Monday, September 13, 2004

Consequent exchanges about dr-nurses

To Peter and Roger,

Saludo rin ako sa inyo! I am not being sarcastic. Read on so you will understand me better.

To all whom I unintentionally offended:

(Ayoko na sana magsalita, pero dalawang araw na akong affected, pati mga anak ko at asawa ko. I needed to vent it off my chest, so here goes.)

To Peter:

Lory, Believe it or not I'm still happy being a doctor here in the Philippines. Ihave always believed that being a doctor is not just a profession, it is avocation. Prestige, glamour, financial gains folow when you get better in theprofession. They never were my primary goals. God gave us skills and talents.If we improve on them, God will reward us with more. Hindi ko ito inimbento,nasa bible ito, sa parable of talents :-) . A lot of the old doctors I know didnot become rich but they are well respected for their contributions to society.All I want is to grow old gracefully and with dignity.

I was happy being a doctor and serving the people, rich or poor, but I was not happy with the medical system. I have always believed that being a doctor is a vocation, and so is motherhood. The difference between the two is that a mother should devote her full time to the formative years of her children, after which she can then do it part-time, but she will always be a mother even beyond the death of her children. When I wanted to enter residency in OB-Gyn, it was not for prestige or glamour or financial gains, but because I felt happiest to see a new life coming to earth, and I wanted to be able to do more than just normal deliveries (especially when my sister had a CS on all her children). I never saw myself as plain Lory the doctor for those things you mentioned. Rather, I had been dreaming of a community where people exchanged (rather than pay) for services (There was once a time when I told my pediatrician: Sana, bumalik yung time na okay na kahit manok at gulay lang ang pambayad sa doctor. Natawa sya sa sinabi ko. He took it as a joke and answered with a joke: Sana pwede nang sex na lang ang ibayad [I found it funny kasi kahit me asawa’s anak sya, tingin ko bading sya, pero kahit bading, nirerespeto ko, ke doctor o pasyente o kaibigan o teacher.]) I know God gave us talents. Modesty aside, I feel blessed that my skills gained as a doctor were not the only talents that God showered upon me. I consider my discovery of blogging and website making (although at the very early stages of development) a new-found talent, and I am using these as a tool to share myself to others, even though at present I have no material wealth to share [oo, hanggang ngayon, di ko pa mapadalhan ng pera ang Nanay, Tatay, at mga kapatid ko sa Pilipinas.], being confined inside the house given the circumstances that we have no public transportation here and I have no driver’s license yet, and in the event that I have my driver’s license, I will not readily have a car to ride. Magba-bike na lang ako.) A lot of doctors I know became rich because they had to be politicians to be on top of the competition. Some of the doctors working for the government have used their positions to exploit the hospitals and clinics. Are you aware that there is a GAMCA, a governing body that assigns a few clinics (therefore the clinics had monopoly of business)
to conduct medical examinations to OFWs in the Middle East.(As an assistant to the med director I had read letters (CCs) from organizations fighting for their right to choose which clinics to go to for medical exam, taking into account the nearness, efficiency of staff, orderliness and cleanliness of the clinic.) Are you aware that the Quality Assurance Management required now of major (public) hospitals were originally a requirement by the ILO and the Maritime Industry (MARINA) for clinics and hospitals that conduct medical examinations on seafarers, but the DOH have mandated it to be applied also for OFWs in general. This Quality Assurance created more job opportunities for those experts in QA (those already practicing quality assurance in their hospitals on their own even prior to the implementation by the DOH. The governing body for quality assurance before the ILO required it was the PCAHO, patterned after the JCAHO, but with set of standards that were not quite the same (although congruent) with that of ISO. (Quality Assurance signs: Vision/Mission Statement, Quality Policies, etc.) Ang tinutumbok ko, these jobs created would only benefit the very few who have been experts there. Can you imagine the profits they got when they gave trainings (P5000 per head) which were mandatory before any of the said hospitals/clinics could be issued a renewal of their licenses at the expiration of their existing ones? That QAM required that these clinics’ staff undergo in-house training for quality assurance, including internal quality audit, which could only be conducted by certified QAM personnel, the same expert people (who were doctors), for a handsome fee of P20,000 for a small clinic of 20 staff or below (including the medical director, accountant, etc.) up to P75,000 for the larger hospitals like St. Luke. Certification itself was another thing. And you know what quality assurance is? Tracking down who is to blame when something gets wrong. It’s what many foreigners would call “cover-your-ass thing.” My consultant then was a British, and I told him that after the certification, I would be glad if he could train my assistant to be a full-fledged QA Manager, because I’d rather be a clinician, rather than be in the management (those were the times when I saw how my boss’ employees were so maltreated, and I had arguments with my boss when I fought for their benefits, saying these employees are our internal clients that we also have to satisfy. I was talking to deaf ears. Well, my boss needed the profits.) MY POINT IS, sukang-suka ako sa nakita kong sistema. MY ANGER WAS NEVER DIRECTED TO THE PEOPLE, dahil gaya nila, kabilang ako sa kanila, kahit ngayong nandito na ako sa US, ang pamilya ng asawa ko ay kabilang sa masa, kabilang sa mga nabiktima ng mga ganid na businessmen na puro profit ang nasa isip.

It saddens me to hear these words from you. Both of us got subsidized educationat QCSHS and UP. Med School was even free for us. Our country doesn't owe usanything, I think it is the other way around.

My opinion is that, Education is a right. We as adults have the obligation to teach the children in preparation for adulthood. It started out that way. However, even the educational system got screwed up, and now, very few schools have remained true to that purpose. Most of them have also turned into businesses.

We have no right bad mouthing ourcountry using rebellion as an excuse just because things did not turn out wellf or us. Lory, you are my friend. I have always been honest with you. I know youwent through a lot of hardship but who among us did not. We still areundergoing hardship. Your words are not what we need in this time of crisis.

You and Diwa were right. I should not have talked about my gripes publicly. I should have just sent that mail only to Gemma. My apologies. I did not mean to hurt your feelings.

It angers me to hear from you na "buti nga at walang makuhang doktor ngayon sa mgaospital dito", na "it's sweet revenge". Sabihin mo yan sa mga pasyente nanangangailangan ng doktor. Sa mga kamag-anak ng mga pasyenteng namatay bago matignan ng doktor.

Maniniwala ka ba na makamasa pa rin ako? Kahit kelan, lahat ng pasyente ko, tinuring kong tao. Me mga batang habang inoopera ng boss ko nun, hinihimas ko ang noo, binubulungan ko ng comforting words. Karamihan ng mga pasyente ko na naging kaibigan ko sa private clinic na yun ay yung mga tindera at pedicab drivers sa tabi ng palengke, pati mga japayuki. Pag meron silang gusting itanong sa boss ko na nahiya silang sabihin, either ako ang tulay or ako ang sumagot. How many times did I attempt to engage my boss in a project that would give free lectures during the weekend for purposes of public health education? I was willing to do that for free, and arrange everything, from asking several consultants to do their share at least once every 2 months, to soliciting from pharmaceutical companies not only for free drugs and leaflets abut also free whiteboard and pen and merienda for the lecturers. Nawalan lang ako ng gana, kasi alam mo kung bakit? Sabi ng boss ko: "Mainam na ideya yan. Alam mo, minsan, tayong mga doctor, kelangan din maging pulitiko eh." (Namputsa naman, napaka-idealistic ko ba’t naive na di ko nakitang ganun ang iisipin nya?)

Huwag mong isipin na kaya ko lang sabihin ito kasi masarap buhay ko ngayon.Hindi po. Malamang mas komportable buhay mo ngayon sa akin. Sigurado masmasarap buhay mo sa milyon-milyong pilipino ngayon. I have my own problems buti will not bitch about them here.

Sigurado akala ng milyun-milyong Pilipino, kasama ka na, masarap ang buhay ko ngayon. Depende yun sa kung ano ang interpretasyon mo sa masarap na buhay. Oo, masarap ang buhay ko na me oras akong asikasuhin ang mga anak ko, na me meaningful relationship ako with my hubby and in-laws kahit hirap din kami financially, kasi sa kahirapan naming nakikita how much we can survive just by helping one another, without having the need for financial rewards. Oo, masarap ang buhay ko, dahil sa wakas, I have re-connected with the earth through planting vegetables and having the opportunity to show my children how the earth nourishes us, and to teach them to respect the earth, telling them how lucky they are that they have clean water to drink and clean air to breathe, soil to till, and plants that convert the energy from the sun into a form that is usable to us humans. Masarap ang buhay ko, dahil when I looked for the opportunity to raise my children decently, so far I have managed to teach them the importance of good nutrition (they like eating vegetables we harvested from my garden) and physical activity (they help me lug firewood, wash the dishes, clean the rooms. Of course they play, too. They ride their bikes or walk with me.) And there are a lot of other things that I have been instilling in my children that would not have been possible if I stayed there. If you are interested about how I am raising my children, one of hwom is your inaanak, see my blog about my children - . Raising them decently does not mean to me that I will pamper them with expensive clothes and toys and food.) Masarap talaga ang buhay ko ngayon kumpara sa buhay ko noon. Kasi nung BIYUDA PA AKO NA ME 2 ANAK, kayod kalabaw na ako para me maipakain sa kanila, di ko pa rin maibigay nang sapat ang pangangailangan nila. Gusto ko man i-homeschool sila non dahil disappointed talaga ako sa mga schools natin ngayon (both public and the cheapest private schools that I tried – I could not afford the exclusive private schools eh), hindi ko magawa dahil WALA AKONG CHOICE KUNDI KUMAYOD pambayad sa renta ng tirahan namin, pambili ng pagkain, damit, pangsweldo sa yaya (na di nakakatagal sa karampot na sweldong kaya kong ibigay – hanggang P3000 lang talaga ang kaya ko eh – lalo na at bukod sa yaya, sya rin ang all-around maid, na pinipilit kong tulungan pag nasa bahay ako kahit pagod na ako. Di ko masisi kung ninais pa nilang mag-japayuki. Meron din kasi silang binubuhay na pamilya.)

Just thank God for the blessings you have now

I have always thanked God for the blessings I have not only now but even during my worst times. It was faith that kept me going, and my sons were my inspiration. Nagpapasalamat nga ako nung ipinanganak ko si Patrick na hindi pa ako nakatapos ng medisina at wala pang trabaho, me mga kapatid akong nag-aabot ng pambili ng gatas. Pareho silang nagta-trabaho sa Taiwan non, isang nurse aid at isang factory worker. Sa ngayon ay pinapangarap kong maibalik ang pabor sa kanila. Sad to say, wala pa ako sa posisyong yun. Gaya ng nasabi ko na, mahirap lang kami ng asawa ko. Nagpapasalamat lang ako na maganda ang kalakaran ng school nila dito (hindi lahat ng schools dito sa US, maganda ang reputasyon). Pero nagpapasalamat din ako na kung hindi maganda ang edukasyon nila, at least me choice na ako ngayon nai-homeschool sila, dahil me katuwang na ako sa buhay. (Naiintindihan mo siguro kung sabihin ko na ngayon lang ako nagkaroon ng katuwang sa buhay. Hindi ko naman talaga naging katuwang ang unang asawa ko by the very nature of his illness. Oo, alam mo ang hardships na pinagdaanan ko, pero tip of the iceberg lang ang nakita mo. Pero hindi ko kelanman sinisi ang ibang tao, at hindi ko kelanman tinanong ang Diyos ng “Bakit nangyari sa akin to?” Bagkus, I focused my eyes on the blessings: two healthy sons and my very own healthy body with the skills that I got as a gift from God. )

and help others if u can.


If I chose not to be a doctor but to be a teacher for free instead, is that considered helping?

If I, due to my present circumstances, could not reach out physically to other people, but used the technological advancement to reach out to a virtual community that is as real as I am, is that considered helping?

If I gave a series of lectures (using my knowledge gained as a doctor and as a medical student) on the following topics (all covered here and there are more such informative posts elsewhere in my online kitchen):

Teaching children to develop a taste for healthful eating
After calculating TCR, apply the food pyramid
Calculating TCR (aka Daily Energy Balance)
Food Exchange List

Is that considered helping?

You might find it hard to believe, but I used my online kitchen to be of public service, albeit not physically as a doctor. While you might have thought that I was probably using my new-found skills in computers as a way to brag about what I have or what I know (Oh I know a lot of people misconstrue my intent to share as an intent to brag about what I know or have), I suggest that you try to look into some of them and try to understand what I am trying to do. Those are partially to keep my relatives and close friends informed about us, mostly for me to document what is happening to us (I have always maintained photo albums as early as my elementary days.), and partially to be able to help in any way I can – mainly through my online kitchen (to help other Filipinas in the same situation that I am in as a tool for public health education in food and nutrition), and in my online garden (where I am trying to awaken the eyes of people to the beauty of the earth and hopefully to instill in them respect for this life-sustaining planet).

Ayoko na sanang sumagot, pero 2 araw na akong di makatulog hindi dahil kinukusensya ako, kundi dahil meron na namang judgment sa mga gaya kong umalis sa Pinas. Buti pa ang Diyos ko, hindi judgmental. I expected that the least from you, my kumpare. Tinira ko ang gobyerno, pinersonal mo ako. Pero okay lang. Maiintindihan mo rin ako (sana) pag magulang ka na, at sana, never kang mabiyudo especially while your kids are still in their formative years. Siguro kung katawan ko lang ang iniintindi ko, I would have stayed too, kesehodang wala akong maiabot na pera sa mga magulang ko’t kapatid. Pero pag magulang ka na kasi, maiiba ang priorities mo eh. Lalo na if you had the chance to witness how children are getting screwed up because of parents who were so busy with their careers. Magkahirapan na sa buhay, palalakihin ko muna ang mga anak ko shaped with my values. Paglampas na sila sa teen-age years at well-established na ang values nila, pwede ko na silang unti-unting bitiwan. Pwede na akong maging anybody whom I wanted to be (a doctor, a teacher, or anything possible). Pagkatapos kong matulungan ang sarili ko at mga anak ko, pwede ko nang buhusan ng tulong ang ibang tao. Pero in the meantime, habang maliliit pa ang mga anak ko, sa tabi muna nila ako. Pasumpit-sumpit na lang muna ang pagtulong ko sa iba.

To Roger:

Ka Lory,

Much as I didn’t want to be judgmental as per your suggestion, pasensya na at medyo hindi ako mapalagay dun sa mga binitawan mong pahayag sa huling posting mo about doctor-nurses and your apparent silent victory re the current crisis on medical personnel among local hospitals here. Samakatwid kagigising ko lang pero di ko na ata kelangan magkape.

“Whenever I read about the problems facing the Philippines now because of the brain-drain, esp those in the medical field, I could only think that revenge is sweet.”

You may have your personal reasons for leaving the country at such a time that everybody else was. And I will have to respect you for thinking that the realization of your dreams for your family lies outside of this country, as most everybody else will think.

Salamat sa pagrespeto mo sa opinion ko, Ka Roger.

But there are those who chose to stay behind, inspite of and despite of. And there is nothing to gloat at all at the fact that the current physician to patient ratio now in your “beloved country” is 1: 20,000 and that we are facing a major breakdown in basic health services in 2-3 years should this trend continue, especially in the countryside.

Pasensya na rin po at nagging insensitibo nga ako. Hindi ko po ikinatutuwa yun, pero gaya ng maraming pangyayari sa history kung saan kelangan munang umabot sa ganitong klase ng sitwasyon bago mamulat ang mga namumuno, I am hoping (and as you said, it is promising) na magkakaroon na nga ng pagbabago. Nakakalungkot man, pero di maiiwasan na maraming maging biktima ng kapalaluan ng mga lider.

Apparently your “rebellion” is directed towards your former government, which apparently has done nothing to help those in the medical field, lalo na yung mga baguhang duktor. The Philippine Medical Association now is engaged in talks with the House of Congress to increase the magna carta for government health workers, especially physicians. And the advocacy is promising, subject of course to availability of funding from the national treasury [the current fiscal crisis is an altogether different matter].

Salamat at nakita mo kung kanino directed ang galit ko. Pero taliwas sa sinabi mong hindi nakatulong ang rebellion ko, if those of us who did not stay chose to stay, mangyayari kaya ang ganyang pagbabago? Hinihintay ko pa rin na sana nga, magbago. Pero it is not so much that low salary of the medical workers that angers me, but the apparent indifference of the concerned bodies and their lack of wisdom to foresee this problem. Kung baga sa employer whose business runs on human resources, hindi nya inalagaan at tintratong tao ang mga employees nya kaya nag-resign na lang. Kailangan pa ng picket at pagkahinto ng business for several days at malugi ng bilyones bago pakinggan ang mga manggagawa.

But as medical professionals, we have known this for the longest time, that getting into a residency training program would require everything from you other than scholastic achievements, especially in government. It’s not a pretty sight, and it’s nothing to be proud about, but it’s not like just yesterday that things were being done this way.

Opo, Ka Roger. Pag-ka-graduate ko sa medicine, napaka-naïve ko at ignorante at totally alang alam na kahit sa mga hospital, me pulitika pa rin.

I’m just wont to ask why it did not occur to you to might want to train in the private hospitals, if you really wanted the training, where the system of admission was more merit-oriented.

It did occur to me, pero magkano ang sweldo sa private hospitals? I was hoping to land in a public hospital para mas malaki ang sweldo, kahit natatakot ako kung pano ang mga anak ko during their formative years kung masyado akong maging busy sa residency training (alam mo naman gano ka-toxic sa public hospitals)? Sa private clinic where I worked my ass for five years, I was earning a bit less than what I could earn in a public hospital as resident. Naïve and ignorant that I was, my work then was: no work, no pay (alam mo naman ang nature ng moonlighting). I had no medical insurance for myself and for my family (I did not know the rights of a worker). Madaling sabihin na hindi pera ang habol nating mga doctor, pero pag me mga anak ka na binubuhay mo, lalo na kung mag-isa ka (di lang pagkain, kundi pati tirahan, yaya, katulong, konting abot sa Nanay at kapatid na nag-e-expect ng tulong-pinansyal say o kasi doctor ka naman at mas maswerte ka sa kanilang hindi nakatapos, pano pa yung edukasyon nila nung tumuntong sila sa edad 5?), mahirap lunukin ang prinsipyo at pride mo pero kelangan.

Private hospitals? For a mere P4000 to P6000, mabubuhay ko ba ang 2 anak ko? Sabi ng boss ko nun, hahanapan nya ako ng pharmaceutical company na mag-i-sponsor. Alam mo naman ang kapalit nun: walang kamatayang karereseta ng produkto nila.

I’m telling you this because I had the same less-than-decent experience with my hospital before, where I had gloriously labored through residency and fellowship, got endorsements all the way to the hospital director, only to be cut from the program by some Malacanang-connected fellow who couldn’t even get past one of three qualifying exams. But I couldn’t get myself to blame government. It has to bear itself with more than enough problems of this hearbroken land. I just thought maybe it was time to move on to greater things. Somehow, I did not think that getting back at the government was going to serve the people in any way. I have always thought that government was an instrument of the people, and that it can only do as much to us as we allow it to.

No, getting back at the government was not going to serve the people in any way immediately. However, I am still hoping na magigising na sila.

Imperfect as it was, as this whole country is, it was all we [I] had.

Our government is imperfect, and so is the US government. No government is perfect. But having lived here for one year now, I can see how luckier the masa here is than the masa there. I can say so because despite my being here, kabilang pa rin ako ng masa. My children were qualified to have free lunch at school. They have access to quality education. Mahirap lang kami, pero oo, mas maswerte pa rin ang mahihirap dito, dahil dito, kahit maliliit na tao, napapakinggan.

“I have read documentaries (by foreigners) of our rich wildlife, and my heart weeps for my country. Bakit di natin nakikita kung gano tayo kaswerte (sana) dyan; bakit di natin pinagyayaman ang kung ano meron tayo? Bakit tayo nagpapaanod sa globalization, pwede naman sana tayong maging self-reliant? Bakit lagi na lang ang leaders natin, puro gahaman? Bakit? Bakit? Bakit?”

Everybody’s heart weeps for this country. And on the contrary, we [I] refuse not to see the beauty of this country amidst all its tragicomic history. We will weep and we will gnash our teeth. And though some may choose to give up on her, others continue to labor in her midst, warts and all. Maybe the difference between those who left and those who were left behind, was that we chose not to have a choice. And that’s alright too. I just hope it works well for everyone.

No, I did not give up on her. I am just pressed for time because of my need to be a mother to my children first and to assure that they will not grow up to be palalo. But I hope to reach a time in my future where I will be able to fulfill my dreams for my fellowmen. But that is not now.

Here are some cut and paste from my foodblog:

I have a dream for the Philippines: I wish (and hope) that it would turn back into a self-sufficient country at least food-wise; i.e., enhance the agricultural aspect, re-teach its people on how to replenish lost greens (the forest trees, and in the process invite back animals that have lost their habitats in the past), and in schools emphasize at a young age to its students the life cycle and the interrelation of one species to another, the symbiotic relationship of humans with animals and plants. I wish and hope the people will re-discover their connection with the earth and with one another in a sense of a true community, where everyone has enough, and everyone is secure.

And a dream for the world: I wish all the people will stop being myopic and try to see the world in all its beauty, to see the universe in all its grandeur, and realize that every creature, from Paramecium to humans to whales, are all part of the world and the universe. I am not a strict environmentalist, but I do hope that people will learn to respect the chain of life. Disruption (wars, deforestation, ozone depletion) in any part of the chain will create disturbance in the whole ecosystem. It is never a local effect.

and from one forum that I joined:

(1) (on the topic of Simplicity) I like sticking to the basics. I like following intuitions coupled by intelligent guessing based on simple scientific facts.
To me, simplicity is re-connecting with the simple-yet-complex world and the universe...taking delight in simple pleasures like being with people you love, seeing a bee kiss a flower, sniffing the scent of flowers, a hot bath and a massage...
To me, simplicity is accepting that I am but a speck of dust in the universe, and that all things on earth, both organic and inorganic, are interwoven in the complexity of life, that I, as a human, is just a bit high up in the food chain, but still my survival as a species depends on personal skills and lots of help from people surrounding me.
To me, simplicity is being happy with what I have. To me, simplicity is being contented with having things that really give the best value to me (and in that case, jewelries and fine clothes and shoes and a nice car are not them. A computer, a digicam, a nice printer, a good book, the internet are things that I am willing to exchange my life energy for.)
To me, simplicity leaves me with enough time to reach out to other people, and to appreciate them in return. (If I strive to be on the other end, I might not have enough time to do just that!) And simplicity to me means that I don't suffer from depression.
But that is just me. And I am comfortable with that and I am at peace with myself.
I don't care if others don't agree, as long as I am happy and I don't hurt anyone

(2) (on the topic of Careers and Education)
switiksangel said:
So That is how i got involved with the Protection of children From sexual Exploitation in tourism. (these are people who go to foreign countries to prey on children). Read about it at . I´m still working on it, updating legistlature of each country. (this brought me back into the bureaucratic world of politics as we tried to encourage that laws be created to protect the needy)
That is one aspect of life that needs to be fulfilled in me...the need to contribute to the betterment of the community/world in its truest sense... And when time allows that again, when me and my hubby are in the "empty nest" stage, I would like to return to the Philippines to start a project that will uplift the people and help them return to a state of self-reliance, without having the need to rely on external resources. I still don't know how to do it, but I was inspired with a couple where the Filipina is a nutritionist and they are in a business that helps the Philippines coconut growers get back in the market, not only locally but globally. Please see and support VIRGIN COCONUT OIL. It is already supported by some American doctors who are in alternative medicine (and their support is mainly because they believe in the coconut oil's beneficial effects on health basing from their background in biochemistry.) Any ideas for future projects that can help Philippines (first) and other needy areas/countries?
Unang-una, natutuwa ako na karamihan ng nababasa ko at natututunan sa mga Filipina members dito ay MARAMING HINDI NAG-IINARTE. On the contrary, maraming very sensible Pinays dito. Better than most Pinays in actual physical social gatherings na madalas alam lang gawin i-flash ang alahas, ang magagandang damit at makipag-contest sa achievements, especially those measured in financial terms. (Kaya like Francesca, hindi rin ako comfortable to attend such gatherings where plastikan is rampant.) balutpenoy said:
I don't want to be a part of that kind of system so i don't accept them or return the goods or cash. and let that person know that i don't do that kind of thing.
Kudos to you for standing firm for your beliefs! Cheesecake said:
I salute manang K, Ger and switiksangel for your heart for the less privileged or for the betterment of our country.I am presently working with an NGO (it's an European NGO, but of course the merits of its work transcends regions) advocating organic farming and promoting biodiversity and do research on the bad effects of GMO )genetically modified organisms in plants, animals and humans (cloning) on lives and the environment. We are focused on the South (being the under-developed countries, as compared to the North (developed countries).
Thanks! And I salute you too for actually already doing something about it on a global scale. At present, while I am a homemaker, I am tracing back our roots by trying farming myself (I have my vegetable garden and am contemplating on raising chickens and swine for our own consumption)! I have always wanted to "go back to the basics" and live mostly by intuition and by intelligent guessing . With all the manipulations in the foods available in the market (genetic engineering, using hormones on cattles and chickens, using fertilizers made with sewage waters, etc. etc.), there has been a growing concern about the safety of these for human consumption and the possible long-term effects on the world's ecosystem. Not to mention the appearance of Mad Cow Disease in commercial cows, the Avian Bird has become scary just to eat (to live!) and enjoy our food! Trying to raise food by ourselves gives me more peace of mind, especially that I am feeding my children. I am just so glad that my in-laws are farmers, who are generous enough to guide me in this endeavor. And with knowing the earth through this practice I get to enjoy the benefits of grass-fed cows, fresh strawberries, fresh eggs, fresh chickens, and many homemade goodies such as strawberry/blueberry jams and maple syrup. Add to that the myriad of learning tools we can get from the internet for free so I gain access to in-depth discussions on gardening, food, ecosystem, etc. (And I am trying to help others who might be interested by posting recipes on my website). I hope the people in the Philippines will learn that most of our traditions are actually things that Americans now want to go back to (recycling wastes, organic farming) or want to shift to (more veggies and fish in the diet). While we Filipinos tend to follow their footsteps, papunta pa lang tayo, pabalik na sila. They are now painfully discovering the ill-effects of some products of their technology which gave them a comfortable and easy (lazy?) lifestyle. Ger said:
I see myself going back to the Philippines and making art education accessible to the children there
. My hubby and I talked about the possibility of us spending our retirement days in the PI (because it will be hard for us old people to chop and lift firewood during the long months of winter). And I am considering investing in a resort that my uncle (a surgeon) is creating in Cagayan (north PI). WE want to attract foreigners as well as balikbayans. I want to be able to put up a healthcare facility there, and be an instrument in creating jobs as well as disseminating health info to the locals. These are at the moment still dreams on my part. Switiksangel said:
MissT said Financial Responsibility. how about we drop financial first and speak of responsibility in general
I hate to say but I could not really totally drop the financial thing before I can fully realize my community responsibilities. Hard to face, but we all got to live, and living nowadays entails having money. Using it wisely (by being financially responsibile) will help us use some of it for our basic needs and some more, and will actually help us save money for uses other than merely surviving. When we are beyond that point of merely surviving, then we can be more responsive to the needs of people outside of our own families (especially true for those with children already). And we can do more and better things if we have the luxury of "excess". That excess we can use to actually start a project, then when everything looks promising, we can then possibly solicit support from other organizations. Or, like what you said, that you will direct us to organizations that do such noble things, so our excesses can go directly to them.
MissT, I agree about Financial Responsibliity. I think children should be taught in school about this. Most graduates of college in PI have not the least idea on how to manage money. I also regret that the parents making their children help them in the farm (or other businesses) are seen as abusing their children, when in fact children learn more about the value of hard work and of money (although it is a different story when these children are not able to attend school because they have to help their parents). When I was in high school I had a classmate who sold things in class to earn money (but she did not really need it; they were rich) and I envied her for having the guts to be so enterpreneurial that I wished my parents exposed us to business (like we could have brought some baked goods to school to sell because we had a small bakery then).
So right now, with my foodblog and the things that I am learning from my Mom-in-law, there is this “canning” thing that I am currently working on. Unlike other posts which was of more benefit to the Filipinas married to Westerners, these future posts about canning I intend to be of use (I hope) to the Filipino people engaged in farming and vegetables/fruits production. While I was learning from my in-laws about the art of canning, I was thinking: Why have the Filipinos, who have a lot of these produce, not developed these methods? Then I realized, it was because of the year-round availability of these that we have not given much attention to preservation techniques! I hope those in the rural areas in the PI will find ways to make a business out of what I am going to teach in my blog re canning, and hopefully they will be able to penetrate the international market, supplying the countries with long winter with such food supplies, especially that most people in these countries do not find the time to cook their food because of their busy lifestyle. I don’t know how to go about the business (I don’t know anything about entrepreneurship), but I hope that this will be the start.

To Diwa:

Hello lory, if you were following the train of emails the pastweek, we were talking about konstant's dad and peter'sfree medical service. i think you were beinginsensitive in that email you sent.

Yeah, I realized that now. My sincere apologies.

In defense of myself (with all due respect), doctor man ako, tao pa rin ako, nagkakamali. Pero marunong naman ako mag-admit ng mali and to say I’m sorry. I know I don’t have the monopoly on being insensitive. Hindi naman ako lagging insensitive, at hindi lang ako ang insensitive.

(1) 2 pm na. Finally maisisingit ko na ang lunch. I started to eat, then I heard someone coming in to the clinic.
Nurse: Ma’am, makakahintay po ba kayo? Kasi kumakain pa po yung doctor naming.
Pasyente: Ano? 2 o’clock na, kumakain pa rin?
Nurse notified me and gave me the chart. I asked him questions to see whether it was an emergency case. Eh hindi, so I took the time to satisfy my hunger, para na rin mag-work ang brain ko.
(2)OB-Gyn Consulant to pay patient (a mother delivering her baby for the first time): Ano ba!? (Sabay palo sa hita) Ibuka mo nang maige yang mga hita mo at naiipit ang ulo ng bata! …Ay naku! Galingan mo nga ang ire mo!
Ako: (Sa isip ko) Palibhasa, hindi ka pa nanganganak…Palibhasa, hindi ka pa nakaranas mamaltrato ng mayayaman…
(3) Pasyente (phone call): Doktor, pupunta ako dyan sa clinic mo. Dadating ako mga 3:00 siguro. Hintayin mo ako ha?Boss ko: Naku, me operasyon ako eh. Papunta na nga ako sa Operating Room. Sa clinic hours ko na lang. 5 o’clock. (nagbabay sabay baling sa akin, “Mga pasyente talaga, minsan kung ituring ka, parang hawak nila oras mo.”

i understand you were treated unfairly but it's sadthat you forget to think of the people needing medicaltreatment, and wishing ill of the medical system backhome.

I am not wishing ill of the medical system in the PI. It is already an ill medical system, even here in the US, tThe medical system is going down. Why? Because with the present system, only the medical insurance and the pharmaceutical industries are gaining. Most healthcare providers are limited/restricted to what they can offer as dictated by the health insurance coverage. Sad to say, even here, more doctors are now wishing they chose a different career, since they cannot fully do what a doctor initially hoped to do: to treat in accordance with their knowledge in treatment and not in accordance to what the health insurance is willing to cover.

i am no doctor, i am just a plain housewife,

Yeah, you are not a doctor, so probably it is very hard for you to grasp what I am trying to explain here.

i do not have facts and figures to show but i tremble infear at the idea of having somebody back home i carefor who might need treatment in the future not get a decent one.

Would you believe it if I tell you that in my life there even as a doctor I had the same fears for me and my family, just because we had no money? Would you believe that right now, in my present situation, I still have the same fear not only for my family in the PI but also here where I am, because we still don’t have a medical insurance and that I can’t as yet practice as a doctor (that the most thing I can do is to apply what I know in Preventive Medicine). But then, I kinda have a fatalistic attitude about illnesses and life and death. Katwiran ko, kung mamamatay ako (kami), mamamatay ako (kami) kahit saan, kahit kelan, kahit sa paanong paraan, basta oras ko (namin) na.

and i think that the suffering of other people should be foremost in our minds, especially ifwe have the gift to do something about it.

I have the gift, yes, but right now, my priority are my children. I can only be a full-fledged parent to them for a limited time, the most critical of which are their formative years. When I have fulfilled my obligations to them, then I can turn my attention to other people. I would like my children to have for me the same respect and love that I have for my parents and my husband’s for his.

In the meantime, during my free time, I am using blogging partially as a tool to contribute what little I can at the moment.

I’m sorry for this long e-mail. I argued for sometime on whether to keep things to myself (I don’t owe anyone any explanation for my actions anyway), but I badly needed to get it off my chest, and hopefully my attempts at communication will achieve that very purpose of erasing misunderstandings.




JMom said...

Wow! What a post! My admiration for you grows everyday that I look around your blogs. You are/were in a place a lot of us have been (doctors or not), of having to choose what is best for your children or for your career. I think you made a great choice, and you are doing a great job with your family. As one of your commenters said, the problem in the Philippines did not just occur yesterday, so you can't just fix it in one day either. I think you can better contribute to solving the problem not just in the Philippines but in the world, by raising individuals who will respect this earth and their fellow men. Individuals who are doers and not slackers.
I am not rich either, most of the reason I am not is a conscious decision. However, like you I am truly blessed and happy with my life. I have learned to remove stress and stressful events/people from my life and concentrate more on my children and husband. We don't have a lot of material things, and sometimes I have pangs of regret for my daughters' sake that they don't always have as much as others. But then, it never fails that a revelation happens later that shows, they didn't really need that much to be happy. Being happy, like charity, always begins at home di ba? You can't really be helpful to anyone else until you help yourself first. Kudos to you, Lory for having the courage to choose your sons first.

Manang said...

Hi JMom,
True...I, too, have those same moments of regret, but then, I try to look back at my own childhood and realize that I did not grow up using the big malls as pasyalan weekly, I did not grow up having so much toys and money. I grew up helping around at my father's bakery and my mother's small store, yet I had enough time to enjoy playing with the neighboring kids and to climb up trees. The most memorable events of my childhood were those moments when family members would get together and dance during Christmas time. I can't remember the gifts I received on birthdays or Christmas, but then they are not what I am missing. Rather, it's the sense of family, of union, of closeness that I miss so much. That's the same spirit that I intend to create in our home.

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