Tuesday, March 21, 2006

An Open Letter

Blogger's note: The post you're about to read was an edited version of a letter from a friend whose wrath about the supposed incompetency of a certain medical institution's staff that almost killed her.

March 7, 2006

An open letter to Fortmed

This letter aims to highlight and complain the negligence of some of your staff in FortMed Medical Clinic last Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Morning of March 1, I was suffering from severe pain in the lower right side of my body. After physical examination conducted by my company’s in-house physician, I was advised to be subjected immediately to laboratory tests (CBC and Urinalysis) to confirm UTI and rule out Appendicitis. Due to the urgency of this case, I was brought to FortMed through the ambulance mobile.
Upon arriving at FortMed 9:45am, I informed the receptionist that I was sent home by the company and should undergo immediate lab tests (CBC and Urinalysis). The receptionist referred me to the records section personnel. I then informed the records section personnel the same. After a few questions, I presented my Maxicare Card, Maxicare Lab Request Slip and Sent Home Advise certification. I was hoping she would quickly attend to my request after explaining my situation, but the personnel just told me to wait for my name to be called. While waiting excruciatingly, I went back and followed up my name only to be redirected to the nurses’ station. I instinctively obeyed but the nurse said that it is not yet encoded and insisted to wait for my name to be called.
After an hour of waiting feverishly and having chills, a male staff called my name. I approached him and he handed me a lab request and a slip (on it, written CBC 55 and U/A 22, total PhP77). He explained that the fees for the lab tests will be charged on my Maxicare Card, however, an additional fee should be paid in cash for the “rush service”. After paying PhP77, the male staff gave me the lab request form and told me to, again, wait for my name to be called.
I approached the nurses’ station after another hour. This time I complained that I already waited for 2 hours and yet my name has not been summoned. She said that I should have gone to the lab after I paid the extra rush service fee. I told the nurse and it was very clear to me that one of her male colleagues, after duly submitting all accomplished slips and payment, told me to wait for my name to be called again.
With that, I requested to pull out my laboratory request and get a refund. Around 12 noon, my husband arrived (from an undertime work!) and accompanied me to talk to FortMed’s Admin Officer. The Admin Officer apologized and insisted that I be checked at that time. I refused. I would not risk another chance at FortMed, so my husband & I left to transfer in a hospital.
We rushed to the Calamba Medical Center (CMC) and I was immediately admitted in Emergency Room due to pain, fever (39.6°C) and chills. Lab tests were done. Few minutes after, there’s already a result. I was diagnosed of Acute Pyelonephritis.
First of all, my case should have been treated as urgent, if not emergency. But still, I painstakingly waited for the first hour, thinking that it is normal to be put on queue. But bearing the pain for 2 hours is too much, only to find out I was waiting for nothing. I have not eaten since morning due to the company physician’s advice to delay eating to prevent further damage. For if it could have been Appendicitis, my appendix would have already ruptured long before a FortMed staff would attend to me. FortMed service is as slow as a turtle compared to others in treating urgent cases (read: EMERGENCY). Also, my waiting could have been cut short if only these FortMed staff are learned enough to give out right instructions.
Secondly, I know for a fact that CBC and Urinalysis results come out after 1 hour. But according to FortMed staff, the laboratory results are due after 5 hours. Five hours is too long for a lab result to be released. Does this mean FortMed don’t have the equipment for a faster service? Or, it’s staff and nurses are totally lazy to move a muscle in quick mode? And why would FortMed charge additional fees for rush service, when the rush service time is the same as the regular time of 1 hour?
Thirdly, I am a patient in Calamba Medical Center (CMC), however, I opted to be sent to FortMed, for tests to be done and be out the fastest time possible. FortMed is the nearest clinic for the companies in Laguna Technopark. And I don’t think people just rely on proximity. People rely on efficiency.
The reason why I wrote this is to express my disappointment in FortMed’s staff and service. I am very infuriated with this experienced in the said clinic. I will share my story to close relatives and friends, for them to be aware of your substandard quality of service. And I just hope that would save PATIENTS experiencing the same.
The PATIENTS that come in FortMed chose the clinic above others, thus, they entrust their health to this institution. PATIENTS should be treated with utmost care and not as if they’re just passers-by, who come and go. Most of them, won’t mind paying the high fees as long as their receiving quality service. PATIENTS should be attended accordingly, and not like hours of waiting is normal.

Sincerely yours,
(Name witheld)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Sisig Saud

3:30 pm was the call time but we made it at around 3:46 pm under the scorching heat of the sun. Only to find out, after calling out Evan in front of their neat house somewhere in Angeles City, nobody was around except his bespectacled brother. We were supposed to stretch some muscles together using the basketball in one obscure playground within their village.
Minutes passed, two other fellow came in succession before a text message suddenly broke down the silent afternoon. Armando, a guy who loves the 80’s rock music brought with him his ripped off sleeve jersey in a paperbag followed by Corina, a slim lady who seems to haven’t found her way of getting big. It costs a measly 10 pesos to hoist a tricycle from the highway to the house at 29 Guijo street.
Pauwi na ako  read the text message. Evan, who is on top of his corporate career right now with one of the Big 3, will go to Manila by the next 3-5 or so hours and hit the road again in the morning towards Tagaytay Highlands for a team building activity. And so, we took chance of the enough time that was left.
As soon as the sun prepared for its dusk, we geared up and headed straight to the court.
As expected, the place was pre-occupied with ballers in slippers. Several unknown bystanders were there surrounding the benches. It wasn’t a covered court, but it sure is fine to play with. The weather and the sky was good too, without any signs of rain or dark clouds that could melt our heart away.
We sweat. We ran. We hustled. Some of us aimed the basket. Some opted to just run and kick the ball. Evan was exhausted shortly before halftime and never came back. His brother was a warrior. He didn’t get tired of running. It was obvious that we looked terrible in that match, and it seemed that these guys last played the game when Erap was still in MalacaƱang.
The opponents were not that good either. Maybe two or three were dead serious in defeating us. One of them was seen many times waiting patiently in the backcourt for a sure fast break. Others knows only to shoot the ball and didn’t know the alphabet of a good offense, we stole the ball on several occasions.
The lead was enormous but we got close twice the period. We trailed for just 2 points before finally giving it to them. Final score was 20-15.
It was a great game, even if we paid the losing price of treating them with Coke and Sprite. A great game would definitely mean a great deal of food.
The evening was heightened with the group’s decision of having dinner in a restaurant few meters from Evan’s lot an hour after Carlo, another friend who loves to sleep at daytime, came. It was a typical compound turned into a gazebo of Nipa huts or kubo with dining tables leveled differently from each other. One was even fixed in a tree, like a tree house that is. We were supposed to eat there but decided not to, due to its untidy setting.
We settled and finally ordered. The menu was simple but full of mouth watering promises. Sizzling Salpicao, a mixture of a variety of seafood and vegetables served in a usual hot plate.
Baby back ribs was their specialty, a sweet in the tongue and very tender too. A knife was unnecessary since it came off with ease using fork and spoon. It was a delectable choice since it was surely a low salt food.
Hipon Halabos, a steam set of not so big shrimps. I didn’t eat one though, I’m sure it will tickle ones taste buds.
Initially, we thought of not missing the normal menu every time we dine out, the sizzling Sisig. But this time, Evan insisted of taking Sisig Saud instead. Sisig what?? Saud can be associated for “mamalengke” or “binili” as my Bicolana colleague pointed out. Garnished generously with slices of tomato and onions, the medium chopped pork (size is about a Bigboy chewing gum) Sisig Saud sparked a friendly debate on which is the most delicious meal. It stood for what its name implies. Soon, the plate was emptied and everyone seems to have a happy evening.
We may have lost the game early that day, but Sisig saud helped us regain finesse and definitely took our minds away for a sweet ride in one brief moment.

Monday, March 13, 2006


last week, i made two poems from the twilight zones. That includes being bored, alone and haven't put the basketball in my hands as of writing them.

toilet paper

nahulog ang bolpen ko
kulay itim galing sa iyo
hindi ito nahulog sa inud***
kung saan ako ngayo'y nakaupo

nagugutom at nahihilo
gusto ko ng kumain, uminom ng milo
sa kusina na malapit dito
samahan mo ng tsa-a
sa halagang walong piso

malapit na alas dose y media
sa wakas makikita ko ulit si pizza
manananghalian kasama ang tropa
hanggang umabot ang ala una

tutunog ang kamapana
sa kisame hindi makita
ang kampanang nagsasabing
tapos na ang siyesta
balik trabaho ka na

to write is to breathe

writer i am
with a pen in one hand
simple ideas turn into great
emotions form into shapes

mix words and letters
with passion and voice
savor with feelings
of loneliness and joy

a gift of madness
a treasure for the soul
one, two, three, four
smile and say more

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Time flies fast like a whirlwind

A FEW YEARS back, I was able to teach two kids how to read letters and count numbers as well. They are Popoy and Trisya, our precious little children. It followed reading words and phrases. Then it came sentences. I used extensively the very effective teaching tool a e i o u/ ba be bi bo bu/ ka ke ki ko ku / and so on and so forth. Until they were able to pronounce every word I typed in the monitor, vividly with conviction. We used my old Pentium-MMX pc fixed with 64 megabyte RAM, that seems to have gathered dust ever since it was neglected.
Not too long ago, I taught them how to understand the hands of the clock too. That the short hand means the hour of the day. The long but thick hand is the minute. The long thin arrow comprises every second of their life.
I let them know the essence of time itself.
Just three days since, I threw a small time party to Trisya's 8th birthday. It was a day delayed but witnessing them and other kids having the fun-- genuine fun that is-- is quite a relaxing experience. I let them eat Jollibee's pancit palabok, two grilled whole chicken with spicy soy sauce and sumptous gravy, a serving of flavored ice cream with each having a cone to nibble with and of course, a not so big birthday cake.
Even at the bare sight of my two eyes, I can't seemed to realize that time had taken a fast roll. Years ago these two children were small and tiny. They were joys to cuddle and play with. But now, they run along the wind. They talk and speak with their identity registering in your brain's long term memory cells telling you that, this is who "I am."
Drawing a parallel is not hard to do especially when I come to know that my ideas and dreams are fast fading. A decade ago, I was in high school. The concept of conquering the world is not hard to craft. I was convince that with the set of talents and skills that I have, I could be at the top.
A few years later, my idea of conquering the world was hinged to the heart and remained a steadfast inspiration.
But now, it seems all the fire are a faded memory, a pigment of a wonderful, rollercoaster past. I realized after all, I just want to conquer my own.

Monday, March 6, 2006


THE SET of characters for this dream is very fascinating to view. It started as soon as I got back from sleep after I went downstairs and peed. The time was exactly 2:34 in my 1100 phone.
I was there along with several known men of my age in a place that is a mixture of my current backdrop in Stockton street and several houses that can only be seen in villages such as Crosswinds and Westgrove. Green grass lay fresh in a wide lawn fronting the houses. But in the dream, only one side of the street can be seen-- the house where I dwell in and two other houses of uncertainty.
Two guys were identified quickly. Like it was a fine day at Stockton street. Until in a brief moment, I saw a white shoulder bag owned by some unknown female, who was later revealed in the dream. The bag laid helplessly open and piles of cash and other things scattered not so distantly around it. It was like a stolen piece that was left by its thief and didn't took any money, credit card or any sort of monetary value.
It stood there in the bedrock of bermuda grass for several hours that turned into a few days. It was untouched as if of no importance.
That puzzled my inquiring mind and wondered why in the world it was out there and no one seemed to bother to take at the very least, the cold cash in green back.
Suddenly, a girl showed up in view. She was blond, straight face, white and looked very much like Sarah Jessica Parker. Along with few more girls of different statue, it completed the whole set of females who lived right next door.
'Sara' just recently realized that one of her friends disappeared. She was black with wavy hair and she can barely remember her name. Flashes of images played inside her head as she was trying to remember when was the last time they were together. The house was quiet, she was alone.
She call the police and reported her missing friend. The police responded and went into the house, unwitting of the matters that will be revealed. One of the cops that looked very much like someone name Frederick in real life, interviewed and shot several questions to Sara as they go along the investigation. Sara was even caught repeating several verbs due to disregard of the tenses.
Suddenly, my aura seemed to have conquered her spirit. I was seeing her views, mouthing her speeches, moving her muscles and and thinking of her thoughts. In one quick moment, it appeared as if I was inside Sara's body like a stranded soul in the earth possessing indiscriminate mortals.
I can't further explain how it happen, but as soon as I realized that it was I who was already talking to Frederick, two black cops with huge biceps and and muscles wearing black spandex dragged a lifeless human figure from nowhere. It was my missing friend.
The puzzle was soon resolved. It was my (I am Sara now) white bag that stood lifeless in the grassed ground.
I was carrying it the night I strangled her with my elbow until she was out of breath and hid her somewhere in an obscure place in the house. I ran away after and stumbled along when it flew open into the stratosphere scattering its contents into the fertile ground.
The feeling shattered my senses. I can't seemed to understand the reason why such conclusion transpired. Sara was about to be maimed by the beleaguered cops when a buzz to the cheek rattled my aching and sleeping body back to reality and whispered the words, "Psst, alas siyete na. Maligo ka na!" (Psst, it's seven o'clock already. Take your bath now!)