Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to be a Long Long Time)

“I will never leave the Philippines!”

Those are the words that keep on reverberating in my brain as I felt the wheels of this Thai Airways plane that I am riding landed on the concrete runway of Heathrow Terminal here in London.


As soon as I get out of that plane, I knew that my life is about to change.  But how? That, I actually don’t know.


After 6 years of being a nurse in the Philippines, I never had the slightest inkling of an idea that I will be working abroad.


You see, nursing graduates in our country is fated to any of the following destinations:


  1. Get absorbed or hired in a hospital. Stay there indefinitely as a staff nurse, or by dint of cosmic luck, get promoted in your post.
  2. Join an industry totally unrelated to nursing.  Business outsourcing, direct selling, pyramiding, wedding coordination, planning for events, anything. But not nursing.
  3. Enroll in a graduate school, law school, med school, business school, or even culinary school. Any school, really. 
  4. Go abroad.


Looking back, maybe it is really the time to choose the last. As I can categorically claim that I have accomplished the first three with flying colours.


As I approached the hangar, I felt the cold Arctic wind pierces through my skin and freezes my bones.  It was so cold, I could not even lift my legs.


In my mind I just toyed with the idea that, finally, I can now experience the changing of the seasons.  Not the wet and dry ones like what we have in the tropics, but the ones where people actually do prepare and celebrate the coming of the spring.


As soon as the lady in the Immigration Desk noisily slammed a stamp on my passport, right there I know:


A new season has begun.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rolling in the Deep

I really love taking care of people—particularly those who are unconscious, in deep coma, vegetative or unresponsive.

Come to think of it, after working as a full-time nurse in a critical care setting for more than four years now, I have had the chance of taking care of virtually all kinds of people. I’m a “people person” if that term such exist. There’s something in caring that makes me feel as if I’m a good person or something. That the goodness I show to my patients vindicates the evilness that I have accumulated in the past.

Choosing which patients I will handle is not a matter of choice. They are written in the stars. If the great force named “charge nurse” deem it’s essential to ruin the rest of my workday, he, she, or it will assign the worst patient to me. However, if the “charge nurse” is a good friend, I’ll definitely have the happiest duty day.

One of the things that I have discovered in my work is that the worst persons to piss off are the nurses. Treat us badly and you’ll definitely get what you deserve. Nurses can deliberately kill you without you knowing it and we can make it appear as if it’s death from natural causes. Of course no nurse would do that. Or would they?



My life as a nurse is not like everyone else. Of course there are times when I still feel as if I’m giving too much for this work that gives back a little. Four years and I still could not afford a new car (as if I need one, I don’t know how to drive), pay a personal driver/butler, buy a house in New Manila (my ultimate dream address), buy new bags (okay, I’m that superficial), and get a one-way ticket to India. For god’s sakes, I could work as a prostitute and earn more than what I earn in a monthly basis, and imagine all the fun (minus the diseases) I could be getting.

But the bare fact still remains. There are sick people everywhere. There are sick people who will ultimately need a skillful, competent and capable hand of a caring nurse. There will be mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, relatives, sons and daughters who will get sick, and will be admitted in my workplace, and will demand my care. I could have chosen an easier life, but then again, who’s saying that life is always easy anyways. This may not be the easiest job there is, but for me, true satisfaction is attainable only but here.

So why am I telling you all of these? I actually don’t know. It’s probably because the “charge nurse” gave me a comatose patient and I’m here in the area doing nothing but to write this post. After all you owe your life to us. It’s time to give us something back.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

How Soon is Now

A patient died on me again today.

But then again, if I’m going to blog ever
y patient’s story who died under my care during the past three years, this site would not become what it is today, but an online obituary, or perhaps, a remake of Six Feet Under, The Third World version.

I find it quite amusing how, as soon as a gurney enters the ICU door, most of us have this innate capability of predicting how long this individual is going to live.
Some would make it weeks, days, or hours, while there are those unfortunate few who are already dead even before we transfer them in the ICU bed, and the only thing we are bound to do, is wrap them up in shrouds and transport them to the morgue.

Seriously, after battling with death a hundred times, even, we, ourselves, have embraced the idea of dying with open and embracing arms.
My overcritical senior predicted that he’ll die of heart attack, while the other, whose headaches have become a part of her daily routine, from brain tumor. I have convinced myself that I’ll die from obesity, colon cancer, or aspiration, together, or otherwise.

And no. No amount of yoga could reverse the fact that I could never get a toned abdominals if I don’t stop binging on anything bovine or porcine, while gulping on fluids made primarily of sugar, carbonic acid, alcohol, or lactose.

As soon as I received my colleague’s endorsement, I knew that in a span of 4 hours, my patient is going to die.


He made it 3 hours and 14 minutes.

And by the time he died, I knew I have to book my daily yoga sessions for the week. I started again today.



Here I am, sore and stiff from all the stretching, but nevertheless fulfilled. Eating vegetables might not be my greatest talent, but for now, I guess my yoga buddies will be my bestest companions in the nearer future.


In front of my tofu and broccoli, I found my new chance of living. I know that it won’t be long before I start reaching for the phone and calling 8-MCDO to order a Big Mac, with a side of chicken nuggets and a Sundae.
I just have to tell myself, over and over, that the pleasure of eating might be bliss, but good health is a more important investment.

Darn death.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Use Somebody

When I was younger, I never had that Justin Taylor coming of age crap. I discovered my sexuality at such an early age due to some kind of affair with someone I still get to see at times. My self-discovery seemed to unfold very smoothly. I hated the dramas and all of the complications. I managed my case the best way I possibly could.

I’ve found escape in dating a lot of men and in non-stop partying in almost all places known to man. I’ve invested less in love and more in casual sex. It’s amazing because I have never even considered myself to be a very sexual person. I am a person of the world. A child of the universe.


I never knew what love was until I met Marco, my first true love. We were good together yet circumstances seem to break us apart. He left me for the States and the long distance relationship that has transpired proved to be too much to handle.


And then there was MJ, who provided a much needed respite for my aching soul. Yet this relationship seems to reinforce the fact that his love could never replace my longing for Marco. As he succinctly said, “I just used him for my advantage,” upon which I categorically deny.


There was E. My on-and-off partner for 2 years. It is in this relationship that I really judge it essential to define what you are doing from the very beginning. There is a thin line that separates perfect friendship and exclusive dating. So when he told me that he has been seeing someone else while we were still together, I just knew that we were heading in different directions.


Lastly, there was J, my stronghold. When I’m lying in his arms, I could completely surrender. We are perfect, yet his needs are different from mine. He wanted me to live with him and leave my own family, upon which I could not indulge. At 23, I believed that I’m still not the settling kind. I learned that it takes a lot of courage to make such life-changing decisions, and yes, I'm not that strong.




It’s amazing because at my age, it appears that I have become an “authority” in these relationship situations. During high school, my peers thought of me as inappropriate just because I’m more aware of my sexuality than them, and that I have experimented at such an age where other people find it to be unfitting. I might have learned what love and sex means as such a tender age yet the more I learn about love, the more I realize that I still do have a lot to discover.


Being 23 and single is like a curse in this condemnatory world. In this society where having a special someone appears to be the norm rather than the exception, the fact that you do not have someone to watch movies with is just plain pathetic and pitiable. Those who defy the norms are either mentally incapacitated, emotionally depressed, or just plain indifferent.


Yes I still want to have that special someone to hold my hands and spend the nights with. But I’m in no rush. It seems that the more I obsess about having a lover, the more critical and pathetic I become. There will always be a lot of men here in the city. He will come, expectedly, so I guess there’s still no need to hurry. Give me a few months, a few years, and I’ll be a happy man. For now, allow me to bask in my blissful singlehood and give me back my long lost happiness. After all, despite all the heartaches, the pain and the sorrows, the world still owes me happiness and fulfillment.


And I’m claiming it now.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Something Beautiful

It all started with a heartache.

Even I, myself, could not believe how far this blog has become ever since I started writing all about my relationship chronicles with Marco, my past lover, exactly six years ago.

I spent the night re-reading through my stuffs, the bitter and the best, and started thinking about my life in retrospect. At first I feel desolate—six years and I’m still alone. No stories to share, no lover to spend the lonely nights with. And then a sudden outpour of love overflowed. Suddenly I was elated—that I am currently experiencing what other people can only dream of. I was blessed with lots of personal successes in the presence of my loved ones who relentlessly stick with me through the hardest times.



It’s been like almost a year since my last post and it feels like I have deserted my own home, abandoned my old refuge, and left some very good friends. I kept promising to write more and more, and yet kept on falling into the proverbial writer’s abyss. Kept justifying for my inconsistencies and rationalizing for my indolence.


This moment feels like a homecoming of sorts. I’m now back to writing. Hopefully with new stories to tell and more memories to share.


Consider this my comeback post. Unbearable lightness, here I come.

Monday, June 08, 2009

A Sorta Fairytale

Remember that time when we were younger? When we were too little and carefree to think of all life’s worries? When our biggest fear in life come birthday-time is not receiving the present that we hoped for all year long? Whether we are getting that spanking new toy that will make us the envy of the kids in the neighborhood, or we are, by dint of cosmic joke, bound to receive (again) that despicable snake and ladders set that we perpetually receive on an annual basis?

As kids, we hope for the coming of the next year. Adulthood is something we are dying to reach. We were too bold and brazen to decide, as such an early age, what we wanted to become when we grow old. And as far as I could recall, never in my wildest dream have I told myself that I wanted to become a nurse when I was that young.


By a sudden twist of fate, the image of birthdays being shiny and hopeful turned into something dreaded and scary. That was when we learned that growing up is never a joyful passage of time and memories but a ruthless monster devouring our hopes and dreams. Time has become our enemy. And birthdays, an event we associate with aging and sorrow.



I started asking myself: is this the memory I am going to imprint in my life as I grow older?

Or can I, for one, be like that child again, and celebrate my birthday the way it was supposed to be commemorated?

For the past 5 years that I have been writing here at The Unbearable, my birthdays are marked by loneliness, hope, beginning, and sorrow, a psychologist could easily interpret as an unconscious guise of my inner bipolar self. In between my personal oscillations of using and abusing several drugs in the formulary, ranging from anti-depressants to minor tranquilizers, lucid intervals are always bliss. And I’m proud to say that for 3 years now, my body has become prescription- or recreational-drug-free, and my doses of Valium have been minimized to a great extent.

Why, then, am I feeling this melancholic?

I actually don’t know. Blaming my brain’s raphe nuclei and serotonin proves to be an effortless escape but I won’t digress. Maybe it’s the season, and it’s my Seasonal Affective Disorder talking, but I have always liked the rain, making the diagnosis very unlikely. I think the conclusion is that the problem lies within myself. And I therefore need not ask.

In a few hours, I will be turning 18. Plus 5.

A few years back, I was praying to the Lord to give me enough wisdom to help me decide what is right for me and act upon that in a prudent manner. A few months back I think I received the wisdom that I ultimately longed for. Last year, I was living a life. It might not be the “best” life I’m capable of living, but in my heart I know it’s the kind of life that I know I will never exchange for for all of eternity.

This time, I have only one prayer:

I will live my life.

And this time, I will live it well.

*

Thank you for your unending support. This post is for single men (and women) everywhere, and one in particular... my very good friend Raymond, the eternal optimist, who always believes in love.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

So Yesterday

Milestones – that’s what they are called. Trust, mistrust. Autonomy, shame. Initiative, guilt. Industry, inferiority. Identity, role confusion.

Intimacy.

Isolation.

I have always believed that during the course of my fleeting, ephemeral lifetime, I was able to pass my psychological milestones with flying colors. I like to believe that I was nurtured well enough that I was poured, bathed even, with the necessary milieu needed to achieve them. Then came my epiphany.

I have always asked myself year after year as to how my life has been changing. Yes there might have been that proverbial, “older and wiser” adage but I doubt as to whether this passage still applies to me, or I’m moving otherwise. It appears to me that just like mankind, I have been taking huge steps backward, and it seems as if my world is screeching to a halt.

When I was younger and my ways of dating could be defined as indiscriminate at least, looking for love has been like choosing a personal outfit. I was young and reckless back then and love for me is just like a chemistry experiment. If the reagent does not match with the base product, we dispose, and if things go awry, we run to the nearest fire escape.



I seem to have found myself in a stage where I think I’m ready to settle down. But every time I think of the single, carefree life that I will be leaving, fear grows in my heart. Am I ready to commit to my one true love? Is he the one? Can I get over my previous lovers whom I still feel a certain response every time I see their faces or hear their names? Will I miss the night life I think I will desert once I’ve decided to settle down? Am I still allowed to flirt with other people? Am I a husband material?

A lot of my friends have been hitting me with a hammer, figuratively. At 22 (23 next week), I still have a lot of immaturities I should’ve grown out of when I was 13. But then again, at 13, I was facing a psychological test straight people are passing through with ease. It took me several years, and several failed relationships to finally decide what I wanted to be. And there I’ve found my identity.

“Don’t settle for anything less,” I always tell myself. But then again, the more pressing question is that, “do I deserve the things that are presented before me?” Or am I taking them for granted.

I just hope that there will never come a time when life will turn it’s back on me and tell me, “I have given you enough, now it’s time to take what’s mine.”

Darn identity.