Anna Santos
(CONTINUED FROM When Life is A Relative – Part I)

Flipping the charts with quivering hands, I glanced at Gladys' semi-conscious state of mind and gazed at Allen's bewildered appearance. My eyes surveyed the gloomy room, our relatives were there, entirely clueless of what I have in mind. I wanted to burst into tears and scream “She may die anytime!” but I haven’t uttered it in blur and confusion. How do I prime my family to expect the worst? I used to do that to patients, unrelated to me. How do I say to them to be prepared of a possible death when I myself wouldn’t accept that dreaded idea? I had to get out of the room, evaded the pressure, and stayed at the nurse station, for if physically, she was in agony, emotionally, it was torture to me too.

Perhaps it was too heavy to bear that I couldn’t write any medical orders anymore, for fear I might push her to death, or be blamed by my brother, or worst, by myself. So I asked the Lord why her and why me. It’s hard to pretend in front of the people who expected too much from you that everything is in control when you know only the Lord knows if He would like her to respond well to our treatment. And it’s also lonely to cry alone, never letting your family see you cry because you should be the last man standing strong.

As a doctor, when dealing with life itself becomes a routine day to day encounter, we become detach to maintain grace under pressure. We cling to our defenses to think clearly and objectively. But I got stuck in the danger zone, unable to create a detached attitude. My judgment was already clouded. I couldn’t be a doctor to my sister anymore. I tried, I thought I am strong enough, but I failed.

I have earlier called in the Hematologist and the Infectious specialist. With HELLP syndrome versus Postpartum HUS as a consideration, they continued with the treatment I initiated and worked their brains out in saving Gladys until she was out of the ICU. I thanked my colleagues for understanding how I bothered them in my crisis. And I thanked Dr. Amy, my cousin, for the support she gave in that crucial day. I never thought how noble my profession is until this time, when I had a hands-on experience of their camaraderie.

Learn to quit when you are supposed to. Do not push yourself and be stubborn if you think you can’t. Step aside and be a relative. These I learned well.

So I step aside and been feeding my little niece with my breast milk at the nursery while my colleagues deal with the mom at the ICU. For a while, I’ve been the surrogate mother for baby Mickey up till she was roomed-in.

My brother’s family is now out of the hospital enjoying the life together. Last week was baby Mickey’s christening, and I thank the Lord to have been constantly guiding my thoughts and the hands of all the physicians who attended to Gladys.

As for me, I guess, I’ve been a better relative than a doctor to my relatives. But the pleasure and contentment to have saved one relative is, after all, more than the money could give.

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12 Responses
  1. Carni Says:

    is your sis-in-law okay now?

  2. Luke Says:

    That's one scary situation to be in, Doc Petit. It's true what you said that a doctor needs to be objective and detached but that it's difficult if it's your relative who's involved. I'm sooo happy, though, that your sister-in-law is now safe.

  3. Petit Says:

    @ Carni - Yes, She's very fine now... she's back to her office work, a busy life.

    @Luke - perhaps that would explain why i was out of the blogosphere for a while, and missed to vote the jedi bloggers.

  4. Beth Says:

    Sobra, sinubaybayan ko to and read word by word! Anyway, ang galing mo magkwento, Petit. I was so touched and I felt that I was in your situation, that I was the doctor. Na-attached ako. I felt the possible guilt skaling me mangyaring masama ke sis in law. And at the same time, the relief now that she's okay.

    Ganun pala un, minsan we must learn to withdraw or quit and shouldn't be stubborn. I learned a lot here, Petit. I am stubborn kasi most of the times. You just gave me an idea for a post. :)

    Congrats to you and the other doctors too! And of course, thank be to God for being the best Physician ever who healed your sis in law through you and your colleagues. Take care, Petit! Thanks for sharing this! It so touched me. :)

  5. zorlone Says:


    That was a scary experience. It was brave of you to be able to withstand the situation at the ICU. Geez! It must have been difficult for you to just sit there and let let your colleagues work while you were with your niece. Thank goodness things turned out well. Whew!


  6. Petit Says:

    @ Beth - thanks, i am happy to share this unforgettable event so that others may learn from me too. this is the way it is, each of us have its own battles to face, struggles to win, and bad habits to outgrow. mabuti naman at naikwento ko ito ng maayos.. thanks for the drop.

    @ doc Z - you know this things fairly well doc. it is really a whew! that was close. thanks for reading up till the last word.

    im sorry i've written this too long. i'm not like you but i enjoyed your poems. i wanted to write poems too, been doing that during college days. but looking back, its too elementary compared to you. naiinsecure tuloy akong mag start. hehehe

  7. I met them in the clinic of dra. alvizo i think... I was bothered because the mom was so skinny and i asked the mom and she told me your related to each other...
    small world.
    With regards to a priest can be a priest to his family... maybe.
    but i say that me as a seminarian, before, did not take the opportunity to be a seminarian to my family... i wrote a blog on this in my multiply account two years ago... and it became my frustration. care to read this one.


  8. Petit Says:

    Yes Daniel, she really was thin. But if you saw her now, she's back to being sexy. It is as if nothing happens, not even a trace of a recently been pregnant woman. Well, all is well that ends well.
    All right dan, I'll check out your blog.

  9. Yami Says:

    I'm lost for words here. Ganun pala ang pakiramdam ng isang doctor attending to a very sick relative. Malaki ang respeto ko sa mga doctor lalo na nung magkasakit din ang anak ko. Anyway, sana marami ka pang matulungan. You are indeed blessed.

    Salamat pala sa dalaw at nakakatuwang komento. Oo, nabasa na ni hubby ang post ko sa kanya. oks lang naman sa kanya sanay na kasi ehehe. :)

  10. Petit Says:

    @ yami - OO nga. sana God will remain good to me, even if sometimes i'm not a very good girl. trying to be but i think its hard to be.

    i enjoyed your post so much. next time gagawin kong kengkoy hubby ko. hehehehe....sssshhhh. lets not ruin the plan.

  11. jan geronimo Says:

    Wow, that was a cliffhanger. I squirmed inwardly while I was reading. So many things in your story resonated with me, Petit. I'm happy you've been tested - severely at that - and then triumphed over it. One is tempted to say it's the triumph of science, but it belies the whole picture, isn't it?

    Much of it can perhaps be attributed as well to faith and a mom's indomitable will to live. And a prayerful husband storming the gates of heaven with his pleas.

    It's a magnificent read sustained in two installments. I wonder where your lack of confidence to write springs from. You do write well. You just have to pull it out of your guts. Like you so marvelously did in this piece. :)

  12. PETIT Says:

    wow. the top influential blogger this year is in my site. thanks for your lovely comment jan. i always say that i should write the way you do. this is such a fine piece because it is full of emotions from real people. well, perhaps once it is real, no need to impress people with words. thanks for visiting!!



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