5.16.2018

I'm currently doing my shift at a clinic at UI Depok. It's a really nice clinic, it makes me wanna have one myself.

They gave me a vacant consultation room where I'm free to examine patients on my own, they have even supplied the neccessary equipments so I did not even have to bring my own (except my stethoscope, but that's because I do not trust any other stethoscopes). It's like playing doctor. It felt like this because on my first day, when the first patient came in, I had to act like a doctor even though my mind was chaos. I felt like I was not ready for it because I kept forgetting what I had studied. And it seemed like running away was the best solution at the time, because it was better to not be there than not being able to give proper help.

I struggled with writing prescriptions because there was no way I could recall the dosage of medications, and I did not have much time to learn what drugs were available at the clinic's pharmacy. Thankfully, all the people at the clinic were so kind-hearted and cooperative. I'm talking about the doctors, the nurses, the technicians, the people in the lab, the receptionists, and in particular, the pharmacists. The first struggle I had with writing a prescription was when my patient asked for a vitamin. The only two commercially available vitamins that I was aware of were Centrum (which was hella expensive, and of course, I was highly confident they did not have it stored) and Ester-C (which did not seem fit for this patient, who was slightly anemic). So, I had to come down to the pharmacy to take a look at my options, and it became a habit. And relievingly, every time I came around at the pharmacy, the pharmacists did not mind at all. If anything, they were always helpful. I am always grateful when I encounter good people.

I had quite an interesting day at the clinic today.

Early in the morning, my first patient was a male uni student (who coincidentally took the same major as Afdal). He complained of itching around his crotch. I had to take a look at it, but remembering the ethical theories of examining an opposite sex's genitalia, I felt obliged to ask my supervisor to be present as the third person in the room. When I examined it, I knew what it was, and that it was treatable. However, his crotch was all covered in powder (which he applied to relieve the itchiness), so my supervisor asked me to wipe it clean using an alcohol swab. So, yeah, that was my first assignment that morning: cleaning a person's crotch. What's more awkward (for him, but not for me), that same afternoon, I went to eat lunch at the faculty of engineering, and he was coincidentally eating there too. I avoided any eye contact to save his embarassment of course.

Throughout the examination, I am relieved to realize that I had not come up with any dirty thoughts (this was my first independent crotch examination, so I had to evaluate my thoughts). It wasn't due to the fact that I was aware of a third person in the room, but because I genuinely was not affected, and that I was entirely focused on this patient's health. If I felt any slight of interest, it was more because it was my first time seeing a real-time penis (and it wasn't from an exhibitionist). My relationship with a patient starts to feel like.. I was gonna say 'sacred', but no, that's not the right word to describe it. More like, I need to make the person to feel comfortable enough to open up (like, literally), but also keep maintaining professionalism by setting boundaries and being politely strict. I personally think it's a hard task, but that's a principle I'm holding on to.

Later in the afternoon, I received a foreign patient. He turned out to be French. He was also a uni student, and his complaint was blood in his urine. It was a pretty typical case of urolithiasis, but I was able to practice my French too. Oh, and he had this typical French moustache.... which was hilarious to me, really.

Throughout medical school, I never got the chance to get a hold of an STD (Sexually-Transmitted Disease) case, but today, I finally got the chance. He was my last patient for the day. A 22 years old male, complaining of sore throat and difficulty swallowing since more or less a week, there was no fever. I kind of expected that it was just an acute respiratory infection, but the thing is, there weren't even symptoms of coughing and runny nose. I was pretty clueless at this point (I always aimed to already have a diagnosis in mind before physically examining the patient), until I finally did a physical examination. And behold, I found unordinary white lesions on his pharynx. This definitely excluded the respiratory tract infection. Afterwards, I asked him about his last sexual intercourse, and he admitted that the most recent one was around last week. I asked if it was oral, and he said yes. I asked if it was with another male or female (by maintaing neutral expression, of course), and he answered 'female'. Then a couple of minutes later, he hesitated by saying, 'wait, doc, did you mean like I was the one giving oral? Or I was being given oral?' and I confirmed the former one. Then he retracted his saying, 'Oh, no, doc. I did not give any oral within this week'. I was internally becoming frustrated because I felt like he just did not want to admit. It was time to act strict by saying, 'Listen ya Mas, I'm suspecting that this is caused by either bacterial or fungal infection that is transmitted through sexual intercourse, both have different treatment approach, and if you want to get a targeted treatment to be cured, I need you to give me full information. So I'm gonna ask once again, did you yourself perform any oral sex on someone, regardless of the timeframe?', then he finally said, 'yes'. He also claimed that he was married, but when I asked about the marriage in detail, his fnal answer was, 'we did not exactly get married legally, it was more of a religious bond.' I really wanted to roll my eyes.

It is out of question that, as doctors, we should not be judgmental about how our patients choose to live their life. But it's really difficult to do that, especially in Indonesia. In the western world, people are adopting liberal lifestyle, but most of them are well-educated. They know the risks of their choice of way of life and they know how to protect themselves. But in this country, it feels like these people are just reckless.

5.13.2018

All my life, I just wanted a person to prove to me that I'm worth it. In ways that would crush my stubbornness and my insecurity. And make me believe that he will never act stupid and hurt me deliberately.

But at this point, I realize that the stubbornness and insecurity come from within me. I realize that whatever attempt a person does to melt them down, I will remain this way. Perhaps this whole time, I have subconsciously been aware that you can never, ever, control someone's behavior or how things turn out and that every relationship has risks. There are risks of him cheating on me, leaving me for another person, boredom, and I even thought, amnesia (God forbid). Imagining these complications just overwhelm me sometimes, because simply they are just too awful and painful to happen. I think about how married people still find a way to work things out and stick together, even though one of them has had an affair. Internalizing these images that have not even taken place yet has led me to build a protective shield against the person who has been trying to show his love to me for five years, and I have unfortunately realized this a little too late because that shield has been hurting him countless times. And it's just reasonable that everyone has a certain point of tolerance, and I'm sure he has reached his.

Other than bearing with the fact that he's deeply hurt, another hard task is lifting that shield. Now that I have learned the triggers and become aware of what thoughts to avoid, I should do better. I should have done this long time ago, because it would have been easier if he was there for me, still showing how much he wanted me. I have this huge fear that one day he would get tired of me and decides to give up on me, but I need to take time to really convince myself that it is not happening until he says so, and that even if he ditches, it is likely that I will never find someone like him and it will be excruciatingly painful, but I will still be alive and I'll survive it. I can still become a doctor, perhaps fly to a deserted place somewhere in the globe where they need medical care and become a field doctor.

My insecurity originates from how I have such low self-esteem. I know I can act tough and confident, I can handle stage fright very well and I can hide my fear when I face an attending at the hospital. It's mainly because I'm aware that the audience do not know me, and most likely will never know me. Therefore, they won't get a chance to learn about my secrets and my weaknesses. It's harder to be genuinely confident when you're with somebody who knows how broken you are, because there is no need to act tough anymore, and all that is left in me is my broken bits. Now, I know I need to construct these bits. I need to invest in myself to prove that I'm worthy (it's probably the most likely reason for me to have been looking for jobs now). I have planned to invest in my physical strength by working out at least 15 minutes everyday and my mind by reading at least 5 pages of medical emergency procedures everyday before going to sleep. I will also try to be more active socially (I still can't figure out the best method for this, but I'll eventually will), because its possible that I'm lonely.

All this, I will try to do, at the same time making sure to show him how much he matters to me.

I can imagine already how hard it's going to be. But I've already started, and I should continue and hope that something good comes out of this.

5.05.2018

What does it mean to love someone?

I think I have been struggling with that question ever since I had my first crush (which was during fourth grade maybe). Now, I'm 24 years old and I am still wondering what the correct answer is. I know one or two things for sure, though. Loving someone must involve being consistent. Because being consistent reassures the other person that nothing will change what they feel towards them. But I think, I even failed to show that.

One of my closest friends recently described me as someone who would give it all or none. I agree with her. I think it is too early to give and expect someone's whole effort in loving, or at least the attempt to prove it. What's the point of doing so when both people end up feeling hurt?

I really do not understand myself sometimes, or most times. And it makes me really hate myself. I think there are many events in my life, or perhaps it's just the way I think, that makes me feel highly insecure. I think I have failed greatly, in many aspects of my life. At the same time, deep in my heart, I know that is not true. I realize I have opportunities ahead to prove otherwise, even though it may be a little late. It's confusing really. Maybe I keep being faced with different situations that really just lose my patience and make me wonder whether it is worth it.

The thing is, the one thing I keep failing to do is making a person feel appreciated. Whether that person happens to be a friend, my boyfriend, my brother, or my grandma. I'm considered blessed to have been taken care of by these people, but I'm a hard person. By a sum of circumstances that have occurred throughout my life or genetically, I tend to believe that one has to stand on their own to survive the obstacles in life. It's really difficult to let someone in and trust that they would understand your point of view towards those obstacles, and even let them participate. Because the thing is, once somebody does that, I know I'd be dependant on them onwards, and there's a chance that I will be disappointed if they happen to not always be able to be there.

The things I am facing right now as an adult feels more difficult. So difficult that I really appreciate when I have time getting all the sleep I need, or eat the food or drink I enjoy. I barely sing or play music now, I know doing so used to make me feel content. I thought that at this phase of my life, I would be struggling to find jobs, or to make accomplishments. But really, not that I have excelled in either of that, but I simply think that maintaining a good relationship with a person is most challenging. And at times, it makes me think of myself as a bad person, as much as how I try to convince myself that it is not such big of a deal.

I think I'm very messed up.

2.04.2018

I think it's a fatal mistake to be too infatuated with someone so deeply when they are more infatuated with themselves.

8.07.2017

07/08/2017, RSCM

I have observed hydrocephalus in a neonate at my first visit ever to the Perinatology today.

Nobody remembers their first 28 days of their lives (aka the neonatal period). Yet, even when memory and immunology haven't fully developed, we already have primitive reflexes that act as our initial defense to anything that threats us; crying, arm grasping and feet kicking. It's like ever since we were first born into this world, we were determined to fight.

(I have drank my first cappuccino in 2 years without experiencing caffeine side effects)

8.05.2017

05/08/2017, RSCM

Today I saw the distinctive feature of thalassemia's Cooley's face in a twelve year-old patient. Also for the first time, I felt like I was part of the pediatric resuscitation team trying to manage respiratory distress in a 7 months-old patient with Down syndrome.

I haven't always been that enthusiastic about night shifts, but the thing about children is that in the midst of the frustrating search for diagnosis and the eyes longing for sleep, they can still effortlessly make you smile. I also learned, that it is good to make peace with uncertainty and to not postpone an act just because of the everly unpredictable conclusion of whether I'm ready for something or not.

7.11.2017

Tonight my tears fall down. A sign of waivering a white flag following a long inner battle between anger, frustration and confusion.

It is not that I'm ungrateful, dear God. I have abundant things to be grateful for at this moment. Yet, I am wondering, how can a place of comfort turn into a muted place? The only sounds produced are doubt and accusations.

I am so certain that we were happy, each of us, us together. I am certain I had felt free; being who I was and the words and emotions I expressed. They were all real.

Many times, I did think I'm the dead weight. Both of us sailed to the different poles frequently that it was him who always had to adjust the wheels. And while he does that, I tell the oceans to set their waves strong and big that they gave you an obstacle. And only when the sea has become calm again that you can sail to me.

But I think I have sent too much waves that you have become so distant. And now you have lost and given up on finding your way to me again.


6.26.2017

RESEMBLANCE

I'm in Universitas Indonesia in Depok. It is raining and I'm listening to Endah N Rhesa's Blue Day. These bits are enough to remind me of those days when we spent our time together knowing each other. It feels long ago.

It feels deeply familiar. It feels comfortable.

The more I get to know you, the clearer I see things that made me feel attracted to you in the first place. But lately, I have noticed something utterly surprising.

I see you talking to an uber driver, a gojek driver, a cashier, friends of mine you have never met, complete strangers. I see you initiate and engage in conversations lightly.

And then, I see resemblance of my father in you. Just like that, everything feels like it makes sense.

5.04.2017

SOMETIMES

Sometimes, I wish there's just somebody brave enough to pull me out of my evil zone with great determination.

4.13.2017

Update on Emotions

As you can see, right now I've been caught up with my life as a medical student undergoing clinical rotation in Jakarta. I've left Newcastle 6 months ago, and it still aches to remember the day when my roommates helped me pack my suitcase until the next morning I really had to get to the airport. I still remember it rained that day, and I recall the mixed emotions I had between sadness on leaving the city and excitement on meeting my family in London (for only two days). But I was pretty sure the sadness weighed more, because I did not have the slightest interest to return to Jakarta (except to obligingly continue my studies and spend more time with Afdal). I was pretty much settled on living with the girls, it was comfortable, and I did not have to pretend anything. It is weird that in the midst of diversity and foreignness, I found true comfort and genuine acceptance.

Today, I can honestly say I haven't felt that emotional comfort for awhile. I meet Afdal or a few of my best friends once or twice a week during the weekends, and in those times I pretty much feel content. But the rest of the weekdays I spent at the hospital with a majority of people whom are just difficult to deal with just drains me emotionally. I don't even find studying an issue, nor the examiners. But meeting these people everyday and constantly going through conversations that just seem superficial (cause lots of the talks are just about digging into other people's lives) just sickens me. I just don't meet people with any sincerity or integrity at all, and I end up with people who get cranky when they're provided constructive criticism and go on bitching behind your back.

I've decided to write this in here, because writing has always provided me relief. I've also decided that it is better to keep this to myself, because opening up to people just invites offers of solutions. It's really hard to find somebody to just sit and listen to what you're saying and really just accept it without trying to fix things as if I need to be fixed. Emotions are real, they do not need to be mended nor forced to be looked at from different angles cause they're real just the way they are.

So, my plan right now is to just finish what I'm going through. Get my medical degree. Get USMLE. And finally, get out of here. :)