Tuesday, December 13, 2011


My Christmas Sock. December 11,2011. Manila.
(I think I'll hang it on my window where Santa can see it. A patient's mom made it for me.)
I got home 40 minutes past eight tonight, in a hurry, plopping down in my favorite seat on the dining table (there are 6, and I eat alone, so it doesn’t really matter.) I hurriedly opened my take-away dinner, a breaded pork-chop combo from Goldilocks. With laing.

I have to admit, Goldilocks is not gourmet food…but I’m a sucker for the Laing. My favorite comfort foods either remind me of home…or have a coconut milk-based ingredient. (In Iloilo, I had this thing for an Ilonggo dish called Pangat, which is kind of like Laing, but different.)
Why the sudden need for comfort food, you might ask?

Well…stress-relief, I suppose.

I’ve had a full day at work…quite a long day. I put in a lot of hours with patients. I think it’s time I put my foot in my mouth…I did mention before that one of the main things that drew me to train in Psychiatry was because of the stories. People’s stories. I loved learning about people.

Today, though, I have to admit…I’ve had too many “stories” to deal with… there simply were a lot of patients that I saw today. It’s not enough to just mainly listen…one has to piece everything together to come up with a good treatment plan (and to explain everything in Tagalog). Sometimes, I get a good ribbing from my friends, telling me that I’m just making things hard for myself, because I’m making other people’s problems my own. Smile with tongue out

Oh well, that’s part of it, but hey, you have to realize, there simply is nothing quite like the feeling that you made a difference in someone’s life. Well, in psychiatry, the results aren’t that dramatic all the time, but when you do see a difference, it is well worth all the effort.

(Like, this afternoon, one of my patient’s family caregivers couldn’t help but give me a high five, because of how well our patient was doing, and how much he had improved. I had to hand it to her…she was an extremely disciplined treatment partner who was able to follow instructions to the letter, and thus, together, we had worked really well together to make our patient better.)
And yes, there are others…I had another re-admission today because another patient relapsed. His mother had tried to “experiment” and seemed to me, was trying to “rush” the process, and ended up getting the patient under-dosed. What a shame. These make me sad, of course… But as they say, it is inevitable, there will be bad apples, so says my senior (and everyone else who has been in Psychiatry, for that matter.)


There was one mother who was hesitant with having her patient admitted because it was going to be Christmas soon, and she wanted it to be spent at home with her family… I assured her that I’ll try to do whatever I can, but Christmas won’t be Christmas anyway, if her patient was currently in his present state…

One time this afternoon, I had a patient who would not take his medications at all…when I tried to have him take it in front of me, he sort of freaked out. Even my opening his pill box to put in front of make made him jumpy. You could clearly see the effort it took for him to drink water…for him to put the pill in his mouth…to speak afterwards. If I didn’t understand how his fear was so palpably real to him, I would have been annoyed and dismissed him. But no, I sort of felt for the little man. Fear can be paralyzing, whether it is real or not.


One of my patients presented me with a bunch of bananas. I was touched. He was sort of a recluse who used to be suspicious of other people, but I’ve seen him to be improving over the past few months, and I’m glad. He gave me a smile and apologized that he didn’t have a present for me for Christmas, but he hoped that I would eat the bananas for a snack.


Speaking of Christmas presents, I got a bottle of cologne from a well-meaning relative who just left it at the ward for me. Victoria’s Secret Pretty in Pink. So…pretty.  Smile I think I’ll wear it in the morning.


Another patient’s mother gave me a loaf of Gardenia bread and cheese spread earlier this afternoon because she heard that I haven’t had lunch yet. I took some of it, yes, but I ended up giving the rest to my other patient who had just given birth and was hungry. <—this one didn’t have much money, and was always hungry.

Walking home from work, I then thought about this and realized…”Omigosh, they’re going to be in the same ward….the patient’s mother is going to see that I had given away her gift to another patient!”

Blooper. But hey, how could I not give it away…it’s not easy being hungry…

…which was pretty much why I had a big dinner, and Laing as well.


Happy Birthday, Ma. Thank you for being beautiful, in absolutely every way. Winking smile



1 comment:

  1. You deserved the high five. It sounds as if some of your patient's families forget what is best for the patient. And I think th emother will understand you giving away the bread--she'll understand a brand new mom being hungry. =)

    I always have a favorite seat too, no matter how many are available.



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