View Through a Battle Shield

I sat quietly surveying my field of vision like a pilot of a battle tank. And I realized that I was looking at a killing field. It mostly happened last night, but it was veiled in the darkness. I had no idea that it was this vicious, until I saw it in the morning light.

In front of my eyes lay several casualties. Perhaps in the hundreds. They were all dead. Crushed and mangled. Their innards scattered on the battle field.

Life is short. I know for them it is shorter. And it just become even shorter. Life can be unfair sometimes.

All they want is freedom. Freedom to live. Freedom to propagate. Freedom to roam on a beautiful warm summer’s night.

But I want my freedom too. And my freedom to roam clashed with theirs.

I don’t like it. Nor did I plan it. It was not my intention to annihilate them. No, not at all! They were just in the wrong place, and in the wrong time. Or was it me that was in the wrong place and in the wrong time?

Dang it! My windshield is splattered with dead bugs again!

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(*photo taken with an iPhone)

Gang-gang, Ging-ging, Gung-gung

Kung ikaw ay Pilipino o lumaki ka sa Pilipinas, ay sigurado akong may kakilala kang Bam-Bam, o Bong-Bong, o Che-Che, o Don-Don, o Jun-Jun, o Nene, o Ning-Ning, o Ping-Ping, o Toto. Siguro idagdag mo pa sina Mac-Mac, Mik-Mik, Mimi, Noy-Noy, Jan-JanLan-Lan, Lot-Lot, Jojo, Pen-PenTin-Tin, Ton-Ton, Kaka, RaraNana, Nini, NonoGang-Gang at Ging-Ging. Lahat ng mga pangalang binanggit ko ay mga kakilala ko.

May kilala rin akong Gaga at Gung-gung. Marami sila.

Bakit nga ba tayong mga Pilipino ay mahilig sa mga pangalang inuulit? Siguro ay makulit lang tayo kaya’t gusto natin ng inuulit-ulit. O kaya nama’y sobra lang tayo sa imahinasyon na gumawa ng makwela o mabantot na pangalan? Pero kung tutuusin uso na ang pangalang inuulit panahon pa ni Lapu-Lapu.

Hindi lang pangalan ng tao, kundi kahit mga lugar sa Pilipinas, ay may pangalang inuulit. Gaya ng Taytay, Iloilo, Guagua, Wawa, Tawi-Tawi, Sanga-Sanga, Hinulugang Taktak, at Mount Hibok-Hibok. Ako naman ay lumaki sa may Balik-Balik. Ang kulit ‘no?

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Meron din tayong mga pagkaing Pilipino na binigyan natin ng pangalang inuulit. Tulad ng kare-kare, bilo-bilo, tibok-tibok, pichi-pichi, kwek-kwek at poqui-poqui. Hindi po bastos ‘yung huling putahe, lutong Ilocano po iyon.

Siguro isama na natin pati tawag natin sa mga hayop. Mula sa maliit na kiti-kiti, hanggang sa malaking lumba-lumba. Andiyan din ang paru-paro, gamu-gamo, batu-bato, sapsap, at plapla. Pati nga bulaklak, gaya ng ilang-ilang at waling-waling. Bilib ka na?

At siyempe pa, pati maselang bahagi ng ating katawan, ang tawag natin ay inuulit din. Hindi lang kili-kili ang tinutukoy ko. Pati ti__, pek__, at su__. Awat na?

Aking nabasa na hindi lang daw ang wikang Pilipino ang mahilig sa mga inuulit na salita. Ang ating wika ay nagmula sa pamilya ng Malayo-Polynesian na mga lingwahe. Ang mga wikang ito ay may hilig na magdikit-dikit at magkawing-kawing ng mga kataga upang gumawa ng mga bagong salita. Maraming pagkakataon, inuulit ang unang component ng salita. Kaya siguro may Mahimahi sa Hawaii, at may Bora-Bora sa French Polynesia.

Kaya kung pinangalanan kang Pot-Pot o Keng-Keng, ay sisihin mo na lang ang ating mga sinaunang ninuno at mga tatang. Anak ng teteng talaga!

Kadalasan kapag ang isang salita ay inuulit ay tumitindi ang kahulugan nito. Kumbaga sa Ingles, ito’y nagiging superlative. Tulad ng kapag sinabing ang husay, ibig sabihin ay magaling. Pero kapag sinabing ang husay-husay, ay ibang liga na iyon at maaaring genius na ito. Kapag laksa, nangangahulugan ito’y marami, subalit kapag laksa-laksa, siguradong matatabunan ka na ‘nun. Kapag sinabing ang pangit mo, ay baka nagsasabi lang sila ng totoo. Pero kapag sinabihan kang ang pangit-pangit mo, ay insulto at away na ang hanap nito. Brod, tara sa labas!

Mayroon din tayong mga salita na tuluyang naiiba ang kahulugan kapag inuulit. Tulad ng bola, ito ‘yung isinu-shoot sa goal. Pero kapag bola-bola ito yung tinutusok at sinasawsaw. Baka iba namang tinutusok at sinasawsaw ang nasa isisp mo? Fishball tinutukoy ko ‘Te. Kapag sinabing turo, maaring tungkol sa maestra o sa paaralan. Pero pag-sinabing turo-turo, ay karinderya na ‘yan. Kapag halo lang ay parang walang dating sa akin. Ngunit kapag binanggit mong halo-halo, ay maglalaway na ako, dahil miss na miss ko na ‘yan.

Maari ring inuulit ang isang salita para ibahin ang verb tense ng isang pangungusap. Tulad ng hawak, ginagawang hawak-hawak para maging present participle tense. Kung baga sa Ingles, dinadagdagan ng –inglike hold to holding. Suot ginagawang suot-suot. At ang salitang bitbit, kahit inuulit na ito, pero uulit-ulitin pa rin.

Example: Bitbit-bitbit ni Pepe ang patpat at tingting.

Meron din naman tayong mga salita na kapag hindi inuulit ay walang kahulugan. Gaya ng sinto-sinto na ang ibig sabihin ay baliw. Ano naman ang ibig sabihin ng sinto? Medyo baliw? O kaya’y guni-guni na ibig sabihin ay ilusyon lang. Ano naman ang ibig sabihin ng guni? Kalahating ilusyon lang? O kaya naman ay kuro-kuro, na ibig sabihin ay opinyon. Ano naman ang kuro? Walang opinyon?

May mga salita ding inuulit, na tayo lang mga Pilipino ang tunay na nakakaintindi, dahil kasama na ito sa hibla ng ating kultura. Tulad ng tabo-tabo, pito-pito, tagay-tagay, at ukay-ukay.

Bilang kunklusyon, maaaring sabi-sabi at haka-haka lang ang mga nilahad ko dito. Maari rin itong bunga ng aking pagmumuni-muni o kaya nama’y guni-guni lamang. O siguro ito’y mga kuro-kuro ng isang kukurap-kurap at aantok-antok na pag-iisip. Kaway-kaway na lang kung inyong naibigan. At huwag namang bara-bara at sana’y hinay-hinay lang sa pagtawa, at baka mapagkamalian kayong luko-luko at luka-luka. Salamat po.

(*photo taken in Bagac, Bataan)

 

 

Doctor, Doctor, I am Sick

Sa isang Health Center sa maliit na barrio sa Pilipinas……

Pasyente: Doc, sumasakit po ang mata ko.

Duktor: Paanong sakit?

Pasyente: Para po siyang tinusok.

Duktor: Ah ganoon ba? Kailan pa iyan?

Pasyente: Doc, tuwing umiinom po ako ng maiinit na kape.

Duktor: Eh kapag umiinom ka ng malamig na tubig? Sumasakit din ba ang mata mo?

Pasyente: Hindi naman po.

Duktor: Kapag umiinom ka ng soft drink? O kaya ng beer?

Pasyente: Hindi rin po.

Pinagmasdan ng duktor ang pasyente, at nakitang may parang bugbog sa talukap ng mata ang pasyente.

Duktor: Alam ko na ang sanhi ng pananakit ng mata mo. Madali lang din ang solusyon sa problema mo.

Pasyente: Talaga po? Ano po iyon?

Duktor: Bago mo higupin ang kape mo, ay tanggalin mo muna ang kutsara sa tasa, para hindi matusok ang iyong mata.

********

Susunod na pasyente……

Duktor: Napabalik ka? Mabisa ba yung nireseta kong gamot sa iyo?

Pasyente: Kaya nga po ako bumalik Doc, kasi hindi po magaling iyong gamot na ibinigay ninyo. Para pa ring sinisilaban ang aking tumbong. Masasakit at gabulaklak pa rin po iyong mga almuranas ko.

Duktor: Ginamit mo ba iyong nireseta kong gamot?

Pasyente: Opo. Araw-araw pa nga po, hanggang maubos iyong nireseta ninyo.

Tinignan ng duktor ang kanyang medical chart at sinigurado kung tama ba ang binigay niyang gamot.

Duktor: Sang-ayon sa record ko, niresetahan kita ng Kontra-almuranas na suppository para sa isang lingo.

Pasyente: Oo nga po. Hirap na hirap nga po akong lunukin iyon, at ang sama-sama pa po ng lasa!

*********

Pangatlong pasyente………

Pasyente: Doc, sana po matulungan ninyo ako. Feeling ko po invisible man ako. Kasi wala po sa aking pumapansin, eh.

Duktor: Next patient please!

*********

Sumunod na pasyente………

Tatay: Doc, pakitignan naman po ninyo itong aking anak.

Duktor: Ano bang nangyari sa anak mo?

Tatay: Nalulon po niya yung pang-ahit kong blade.

Duktor: Ha?! Kailan pa?

Tatay: Noon isang linggo po.

Duktor: Bakit ngayon mo lang dinala at ano ang ginawa mo?

Tatay: Eh di ginagamit ko na lang muna na pang-ahit  ‘yung labaha po.

********

Huling pasyente………

Pasyente: Duktor, hindi po ako nireregla.

Duktor: Baka naman buntis ka?

Pasyente: Naku, sana nga magdilang anghel kayo! Pero wala naman pong lalaking pumapatol sa akin kahit anong gawin ko. Kaya sigurado po akong hindi ako buntis.

Duktor: Teka, kailan ka pa ba hindi nireregla?

Pasyente: Mula’t sapul po hindi ako dinadatnan ng pagreregla.

Mataimtim na kinilatis ng duktor ang pasyente.

Duktor: Hija, masakit ko mang sabihin sa iyo, pero hindi ka talaga magkakaregla.

Pasyente: Bakit po?

Duktor: Eh kasi lalaki ka.

********

(Ang mga kuwentong ito ay hatid sa inyo ng kabag…… sa utak. Pasensiya na po’t kailangang kong ilabas.)

Hagibis

Ako’y tumakbo kaninang umaga,

Sa amin dito sa Iowa,

Habang humahangos sa daan,

Ay aking pinakikinggan,

Maiingay na halakhak,

Ng mga ibong taratitat,

At sa aking paghingal,

Aking namang nalalanghap,

Ang mabangong halimuyak,

Ng mga bulaklak ng lilac.

Pero miss na miss ko na,

Mag-jogging sa Maynila,

Kung saan naghaharana,

Mga traysikel na umaarangkada,

At aking muling masasanghap,

Usok ng tambutsong kay sarap,

At takbo ko’y lalong bumibilis,

Parang anak ni Hagibis,

Dahil ako’y hinahabol,

Ng mga asong nauulol.

(*Hagibis means speed in Tagalog, it is also a Filipino comics hero, and the name of an all-male pop group.)

 

Conflicted

What do you do when you see a sign that says Caution:Wet Paint?

Are you like many people, which includes me, that can’t help but touch it? Just to see if it’s really wet! Maybe because we have been lied to so many times, and we don’t believe anything unless we prove that it’s true.

The other day, since we were having some construction in our office to add more examination rooms, I saw this sign. I know it’s a mundane sign, but it caught my attention.

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Do you suppose I touched that wall? Of course I did.

But there’s more to this sign. Is it wet? Or is it dry? I think the wall is conflicted. Is that an oxymoron, a wet drywall? Do you still call it a drywall when it is wet? I’m confused.

I believe the caution here is like that wall, some people today are conflicted and confused. We are lost in our identity. We are neither wet nor dry. Neither hot nor cold. Constantly riding the fence, and compromising our beliefs.

 

 

Little Things

While we were on a trip in Israel, we stopover for lunch in a restaurant overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Even though it is named the Sea of Galilee, it is actually a lake and not a sea.


Besides enjoying the view, I enjoyed the food there as well. The most popular in their menu being beside the Sea of Galilee is fish of course. And that was what I ordered.

After the meal I saw this sign on a wall.


That is absolutely correct. Be thankful for even the small stuffs in this life. Like a good meal. Or a beautiful day. Or a smile from a stranger. Appreciate the little things. Nothing wrong with this reminder, right?

Except that we must be careful on what we call  as “little things” as it could be a slight jab or even a downright insult. Depends on the situation, I guess. You don’t believe me?

Well, here’s the whole story of this sign.


(*Photos taken at a restaurant in Tiberias, Israel)

The Adventures of Iowa Jones

Have you heard of Indiana Jones? Forget him. I introduce to you, Iowa Jones and his (mis)adventures. Here is his quest to find the Lost Temple of Doom.

It started in a deserted place forgotten by time.


A place where the terrain was so alien, it’s out of this world. Could it be in another planet?


Then Iowa Jones came to a path that seems to be blocked by a stone wall.


But as he inspected it closer there was a narrow passageway, as if it’s a secret path through the stone walls.


So he pressed on and walked through the unknown path. What danger could be lurking ahead? Would there be a big Rolling Stone? Or maybe giant Beetles? Would he meet Mick Jagger or Paul McCartney? Huh?


Anyway, some of the stones seems to have caved in. Were the stone walls moving? Would he be crushed to his death?


While some of the passageway seems to be so clear that it was even lighted by the sun rays.


Iowa Jones even took short rest under the stones to catch his breath.


But he knew that he must hurry as the dreaded army of the Last Crusaders of Doom was pursuing him.

Iowa Jones must also avoid the booby (poopy?) trap that were scattered on the path.

These booby traps are left by the Last Crusaders’ fierce beast the Donkey Kong.


Even though tired and weary, Iowa Jones continued on his quest.


Then he came near a clearing. He now has a glimpse of the temple!


Finally he now stands in awe in front of the Lost Temple of Doom.


Then he saw the Guardians of the Galaxy, I mean the Guardians of the Temple. They were assigned to protect it against the army of the Last Crusaders of Doom.


They warned Iowa Jones that the temple should not be rediscovered by the army of Doom, or else the whole kingdom of Camelot (not reigned by King Arthur, but by camels) will be doomed. Good thing he understands and speaks their ancient language.

So with all his might Iowa Jones toppled down the temple like Samson, without the long hair, of old.


Alas, it was not a Temple of Doom, but rather it was a Doomed Temple.

And all that was left were ruins. The End.


This story was brought to you by the jet-lagged brain of Pinoytransplant.


(Photos taken at The Treasury in Petra, Jordan, a site named as one of the seven wonders of the world, built more than 2000 years ago. And with Pinoytransplant as Iowa Jones.)

Constipated Teaching

Since I am practicing in a teaching hospital, besides treating patients, part of my duty is educating and training residents (doctors-in-training) and medical students. In fact the state university even gave me an academic title. My official title is: Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor. Adjunct, means extra or accessory. In other words, not that major. Maybe “A Junk” Professor is more appropriate. In my native language, saling-pusa.

Anyway, most of the time when I am seeing patients in the hospital, I am accompanied by medical residents or medical students. In the ICU though, my entourage could be quite large, composing of 2 to 3 residents, a medical student, a pharmacist, 1 to 2 pharmacy students, a respiratory therapist, and respiratory therapy students. Then when we round on a specific ICU patient, the nurse taking care of that patient will join our discussion too.

Having a group shadow me on my rounds has its perks, as many of the scut work the team could already accomplish in my behalf. Plus the bigger the entourage, the bigger the likelihood that people think you are important (not mere “a junk”), just don’t let that get into your head. But it has its disadvantages too. For one, I have to ask permission to break rounds, every time I needed to go to the restroom.

In our rounds, besides talking about the patients’ cases and our plan of treatment for each one of them, we also discuss about snippets of medical teachings, current trends of practice, new drugs and even latest research that support our plan of management. Thus I really needed to be updated on the most recent guidelines and studies.

Few weeks ago, as I was conducting my ICU rounds, we have been dealing with some very difficult cases as well as some unfortunate patients in our ICU whose chances of surviving were slim. As we went through consecutive depressing cases, I could sense the sadness and stress rubbing in into my team. I could feel the morale of the team was low, for taking care of these sad cases of patients.

As the captain of the team, besides making sure that the right management is given to each of our patient and assuring proper education and adequate training for my residents and students, I feel that it is my duty as well to keep a high spirit in my team.

One particular patient that we have was having a bad case of constipation that was made worse by his requirement for pain medications, on top of all his other life threatening conditions. We then discussed causes of constipation and its management in general. One complication of using opioid pain medication is constipation, as it can slow down the intestinal movement. So we decided to give our patient the relatively new injectable medicine for constipation that blocks the opioid receptors in the gastrointestinal tract without decreasing the pain relieving ability of the opioids.

Then I asked the team, “Have you heard of the long-awaited big study on constipation?”

They all looked at me shaking their heads as they have not heard of it, and anticipating more words of wisdom from me.

To this I said: “It has not come out yet.”

Realizing that I made a joke, and not to be outdone, our knowledgeable pharmacist chimed in, “But I heard of the recent study that said that diarrhea is hereditary.”

The team was smiling now, and seems to be in a better mood , waiting for the punchline.

The witty pharmacist concluded, “Because it runs in jeans (genes).” Eeeww!

With that we moved on into our next ICU patient.

*******

Pahabol na hugot: Constipation ka ba? Kasi I cannot get moving since you dumped me.

 

Pampalaglag

A post-Valentine’s story……

Sa isang maliit na barrio sa Pilipinas, isang babae ang nagpatingin sa duktor. Siya ay desperada.

“Doc, sana po ay matulungan ninyo ako. Wala po akong ibang mapupuntahan. Gusto ko pong magpalaglag,” ang halos na umiiyak na sambit ng babae.

Tinanong ng duktor ng ilang mga katanungan ang pasyente.

“Hija, ano ba ang iyong nararamdaman?”

“Kasi po lumalaki na ang aking tiyan, at para po itong laging humihilab,” sabi ng babae, “at lumalakas din po akong kumain.”

“May asawa ka ba,” ang tanong muli ng duktor.

“Wala po, pero mayroon po akong nobyo,” ang sagot ng babae.

“Anong sabi ng iyong nobyo tungkol sa problema mo,” and uling usisa ng butihing duktor.

“Hindi raw po muna siya makikipagkita sa akin, hangga’t hindi ko po raw nalulunasan ang problemang ito,” ang malungkot na dagdag ng babae.

“Ano naman ang payo ng iyong mga magulang,” ang tanong pa ng duktor.

“Ayaw ko pong malaman nila, at baka hindi po nila ako matanggap,” ang mahinang sagot ng kaawa-awang babae.

Marami pang naging tanong ang magaling na duktor, at sinagot naman ng babae ang lahat ng mga ito sa abot ng kanyang makakaya.

Matapos makuha ng duktor ang buong kuwento, ay kanya nang in-eksameng mabuti ang pasyente. Naging detalye at masinop ang duktor sa kanyang eksaminasyon.

Sumulat na ng reseta ang duktor at ito’y inabot sa kanyang pasyente.

“Hija, ito na ang mabisang gamot para sa iyo. Inumin mo ito ngayong gabi at bukas na bukas din, sigurado akong mawawala na ang iyong problema,” ang kumpidanteng sabi ng mabuting duktor.

Dali-daling nagtungo sa botika ang babae at binili ang niresetang gamot ng duktor.

Nang kinagabihan na, ay ininom ng babae ang resetang gamot sa kanya. Tatalab kaya ito? Malulunasan kaya ang kanyang problema? Ano kaya ang sasabihin ng kanyang mga magulang? Ano kaya ang magiging opinyon ng mga ibang tao? Makikipagbalikan na kaya sa kanya ang kanyang boyfriend?

Nang kinaumagahan na ay nakaramdam ng matinding sakit ng tiyan ang babae. Parang umiikot at gumigiling ang nasa sa loob na kanyang dala-dala. Butil-butil ang kanyang pawis at para baga siyang nanglalamig. Pakiramdam niya ay para siyang nakakain ng panis na pansit at kailangan niyang ilabas ang sama ng loob. Hindi na niya mapigilan.

Mabilis siyang tumakbo sa banyo. At sa kanyang pag-upo ay biglang lumuwal ang isang malaking kulapol ng patay na………..

Bulate!

Ang niresetang gamot? Combantrin.

(*Ang kathang isip na kwentong ito ay sanhi ng aking pagkalipas gutom.)