Vaccineering, Dramaneering

At around 9:30 am my friend, Love, picked me up from the clinic and we dashed to the hospital penthouse for our second dose of the Astra Zeneca vaccine. After my first injection 3 months ago the injection site had turned bright red for a few days, and I had frantically called up Thorn, an infectious disease expert, to ask if I needed strong antibiotics, say, Vancomycin. The inflammation resolved on its own after a week. After that first dose I had also gotten very hungry, eating everything on sight. About one other person has experienced the same “side effect”, so most probably it was something we totally made up.

While lining up we made chika about some of our med school batch mates. One of our classmates, Calypso, recently called me to ask for my opinion on a particular malignancy, and strangely she was talking and asking me questions very respectfully, like she was a resident or a trainee endorsing a case. She even texted before hand: Doc, would it be ok to call po?

“Why did she sound like that,” I asked Love. “It makes me so sad! Weren’t we… like, friends?” Truly there is no shortage of opportunity to be dramatic.

Come to think of it, I can’t really recall a moment when I had a substantial conversation with Calypso back in med school. According to Jaypee, you can say that you’re friends with somebody as soon as you have that “moment”. Maybe you happened to catch each other smoking in the ambulance parking lot, or maybe you had a shared annoyance towards a spiteful senior, and that moment instantly catapults you into some level of friendship. I can’t recall anything like that with Calypso. Still, my usual mode whenever I interact with a med school batch mate in a work environment is one of “feeling close”. Like it’s the safer default that I can probably just downgrade if it doesn’t get reciprocated. Others don’t work that way. When I was a senior fellow, I gave a CT scan request to a patient, with my name and signature on it. The request was promptly returned to me by the exasperated patient, with an underlined note from the radiology resident, who was my batchmate: To the fellow, please fill up the history and physical exam of the patient completely on the request form.


“Even in the operating room, I always find it easier to work with our batchmates, even if we weren’t particularly besties,” Love said. She is a plastic surgeon, and has to work with other surgeons and anesthesiologists. For those of you who have read a few miserable entries in this bloggeth, Love was the one who fixed me up when I had an eye injury. To review: in 2019 I tried to take off my pants standing up, fell on the floor, and hit my eye on the metal corner of a chair. Blood gushed out like a torn placenta previa. The first person I called was Djana to tell her that I might not be able to make the deadline for a project we were doing, the second one was Love. With much drama and despair I told her: “I don’t want to be ugly. I am nothing without my looks!”.

After the video orientation on the benefits of vaccination, presented by another UP med alumnus, Bev Ho, we finally received our injections. Right now my antibodies are getting recruited and swirling around in my system, rehearsing what they would do if COVID manages to sneak in. This rehearsal will take about two weeks. In the meantime, I hope I don’t die from something else, like having an entire building crash down on me in an earthquake. After the vaccination I immediately messaged my friends Ruth Marx, J, and Namtab Pots that I already had my second dose. “Pwede ka nang makipag-duraan,” they said.

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