Her name is Chariza, we commonly call her Doc. Cha. But don’t be fooled by her seemingly kind and uncomplicated name. However, this is just a veil; a silhouette of her real power.
She can conjure typhoon, she can resurrect the dead, and she can bring out all your fears, in fact, she can destroy or build you.
Yesterday, when I stayed under the rain—wet and tired, I remembered one of my favorite doctors back when I was working in one of the best hospital in the country. Back then, I was assigned to the adult medical intensive care unit. I always want to be in that area of specialization because of the challenge. I want to experience the independence to manipulate equipment, to give high alert medications, to perform CPR, to change diapers every two hours and carry-out unusual orders. I was very enthralled; finally, I will experience what is written in the books.
I will tell you a specific story, my typical, normal day with doc Cha.
It was my first day without a preceptor. Everyone was very busy that time. Each has to care for two critically-ill patients. I saw nimbus clouds as she approached me. She immediately opened the chart and wrote a kilometric order. But before that, she asked me.
“Bago ka dito?”
“Yes doc.”, I answered with my gastric contents starting to reflux back to my esophagus. Reality check, it was not heartburn, I am not pregnant, either. It was anxiety.
Upon sensing my anxiety, she added another kilometer of orders, which you need to carry out within an hour. Because of its impact, I can still fully remember it.
“Turn to sides every 2 hours, apply air mattress, apply anti-embolic stockings, request for Sodium, Potassium, Ionized calcium, magnesium, Renal Panel 2 (erasure), Renal panel 4, Start erceflora, MV shift to SIMV, Sputum GS/CS, Chest XRAY in AM.”
These orders are just part 1 out of 10 for the whole 12 hour shift.
Indeed, Doc Cha is extraordinary. She is a teacher in disguise that every nurse should experience. Despite her everyday terrorism, back in my mind, was a thankful soul. Not everyone has the chance to be stretched into their limits. She sees the resting and hidden potential in every nurse. She believes that in chaos and disorder, knowledge can be derived.
Only with doc Cha, I was able to perform sponge bath continuously until patient is afebrile. I knew it was her own method to teach me that to achieve a certain goal; you need to do it, continuously.
Her favorite was to order chest x-ray as in (now), but every chest x-ray, bedside CT scan, I got the chance also to examine what is inside my chest— my heart. There were times, when she asked me if what is more important, the heart or the brain?
I knew that for her, it is always the heart.
When I knock on her room, her typical response.
“Sandali lang Mikee, I’m praying.”
When everyone, is saying no pulse, she replies, “Meron pa!”
When everyone is hungry, she orders a pizza.
She is optimistic, she is active, and she doesn’t sleep.
Every time I feel very tired and with feelings of retreat or surrender, I always think of the days when I sat on the floor, during at the end of my shift, counting the gauze and bandages, perspiring, , hypoglycemic, knees trembling, waiting for Berns, Nash or Jervie, but, more importantly, smiling, savoring the victory from a well fought day. I would look at her, and say.
“Salamat sa Diyos!”
Her reply: “May bukas pa.”
Then laughter fills the cold and tensed unit.