Monday, April 23, 2007

By Spartan Law...

Dear Sabine, hanggang ngayon, ang iyong laging bukang bibig ay "Sabine is going to school now".

Well, last week we went to Tagkawayan, your Lola Letty's and Mom's hometown and visited the High school where your Mommy graduated from: Our Lady of Lourdes Academy (OLLA). We went there to pay our respects to Ninong Ed VillaseƱor. To your Mom and I he was "Ninong Ed" because he stood as one of the sponsors of our wedding. But to several generations of OLLA students he mentored, he was known by his knightly title of "Sir Ed".

At the most important juncture of her life, Sir Ed was one of those who inspired your Mom to continue her pursuit to earn a medical degree. This despite of the daunting odds and the personal loss she and your Lola suffered that year. They lost your Tita Adhey and Lolo Lony in a span of 40 days.

It was such an impossible dream at that time. But with God's help and with the help of inspiring mentors like Ninong Ed, she moved on to fulfill her dreams.

Sir Ed passed away unexpectedly. The whole town mourned his passing.

He was an institution. He was larger than life. In the end he was buried in the same school that saw him share the best years of his life with the youth that he mentored to adulthood. I think it was a fitting tribute to the man who lead a heroic life.


Because a school is a battleground for the hearts and minds of the young. And Sir Ed was one of its most gallant warriors. It was only right that his mortal remains be buried in the ground made hallow by his struggle to mold the minds of many generations with the Promethean fire.

There is a battleground in Greece called "Thermophyle" where a band of noble warriors were buried on the same ground where they made a stand against the forces of superstition, tyranny and ignorance. In doing so, they were able to preserve the most precious legacy of that ancient civilization: Freedom of Thought.

Their epitaph reads:

"Tell the Spartans, passerby...
That here, by Spartan Law, we lie."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I'm Proud of YOU, Sexy!

The email says:

"14th Congress of the International Pediatric Nephrology Association
31 August - 4 September, 2007
Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, 11 April, 2007

Dear Dr. Arleen Decena-Galvez,

On behalf of the Scientific Committee I have the pleasure to inform you that your abstract N° 18 with the title 'FREQUENCY OF RECURRENT URINARY TRACT INFECTION AND SIDE EFFECTS OF OM-89 AND NITROFURANTOIN IN CHILDREN WITH URINARY TRACT ABNORMALITIES IN A RANDOMIZED TRIAL: A PILOT STUDY' was accepted for POSTER presentation.

You will get a note about the date and place of your presentation by the end of April.

The poster exhibition is a very important part of the congress program which includes oral poster presentations as well as poster tours.
Posters with a clearly presented heading including the title of the presentation, names of authors and their affiliation must fit the size of the poster board: 90 cm wide and 120 cm high. The letters used should be large enough to be read from a distance of 1,5 m .

Please inform the Scientific Committee until the 30th April, the latest, in case you are not able to come to the Congress and present your poster:

Please note that the condition to have your presentation at the programme and your abstract published in the Abstract Book is the registration of the presenting author at the Congress. Therefore we invite you to register not later than 30 April, 2007 at the following website:

For any queries as to registration please contact Blaguss Congress Bureau:

See you in Budapest !

With kind regards

George Reusz Tivadar Tulassay
Congress Secretary Congress President

Monday, April 09, 2007

Powell Doctrine

"...when a nation is engaging in war, every resource and tool should be used to achieve overwhelming force against the enemy, minimizing US casualties and ending the conflict quickly by forcing the weaker force to capitulate." -- The Powell Doctrine

Today we mark the anniversary of the Fall of Bataan. It’s like the battle of thermophyle in the movie "300" that we just watched over the holy week-- or atleast that’s what the local folklore and history would like us to believe.

An overwhelming force was used by the empire of Japan to over run the defenders of Bataan and the Rock fortress of Corregidor. It resulted in Japan's conquest of the Philippines.

Back in the first gulf war, Powell applied his doctrine of overwhelming force to secure victory for the United States. It resulted in the renaissance of of American Conservative Movement that was supposedly dealt a deathblow by the quagmire called "Vietnam" a generation ago.

Now, America, thanks to the Bush administration, has come full circle. It has a new VIETNAM.

A few days from now, the world will mark the 4th anniversary of the American Invasion of IRAQ. Some say that the invasion was a debacle because a self-proclaimed potentate of the pentagon named Rumsfeld decided to experiment with the United States Military Personell and Iraqi People by applying his own vision for the US military which seeks to "increase force readiness and decrease the amount of supply required to maintain forces, by reducing the number in a theater."

He probably figured that after years of bombing, the Iraqi Forces are so weak that using overwhelming force against it will be viewed by history as an unsportsmanlike conduct. It makes me wonder if the real reason why the defenders of thermophyle lasted longer than expected was because Xerxes wanted to show the world that his army was a match to any insurgent force, man-to-man, pound-for-pound. Maybe that's why he sent his men to the gates of Thermophyle in a piecemeal fashion.

Maybe he was the first one to apply the Rumfeld doctrine with disastrous results.

It is a flawed doctrine in the Art of War. The Rumsfeld doctrine forgot the military adage that the gods of war are always in favor of the army who comes into battle with the most number of men (and with the most number of digital buttons to push). Rumsfeld also forgot the first rule of hand to hand combat which is to NEVER UNDERESTIMATE YOUR OPPONENT.

Powell was the only Republican I admired before he became the fall guy of the Bush administration. Who can forget his failed attempt at being the next Adlai Stevenson of the Security council? Who can forget that he was the one who made the case for the Iraqi Invasion because of imagined "material breach" of UN Resolutions, coupled by claims of even more imaginary Iraqi possesion of Weapons of Mass Destruction? Who can forget....

I take it back... The world has forgotten.

Now it's Barak Obama who could become the first Black President of the US.

Sayang talaga.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Saint John Paul

Dear Sage, I just heard from the news that JP2 is on the fast track to sainthood.

That's why he is being hyped as a heroic figure in the media. well, Saint or not, he was human. and he died of a very human affliction.

Physicians treat patients with Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) everyday. Most of the time, advising the patient to drink extra glasses of water and giving him regular doses of a very common antibiotic (Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole) does the trick.

So how could this have brought down the Pope?

Two reasons: first, UTI was not the only health problem he had; Second, the infection did not just stay in his urinary tract- it found its way into his bloodstream. When the lining of the urinary tract gets infected, usually by a bacteria, it stays there because our body has inherent defenses that stops the INVADING BACTERIA and prevents it from spreading elsewhere in the body. IT’s as if the body was designed to do what erwin rommel could not do on D-DAY—Stop the invasion right at the beaches before it spreads out of control.

Even if the infection gets confined only in the Urinary tract, it becomes INFLAMMED. That’s why its most common symptoms are Fever and Pain when urinating (Dysuria). To understand it more, imagine your forearm’s skin with sunburn (a form of acute inflammation) try to put it under running water and you’ll feel the sting of pain. Ofcourse there are times when the patient does not even have any symptoms. And yet their Urinalysis shows that they have UTI. This is the reason why some people cannot accept the news that the holy father died of something practically as trivial as UTI.

To start with, the Pope was already 84 years old. He had Parkinson’s disease and was prone to have a host of infections. He was immunocompromised. His body can not contain the “INVASION” only in the urinary tract. It “leaked” into his cardiovascular system of arteries and veins which we commonly call the “bloodstream.” (Actually we can think of it not just as a “Stream” but as the body’s HIGHWAY that leads to the kidney, liver, lungs, heart, brain and every conceivable place within) Once there, the bacteria will start new colonies until those vital organs fail to function properly.

To make matters worse, the bloodstream incursion of the bacteria (which we call “Sepsis”) affects the body’s blood pressure. How? The arteries and veins of the blood stream are not like solid pipes that do not yield to the pressure of the liquid blood that flow through it. The sturdiness of these “pipes” depend on its walls which are made up of muscles (smooth muscles to be exact, I’ll explain their difference from Schwarzenneger’s muscles next time) When bacteria leaks into the blood stream, these smooth muscles inadvertently relaxes (which causes the drop in blood pressure), some say entire lengths of veins get stretched like small cylindrical balloons as they yield to the pressure of the liquid blood that they contain. These condition is what we call “Shock”, Veins are supposed to be the “highways” that will bring the blood back to the heart so that the heart can pump it back to the lungs. If the walls of these veins lose their sturdiness and become relaxed (like what happens in a state of Shock) lesser amount of blood will go back to the heart and lungs.

Since the blood carries the oxygen we breath to different parts of the body, If there will be less blood that goes to the lungs, there will be less oxygen that will go the other parts of the body too. The most vital organs (The brain, Heart and Kidneys) will fail shortly thereafter.

The heart tries to beat faster in an attempt to save itself from impending doom—the faster it beats, more blood gets to travel the length of the diseased veins back to the heart, and it gets to pump out more blood into the brain and vital organs. Alas, it can do this only for a limited period of time before giving up. And while doing so, it sacrifices efficiency, hence this creates a vicious cycle that leads to it own failure.

His illness followed a textbook pattern: a battered immune system, infection, sepsis, shock, finally, Multiorgan failure.

He had been ill for years. He survived an assassin’s bullet, Gallantly struggled with Parkinson’s and out duelled Colon cancer. Then He had a bout of pulmonary infection that made breathing difficult. He had to undergo “tracheostomy” where Surgeons created a separate hole in his throat for him to breath. He recovered, was discharged from the hospital. But the weakness of his body’s defenses made him prone to a very ordinary infection, specifically UTI. The infection breached his bloodstream, hence sepsis set in. His blood pressure dropped and went into shock. His most vital organs started to malfunction. Then they failed to function at all. So to set the record straight, It was a Multi Organ Failure.

For somebody who stood up against the Proto, Neo and Paleo Conservatives in the remaining world superpower, who faced down the lackeys of Stalinism like Jaruzelski, who had the guts to forgive his would be assassin and actually apologized for the Church’s unjust treatment of Galileo Galilei, I just couldn’t bear the thought that history will record that he died of something as ordinary as UTI.

Make no mistake about it, the armageddon that his body had to go through before he passed away was worthy of an epic-- Even though it pales in comparison to the life and achievements of this extraordinary man.

Sage and Ayheen's Party

Dear Sage, Just before your party started, your Lola Letty suggested that you write the opening prayer. You immediately looked for a paper and grabbed the first working felt tipped pen you could get your hands on and wrote a letter to God. Then, you surprised us by leading the prayer yourself.

We’re so proud.

And then, just before the start of the magic show, you asked the magician/emcee to give you the microphone so that you could sing for your cousins, classmates and friends. The first one was “Yesterday’s Dream”. A couple of your classmates in the audience acted out the lyrics of the song while you performed on stage. The second was “Sing.” You even invited Sabine to go onstage with you to sing her favorite song, “Life is a Highway” from the movie “Cars.”

This was unrehearsed. Although we had an inkling that you were psyching yourself up to sing on your birthday.


Your party served as a double celebration for you and Mommy. Just a day before it she passed the Oral and Written exams for the Board of Nephrology given by the Philippine Society of Nephrologists-- despite of all the distractions from being a Wife, Mother, Homemaker, Physician.

She’s really amazing.

That’s why I tell everyone,

“Yang asawa ko talaga, hindi lang pang kama.”


Dear Ayheen, This song’s for you, Sexy….

… One mile to every inch
your skin like porcelain
one pair of candy lips
and your bubble gum tongue.

And if you want love
We’ll make it.
Swimming a deep sea of blankets
Take all your big plans
And Break ‘em
This is bound to be a while.

Your Body is a Wonderland
Your Body is a Wonder
(I’ll use my hands)
Your Body is a Wonderland

Something ‘bout the
Way your hair falls in your face
I love the shape you take
when crawling towards the pillowcase
You tell me where to go
And though I might leave to find it
I’ll never let your head
Hit the bed
without my hand behind it…

…Damn baby
You frustrate me
I know you’re mine
all mine, ALL MINE
But you look so good it hurts

Your Body is a WONDERLAND

Letters to my kids about their childhood adventures

To Sage, Sabe, Sade & 3Stan

To Sage, Sabe, Sade & 3Stan