April 24, 2008
She gets a kick out of watching some old friend or classmate's jaw drop when she tells him she's studying Medicine. The gut reaction is: “You must be kidding.” The friend cannot be blamed. Since grade school in St. Paul Pasig, studying seemed contra-indicated with her, like pollen to an asthmatic. To her just looking at a notebook or a text book has an immediate sedative effect. And in the morning, there is almost no stimulant on earth that can wake her except being bodily lifted into a barrel of ice-cold water.
She finished her undergrad (BS Food Technology) at UP by the skin of her teeth and under the most imminent danger of over-residency.
In medical school at the FEU Institute of Medicine, she made an incredible turnabout. She seemed to have breezed through four years of poring over thick anatomy books, dissecting cadavers, and clerking at hospitals. In between, she has captained the school's diagnostic debating team and chaired several research projects. Most incredible of all, she is about to finish with nary a 3 or 4 or 5 she used to rub noses with.I always thought she had great abstract reasoning caps, despite being unable to memorize 'humpty dumpty sat on a wall' at the point of a gun. She is very adept and sure with her hands, which should give her great fallback as carpenter or mechanic if she got bored with doctoring.
She herself will tell you she's good at solving jigsaw puzzles.
She compares the science of medicine with putting together jigs and saws. You get a piece of clue … bit by bit … here and there. Sometimes the pieces don’t square and you try all over again. And when at last, you put in the “eureka” piece … it is as though you found the rainbow at the end of a thousand potholes.
I feel a catch in my throat as I watch her walk her funny walk at the processional during formal rites at PICC.
She's not the fairest of the brood nor the brightest but I call her my best product.
This is the girl who made a whole gradeschool class laugh when she raised the solitary hand when teacher demanded who had a "balat sa puwet" when their picture-taking session got rained out. The same girl who had to be taught how to fight back, to name-call when she's name-called one time too frequently. Who bawled her heart out when she didn't make it to the grade school tug-o-war team but went on to become captain of high school softball varsity.
This is the the girl whom I half believed when she bragged, as a three-year-old, about having a friend called 'god' who'd talk to her in the backyard. The same girl who promised me I'd be rich if ever she would be. Who said I'd be a cooler mom if I knew how to listen. Who chided me for brooding over a filched wallet and lost money which "after all is only money." Who scoffs at going abroad because she wants to serve fellow Pinoys. Who asked me tearfully one day if I thought she was still my best product after a bewildering confrontation.
Note: Not quite a doctora yet because of another year of senior internship, the board exams, and residency training ahead.