Archive for January, 2013

The pen is the misericorde

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

I should have learned a lesson today: a pen that I essentially found from a garbage sale was given to me for free, and yet I was able to use it until its last drop. It was a cheap advertising Bic pen that someone must have thrown along the stuff that he or she no longer wanted that it ended up in a box full of toys. Because I was looking for vintage video games, I rummaged thoroughly through the smorgasbord of toys and managed to pick that pen up. The cashier gave the pen to me for free because I bought a dated handheld that miraculously still worked.

Rest in peace

Rest in peace

I started using the pen on the last week of December last year, and continued to use it through the beginning of my Surgery rotation. Funnily enough, it blazed through all of the paperwork I had to write with nary a loss in step: despite me dropping it a few times, it never stopped writing with its clear black ink. When I actually looked at the ink that remained in it a few days ago, I was actually surprised that it was near empty. Nevertheless, I kept using it because I wanted to see how long it would actually keep on writing.

While I was writing a discharge summary of a patient today, it abruptly gave out. When I once again looked at the pen’s ink cartridge, there was absolutely nothing left. I had emptied it to its final drop of ink.

I didn’t pay anything for the pen, too. I really shouldn’t complain about the pens I’ve bought online, however, as nearly all of them have worked until their last drop as well, although they cost a lot more.

‘A cheap pen writes as well as an expensive one,’ a good friend of mine said. What happened today just proved her statement true. I don’t think I spend for ballpoint pens just for the sake of their writing, however. Neither do I think I purchase them because I wish to be stylish. It’s just that I like having artifacts of the past because these represent history.

I do recognize I should move on to other things but vintage pens are relatively inexpensive especially when one compares it to other historical exempla, so I keep on purchasing them. Today, however, I realized that I should slow down with those. There’s another Scripto pen that I may or may not win in an auction but as its combined shipping and handling won’t cost me much I just hazarded to place a bid on it anyway.

Ultimately, passions usually don’t sit well with pragmatism, unless it’s one’s passion to be pragmatic. Passions usually connote an overflow of strong emotion, which in and of itself runs contrast to the corollary of pragmatism, as I believe it is closely related with the principle of self-control. So I’ll probably still purchase pens, but I’ll probably think twice next time. (I just bought and paid for a light violet highlighter, which would honestly help me with my readings. At least it’s not another ballpoint pen, although I may have to pay for something like that five days from now.)

The stone of surgery

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

I should be happy. I mean, I found the pen and the name tag that I misplaced yesterday after scrounging all over the place. But I think how my duty ended at the hospital left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth: we unwittingly roused our senior resident to anger because we were poking fun at the inevitability of staying late at the hospital. We had a patient who was scheduled for an open cholecystectomy today, and because I was the one in charge of the patient, entered his operation with a rather muscular friend of mine. I had expected the operation to be relatively lengthy, as nearly all operations with intraoperative cholangiograms were, so I tried to be in a jovial mood despite the fatigue. I was relatively successful: I talked about my past unrequited loves, and I warmed to the joking made by my co-intern regarding our stay in the operating room. It was akin to accepting one’s ineluctable end because one sees it so clearly in the distance: one of our senior residents said that it was the biggest bile duct stone she had ever seen in her three years as a resident, and it was indeed sizable. That alone prognosticated a long and grueling operation due to the sheer number of stones the patient harbored, probably even raised in her gastrointestinal tract. After I understood that there was no scrubbing out from an operation once it had begun, I just accepted the fact that I was probably going to go home only to sleep, and wake up to another duty tomorrow. In accepting my fate, I just made fun of it. Near the end, however, when despite really intensive clearing by our senior residents there were still some stones left, I shared in laughter with my co-intern (who was probably even more tired than I was, as he came from duty the night before), we were shouted on by our senior resident who wasn’t even prone to anger. He is one of the reasons why our surgery rotation was so tolerable, as he is patient, fun-loving, and diligent in his duties. I think it was the stress of his training officer that got to him. We then removed ourselves from sterility, and packed our things.

It was a catastrophe of sorts because he was never someone who would blow his top even at the most tense of circumstances. The patient, however, was flirting with deadly cholangitis and also had those massive stones that he wasn’t in the mood for black comedy. We went home after having witnessed an awesome tragedy. Still, it afforded me rest and he was nice enough to allow us to be shifted as my arms were really wobbly from all the effort: I’m someone slim, after all, and it was utter suffering to even hold a certain position against resistance. It was excruciating after three hours.

As I end my rotation in General Surgery I can’t help but think that I understand the reason why surgeons charge the way they do after operations. I’ve been only doing part of what they do for a month and I’m always enervated when I get home, but to operate on all sorts of people for five years and experience all kinds of difficulties and not charge at the end of it to make up for all of one’s suffering in becoming a surgeon is also unfair. I can only hope that they can save that lady, but I can vouch for their efforts in trying to save her.

I probably will never become a surgeon.

Chuunibyou and my chuunibyous

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

It’s weird, because another package arrived for me in the post office about a week ago, and I think I’m elated because I still couldn’t sleep despite not having had more than two hours of sleep yesterday night. I had, after all, gone for roughly 36 hours of straight work with a bit of dozing in between. It was indeed quite tiring, but after I got the package from the post office I think I was excited, although I couldn’t really show it. That’s what a lack of sleep does to you, I think.

I got another ballpen. What else is new with me, anyway? Due to our regimented schedules, however, it seems that that would be the last package I’d obtain from the post office, at least for the next two months. I can’t really get out of the hospital unless it’s past five in the afternoon for non-duty non-Sundays, and whenever I could get out at ten in the morning the post office would be closed because it’s a Sunday. I have to do what I just did over again if I do try and purchase something from eBay, and I really don’t believe windfalls come in pairs. I was already lucky enough to escape unscathed today.

Besides, I have a lot of ballpens already. I need to stop. Once again, I’m back to what I’ve been writing about this particular topic over the past year. I know I have got to stop, but sometimes I’m just driven to stupidity by that obsessive-compulsive brain of mine. I hope coffee remedies this.

More importantly, however, I just watched the first episode of Chuunibyou per the suggestions made in a previous post. It was interesting. I would gladly watch another episode tomorrow, even despite the fact that I have less than a month to prepare for our final exams. I’m hoping this comprehensive reviewer would do the job for me, since a recent article noted that bulk-reading, highlighting, and re-reading aren’t very effective ways to store information in the brain. Practice tests offer better retention, although I don’t think you can retain anything without of course opening the book at first. At least I’m re-introducing myself to anime, right?

I realized that I must have been a pretty restricted fellow. I was just an asshole at the age of the main characters of Chuunibyou, but I never believed I was something other than human. Sometimes my best friend would act as if we were Mack Bolan, but that was it. Even then I thought it was already pretty weird for being a high schooler. The heroine in this series, on the other hand, is unique. Believing in Evil Eyes and whatnot was simply something I never really grew accustomed to in my life. I just played video games. I guess even buying vintage stuff isn’t really weird. Not like that. Not like her.

How an obsessive-compulsive personality may actually be productive

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

When I was younger, I was flirting with obsessive-compulsive disorder. I held money on the tips of two of my fingers, and I would count to ten to make sure that the door was locked when I went to bed or went out. That was about twenty years ago, and I’m glad that I’ve gotten over it because of my parents’ guidance. My mother was especially prescient as regards my development toward the disorder that she steered me towards normalcy by reminding me that it was all right to be dirty at times, such as when handling money and that it was all right to only check the locks once, because once it had been locked there was no way that anyone could do anything about it except perhaps noisily. I grew up to be a relatively normal teenager and adult, which was already a miracle. Had I less informed parents I would probably just walk on straight lines and be an excessive stickler for cleanliness. But because they steered me onto the right path, I simply became someone unique, but within the boundaries of what most people consider to be normal.

This isn’t even remotely connected to what I’m talking about, but it’s a cute puppy!

I mean, despite being a certified fan of anime and Korean dramas, I can relate to other people well and don’t have an addiction with order outside of my head. I don’t impose my will on other people’s cleanliness especially because my own is quite lacking: I’m a relatively normal guy.

There are times, however, where shades of my obsessive-compulsive behavior actually help me do stuff. One of the things I hate doing is to drop something I’ve started, even if it’s horrible. That’s the reason why I finished Gin-iro no Olynssis, and that’s also the reason why I could read obsolescent textbooks just because I already started reading them. Of course I would often want to stop but I find an indescribable resolve to finish whatever I have started. I think those are mini-compulsions of mine: remnants of that childhood personality seem to surface whenever I feel like I need to complete something.

That already applied in my medical education for one. I never had a heart for medicine but decided to continue pursuing it since I didn’t fail anyway. I don’t know whether I love it now – I love what I’ve learned from it, but I really can’t see myself not having regular sleeping hours or even regular working hours. I also can’t see myself reading more textbooks of it for the rest of my life.

That atavism, however, keeps me going. Just now I finished skimming through an anatomy reviewer just because of that drive to finish what I’ve started. Even though I’ve essentially learned nothing, I still skimmed through the book until its very last page. I’m not even a masochist, but I still felt I had to finish it, for what it was worth. This post is even similar to that: I don’t even think I could write any worse because my eyelids are drooping and I’m in for another 36-hour duty tomorrow but I write anyway because I wish to provide at least some sort of conclusion to this post.

Why I don’t watch anime any longer

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Well, since I’ve paid for the hosting once again, I might as well update with whatever comes into my mind. Back then, it was to support Animeblogger, but since I just think it’s an absolute waste not to update when I paid an arm and a leg for it once more I’ll just write whatever comes into my mind and hopefully link it to anime. This isn’t a free hosting anymore, after all. I’ll do what I wish to do.

I don’t think I’ll ever lose my love for anime. But I just haven’t been able to enjoy watching any of it lately, primarily because I have the looming final examinations on my mind and because I watch Korean dramas even though I can’t explain why, for the life of me. I just love watching cute real-life girls end up with decent men and endure through difficulties. Plus, come on, Kim Tae Hee is extremely attractive.

I think that it’s because of the respect I wish to accord the anime series I watch. I’m no slouch for looking for challenging, intellectual series, which is why my favorite series of all time is an anime most people don’t even know of and something that probably wouldn’t come out in any of the anime channels here in the Philippines. Most people here don’t know of Tatami Galaxy. Another thing is that I have never expected medical internship to be as spiritually draining as it has been physically, so I rely on less challenging forms of entertainment – or just challenge myself all the more. I can read pocketbooks because I can stop and steal a few pages before another patient comes in, but it simply feels impossible to do that with anime. I like to watch anime to enjoy myself, which I really don’t do well whenever there are patients around. So I just don’t, and just read classics. The last one I read was Brave New World, which was okay. It definitely struck a chord in me, seeing that our ability to think is killed by our wish to be pleasured. But a good idea doesn’t an entertaining and holistic read make.

There’s also the requirements. You’d think that a 36-hour duty would be enough, but one would have to deal with paperwork, let alone critical emergencies such as people dying that the stresses really just pile up one on top of the other. Anime, at least, the anime I watch, definitely isn’t the answer.

So there. Those are the reasons why I don’t watch anime any longer. I want to simply pine for true love these days, seeing that I’m so bereft of it (haha) that I enjoy watching good people end up together. Think of this as a hiatus from anime. Eventually, though, I’ll have to face the fact that I love anime and must make amends. I know that being a medical intern is no plausible excuse, because if I really loved it I’ll find time for it. I will, eventually – just not right now. (But I’ll keep on writing. It may not be about anime, but I simply have to retain something of myself.)