Given during the UERM Testimonial Dinner at Novotel
May 2, 2018
Today is a celebration of the dream for which we were meant to live—a dream that was once but a figment of our imaginations. Today, we will finally #LiveTheDream #UERM2016. We are no longer medical students, clerks or interns but we are already conquerors of the Physician Licensure Examination. I would like to request my dear colleagues to please stand to accept my warmest and most heartfelt congratulations! Ladies and gentlemen, these were my co-warriors who shaded boxes, cried streams of tears, ate tons of food, gained and lost weight, gained and lost boyfriends and girlfriends, but fought the battle with me during the recent board exam. And they all deserve a round of applause. To our school administrators, mentors, teachers, consultants, residents and friends here in UERM who prayed for and with us, thank you! You deserve our utmost gratitude through our warmest round of applause. You have taught us to become 5-star physicians and rest assured that you have taught us well. This victory is also yours!
Last year, I spoke about the SOAP of the UERM 2016 class. Today, please allow me to share “The Case of the Dreamer’s Dream”.
The dreamer is a 20-something year old man from Masbate who once, as a child, looked up at the stars in the provincial night sky dreaming about becoming a doctor someday. He had seen his mother going about the barangay helping mothers deliver their babies. He mistook his midwife mom to be a doctor. And from that emanated the seed of his dream to become like his mom. He pictured himself—just like any other typical grade schooler would—as a doctor wearing a lustrous white coat with a fancy stethoscope harnessed around his neck.
About 2 decades ago, the dreamer, with his backpack, trod to his elementary school in Masbate through the muddy puddles with his drenched black shoes and almost-browned white socks. Rain fell and run down his face, clearing his tear-soaked eyes only to realize he only had slippers. He wished they were shoes though. He went on to take just a few more steps through the 9-km journey down the unpaved road. Halfway through, his teacher saw him walking alone and offered to bring him home because classes were actually suspended due to a storm. That day, he wasn’t only drenched from rainwater but he was soaked with ardor of living the dream.
After a few years, he went to Cebu independent from the care of his parents for his secondary education. In the stillness of the night, a thief broke in and stole all his clothes, (and by all, I mean including his underwear). The next day, he found himself wearing an ill-fitted uniform and shoes, both of which he borrowed from his cousin. He also had to study with just the flicker of an oil-trimmed lamp. The soot filtered by the vibrissae of his nostrils would collect, so he had to make sure to clean them before going to school. However, left in a shock from the incident the night before, he forgot to clean his nose. And he went to school ridiculed for the black soot in his nostrils and his ill-fitted suit. Despite these, he held onto the dream.
He spent his college years in an Adventist institution tucked in the verdant mountains of Bukidnon. He endured a month-long intermittent fever and chills because he refused to miss even one day of school. Only did he succumb to being hospitalized when he felt very ill and could no longer make it to class. Nonetheless, no atypical pneumonia could stop him from reaching for the dream.
Years later, he found himself shading the last number for his NMAT. Who wouldn’t remember the day they took the NMAT, how eager they were like this dreamer, to finally kick start their journey to the white coat? And not long after that, he was applying for medical school. As a late applicant coming from an unknown college in the mountains, he was grateful that he got accepted as a university entrance scholar in UERM. Finally wearing the white uniform of his dreams, he felt jocund at the thought that he can finally commence to live his dream. And even more so when he knew that the school is one of the few medical schools that didn’t hold any classes on Saturday Sabbaths, because he is a Seventh-day Adventist. This was one of his primary considerations when he chose to enroll in UERM. This dreamer was indebted to UERM for all the favors extended to him especially when academic activities fell on a Saturday. Because of this, he hopes to encourage more Adventist dreamers to experience UERM and how she respects freedom of religion.
As a medical student, he remembered going to the biochemistry laboratory for the first time not knowing what to do. He had to ask a classmate (not a groupmate) to teach him because during his college years, biochemistry was removed from the nursing curriculum. However, his classmate, belittling this space-occupying lesion, unidentified foreign object, simply looked at him from head to foot and turned his back on him, exclaiming “I’m sorry. I will only teach my groupmates.” The dreamer’s heart was broken but his dream never flickered even a single second. So he survived the first long exam simply memorizing some mind-boggling concepts without understanding them.
He also remembered sitting down that examination chair as he took the PLE. Several of his classmates had already conquered it ahead of him. He obviously had more time to prepare and great was the burden squatting on his shoulders. Everyone was expecting great things from him. He had no other stronghold but the Lord. He was his constant, his refuge. And the Lord was true to His promise, He never failed this dreamer. It wasn’t an easy a task as walking drenched through muddy puddles in the middle of the storm, or wearing ill fitted suits with black sooted nostrils, or enduring month-long fever and chills.
Ladies and gentlemen, the dreamer stands before you tonight in this podium ever grateful for the lessons that he was taught from the life experiences he gained. It must have been obvious to you from the very beginning that I was the dreamer. And coming to UERM to finish med school and becoming a licensed physician was the dream. More than classroom knowledge, UERM has taught me valuable life lessons that I will carry with me in my practice. And my sentiments of gratitude echo that of the rest of the newly licensed physicians present here tonight. To the UERM community, thank you for training us to be the kind of doctors we are today – with much empathy, skill, attitude, knowledge, competence and compassion.
To my colleagues, you may all have your own experiences and I may not know all of your struggles, but we share one thing in common, we now #LiveTheDream.
So what now?
From the time we held the pencils as we shaded our answers for the NMAT to finally holding the plastic cards with our names and license numbers, we’ve been taught priceless lessons. Our varied exposures in the hospital and community sharpened our vision and enabled us to have that acuity to see the needs of others and to act upon them. We’ve seen life in its beginning and in its end, and the more we witness these, the more fueled our desire is to make a difference.
Allow me to continue with discharge instructions and home medications.
Nurturepressin (instead of Torturepressin)
Bullying can take many forms and can happen irrespective of place and time. Unfortunately, bullying exists even amongst us in the medical profession and the culture is seemingly becoming a norm. The act becomes so customary that it attenuates our ability to recognize its harmful effects.
Dr. L.N. Dyrbye et.al, in her work entitled, Medical Student Distress: Causes, Consequences, and Proposed Solutions, mentioned student abuse as one of the many sources of stress and burnout among medical students especially those in their clinical years. Verbal abuse, in particular, profoundly affects students’ confidence and renders the learning milieu non-conducive. This adversely affects patient care, erodes mental health, and leads to depression, so to speak. But the gravest endpoint of all is suicide.
It’s ironic how much we try to save our patients’ lives and yet we turn a blind eye to the ordeal of those whom we share our calling with. This profession is too noble to be regarded as a mere platform for competition. So let us be catalysts by changing this bullying culture. Let us cut through the vicious cycle and replace torture with nurture.
Influencezosin (instead of Eloquencezosin)
The famous expression, “Do as I say, not as I do” is pretty much the motto of many health professionals—physicians included. The statement reveals the reality that humans are subject to err and thus shouldn’t be the basis of another person’s practices. But whether we like it or not, our patients look up to us and they associate us with healthy living. But it’s also a fact that many practicing physicians have indulged themselves into intemperate ways of life and have suffered the consequences brought about by various lifestyle-related diseases and even death. This kind of practice clearly misrepresents the profession we are bound to uphold. Our patients now are as keener as ever and our actions and practices pass under their scrutiny from which they also pattern their lifestyle. I think we need to be more responsible of taking good care not only of our patients’ health, but our health as well. It’s high time that we “walk the talk”. Seek to influence not by words but by actions.
Healazole (instead of Hurryzole)
Man is a composite of both physical and nonphysical elements. His physical entity makes him a tangible being subject to sickness and decay, while his nonphysical entity makes him a spiritual and rational being subject to evil and distortion. A person is beyond what our senses can perceive. With all of man’s complexities, a lifetime is not even enough to understand him. Hence to offer healing to a sick soul by talking to him for a few minutes would only give us but a glimpse of his true suffering. We must seek to heal the person instead of hurrying to our own appointments and neglecting to properly evaluate our patients and their needs. Quality still weighs greater than quantity.
But more importantly, before we are able to heal, we must seek healing from Him whose streams of mercy and life floweth freely and ever so abundantly. We cannot heal others until we seek to heal ourselves.
Hence, I leave you with this question:
Beyond the dream of wearing a white coat, what else do we #LiveTheDream for?
While you may dream, dream bigger dreams
And seek to live it, building streams
Of influence, healing and nurturing
To live the purpose of the white coats we are wearing
To our dear UERM mentors,
This glorious victory is for you
Your years of labor for us, now bid adieu
Gracias from the deepest recesses of our ventricles and atria
We’ll follow your footsteps, Pro Deo Et Patria!
To my classmates,
We’ll soon part ways to find our niche
And in our practice, extend our reach
I’ll surely miss our yesteryears
But let’s find joy despite our tears
Great are the tasks and challenges that lie ahead
We’ll sometimes be enfeebled and defeated
But in God’s guiding hands we must have confidence
For higher is His calling and greater is His providence!