NY Med: Real Life Medical Drama

I’ve been a big fan of Terence Wrong’s medical documentaries ever since I saw the first episode of Boston Med that aired 2010. After seeing that show I googled for more information and saw that there were prior documentaries. So I ended up watching Hopkins 24/7 and Hopkins.

I was so glad to find out that a new documentary was set to air last July 10.

I caught the first episode just today and I must say, it looks to be another good series. I love that it’s set in New York. That city will always have a special place in my heart. I’ve been there several times and I spent some of my happiest days creating good memories there.

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Same Sex Marriage: Should We or Shouldn’t We?

Barack Obama became the first sitting United States President to publicly state his support for same sex marriage, a pronouncement with very historic implications.

I’m writing about it because it’s an issue I’m interested in. I am because it’s about human rights. I’ve long believed in upholding human rights and improving rights of women, children, persons with disabilities and now people with different perspectives on sexuality.

On one hand my Catholic faith tells me that a marriage should only be between a man and a woman. On the other hand my mind tells me that people have basic human rights and that one of them should be the ability to choose whom he/she lives with and forms a partnership with.

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Who’s Failing Who

“A man once said this, decisions are made by those who show up. So are we failing you or are you failing us? It’s a little of both.” – Pres. Jed Bartlet/Martin Sheen

That quote was from one of the scenes of the last episode of season one of “The West Wing”, an American TV drama written by Aaron Sorkin. The quote resonated with me because lately there’s been a lot of blaming and finger pointing going around. The most recent of which was about the Manila Hostage Crisis.

The quote made me think seriously. Why are we (Philippines) in the dumpster? Why is it that the rest of Asia, the world for that matter is slowly moving up and we’re still stuck in a rut? We’re almost at the same place we are 20 or so years ago save for some improvements. I mean sure we have new buildings, more roads, we have broadband, etc.. but as a core, I feel we’re still kind off in the same place where we are. We still see same faces and/or names running the government and we as a people still complain a lot but do little about it.

Our population is nearing the 100 million mark. Yet during the last elections there was only 50 plus million registered voters and out of those 50 million only around 37 million or 73% of those registered voters went out to vote. Less than half of the country’s population decided how the country would be run in the next 6 years. What’s worse, I have reason to believe that a majority of the portion of those who voted did not think about the candidates they voted for nor listened to the issues. A lot simply voted for personalities or were just convinced by other people to vote for whomever.
We are where we are because a lot of us don’t participate in building our nation. Sure we make our voices heard on Twitter or Facebook. We send out text messages and emails cursing the government and who ever we feel needs to be blamed for the ills of our nation. Yet when the time comes to actually make a difference we take it lightly or not take action at all.

The government is what it is because we allowed it to be such. For years we allowed corrupt and inept politicians to craft our laws and enforce them. When things go bad we simply accept it as “the way it is”. We want other people to fix our problems instead of being part of the solution.

If we want things to be better we need to participate. We need to be a part of the change that we want to see in our nation. Government can’t do it alone. They should do their jobs but we must do ours.

All of us can do something. We can start small. We can start small. Following simple rules and regulations, being aware of what’s happening around your community, participating in programs for your community, etc. We can grow from there. We need to start participating in debating the issues that affect us. Make our voices heard.

One of John F. Kennedy’s most famous lines is “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”. We need to start asking ourselves how can we be part of the solution? How can we start participating in helping build our nation?
If we’re don’t start participating more, then government isn’t the only that failed us, we failed ourselves.

The Blame Game

The hostage taking last Monday, which saw 9 Chinese nationals lose their lives and others injured was indeed a sad and tragic event. As a result a lot of blame has been going around. From the police to the media as well as the President of the Philippines has not been spared blame. There are a lot of fingers being pointed in all directions. So who is to blame really?

Is it the police? They did manage the situation very poorly. From what I’ve seen on live TV, read in the paper and from various social media accounts the police really failed to do their jobs properly. It seems that they could have ended the situation much earlier with less casualties but failed to do so. When they did move to subdue the hostage taker they looked like they were all rookies fresh out of the police academy instead of highly trained law enforcement officers.

I will admit that our police force is sorely lacking in all aspects. They lack training, equipment but most of all education. A lot of our police officers are under educated. This is attributed to our poor education system. Most police officers here come from poor families. They’re a product of the public education system and as sad as it seems our education system is bad, thus the level of competence of our policemen is really not at par as with developed nations.

All the right equipment in the world would be for nothing if the person using it can’t think well.

To the policemen’s credit, lacking equipment and education/training, they’re still brave enough to go out there and risk their lives to help people they don’t know. It takes a brave man to go and face off with a gunman even if he’s wearing a bulletproof vest; it’s even braver when you’re wearing none. Most of the policemen on the scene had only their uniforms to protect them.
To people who say that being a policeman you should be ready to die in the line of duty, let me see you say that once bullets are flying towards you. It’s not that easy. Your resolve will only be tested once you’re in that situation. It’s easier said than done. If you’re not dodging bullets for a living, I think it’s best you refrain from making comments like that.

Is it the media then? Well they did broadcast a lot of things that in most people’s opinion contributed to the agitation of the hostage taker. They also showed the assault on live TV which if I were to believe some articles I’ve read, the hostage taker was also watching it live on the bus. Therefore giving him knowledge as to the movements of the policemen as well as a cause for agitation.
The Philippines has one of the freest presses in Asia. The local media has been able to report on a lot of things without really being hampered.

However a free press does not mean that rules and guidelines should not apply. It doesn’t mean that the media should not think about their actions and the consequences that result because of their actions.

When people suggest that there should be a news blackout for certain situations, that does not mean that there should be no media or coverage present, it just means that the stories should not air live. Media can still cover and shoot video but it should be aired/published at the right time.

Journalists that cover wars such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan are embedded in with armed forces units. They are allowed to cover but they do not broadcast during times wherein there are operations. They do not air tactical positions of the armed forces. They exercise restraint when doing their jobs in order to ensure safety of the soldiers. It should be the same for situations like the hostage taking that just happened.

The media industry has been so competitive as of late that out scooping the competition sometimes impairs the judgment of media practitioners. This needs to change.

Is the President of the Philippines and his cabinet members to blame? There’s the concept of command responsibility and for all intents and purposes the buck does stop with the President. Ultimately he should be accountable for everything that happens in this nation of ours. He is after all the chief executive. The cabinet members namely the Secretary for Local Government is also responsible because for this aspect he is the President’s alter ego. Ergo he is responsible as well as he is representing the President.
The President ultimately shares a big part of the responsibility for what happened last Monday. It happened during his watch. However, it is not entirely his fault. Even the best leaders make mistakes or are put into situations that are really unpredictable.
A certain congressman has suggested that the President’s lack of visibility meant that he wasn’t on top of things. Just because a President is not basking under limelight does not mean he’s not giving it attention.

Should the President be at the scene of a hostage taking? No. That’s not his job. He is not a hostage negotiator or a police commander. He has people specifically trained to do those things. Let those people do their jobs.
The stance of the current government to limit the involvement of politicians during the hostage crisis is in my book the right move. Politicians and personalities should not be involved in those matters.

So who’s really to blame for what happened last Monday? My answer is that all of us share a portion of the blame. Those people who keep pointing at others forget that that when they point, three fingers are pointing back at them.

We are all to blame because we have allowed our society to get to the state where it is right now. We allowed corrupt politicians to reign over our country hampering our development. Those corrupt politicians that are pointing fingers now failed to realize that by pocketing money that rightfully belongs to the people, they are depriving the country of resources that should be spent educating, training and buying equipment for public servants such as policemen.

We have grown accustomed to wanting to know so much that we’re finding it hard to draw the line where we should hold back. We want to know what’s happening all the time that we fail to realize that our wanting to know sometimes puts others in jeopardy.
I believe in our right to have a free press and the rights to know what’s happening around us but I also believe there is a right time for the information to be given to us.

We are all at fault because we as a society has become so selfish that there are a lot of people who are in despair that they need to resort to drastic measures just to make their desperation known. The hostage taker was not asking for anything other than just to have his job back. What does that tell you?

While there are people who are at fault during the actual event, we should ask ourselves why that event took place. Why was one man so desperate that he had to take hostages? He was by no means a terrorist. What he did was wrong but I think at the beginning his intentions were not really to create terror. He just wanted to be heard and he wanted people to notice. We need to look at the root of it all and see why things like this happen.

We’re all to blame for this. Until we as a people get our acts together, events like this will happen again.

What’s Wrong With Being Depressed?

An alleged psychological report on presidential candidate Noy Noy Aquion dating back to 1979 has surfaced. According to “this report”:http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/04/27/10/villar-camp-revives-noynoy-mental-health-issue former which NPC President Guido Delgado circulated, a then 19 year old Aquino was said to be “suffering from depression and melancholia” partly due to his father’s incarceration during the regime of Ferdinand Marcos.

This report was supposedly signed by Jaime Bulatao, a Jesuit Priest and was dated August 9, 1979. Father Bulatao through a letter has since denied the report.

However, granting this report is true, what’s wrong with being depressed? Isn’t depression a natural human emotion? I will openly admit that I’ve been depressed several times over the course of my life. Especially because of the trials that I’ve been faced. Is there something wrong with me? Does this mean I am a lesser person than the next because I’ve been depressed? My answer would be no. There’s nothing wrong with being depressed.

At the time that the report was supposedly made Noy Noy was a young man who has gone through a tremendous amount of trials such as the incarceration of his father and the other attacks thrown against his family by their enemies. That’s more than a lot of people could undergo and handle given their youth.

If he became depressed, that would certainly be understandable. What’s important is that he got over it and since then has made something out of his life.

Being depressed is not bad. It’s our way of coping through problems. What’s important is the ability to get over the depression and press forward. As the saying goes, “it’s not how many times you fall down, it’s how many times you get up”.

That’s the same with depression. We’ll get depressed as we face trials and that’s fine. We should just find a way to get out of it in a timely manner.

If the worse trait of Noy Noy is that he gets depressed from time to time then I’m willing to live with that. That doesn’t mean he’s a bad leader or a bad person, it only means he’s human.

As the elections draw near, my choice of who to vote for becomes clearer and clearer. I am seeing and sensing desperation from some candidates and this only puts them in a bad light.

A friendly advice to supporters of candidates don’t use tactics like this in order to sway others to your side, it only makes people think less of you and your candidate. If you want to convince me to vote for your candidate show me what they can do, their good qualities. Don’t show me the negative traits of the other candidates. That only makes you look petty.

To Mom On Her Birthday

On this day, some years ago (I won’t mention how long ago) a very special girl was born. She would grow up to be a great daughter, a good friend, a loving wife and a very kind and understanding mother. She simply became a wonderful person both inside and out.

I have had a lot of blessings in my life but most of them would fail in comparison to the blessing that is my mom. She’s was the one who brought my brother and I into this world and continues to give us life with the home that she has provided us. She has been selfless and put our needs above hers. At times sacrificing her own wants and needs just so she can give us a happy life.

Her life has been filled with sacrifices for her family. Not once complaining about it because for the people she loved, nothing mattered but their happiness.

We’ve had our share of ups and downs. Trials here and there but through it all she handled everything with grace.

A great testament to how good of a person my mom is, is the fact that I have not encountered a single person who does not like her. A lot of my friends become her friends as well. I can leave my friends with her and they probably would not notice that I was gone. She is loved by all.

On this, her birthday, my wish for mom is for her continued health and happiness. I also wish that all the sacrifices she made will bear fruit. She deserves to be happy and fulfilled. May the Good Lord shower her with all the blessings.

I love you mom!

Right To Live or Die

Instead of debating suicide laws, why isn’t more done to find as cure for the awful diseases that so ruin people’s lives, they feel the need to kill themselves?
– Michael, Manchester, UK

That quote came from one of the comments left on an article that I just read. The article was titled “British TV viewers to be shown shocking moment terminally ill man ends his life at suicide clinic” and it was published on Mail Online, a British publication.

The article talks about a man named Craig Ewert who suffers from Motor Neurone Disease (MND), a group of progressive neurological disorders that affect the control over muscles. Craig Ewert has decided that he did not want to prolong his suffering as well as subject his family to his ordeal that he flew to Switzerland to die. Dignitas, a Swiss organization assists terminally ill people in performing assisted suicide. You can read the entire article here.

This story caught my attention and in a way pulled something in my heart because I know what it’s like to go through something similar, albeit not as bad.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, there’s a sense of dignity that is lost when you can’t fend for yourself. When you rely on someone else to do normal daily activities, it does get quite taxing. Not only on yourself but on the people around you.

Being paralyzed, not having control over your body is a very difficult thing. Physically and emotionally. It’s something you don’t wish another person, even an enemy.

I’m quite lucky that at least I still have some function over other parts of my body. I can still do other things such as type on a computer, text message, eat, speak, etc… Those things still make life worth living.

I do understand what went through Mr. Ewert’s head. I would be lying if I said that I’ve never thought about just ending my life and getting this over with. However those moments are very brief and fleeting. I’ve managed to think of reasons to keep on going. But I can empathize and understand his decision. It’s not an easy life…

The question begs to be asked “why aren’t we doing much more in terms of making sure that people who are in similar situations don’t have to make that decision?”.

We as a society should do more. We should spend more on healthcare, research for medicine and treatments that will cure illnesses such as this. We should provide programs that assist families in caring for sick members, we should be more compassionate as a society that decisions such as taking your own life should not be made. Life is precious, each life is important.

Like I said, I still manage to find a reason to keep fighting. My family is my main driver in doing so. I honestly wouldn’t know what to do if I lose them, they are the biggest reason why I continue to fight. Without them I don’t think I would have gotten this far. I honestly hope I never run out of reasons to go on and keep fighting.

While I can understand one persons wish to enforce his right to die and end his suffering, it is my sincerest wish that society gives everyone enough reason and assistance to not have to exercise that right.

Happy Birthday Mom!

!http://www.fightpompe.com/images/42.jpg (Mom and Dad)!

My mom celebrated her birthday yesterday. I won’t mention her age because she’ll probably disown me if I did.

We celebrated her birthday in a simple but great way. My dad was supposed to take her out for dinner at some restaurant but she didn’t want to go. Instead she wanted to spend it at home. My brother prepared dinner instead.

My mom’s birthday dinner consisted of deconstructed French Onion Soup. Deconstructed because the cheese and bread were served separately. I asked my brother if that was really a style of serving it and he said no. The reason he served it that way was because he didn’t have a broiler hot enough to melt the cheese properly and make sure that the cheese was on top. I don’t really fully understand what that means… Hey the only cooking I ever did was to heat up some corned beef when I was young.

We also had salmon for appetizers, a salad and for the main course Paella. I must say that my brother’s Paella is pretty good. It also didn’t contain any pork because my dad doesn’t eat pork.

For dessert we had Mango and Cream Cake which my cousin prepared. Peachy, my cousin is one of the best “cakers” in Manila. She’s also like a daughter to my mom and dad and so she had to be with us for dinner.

Apart from my dad, mom, brother, cousin and I, we were also joined by Imee, my brother’s longtime girlfriend.

The dinner was simple and yet extremely enjoyable and delicious. It probably was a better alternative than my dad’s original plan. I’m sure my mom enjoyed it as well.

Mom, you know I love you very much and each birthday you have I am truly thankful to God for having blessed our family by making your our mom. You’re the gel that holds our family together. I don’t know where we’d be with out you.

Happy, happy birthday mom! May God grant all your wishes. I love you.

Oh, don’t mind the walls in the picture. We’re having the house repainted and now it’s still a mess. The girl in picture making a funny face, that’s my cousin Peach.

Belated Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year

This is a little late for Christmas but just in time for New Year. I hope that your Christmas has been a good one. You got a chance to spend time with family, laughing, catching up, exchanging gifts and well wishes. I hope that you’ve had abundant blessings, while it may not be material things, simply by being with your loved ones, being healthy are more than adequate blessings.

As 2008 draws near, I want to with you health, wealth and happiness. May the coming year be great. I wish you a life as blessed as mine.

A Happy New Year you!