Around this time 8 years ago I bade farewell to PGH where I’ve studied and trained for almost 13 years, and went back to the province to study for the upcoming medical oncology boards. I would have been very sentimental, except that I was totally sick of training, and I had longed to get out of the boarding house where I had been staying for almost five years. In a dramatic fashion I told Smoketh that I want to wake up, have coffee, and not think of the tasks ahead of me. That I wanted to take a bath in my own bathroom and not be afraid of dropping my soap on a urine-soaked floor. That at our advanced age, which, in a sense, had been both delayed and accelerated by medical training, I finally wanted to live life. In other words, a whole lot of drama.
At the time we didn’t have cable or internet at home, so in my free time I read too much comics. My favorite was Lois Lane from the 60’s, which was also my late father’s favorite. We were still reeling from my father’s death, and finances were very tight. My mother’s internist allowed me to hold clinic hours in her clinic. There weren’t a lot of patients, but money started to trickle in. Most of the time I would text my mom and my sister that I had zero patients.
At night I would feverishly study, and watch local TV during breaks. I still had a tube-type television set, which could only catch channel 7 and channel 5. My Husband’s Lover premiered, to rave reviews. The first few weeks were great, until they felt the need to stretch it, and it seemed like nobody could figure out where the story should go. And because it was prime time they couldn’t get too sexually suggestive. My favorite moment of ridiculousness was when Vincent said he would wash Eric’s foot, because Eric has always been the one washing his. It was such a strange analogy for fucking and getting fucked.
Whenever I had budget I would go to Dakasi in the nearby SM to study. I had soaked my de Vita with multi-colored highlighters while nursing a tiny cup of tea, and to the crew’s credit they never made me feel like I was overstaying. When they figured out that I was a physician they would sometimes consult, and I was happy to oblige. They wondered what I was studying for, and I explained that there were board exams to become a general physician, another boards to become a specialist, and yet another one to become a sub-specialist. As I was explaining, in more detail than they needed, I realized that that’s how my pediatrician should have explained it to me when I was 13 years old and full of optimism!