A few years ago my contribution to the Sagip-Buhay projects, mostly headed by Hurricane K, Jing, Papa Ruter, and Fulet, has been limited to being… a ghost writer. While my co-residents were running around looking for money and stuff, admittedly I knew that I did not have enough socializing abilities, not enough drive to do strenuous leg work, and not enough rich connections. In fact I don’t have any rich connections that I know of, otherwise I would have asked for some money–for myself. Knowing this I asked if there were alternative ways to help with the project, so I wrote press releases, some supposedly tearjerking, rather manipulative write-ups of patients’ kawawa stories, and my favorite: ghostwriting for the really important people for their greetings page in the souvenir programs. I knew, or at least I hope, nobody ever read them because they were horrible.
Eventually the three years worth of events requiring souvenir programs spawned regurgitated greetings. People who knew me caught a few of the inside jokes:
“Let us shine the Blue Lantern of Hope…”– Because it was 2009, and the hottest comic book of the time was… DC cross-over Blackest Night series starring Green Lanterns of Will, Red Lanterns of Rage, and… Blue Lanterns of Hope!
“Sagip-Buhay enables us to walk the extra twenty miles to save a patient…”– Because at the time, the residents have been admonished for not exerting enough effort to get the biopsy results of a patient in a high profile case, and, to quote, “have not walked an extra mile”!
“But despite all these, there is no self-aggrandizement, no Messiah Complex…”– Because guess what was competing with DC comics’ Blackest Night at the time… Marvel Comics’ Messiah Complex and Second Coming storylines featuring the miraculous mutant birth of Hope, the mutant messiah!!!
Self-indulgence notwithstanding, though, that is the one trap some of us tend to fall into, some more frequently than others: self-aggrandizing, Messiah Complex. Working in this public hospital with poor patients, not being adequately compensated, having to sometimes shell out our own money, having to innovate in our management to fit into the square peg of abject poverty of the patient, we sometimes tend to feel like we are these heroes who do these things from the intrinsic altruism of our hearts, conveniently glossing over the fact, specially when we tell these stories to our friends outside the business, that most of these things are required or would incur punishments if unfulfilled, in the form of mortality reports, reprimands from consultants, audits, and even the most basic form of sanction: guilt. We like to rant about how the patients’ poverty becomes our burden, then later spin the story into a wonderful success story with us as the heroes, and when they tell us we’re such heroes we sheepishly say in faux humility that no no no, I’m just doing my job. Well if we indeed are then we wouldn’t mind doing them without ranting, or the opposite of ranting, which is decidedly quite horrendous: over-dramatizing the story and amping up the kawawa factor of both us and the patients.
But having said all of that pretentious crap which is worse than a rant because it is a pretentious rant, ranting can be so much fun. Specially if you have the right audience, who would rant back with an even bigger rant. You would try to out-rant each other, with long maniacal cathartic laughs between rants, and you would all end up feeling much better and ready to wake up the next day and serve the country like the good, respectable doctors that we are.
Conclusion: Ranting is healthy and fun. So rant away!