By Angela V. Ignacio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Last updated 18:42:00 07/04/2008 MANILA, Philippines—I’ve always been proud of the fact that I’m not afraid of anything. (Well, except for spiders, mangled fingernails and falling in love, but that’s a different story altogether.) After three years in medical school, however, here’s the cold, hard truth: I’ve never been this scared in my entire life, and I have every reason to be. I’m not sure if it was Socrates or Barbra Streisand who said, “The more I know, the more I realize the less I know.” They must have had us medical clerks in mind. A day in the life of a clerk basically consists of rushing paperwork, monitoring patients, dealing with demanding relatives, cranky peers and even crankier superiors, and feeling stupid and useless 24/7. Like every batch of bright-eyed young hopefuls, we entered this last stage with absolutely no idea on how and where to start. We were like headless chickens running around the hospital, making mistakes and getting yelled at in the process. No sleep, no food, no bath
Dunderheads, pond scum, lazy bums—name it, we’ve probably looked, felt and smelled like it at one point. No sleep, no food, no bath. Yup, we are the lowest in the medical pecking order; that’s pretty much a given. We spend all day running errands, then we’re left with nothing but junk food, stale coffee and gossip to get us through sleepless nights of hospital duty. We feel so tired and hungry that all we can do is nod dumbly and mumble “Yes, doctor; Sorry po, doctor; Next time po, doctor,” even when it’s really not our fault to begin with. It gets to the point that even the thrill of being called “doktor” or “doktora” fades away quickly, because they say it in such a condescending or sarcastic way. The fact that our friends and loved ones also suffer doesn’t help, either. No...