Since October started, I have been reporting to that heart hospital in far-away Quezon City. It is an awfully frightening responsibility to be removed from one's home base, but it does help to step away once in a while. Somehow, it allows us to view things from a different perspective. It does require some distance and some emotional detachment for us to see things objectively. A new vantage point will afford us a closer examination at our own weaknesses and to appreciate our own strengths.
On the bus home, I usually reminisce about each day's work. I thank God for the people I met in the new workplace, the new bits of knowledge that I acquired, the different diseases that I never saw in my hospital, the amazing surgical procedures that they were able to accomplish and which we will probably never do in the next few years. I marvel at their technology, their air-conditioned premises, the eminence of their teachers. Over there, the male doctors wear long-sleeved shirts and ties, while in my home-base, my male colleagues would rather wear jeans. There, they have 6 by-pass machines, here we only have 1. They do aneurysm surgeries left and right, peripheral artery bypass is a common procedure. They have Cell-Saver, ECMO, heart-lung machines, all sorts of technology my poor old hospital will never get to afford.
Perhaps I never should have stayed in my home base. The world outside is big. It's much bigger than my UP-PGH.
But I remembered what I had back home. Last night I stayed up late in my office's conference room, while taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi. I was elated over my students' (who are now Tayns' babies because of my absence) awesome performance in a class activity. I reread my favorite teacher's speech and shed tears again. I chatted with some old colleagues and students through Facebook. I spent the night in my callroom and woke up to the sound of the rattling LRT rails. Early this morning, my oldest consultant had me check his emails and his Pubmed account. He also showed me the nth revision of his paper on heart failure and digoxin. I could not leave while he still wanted to talk about the benefits of digitalis, so I left my home-hospital much later than I should.
I am in my home-hospital again, now, as I write. The conference room is in a mess. Tayns is busy printing the students' exam. That annoying duty phone is ringing again. Leora is still typing the echo results. There was a half-eaten chocolate cake on the table. Some small mice are running around, unafraid of the humans in the room. Dave dropped by to watch his telenovela. Junjun is relating how Dr. Abelardo started everybody's morning by exclaiming, "Putang ina! Ang galing ng mge estudyante kahapon!" Sometimes I doubt if this is really the best place to train. This may not be the institution that will make the best cardiologists out of us. We are all tired. We are all underpaid. We may be, just maybe, stuck in the wrong place.
But this is home. And there is no place like it. Definitely, most definitely, this is where I'd rather be.