Monday, August 15, 2011

Magnificent Monday: I Love...


I have always been amazed on how our body works. It was in our Anatomy and Phsiology class that I understood the harmony and balance of each body part, its function and use, its care and abuse. We, somehow, become sharers of a person's life as we care for him/her from maternity to childbirth, pediatrics to geriatrics, as well as a person's death (post mortem care). As I grew in the field, God touched my life through the patients I cared for.

In my early years in N.Africa where I worked as a hemodialysis nurse, I was given a regular patient assignment. My nurse friends avoided my ward maybe because the patients had only two options: to go on kidney transplant or to continue dialyzing for the rest of his/her life... this gave the ward a "morbid" tone...

Since I was not yet conversing in Arabic (I had few private lessons in Italy), my patients and I communicated through gestures, eye contact, a lot of objective assessment... and believe me this developed my intuition and clinical eye...

A few patients spoke English and the older ones knew Italian (it was an Italian colony before) and that made life easier for me...

But some patients were harsh and they'd call me"kalba" when I committed mistakes but there were gentle patients who taught me the secrets of their language. I learned both ways from the patients... my first year was a period of tears but they paid off because I learned a lot from them. 

On TLC part 2

A man of sixty years was assigned to me a week after my training in the Fresenius machine (the patients under these machines were tested negative of HIV and Hepatitis B and C). I don't remember his name but he made quite an impression on me being my first regular patient.

He looked older than his real age... tall, skinny shrivelled N. African who didn't talk much. We were together for a few weeks because he underwent coma during one of his dialysis sessions and he had to stay in the ICU. I wasn't able to visit him. The day I finally decided on doing so, he was already dead.

My Filipino nurse friends recounted that in his last stages of agony, he was looking for me... he died uttering the word "sorella" (an Italian word for sister)...

This gave me the shivers because, normally, a Muslim recites his creed on his death bed... Proselytism is a no-no. I never prayed for this man's conversion to Christianity nor spoke of Christ to him... but he called me his "sister"... he felt that i was when he was still alive?

My friends saw malice in this... I saw faith...

Unlocking TLC

In a Cardiac Management seminar I attended last March, the spokesperson, who was nurse-turned politician, reminded us of our Oath taking. Yeah, I remember pledging to be of service to our country and to the people regardless of race, color or creed. But in less than a year, most of my colleagues flew abroad seeking a brighter future for their families ... I followed a few years after that... service became secondary?

Since the boom of Nursing in the year 2000, nursing schools sprouted like mushrooms in every part of the country. To ease the growing population of nurses, nursing schools were closed, hospitals freeze hired and offered trainings instead to institutional nurses, and the most recent is the added curriculum to Nursing making it a five-year course...

UK offers student visas, US asks for NCLEX, CGFNS, IELTS (7), and 2-3 years active experience from hospitals. Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Guam are open for hiring ...

Most foreign countries specifically hire Filipino nurses because of TLC...  on the other hand, continuing our spokesperson's line of thought, he said TLC stands for tender loving care... but sometimes it becomes Tiger Lion and Cobra because of the tight situations nurses have to face... like a regular 8 hour 3 shifts converted to 12 hours 2 shifts (long duty) to earn more money and to have free holidays in between...  the result is reduced patient care and fatigue.. that might leave a person with a thin thread of patience...

Looking at the brighter side... caring is for everybody... but caring for a sick person... from prevention of illness to recuperation or rehabilitation to palliative means of caring... is a vocation...

To unlock the keys to true TLC, we are called to greater heart dilation and  readiness to serve without cost...



  1. You have led a very interesting life and it has taught you much!!! I really was interested in your story of the african man. Why would some of your friends see malice in his calling you sister??

    I always enjoy reading your blog and look forward to it !!

  2. In my experience, as a patient when i was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and the injuries sustained from combat, i was helped on the road to my recovery by nurses who through every pour of their body demonstrated care for me and passion for their work. God knows where i would be now if it wasn't for these caring angels.
    Thank you for sharing your amazing story.

  3. What wonderful blessings you have received along your amazing journey, Melissa! Caring for others (whether disabled by illness or some other means) requires, as you say, a dilation of the heart in so many ways. I felt a sense of recognition as I was reading your words...thank you so much for sharing part of your story with us.

    Blessings to you, little Angel.

  4. Wonderful pot. Wonderful woman. thank you for sharing.


  6. You are wise beyond your years. You have learned so much more on the job, I think, than in your training. Your patients have taught you TLC well. This is a beautiful Magnificent Monday post.

  7. Melissa, you touch lives with your words and deeds and that's why people remember and love you so much. Your life is truly amazing and your work extraordinary.

  8. You're an amazing young woman who has had a life so rich with experience. Your openness to trying out the new and challenging, as you follow your calling is very inspiring, dear Mel.

  9. Ready to serve without cost .. Nice one! I've learned a lot from this post. :)

  10. I missed this last week Melissa, so glad I got across to read this. My daughter is a nurse. She specializes in psychiatric nursing, a very challenging and at times a dangerous side of nursing underfunded next to the mainstream areas. But she does it with a strong Christian faith. Her name is Emma...which means nurse.