Now Playing Tracks

I was a newcomer… an outsider… an idealistic young officer.

I had just been assigned at one of the riskiest places to be assigned at in the Philippines – Zamboanga. I didn’t know what to expect and what would greet me but I was hopeful. I was fortunate enough to have been welcomed with open arms by the hospital staff. Homesickness was out of the equation for they treated me like family.

Barely a month there, I have already noticed the rampant numbers of patients undergoing Tuberculosis (TB) treatment at our hospital. Part of our duty, as Military Nurse On Duty (NOD) was to handle ambulance conductions outside the military camp to ferry TB patients undergoing TB treatment at the community hospital. So everyday, we spend time, gas, effort, and security risk just to bring our patients to the TB DOTS center outside camp.

So in one of my duties, I had the opportunity to brainstorm with one of the Senior Civilian nurses about the possibility of building a TB DOTS Clinic inside camp so we would no longer have to risk going outside. My point was, with the number of TB patients that we had, and with the knowledge that there is an ongoing advocacy to fight TB in the Philippines, I knew that we had enough to back-up the idea and that it was POSSIBLE. At first the Senior Civilian nurse didn’t think we could do it, “Marami ng dumaan na Chief Nurse Ma’am, pero wala silang nagawa.” But I… I was stubborn. I knew that we could do it!

So we started laying the ground-works, establishing connections, researching, and basically setting-up the foundations for the TB DOTS Project. It wasn’t easy. It took us almost three (3) years to lay everything out. And it was only during the second year when we were blessed with a boss who was very supportive of the vision. (I learned that things are really easier when you have the Boss to back you up.)

So after planning, lobbying and a lot of meetings (I had to explain, convince and make the Senior Headquarters Bosses’ understand the need for the project.); as well as lobbying to get funding from the DOH Regional Office, we were able to achieve our dream. And although I am no longer part of the hospital now, and I will not be with them when they do the inaugural opening; my heart beats with joy and is still in a state of cardiomegaly because what was once thought of as impossible finally became possible.  

On duty 24/7

I find myself marveling at the dedication and compassion of my fellow nurse corps officers. Even in training, we blind ourselves to our own discomfort. We make sacrifices that slowly eat away at our personal lives, hoping that things will get better, that something will be left for us.

I also marvel at how much each one of us can put up with, how much our patients can tolerate, how much we Filipinos can endure, until we rise up and demand more. The nation is at a breaking point.

But we continue to serve and stand, resilient to whatever comes our way. And I’d like to believe that we do this out of love for our people. That despite the hardships, we continue to be compassionate and understanding. At the end of the day, it doesnt matter what we did but how we made our patients feel.

That’s what makes it all worth it.

  • Boss1:

    That's why I placed you (referring to me) in charge dahil mataray ka.

  • Boss2:

    Mataray ba yan mam? Eh ang bait-bait nga niyan eh.

  • ME:


  • Boss1:

    *Looks at me* Kung hindi ka nagtaray, what did you do to make them follow you?

  • ME:

    I smiled. :) LOL

If you break the cycle, if you say hi to someone who might be your next big regret, you stop the cycle a little. Eventually, you find someone and realize you don’t want to let go — so you don’t. You hold on. The cycle gets broken a little more. You might be another stranger’s regret still (worse: their taken regret) but that’s not for you to worry about anymore. You can only control your carbon footprint of regrets. If you make them a little less infinite, you do what you can. You do your part. You live a lighter, less burdened life. When you don’t have burdens like all those could haves and would haves, you get to focus on the good stuff. The stuff you were smart enough to not let go.

To Tumblr, Love Pixel Union