Kasama sa interview ay ang pagsusulit sa salitang Ingles. Kailangan makapasa sa pagsasalita, pag-unawa, pagbabasa at pagsulat sa Ingles. Walang naman akong problema dito. Kahit Grade 1 na batang Pinoy kayang-kaya ito. Kahit ba Carabao English tayo, papasa pa rin.

Ngunit kasama rin sa interview ay mga tanong sibika (civic test). Ito ay mga tanong tungkol sa mga batas, mga prinsipyo, kasaysayan, heograpiya at samo’t saring kaalaman tungkol sa bansang Amerika. Dito ko kailangang mag-review.

May reviewer naman silang binibigay. Sinasaad dito ang mga 100 na katanungan na maaring itanong sa interview.

May mga tanong na madadali:

Tanong: Ano ang pinakamataas na batas ng bansa?

Sagot: constitution

Tanong: Sino ang tinaguriang Ama ng Amerika?

Sagot: George Washington

Mayroon namang mga tanong na medyo mahirap ngunit kailangan mong malaman:

Tanong: Kailan isinulat ang constitution?

Sagot: 1787

Tanong: Ano ang 13 na orihinal na estado ng Amerika?

Sagot: New Hampshire, Massachussetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia

Noong isang araw, ako ay nag-review. Habang ako’y nag-aaral at nagpapaka-dalubhasa sa kasaysayan ng Amerika, ako nama’y hinaharana ng mga kantang Pilipino na aking kinamulatan, na tumutugtog sa aking CD player.

“Noong isilang ka sa mundong ito,

Laking tuwa ng magulang mo,

At ang kanilang kamay ay iyong ilaw.” (Anak by Freddie Aguilar)

Ako ba’y pinaparinggan ni Ka Freddie? Ampong anak ba kamo? O baka naman alibughang anak?

Para bang nasa gitna ako ng dalawang nag-uumpugang bato. Dalawang kulturang nagbabanggaan sa aking damdamin at isipan. Dalawang lahing nagbubuno sa aking pagmamahal. Dalawang bansang nag-aagawan sa aking katapatan.

Tapos nabasa ko sa aking reviewer ang tanong na ito:

Tanong: Ano ang isang pangako na kailangan mong gawin para maging mamamayan ng Estados Unidos?

Sagot: Talikuran ang katapatan sa ibang bansa.

Biglang bumigat ang aking damdamin. Parang may kumurot sa aking puso. Hindi ko alam kung sarili ko itong konsensiya, o ako’y pinaparamdaman ng mga multo ni Rizal at ni Bonifacio.

Sabay sumalang naman si Noel Cabangon* kasama ni Gloc-9 at kumanta ng “Manila” (originally sang by Hotdog) sa aking player.

“Maraming beses na kitang nilayasan,

Iniwanan at ibang pinuntahan,

Parang babaeng ang hirap talagang malimutan….”

Hindi na ako makapag-concentrate sa aking binabasa. Ang isipan ko’y nagsimula nang magliwaliw sa isang lugar na aking minahal at patuloy na minamahal.

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“Hinahanap-hanap kita Manila

Ang ingay mong kay sarap sa tenga

Mga jeepney mong nagliliparan

Mga babaeng naggagandahan….”

Ibinaba ko na ang aking reviewer. Ipinikit ang mga mata. At marahang sumabay sa pagkanta.

“Manila, Manila,

I keep coming back to Manila,

Simply no place like Manila,

Manila I’m coming home…..”

******

(*songs from the album “Tuloy ang Biyahe” by Noel Cabangon)

(**photo above is from philippineslifestyle.com)

Kwentong Bulsa: Isang Balik Tanaw

Ano ang laman na iyong bulsa? Pitaka? Cellphone? Mga barya? Kumpol ng susi? Kalahating bubblegum? Lipstick? Rosaryo? Sigarilyo? Balisong? Ticket ng lotto? Balato ko ha!

O walang laman ang iyong bulsa? Teka, baka naman nadukutan ka na? O maaring butas lang ang iyong bulsa?

Ano man ang antas mo sa buhay, meron at meron kang bitbit, at hindi umaalis ng inyong bahay, na wala ito sa iyong bulsa.

Hindi ko sasabihin kung ano dapat ang laman ng iyong bulsa, akin lamang isasalaysay kung ano ang nasa aking bulsa sa iba’t-ibang yugto ng aking buhay.

Noong kindergarten:

1. bente-singko

2. panyolito

3. jolens (marble)

Simple lang ang buhay noon. Simple lang din ang aking pangangailan. Kaya’t bente-singko sentimos (benchingko tawag ko noon) lang, ay kasyang-kasya na. Kontento na ako dun. May hopia o kaya bazooka bubblegum na akong mabibili, at may sukli pa.

Ito ay noon, ngunit sa ngayon kahit balat yata ng bubblegum hindi kayang bilihin ng benchingko.

May panyolito rin akong baon noon. Kahit ayaw kong magdala nito, ay lagi itong nakasuksok sa aking bulsa. Dahil mabait (*ubo-ubo*) akong bata. Kasi sabi ng nanay ko kailangan ko raw ng panyo, kapag pinapawisan o kapag tumutulo ang sipon. Sa totoo lang para sa akin, pwedeng nang pamunas ang manggas ng t-shirt ko.

Ang panyolito ba ay tanda ng aking pagsunod sa aking mga magulang?

Lagi rin akong may jolens sa bulsa. Dahil laro lang ang laman ng utak ko noon. Walang muwang. Walang responsibilidad. Malaya. Malayang tumalungko sa lupa at magpakadusing, sa paglalaro ng jolens.

At simple lang din ang aking pangarap – ang matalo ko sa jolens ang aking mga kalaro. Hindi naman sa pagyayabang, minsan ay naging asintado at mahusay din naman ako sa laro ng jolens.

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larong jolens

*****

Noong highschool at college:

1. suklay

2. panyo

3. wallet

Noong mga panahong iyon, meron na akong suksok na suklay sa aking bulsa. Yung natitiklop na parang balisong. Ito ay sandata ko na dala-dala araw-araw. Kailangan ayos lagi ang buhok. Kahit pa makipagsiksikan sa jeepney o sa bus, basta may suklay, guwaping pa rin.

Kusa ko na ring sukbit ang panyo. Kailangan punasan ang tagaktak ng pawis. Kailangan punasan ang sipon. Kasi nakakabawas sa pogi points kung basa ng pawis o tumutulo ang sipon. Dahil ang pangunahing pakay noon ay ang pumorma.

Dala ko rin ang aking wallet, kahit wala namang laman ito. Madalas nga kasyang pamasahe at pang soft-drink lang ang laman ng pitaka ko, pero bitbit ko pa rin ito. Bakit kamo? Kasi pampaumbok din ng puwet ito! Pati nga panyo ko (minsan dalawang panyo pa) nasa kabilang bulsa sa likod ng pantalon, para pantay ang pagkatambok.

Kung yung mga babaeng hindi nabiyayaan ng dibdib ay naglalagay ng medyas sa bra, kaming mga patpat na lalaki, ay panyo at pitaka sa puwetan ng pantalon.

Pero nagsimula na rin namang akong mangarap sa panahong iyon. Maliban sa makaporma at mapansin ng crush ko, ay may pangarap na rin, na sana makatapos ng pag-aaral, magkaroon ng matinong hanap-buhay, maging maginhawa, at magkaroon ng laman ang aking pitaka. At hindi lang hanggang porma ang suksok na pitaka.

*****

Ngayon

1. cellphone

2. wallet

3. susi

Sa paglipas ng panahon, nag-iba na ang aking pangangailangan. Wala ng suklay (wala nang susuklayin). Wala ng panyo. Hindi na mahalaga ang paporma.

Cellphone na ang laman lagi ng aking bulsa. Ito ang aking kuneksiyon sa trabaho, sa pamilya, at sa mundo. Narito ang aking mga contacts, schedule, e-mails, at notes. Gamit ko rin ito para alamin ang mga bagay na hindi ko alam – tatanungin ko lang si Mr. Google.

Ang aking cellphone ay hindi lang pang-selfie at pang-facebook. Pero siyempre gamit ko ito bilang kamera para sa aking blog, at pang-update kung may sumilip sa aking website. (Salamat sa pagtangkilik!)

Nandiyan pa rin naman ang aking wallet. Pero hindi pa rin ako nagdadala ng malaking halaga. Dahil plastik (credit cards) ang madalas kong gamit. Ibig sabihin, malakas ang loob mangutang at gumastos, dahil may trabaho na.

Iba na rin ang pangarap ko. Hindi lang para sa akin kundi para na rin sa kinabukasan ng aking pamilya. Kailangan may laman ang pitaka para may pang-baon ang aking mga anak.

Isa pang laman ng aking bulsa ngayon ay mga susi. Susi ng bahay at susi ng kotse. Mga bagong laruan kapalit ng jolen? Puwedeng sabihing medyo nakaka-angat at matagumpay na tayo dahil may pag-aari na.

Ngunit bahay at kotse ba ang simbolo ng tagumpay? O ito lamang ang mga panibagong pangangailangan sa yugto ngayon ng aking buhay. Siyempre kailangan ng bahay para kanlungan ng pamilya, at kotse para makarating sa dapat patunguhan.

Pero hindi ko pa rin naman lubos na pag-aari ang bahay at kotse, at patuloy pa rin itong hinuhulog-hulugan. Kaya kailangang patuloy din ang aking pagkayod para mabayaran ang mga ito. Ang mga susi bang aking dala-dala ay nagpapalaya? O ito’y gumagapos na parang tanikala?

Pangangailangan nga ba ang laman ng ating bulsa? O tayo’y alipin ng nasa loob nito? Pero hindi ko rin naman sasabihing mabuti pang walang laman ang ating bulsa.

Tunay na mas simple ang buhay noong jolen pa lang ang nasa aking bulsa.

*****

(photo by Rodgie Cruz from pixoto.com)

Running, Asthma and Darth Vader

Do you like running? But do you run out of breath and sound like Darth Vader when you run? Maybe you have asthma.

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Recently my cousin, who is a budding journalist in the Philippines, asked me questions on the subject of asthma and running, knowing that I am a lung specialist as well as a runner. He said that he was writing it for a fitness website. I would like to share them here.

1. How does asthma affect people? What does it do to their bodies?

Asthma is a condition in which there’s two main components, (1) narrowing of bronchial airways (bronchoconstriction) and (2) swelling (inflammation) causing edema and production of extra mucus. These can cause the difficulty breathing and wheezing, making you sound like Darth Vader. These attacks can be intermittent and reversible, and triggered by exposure to certain allergens.

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2. Can everybody have asthma?

No. It is most likely genetic or familial predisposition that leads to one’s having asthma. For example, there are certain triggers that can cause an asthmatic attack, like house dust mite, but not all people will react to it. It is like an allergic reaction, where a predisposed person’s immune system overreact to the trigger.

So if you have asthma, you can partly blame your parents and the genes they passed on to you.

I’m not sure if Luke Skywalker have asthma too (“Luke, I am your father” – Darth Vader).

3. What are the common causes of asthma?

There is a wide gamut of asthma triggers and can differ from person to person:

A. Inhaled allergens – like house dust mite, pollen, cockroaches (I hate cockroaches), indoor and outdoor fungi/mold, pet dander (I feel sorry for pet-lovers if their beloved pet cause them their asthma attacks).

B. Respiratory infections – common cold and other viruses, or bacterial infections

C. Inhaled respiratory irritant – cigarette smoke, pollution and smog (like in Manila!), certain chemicals like volatile gases that can be at the work place, and even (cheap?) perfume. If you have a co-worker that has a body odor, you can tell them to take a shower for it can trigger your asthma. Just kidding.

D. Hormonal fluctuations – like in pre-menstrual and menstrual period in women; it can be part of pre-menstrual syndrome!

E. Medications – like beta blockers (metoprolol) that is use as an antihypertensive or in heart patients.

F. Physical activity – exercise

G. Emotional state – anxiety, sudden upsets. Yes being dumped by your girlfriend can cause an asthma attack!

H. Temperature and weather – cold air, hot humid air, wet conditions (which can increase respiratory allergens in the air).

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4. What are the symptoms of asthma?

Most common symptom of asthma is difficulty in breathing, with sensation of chest tightness. You feel like you have a rubber band around your chest. When more severe, wheezing ensues. If really severe, it can lead to respiratory failure. A persistent cough can be a symptom of asthma as well, which is from the constriction of the airways.

5. Can it be prevented?

Yes. Avoiding the triggers as what I mentioned above. Also by using medications such as inhalers, especially the inhaled corticosteroid that kind of stabilizes the membranes of the respiratory tract of an asthmatic, so it won’t be so reactive. This lessen the attacks.

6. What’s the cure for asthma?

No cure for asthma. If you have it, most likely you’ll have it for life. Sorry Darth Vader. But we can control or minimize the symptom or lessen the attacks through avoidance of triggers and through medications. Asthmatics can do whatever they want and can live a “normal” life if their asthma is well-controlled.

7. Can running trigger asthma?

Yes. As any other form of exercise can.

8. Can a person still run if he/she is an asthmatic?

Yes. Even though exercise is a potential asthma trigger, it should NOT be avoided.

9. Can running help a person fight asthma then?

Yes. Aerobic exercise strengthens the cardiovascular system and may lessen the sensitivity to asthma triggers.

However, it is important for persons with asthma who are not in a regular pattern of exercise to build-up their activity level slowly to minimize the risk of inducing asthma. Also, if exercise is your asthma trigger, use your “rescue” inhaler (like albuterol meter-dose-inhaler) 5 -10 minutes before you exercise to preempt the attack. And if you have an attack while exercising, you can use the inhaler again.

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Jackie Joyner-Kersee, an Olympic medalist, uses an inhaler after running

10. Can a person run if he/she has an asthmatic attack or episode?

Yes and no. If the asthma attack is pretty mild, you may be able to endure it. However if the attack is significant that you’re wheezing, I would recommend to take it easy for that day.

11. How long should a person run after he recovered from an asthmatic attack?

No fast rules. You can sense when you’re ready. Listen to your body.

12. What’s your advice to people with asthma who wants to enjoy running?

Continue running. But you may want to run when it is not so hot and humid, (or too cold if you’re not in the Philippines). Or run in areas not so polluted or smoggy. That is maybe doing it early in the morning.

Also avoid stray dogs. Not because it can trigger your asthma, but it can chase you!

13. What should runners with asthma remember during their runs?

Have your rescue inhaler handy during your runs. It easily fits in even the smallest pocket of a running shorts anyway.

If there’s a lot of dogs in your area, you can carry a pepper spray too to ward them off. Just don’t mistake it for your inhaler!

And most importantly, have fun!

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This is how to defeat asthma and Darth Vader.

(*photos from the net)

Bite Me

Summer breeze is now blowing here in the northern hemisphere. Yesterday, we had our first 90-degree-Fahrenheit day for the season, and it is predicted that it will be the same today. Summer has arrived in our neck of the woods.

I went out for a run in our neighborhood this morning. Just my usual 2-3 miler run. Nothing extraordinary.

With the warmer air, I felt it was harder to run. Though I am not fond of the cold, I will admit, that running in the colder weather can be better. Personally, I feel that 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit is the best temperature to run, especially when doing longer distances.

As I was struggling this morning on a steep uphill climb, but was nearing the top, suddenly a fierce-looking black bulldog came out from a neighbor’s yard.

The dog was not barking. It was just charging towards me!

They say that there are two ways to react when faced with danger. The first response is flight.  But as I said, it was uphill, and it would be very difficult to sprint ala-Usain Bolt. Plus I am not sure I can outrun a charging bulldog.

The second response is to fight. Me fighting a menacing-looking bulldog? But I don’t have my Black Ninja sword with me. Would my Kung-Fu deter this attack dog?

Confronted with danger or in an excited state, the flight or fight hormones (adrenalin and the like) will be secreted by our body. With these body juices rushing, individuals can do extreme feats, like carrying a refrigerator all alone during a fire evacuation, or clearing a high fence on a single bound when being chased by a vengeful lover.

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Fight or Flight (as in flying!) response

Well, some people say that there’s another response in facing danger. That is to freeze. Like a deer caught in a bright headlight.

Scientists say that standing still or playing dead is a real mode of defense mechanism. It is employed by many creatures in the animal kingdom. Best known is the opossum. They freeze not just because they are gripped with fear, but rather they are using nature’s way of self-preservation.

And that’s what I did. I stopped running and stood still.

But the bulldog did not stop on his charge. It was rampaging straight for my legs! I saw it open its mean snout……

And then it licked my leg! No bite. Just a friendly lick.

I must be like Kentucky Fried Chicken to that bulldog. Finger-licking, ah, er, leg-licking good!

(*photo from the internet)

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Way

If this life’s wandering takes you to……

the mountains,

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(Wyoming)

or the desert,

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(Arizona)

to waterfalls,

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(California)

and rivers,

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(Colorado)

through colorful landscapes,

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(Pennsylvania)

or to barren land,

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(South Dakota)

into the city,

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(New York)

or into lush forrest,

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(Wyoming)

or secluded farm fields,

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(Iowa)

and even to alien terrain,

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(Utah)

or if are you stuck with hundreds of travelers,

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(New York)

or all alone in a lonely highway to nowhere,

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(somewhere in the middle of nowhere)

may your journey always leads you – on the way….

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Home.

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(*this post is a response to WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Way)

(** photo credit to my wife who took most of the pictures)

Debunking Folks’ Medical Advice: Part 4

It’s been a while since I posted regarding folk’s medical advice. However I have noticed in my blog stats that these topics get consistent hits on a daily basis. So here’s another one for the series.

1. Huwag hawakan ang paru-paru, baka ka mabulag.

Don’t touch a butterfly, it can cause blindness.

I was told this advice when I was a child. Perhaps you have heard this too. But it is not true.

Butterflies belong to a family of insects called Lepidoptera, which means scale wings. The “powder” that you get in your fingers, which the old folks say can cause blindness, when you touch the butterfly wings, are tiny scales. These scales though very important to the butterfly, does not cause blindness.

If so much of these tiny scales are removed from the butterfly wings, just like when you heavily rub them off, will form holes in their wings and they will lose their ability to fly.

So you can hurt them, but they don’t hurt you. Perhaps the old and wiser folks just don’t want us kids to hold the butterfly so not to injure them.

The only “butterflies” I know that can cause blindness are the ones dancing in beer gardens, especially under the dazzling flickering lights and after rounds of beer.

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2. Huwag kumain ng maanghang na pagkain, baka ka magkaalmuranas.

Don’t eat spicy food, for you will develop hemorrhoids.

Filipino foods are not particularly spicy. Except for the Bicol region perhaps. Unlike other cultures, like Indian or Indonesian cuisines, even their baby food can make a grown man sweat.

I heard many times before though, that spicy foods can cause bothersome hemorrhoids. If this is true, then all true blue Bicolanos will be suffering from this, and Bicolandia will be the center of hemorrhoids country. But that’s not the case.

I think this advice associate the fiery sensation in our lips and tongue will somehow cause also a fiery sensation in our bottom. Simply, not true.

There are several scientific and medical studies that have looked into this perceived relationship, and no study have conclusively proven this.

In one particular study done by Italian researchers, they have 50 patients with severe symptomatic hemorrhoids randomly take a capsule containing red-hot chili powder or a placebo pill, and then they crossover after a week. The results showed no statistically significant worsening in their symptoms. So they concluded that red-hot chili pepper does not worsen hemorrhoids.

So go ahead, enjoy your jalapeños and your siling labuyo. It will zing your mouth, not your bottom.

3. Huwag pagalaw ang kanser, ito ay lalo lang kakalat.

Don’t disturb the cancer, it will spread.

Meaning, don’t have a tumor biopsied or do surgery on it, for it will get worse. Bawal mahanginan, baka magalit (Don’t expose it to air, it will grow angrier).

This notion is deeply seated in the people’s mind. But there’s no medical truth on this.

Perhaps we Filipinos get this conception, when in Jose Rizal’s 19th century novel Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not – in Latin), he addressed the ills of the society as “social cancer.” Don’t dare touch it, for the situation just gets worse.

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(image taken from the net)

With 21st century’s scientific knowledge and technology, the fact of the matter is doing biopsy on a tumor is the only way we can ascertain that it is cancer or not. And there are several kinds of cancer, that the preferred treatment is surgical excision. And sometimes if it is too big to take it all out, debulking the tumor can help. Only if the cancer is far too advanced that any form of treatment may be futile.

I’m sure if you have cancer, and Jose Rizal who is a physician himself, is alive today, he will advise you, Ego Tangeret (I touch you).

4. Huwag matulog ng sobrang busog, baka ikaw ay mabangungut.

Don’t sleep when you’re so full, you’ll have nightmares.

There’s currently a lot of medical evidences that eating a full meal so close to bedtime may disrupt your sleep. Digestion can increase your metabolic rate and body temperature, as well as release of certain hormones, that can throw off the internal stimulus of inducing sleep. Thus many medical experts advice that your dinner be two hours or more, before your bedtime. Though it is still uncertain whether sleeping on a full stomach can directly cause nightmares.

The more enigmatic topic though is bangungut as a specific entity that cause sudden death at night. It is not an urban legend but rather a real medical condition also known as Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS).

SUNDS has been reported worldwide, though it is more common among Southeast Asian males. It is termed bangungut in Philippines, lai tai in Thailand, and pokkuri in Japan.

In recent years SUNDS is thought to be related to Brugada syndrome, a genetic disorder wherein there’s inherent faulty electrical conduction in the heart that can lead to fatal cardiac arrhythmia. This usually occurs when they are sleeping or resting, in these apparently healthy young males. It has been suggested that a high carbohydrate meal may precipitate sudden cardiac death in these predisposed individuals, as the release of insulin drive their potassium down causing the arrhythmia.

So I would say there is some wisdom to this old folks’ advice. And you thought they were all non-sense?

But then again you probably thought as well, that bangungut was caused by a kiss of an evil spirit.

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kiss of death statue (image taken from the net)

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken

Broken. A term that we can apply to a structure ravaged by time.

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(photo taken at Vigan, Ilocos Sur)

Or to a place ravaged by the forces of nature.

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(photo taken at Tacloban, after the typhoon Haiyan)

Or a societal state ravaged by a corrupt system, where the rich becomes richer and the poor becomes poorer.

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Manila

Or it can even be applied to a perfect picture of opulence….

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….when we are oblivious to the sufferings of the poor just outside our deaf walls.

Broken.

*******

(*This post is a response to WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge on the theme, Broken.)

(**All photos taken with an iPhone.)

Mile-High Adventure

I regularly attend conferences, so I can be updated on the latest practice trends, new researches and studies, breakthrough treatments, and recent technologies.

In these meetings, I have the chance to meet and listen to very smart people. But in the same time, it gives me the feeling of how inadequate and ignorant I am compared to them.

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ATS (American Thoracic Society)

This conventions also give me the opportunity to travel and see other places. This year brought me to Denver, Colorado.

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Denver is also known as the Mile-High City, for the obvious reason that it has an elevation of 5,278 feet above the sea level, or about 1 mile. It was the capital and the most populous municipality in the state of Colorado. It was founded in 1858 as a mining town during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush.

Since the school is out, I brought my whole family along with me. It was a business and a leisure trip, at the same time. We also have some really good friends that lives near Denver, so we had the chance to visit with them.

We stayed in an old hotel, and I mean really old. The hotel was built in 1892. Stepping inside is like going back in time.

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Atrium of the Brown Palace Hotel

This hotel also pride itself that every U.S. president has visited it since Teddy Roosevelt (1905), with the exception of Calvin Coolidge. Now they can add that Pinoytransplant was a guest of them too!

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Back to the conference, the meeting was a 6-day affair and was held in Colorado Convention Center. This center is unofficially known as the Big Blue Bear Convention Center. Why?

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Here’s why.

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This art piece is a 40-foot steel sculpture and officially called “I See What You Mean.”

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The big blue bear peeks at the lobby of the convention center. Now I see what they mean!

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Besides very smart people, I also met this fellow.

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This is what they do to you if you sleep in the meeting. Just kidding!

It is not a real cadaver but a synthetic one. It is called “syndaver.” I met him in the post-graduate course I attended, where we placed catheters on him to learn ECMO*.

I walked from the hotel to the convention center, as it was just a few blocks away. Here are some photos I took on my daily walk.

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There are even pianos in the middle of the street that anybody can play. My daughter found it irresistible not to tinker with.

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Our friends brought us to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. This is where I met big creatures.

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Their current special exhibition is about mythic creatures. So I encountered a dragon…..

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And a unicorn. For real!

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The only downside on our visit to Denver was that during our stay there the weather was not so cooperative. It was raining 5 out of the 7 days we were there. It was even snowing in the mountains.

But on the day it was not raining, we escaped into the mountains.

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We drove to the Rocky Mountain National Park, which was about an hour and a half drive from Denver.

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Since it still has deep snow on the top of the mountain, we were not able to reach the peak, due to road closure.

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But the trip was worth it. We even spotted a young grizzly bear.

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For sure, it was a mile-high experience for us. I hope you enjoy the photos of our trip. And speaking of photos, though I am not fond of taking selfie, I cannot resist this.

Here’s my very hot selfie!

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Infrared photo (thermal imaging). Taken at Denver museum.

From Denver,

Pinoytransplant.

*******

* ECMO (Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation): a technique to deliver both cardiac and respiratory support to patients whose heart and lungs are unable to provide an adequate amount of gas exchange to sustain life.

Kilig at Sayaw

Kay sarap gumising nang may kasama,

Hindi tulad noong ako’y nag-iisa,

Ngunit ‘di inakalang magkakaganito,

Mundo’y bumalikwas nang dahil sa ‘yo.

 

Umagang-umaga’y ‘di mapakali,

Ako’y kinikilig at nakikiliti,

Pilit pinipigil damdaming umaapaw,

Dahil nariyan ka’y napapasayaw.

 

Matagal ka pa ba, o aking mahal?

Mataimtim akong sa ‘yo’y naghihintay,

Sana ay pagbigyan, dahil ‘di ko na kaya,

Pakiusap lang naman, ako’y sasabog na!

 

Hoy! bilisan mo diyan sa banyo!

Ihing-ihi na ako!

(Ang tulang ito ay handog sa lahat ng napapasayaw sa makapigil-ihing pagmamahal.)

 

 

 

 

Chasing Rainbows

I went out this morning to run. Just before I head out the door, I checked the weather forecast on my phone and it was a balmy 70º F. That’s kind of warm for an early May morning where it usually in the 40-50’sº.

The forecast also called for 60% chance of rain at that time, and 80% chance in the next hour. But I still took my chances. And ran.

Besides the sun was shining. At least partly.

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And on the other side of the horizon, there were nimbus clouds. In other words, rain clouds. Nothing scary though. No lightning flashing. No thunder rolling. No tornadoes forming.

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Have you heard of the avid suitor who said: “I’ll give you the moon and the stars if you asked me, my love. And I’ll come back tomorrow night. If it does not rain.” Such a fickle dedication.

But not me. It takes more than nimbus clouds to intimidate me.

Not long after I started my run, the rain came. These meteorologists were really accurate in their weather forecasting!

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see the rain drops in the water?

Anyway, it was light rain only. I am water-proof. My dedication is water-proof. Even my running apparel are water-wicking. I would be alright.

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The rain may have dampened the road, but not my spirit. I’ll just sing “I do my running in the rain.”

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At least this lonely gravel road would not be so dusty. Not muddy. But the rain moistened it just enough that I would not be eating billows of dust if ever a lost car pass by me.

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The rain did not really get more than a pitter-patter. And I finished my run without really getting soaked. Though I still broke out a sweat.

Would I catch pneumonia. Nah!

But I caught this.

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full arc rainbow

If the looming clouds deterred me from going out, I would have missed the rainbow.

Just like in life. Sometimes we need to go out of our comfort zones. Take our chances even if the odds is against us. And chase our rainbows.

Maybe next time I would also catch the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

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(photos taken with an iPhone)