Simply Loved

Cold dark nights and staring at the flickering candle flames make me more contemplative. (It doesn’t really take much,). I was thinking of the times in our lives when we want to go back to -when we feel the safest– times when we did not know what stress or disappointment mean. Those times I will always associate with my parents.

Being the youngest in the family, I think my parents were more protective of me (though they have always been protective of all of us girls). Mama became more protective when I started working. I remember when I was doing late shifts which finished at 2300, Mama and Mila (our helper) used to wait for me in the car even past midnight. Mama never complained. If I was doing a night shift, she would drive me to work too. If I do an early shift, Mama will also be awake by the time I wake up and she used to still prepare my warm milk in the morning and put my vitamins on my plate so I remember to take them. Most mornings either she or Papa drives me to work. I remembered one night when there was power failure that Mama actually fanned me as it was too warm to sleep. I wasn’t even being fussy, she just automatically did it (I was already a faculty member at that time.) Papa used to get worried and angry if I was not home by 21:00. Oh yes. Folks, my curfew was 21:00. Some of my nursing students must have later curfews than me. Group studies and the ‘barkada’  parties (e.g. Christmas parties) were often held at our house as my parents would rather spend money and feed me and my friends than have me go somewhere else. If I was having a group study somewhere else, they would drive me to and fro the venue. This may sound weird and overprotective to most people especially in the western hemisphere of Earth but this is how Filipino parents usually are.

It isn’t that restrictive really. I was allowed to go to parties as long as they know I am with my trusted barkada – whom they know very well and were made of good girls anyway. Mama and Mila used to wait for me and my best friend when we have school parties and programs. I was allowed to go on fiestas as long as I get home by curfew time. I was allowed to go to the class beach outings as long as my barkada was there (this takes a lot of mind conditioning and begging for Mama to let me go though.) I guess as long as I was doing well with my studies, Mama was willing to give me some leeway. Besides, I have never given my parents any cause for concern when I was growing up. (Too much of a good daughter hahaha )

Then I ventured on my own and lived in a foreign country. My Mama was excited for me at the new phase of life.  Papa was not that keen and in fact told me that there was no need to go as I already have a good job and was studying for my masters. But I knew that if I was truly to grow up, I needed to leave the comforts of home and venture out as an adult.

I loved my freedom and independence though I will always miss home. I could have transferred to USA where two of my sisters and most relatives are but I opted to stay where I am. I jokingly told our eldest sister that I won’t live in the USA as I will become the youngest sister again whom they will always keep an eye on. She replied that No matter where or how old I am, I will always be the little sister.

But there are times in life when I feel slightly wobbly in my place on this Earth that I long for the comfort of home. Last 2011, when I went home I still remember Papa holding my arm when crossing the street. He was still trying to guide me. When we were in the mall, I noticed that when I decided to look in the shoe stores on my own that Papa (who was just diagnosed with the big C) and my male cousin (who is like a brother to us) were standing outside the store to keep an eye on me. They were trying to look relaxed and were talking but at the same time,I know , they were keeping an eye on me as they were moving along as I moved from one store to the next. It was funny considering that I was an adult woman who sometimes go home past midnight in UK yet here I was being treated like a little girl again. I told them that I will be fine and that I am too old to be kidnapped in a busy mall but they followed me anyway

I will always remember how loved I have been most of life. I will always appreciate all the loving attention of Mama up to now. I will always cherish the memory of Papa’s holding hand in trying to protect and guide me in crossing a busy street. These things help me remember that at least most of my life I was loved and cherished unconditionally…Without buts or what ifs.  I was simply loved.


The Choice

It is ironic that in a world,where information and communication can be accessed in a second, that there is still a lot of miscommunication. People still do not say what they mean nor mean all the time what they say. There are still a lot of things that go unsaid. In all these woes, confusion abounds which will result to missed opportunities and hurt feelings.

I am as confused and scared as You are because my heart and mind are at an all out war with each other. The smart mind says ‘impossible!’ but the heart is pleading for hope and miracle, adamant in its challenge ‘Why not?’ They say when the choice is between being afraid or loving the person that makes you happy, always choose love. So I chose to love You, amidst our confusing situation and emotions. I chose You over fear of the unknown and possible pain.

I believe that if it is meant to be things will work out the way they are supposed to work out. But we need to Make the choice. We cannot bury our heads in the sand and hope that it will go away. For a moment there I thought that You have made a choice but you took at least two steps back.

So here I am waiting for You to make your choice. My preference would be for you to step forward and hold my hand so we can face the chaos and confusion together.I want to believe that love will bridge the chasm that is between us. But if your choice is to walk away then I will let you go.

The Journey

Different points we started
Different paths each taken
Different corners we came
Different times we arrived
Different people we meet
Different friends we made
Different journeys we are making
One look and a smile later
I know, my journey ends with youimage

Be Brave

The theme this week seems to be Courage.
A friend of mine told me yesterday ‘Be Brave!’ when I was at a lost on what to do next due to the fear of the unknown. I was dealing with a conundrum that I am finding more questions instead of answers. As per my usual approach when I am faced with an enigma, I do my best to analyze the situation but I was also worrying that I am over analyzing things to the point of headache. There were a lot of ‘what ifs’ and ‘whys’ that I do not have the answers to. My friend’s sage advice was succint and straight to the heart.

Be brave!

I guess, it all comes down to what is in our hearts when rational thought has flown out of the window. When it comes to the crunch time, there are only two questions that need to be asked: What is in your heart? Is it worth fighting for? If it is then fight, don’t leave.

Be brave!

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but it is the triumph over it”- Nelson Mandela


I just watched a Filipino film, ‘that Thing called Tadhana’. I decided to watch it because at the time it was shown in the Philippines, people were quoting things from the movie plus, I just love the word ‘Tadhana’ which means destiny in English.

I guess, me being a hopeless romantic and being where I am in my life as of the moment, just can’t help but relate to the ‘hugot lines’ in the film. (I do not know what the direct translation of ‘hugot line’).

The two characters talked mostly about destiny and love. The female lead said that it is not enough to wait for destiny to bring your ‘the one’ into your life. She said that a person needs to fight for what or who she loves. I understood where she is coming.

It is my personal belief that our destiny may have already been pre-determined even when all the main characters in our story have not arrived. However, I also believed that whilst the destination has been set, we ultimately determine how our journeys will be. Free will and all that stuff 🙂

We could fight to keep people in our lives but they also need to make the decision whether to hold on to us or not. Afterall, we are all the protagonists, the main leads in our own lives.

It could very well be that there will be plot twists in our journey and life will not turn out to be what we initially planned. It could very well be that some people whom we thought to be just ‘extras’ in our lives will turn out to be the second lead afterall. I guess the important thing is to pay attention and live in the moment. It will be ultimately sad if we miss the present as we are too busy looking ahead.

Tadhana… Maybe we do have pre-determined destinies but I will make sure that I have put in the effort and fight for what and who I love so even when things do not work out as I had hoped, I can say with certainty that I gave it my all.

Of Nurses and The Stethoscope

So, I cannot sleep. My mind keeps rambling  on things that are beyond my control so I decided to go on FB. ( I know…I know digital devices do not help with insomnia but…) I have noticed that on both sides of the Atlantic, health care professionals seem to be fighting for due respect and recognition. On this side of the pond, the junior doctors are trying to fight out the unreasonable new contract that the government is trying to implement as it is not reflective of their hard work, responsibilities, knowledge, skills and educational attainment. Let’s face it, it takes a certain type of individual to be a doctor ( brainy, compassionate and dedicated comes to mind). On the other side of the pond a.k.a  USA, the nurses are fighting for the respect and acknowledgement after the co-hosts of the View ( who are so out of touch that it’s a wonder why they are allowed to express their opinions on national television) have made fun of a nurse ergo the whole body of nurses.

Ok let’s break this down to the uninitiated. The issue started when the women of the View dissected the talent of a Miss America contestant wherein she presented a monologue on what it is to be a nurse. The View co-hosts are entitled to their opinions, of course and that would have been acceptable ( by me anyway) if they just dissected the actual presentation. If they said that it was different, lacklustre etc then they are just criticizing the presentation. They showed their ignorance ( they really should fire their researchers!) when they called the scrubs as a ‘costume’ and referred to the stethoscope as a ‘doctor’s stethoscope’.

Why the outrage? Well, I don’t know where these ladies have been having their face lifts done but I am sure the nurses in USA have been wearing scrubs for at least the last 20 years, so a nurse in scrubs is not in costume but in uniform. Were they expecting nurses to be still in white uniforms and wearing a nurse’s cap? What year are they in?

Now the stethoscope… I trained, like all Filipino nurses, with the curriculum similar to that of USA. This is the reason why Filipino nurses are RN’s in USA once they pass the NCLEX exams hence whatever we were taught, the American nurses were most likely taught as well. As a student nurse and a trained nurse back home, a stethoscope is part of the uniform. Report to duty without your stethoscope as a student and this can be mean a demerit against you. The stethoscope was not only used to check blood pressure manually but it was also used to auscultate for bowel, breath, and heart sounds. Nursing assessment has been drilled into us on a daily basis.  IPPA – Inspection, Percussion, Palpation and auscultation. Hence the uproar at the implication that a nurse borrows a ‘doctor’s stethoscope’ as props because those nurses know how to use those stethoscopes.

I actually miss using my stethoscope as a nurse. Unfortunately, my auscultation skill is something that I have lost when I started working in this country. The ward trained nurses unfortunately do not auscultate the patient as part of their assessments. I hate the fact that I now have less confidence in differentiating a ronchi vs rales. I hate that I used the term ‘wet chest’ when describing the respiratory sounds of a patient with pleural effussion. I hate that I most likely will no longer recognize the S3..I remember when we first reported to work in our wards, we all came with our own stethoscopes hung on our necks. One charge nurse asked why we have stethoscopes as we are not doctors. In hindsight, perhaps it was his insecurity ( as he was not trained like us) that prompted his question. But to conform to the norm,  we lost a skill that we worked hard to gain as students. We allowed ourselves to be deskilled.

So to my colleagues across the pond, fight the good fight. You earned to have those stethoscopes around your necks and don’t let anyone tell you any different.

And FYI to the women of The View… A nurse in white uniform and a white cap is someone who is in costume- do join us in the 21st century

Ok my tirade is now over but Mr Sandman still hasn’t come …

The Burnt Pizza

Saturday is usually my ‘wandering day’ but as I had a ‘wandering week’ this week, I have decided to stay in this morning. True to my nature, ( a diehard multitasker) I decided to cook 3 things at the same time, listen to my music, remove my nail polish and try to finish reading a novel on Kindle. In between all these, I also managed to wash the things I used for cooking, drink my superfood smoothie and eat half a grapefruit. A typical morning of a singleton who wants to get things done in the morning so I get time to do other things later – places to go, people to see.

It was actually going very smoothly that I was starting to impress even myself. Sitting by the window with the sun shining on my face, upbeat music playing to get me psyched for the day and getting engrossed into what I was reading … Perfect Saturday morning, right? Then I remembered that I actually still have my homemade healthy pizza, stuffed pepper and hot chicken wings in my oven! I checked them and they were still perfect so I turned off the oven but decided to leave them for another 5 minutes in the oven. I picked my Kindle again and carried on reading for the next 15 minutes. By the time I opened the oven door, smoke was coming out. Lo and behold, I now have a half burnt pizza!

I could be angry with myself for burning the pizza but what good would it do? Why make a little thing ruin a beautiful morning? Besides, the other half is still edible and tabasco sauce makes everything taste great. Plus, the chicken wings and stuffed pepper did not get burnt.

I always try to see a half filled glass as half full. Being optimistic makes it possible to see beyond the lines and outside the box. Besides, Life is never perfect ( it will be pretty boring if it is). There will be always be ‘burnt pizzas’ every once in a while but the main thing is to learn from the experience. Besides, I would rather be dancing than being angry .

Uhmm… Anybody want a piece of burnt pizza?


NHS and My Uneasy Mind

I have always been proud for working in the NHS because we treat all people regardless of their background. Everybody is given the same access to health care whether they are of the upper or lower strata of society. Health is being treated as an unalienable right of everyone. This makes it very heartbreaking that this current government seems hell-bent in destroying an institution that benefits the majority and not the privilege few.
Budget cuts? Sure let’s slash the NHS budget despite the fact that we have a population that is older and frailer. Medicine has advanced by leaps and bounds that we are managing to save more lives hence people are living longer and requiring more interventions, treatment, and help when they go home.
There is shortage of homegrown nurses so hospitals look abroad to get much-needed help to plug the ever-present hole in the bucket of staffing. The government’s answer? Let’s impose a law that will allow the government to send home any foreign worker (non-EU) back to the country of origin. Errr…band 5 nurses do not earn that amount unless they all progress to band 6. Sad to say, not everybody progresses onto band 6 posts as these posts are very limited. Does the government propose that we keep retraining staff? This does not save money nor maintain safety of the patients.
There is a shortage of medical staff on the floors… The government’s response? Propose new contracts for the junior doctors that would mean that these hard-working colleagues of ours will lose out on money. Yeah, this will ensure that these already over-worked doctors will stay in the country and carry on caring for our aging population!- Not!
I now ponder why all these changes are happening in the NHS. In my 15 years working for the NHS, I can say with certainty that the NHS, ergo the safety of the patients are maintained by the dedication and commitment of the nurses and doctors who always go beyond the extra mile. It is very rare for nurses and doctors to go home on time. I even feel guilty when I go home 1 hour after my official time because I always think I could or should do more.
Is it because that those in power right now do not avail of the NHS? Is it because they will never feel the effect of their decisions because they and theirs go to private hospitals?Is it because they do not know what it is like to be one of the common tao? Or is it because they want to abolish the NHS and privatize health care? Why keep attacking the professions that care for the majority? Is health really not important to this government that they are willing to compromise it?Is the health sector really the logical area to slash budget on?
Unfortunately, the majority of the voters placed these people in power. 66.1% of the voting population turned out for the election this year. So I now pose this question to the 33.9% of the voting population – would your vote have mattered now?

Sorry for my ramblings but I have one uneasy mind right now.

The Story

I have been meaning to ask
Are you the story
Or but a chapter
Or a line or two in this
Or a footnote
Or the addendum
Will you be a missed character
Or a fleeting relief comedy
Or one of the usual suspects
Or the hero who finally appears
I just want to know
Are you here for a scene
A heart beat
Or a second
Please do tell me so
Are you my story?image