Ebolusyon ng Wika: Tadbalik Edition

Limang taon na pala nang aking kathain ang artikulong “Ebolusyon ng Wika” sa blog site na ito. Marami na rin naman ang sumilip dito. Ngayon, dahil may panibagong interes sa ating katutubong wika kaya naingganyo akong isulat ang sunod na akdang ito.

Ang popularidad ng bagong Meyor o Yorme ng lungsod ng Maynila na may makulay na pananalita ang dahilan kung bakit may ibayong taginting sa ating wikang Pilipino.

Siguro naman ay nakakasakay na kayo sa mga katagang binibitiwan ni Yorme Isko Moreno. Bukang bibig niya ang mga terminong etneb (bente), posam (sampu), takwarents (kwarenta), kodli (likod), gedli (gilid), wakali (kaliwa) at nanka (kanan). Ito’y mga salitang baliktad o kaya’y tadbalik.

Dahil sa lumaki ako sa panahong nauso ang mga salitang kalyeng ito, kaya’t parang masarap muling mapakinggan ang mga katagang ito. Para bagang pagbabalik tanaw na rin sa lumipas na kahapon.

Aaminin ko, hindi po ako mahilig magsalita ng pabaliktad. Siguro dahil sa taga-Bulakan ang aking lahi, mga dugong Balagtas at makakata, kaya’t medyo “purist” o dalisay kaming mag-Tagalog. Hindi naman ibig sabihin ay nag-babalagtasan kaming magsalita sa aming tahanan.

Ngunit sa aba ko, sawing kapalaran,
Ano pang halaga ng gayong suyuan,
Kung ang sing-ibig ko’y sa katahimikan,
Ay humilig na sa ibang kandungan.
(hugot mula sa Florante at Laura ni Francisco Balagtas)

Naiintindihan ko naman po ang mga salitang pabaliktad. Lalo na kapag nasa kalye ako, kagaya nang kapag kami ay nagbabasketball sa kalsada, mariringan ko ang mga kalaro ko na nagbibigay ng direksiyon pagnaglalaro: “Sa wakali mo, sa wakali mo!”

Pero dehins ako magiging tapat kung sasabihin kong hindi ako kailan man nangusap ng salitang kalye. Dahil minsan isang panahon ay naisama rin naman sa aking bokabularyo ang mga salitang ermat, erpat, tsekot, lespu, goli at olats.

Use olats and goli in a sentence: Olats ako sa kagwapuhan ni Richard Gomez, pero tatlong goli lang ang lamang niya.

Sinasambit din naming madalas noon ang salitang tomgu (gutom) o “Tom Jones.” Example: “Pards may makakain ba tayo diyan, kasi Tom Jones na Tom Jones na ako.” Hindi ko po ikakaila, miyembro po ako noon ng isang frat – farating gutom.

Bakit ba mahilig magsalita ng pabaliktad ang mga Pilipino? Meron pa ngang libro na inilathala si Bob Ong na ang pamagat ay “Bakit Baliktad Magbasa ng Libro ang mga Pilipino.” Baliktad ba talaga ang takbo ng utak nating Pilipino?

“Kung hindi mo alam kung sino ka, paano mo maipagmamalaki ang sarili mo?” (quote from Bob Ong , Bakit Baliktad Magbasa ng Libro ang mga Pilipino.)

Ang pagbabaliktad ng salita sa aking pagkakatanto, ay nauso noong 1970’s, nang sumikat ang Hippie culture. Dito sumabog ang mga mapagrebeldeng ideya. Tulad nang pagpapahaba ng buhok ng mga lalaki. Pati babae, nagpapahaba rin ng buhok – sa kili-kili. Nagrerebelde sila kaya ayaw din nilang maligo. Hindi po ako nakisali doon. Siguro dahil sa pagrerebelde, kaya pati salita ay iniiba nila. O kaya nama’y gusto lang nilang gawing mas makulay ang ating wika.

Noong panahon ding iyon nauso pati mga kantang may salitang pabaliktad. Pumatok noon ang kanta ni Mike Hanopol na “Laki sa Layaw, Jeproks.” Ang Jeproks po ay baliktad ng salitang project. May kanta rin si Sampaguita na pinasikat noon, ito ay ang “Nosi Balasi” na ang ibig sabihin ay ‘sino ba sila.’

Mga ilang dekada ang lumipas, pero may mga baliktad pa rin mga pananalita. Noong 1990’s ang Eraserheads naman ay naglabas ng kantang Bogchi Hokbu – na baliktad ng Chibug Buhok. Ito po ang sample ng kanta, tignan ko kung masasakyan ninyo:

Wanga tenants ng reksli,
Toing takans na toyi,
Napha oyats ng nengmi,
Nananakirima,
Bangbangbangalalala,
Tastastasbobona,
Bogchi Hokbu.

Pero hindi po henerasyon ng mga Hippie ang pasimuno ng pagbabaliktad ng salita. Kasi, panahon pa ng Kastila ay binabaliktad na ng mga Pilipino ang salita o pangalan. Hindi kayo maniwala? Siguro naman ay kilala ninyo ang isa sa ating bayani na si Marcelo Del Pilar. Ang kanyang ginamit na pen name ay Plaridel, na galing sa Del Pilar. Petmalu si Del Pilar ano po?

Maliban sa mga salitang baliktad, meron ding mga salita sa bokabularyo ni Mayor Isko Moreno na pamilyar sa akin dahil naging bahagi rin ito ng aking wika noon at kahit hanggang ngayon. Isa rito ay ang salitang ‘tolongges.’ Nasaan na kaya ngayon ang mga tolongges kong kabarkada noon? Kung inyong aalamin, noong 1981, ay may isang pelikula si George Javier na ang pamagat ay “A Man Called Tolongges.”

Pero meron din namang mga kataga is Yorme na ngayon ko lang narinig. Ngayon ko lang nakilala is ‘Eddie’ at si ‘Patty.’ Pero ang mga ‘Spiderman,’ dati ko na silang kilala. Sa katunayan tatlong tiyuhin ko noon ay mga lineman ng Meralco, kaya galit sila sa mga Spiderman.

Hanggang dito na lang po muli. Lodi ko si Yorme, at bilib pa rin ako sa ating wika, talagang astig pa rin ito. Sana more werpa sa atin na nagsasalita ng wikang Pilipino. Mabuhay! O haymabu?

(*inilathala para sa Buwan ng Wika)

Blast from the Past

Change. That is the only constant thing in this ever-changing world.

Not too long ago, we cannot get by our daily lives without the typewriter, mimeograph machine, telephone booth (not just Superman), cassette tape recorder, floppy disc, and film negatives. Do you even know what they are?

When was the last time you placed a 35 mm roll of film in the film cartridge of your camera? Or when was the last time you held a real printed photograph instead of viewing it on a computer monitor or from a smart phone?

In the world of medical radiographic images, the same is true. In our practice, rarely do we see a real printed x-ray film nowadays. Instead, everything is now digital or electronic.

Gone are the days when we have to wait for several minutes for an x-ray technician to develop the film in a dark room. Then wait for it to dry. Then hand you the film. And then you have to find an x-ray view box to hang it so you can read it.

Today, we view radiographic images digitally through PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System), which is a network of computers used by radiology department, that we can access through our desktop, laptop, tablet, or even our smart phone. And if a referred patient comes with an x-ray taken by a radiology department not in our network, he brings in his x-ray images in a CD that we can load and view.

However the other day, a new patient referred to us came in with a real copy of her chest x-ray film. A real film!

I have not held one of these for a while. I missed the feel of its smooth texture on my fingers. The crisp sound of the film as you pull it out of the envelope and wave it softly in the air. Its peculiar slight acidic scent (from the x-ray developer and fixer chemical solution). The unmistakable exotic taste of its…..ah, er……. no, I have not done that.

Who knew that a plain x-ray film will bring me such nostalgia?

As I hold the x-ray film in my hand, I looked around for a viewbox (negatoscope is the technical term), but can’t find one. I guess they don’t install them anymore. I was in one of our newly constructed multi-specialty satellite clinic, and they don’t have a negatoscope in the whole building. None. Zilch. Nada.

So how did I view the x-ray?

I held the film against the bright window and squint my eyes a little, just like the “old” days.

IMG_5808

Right after graduating from medical school, almost twenty-five years ago, I worked in a small (and I mean really small) rural hospital in Plaridel Bulacan, in the Philippines. There whenever I ordered an x-ray, I even helped with shooting and developing it. That’s why I cannot forget the aroma of the freshly developed x-ray film. And while the film was still wet, I would hold it against the light, squint my eyes, and read it.

That was just like yesterday. Yet so much have changed.

As I looked at the film of my current patient, I also peered through the window and looked outside at the present world I’m in, while I relived and reminisced the past through the window of my mind.

(*photo taken with an i-Phone; and in case you’re asking, the chest x-ray was normal)

Lessons from Plaridel

The world of medicine where I work now, is so sophisticated and “high-tech” compared to where I started many years ago. CT-angiogram, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan, High Frequency Oscillatory Ventilators (HFOV), thoracoscopy, bronchoscopy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and electronic medical records. These are just some of the technologies that are part of our everyday practice in a tertiary, referral, and academic center here in Des Moines.

downtown Des Moines

If I will be stripped with all these technologies, will I still be able to practice medicine? I believe so, for even though technology and scientific advancement are changing the field of medicine, there are basic tenets that do not change. Let me take you back 17 years ago……..

I was a fresh graduate of University of Sto. Tomas in Manila, and just have finished a year of internship at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. Since I still don’t know what direction to take with my career, I did not start right away on a specialty or residency training. Instead, I stalled. I decided to prepare and review for the United States Medical Licensure Exam, and hope that I pass it and then try to apply for training in the US.

I needed money for the US exam, as well as to support myself while I’m reviewing, so I looked for a part time medical work. They call it “moonlighting”. I found work in a small clinic/hospital in Plaridel, Bulacan. It was located in a dirt road, off a main street. It has 5 in-patient bed capacity (it is bigger now when I googled it), an office clinic, a small emergency room with 2 beds, a simple laboratory, small drug dispensary/pharmacy, and an x-ray machine. I spent almost a year working there.

street scene in Plaridel (photo by diamonds_in_the_soles_of_her_shoes)

The clinic/hospital was owned by a couple, both of them physicians: the husband was a pulmonologist and the wife was a pediatrician. I worked on weekends, and certain nights on weekdays; basically as a coverage for the owners. In between work, I study. The income was modest, but enough to support myself, and definitely more than the stipend a residency program offers, which was at that time 6,000 pesos/month ($130/month).

Long before I learned to insert and float a pulmonary artery catheter in my Critical Care Training in New York, I learned first how to insert an intravenous needle (called butterfly) in the scalp of babies in Plaridel. Before I learned to do bronchoscopies in my Pulmonary Fellowship, I learned first how to draw blood from squirming little kids, while their tense (making me tense too) parents watched. Perhaps it was due to my stint in Plaridel that I realized that I don’t really care much about Pediatrics, but find Pulmonary interesting.

butterfly IV cannula

Because of the limited ancillary tests available in Plaridel, and due to the fact that most patients can barely afford to pay the doctor, much more any additional lab tests, I learned to come up with a diagnosis with the least tests possible. I believe this is where I honed my skills in critical thinking. Armed with just a stethoscope, pen, script pad and an analytical mind (mind? I still use it sometimes) – that’s all I need to treat patients. Of course the pharmacist has to decipher first what I wrote.

There were also a few instances that patients will tell me out right, that they don’t have enough money to pay the doctor’s fee plus the medicines. So what can I do but to waive the professional fee (of course with the consent from my employers, who themselves practice the same compassionate spirit), and have them buy the medicines they need. If they offered chicken eggs as payment, I probably would have accepted them.

I have learned from my experiences from Plaridel, to treat each patient with compassion, and give them equal respect whether they have the ability to pay me or not. So today, whether I am caring for a millionaire who’s organ systems are failing, or attending to a drug addict who overdose on illicit drugs, I am always reminded to give them the same compassion, the same care, and the same and equal respect for life.

Plaridel, town proper (photo by barrera_marquez2003)

Once, a man was brought in by his family, early in the morning, to the clinic in Plaridel. He was coughing up blood. Lots and lots of it. Minutes later, he flopped in the examining table, lost consciousness and shortly after, lost his pulse. I was not ready for this kind of situations nor were we equipped for this kind of emergencies, but there was no time to transfer him to another hospital. I had the owner of the clinic, who lives a stone-throw away, come emergently to help me, even though it was his day off. The two of us tried our best to save the man.

After many minutes of vigorous resuscitative efforts, and after lots of  blood spewed out of his mouth with each cardiac compression, the man died. Could he have made it if I am more trained, or we have more life-saving equipments, or if we were able to transfer him to another hospital with a higher level of care? Or is he beyond saving? God only knows.

Feeling exhausted and dejected, I learned that day to give all my best, even though my best may not be good enough. I know there will be times that I will fall short no matter what I do, just like an unfinished bridge. Even now, with many years of training and experience, did not change that.  I still (and always will) have limitations. We all do. I learned to accept mine.

unfinished bridge (photo by Cretense)

Plaridel. Simple and yet complete. It is amazing how some of the most profound things in my career and in my life, I learned not in higher academic centers, but in the most plain and humble places.

Thank you Plaridel.