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Friday, March 28, 2008

The Trouble with Self-Medication

My maid came to me asking what she should take for her tooth ache. Naturally, I checked the source of her pain and it revealed a huge hole on her 3rd molar which caused the gum to be infected and swell. I told her that she should go see a dentist. I, of course, know what she should take for it but I didn't want to encourage that. As a health personnel, I was sure that if I had given her the name of the medication, she would not want to go to the dental clinic to get the necessary treatment. True enough, when she remembered what she had taken previously, without any professional advice, she took the drug. I only told her to put pounded guava leaves on the hole as an antiseptic and to take some garlic with apple cider and honey. But no, she didn't like that.

What happens to us when we self-medicate? Well first major concern is that 2 of the vital organs might get damaged. These are the liver and the kidneys. The liver because everything that you take in will pass through it and there are medications that are even more damaging than others (hepatotoxic); and the kidneys because it gets more load and might cause it to be damaged during filtration not to mention that some drugs, though OTC, may cause more damage than others (nephrotoxic).

Second is that some drugs may be habit forming. Take for instance the case of cough syrups or even laxatives. These can be abused. However, I'd rather be addicted to a cough syrup than to a laxative. I can't imagine my self confessing to a healthcare provider that i'm addicted to a drug for diarrhea!

Third is that drugs have indications and contraindications. That means that it can only be used for what it is intended for. And that there are conditions for which it should not be used because it will cause side effects.

Fourth is because most, if not all, drugs have side effects, others far worse. There are signs which can be interpreted by an unsuspecting individual as normal when it is already a manifestaion of a harmful effect of the drug. Even when the label is read, I am pretty sure those who have no medical background would not understand a majority of what is written there. Most at risk are pregnant women, those with liver and kidney conditions, hypertensives, those with allergies and those taking antibiotics. These people should check with their physicians before they take anything, continue or discontinue anything.

Should this apply to dentists? Of course it should. Dentists are your mouth doctors. So, anything that involves the teeth and the mouth will have to be referred to them.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Lessons from Manny Pacquiao

Some may say that Manny Pacquiao is just a boxer - world famous and yet just a boxer. I'm no Pacquiao fan and I don't really like the guy that much but there are lessons to be learned from him. Let me enumerate:

Lesson #1: Find out what you do best and stick to it. I'm pretty guilty with this. I try to be good in everything and find that I have not specialized anything. For Manny, despite the many offers for commercials, films and shows, he makes it a point to be good in boxing which gave him his popularity in the first place. Who would he be without it? He doesn't have the face nor the body for film. Nor does he have the voice to belt out a song for a commercial. But look, he has them all. Unlike his predecessor, Onyok Velasco, Manny devotes much of his time for practice and gives time off it to do his "other" jobs. But only when he can.

Lesson #2: Make friends and develop a following. What Pacquiao boxing match have you watched that did not have Manny saying it is for the Filipino people? It is good for his image and he gets paid because of his following.

Lesson #3: Sharing your blessing. The one thing I admire of Manny Pacquiao is his generosity. He manages to share part of his earnings to his scholars and other Filipinos specially those who have been affected by calamity. The more you give the more you receive.

Lesson #4: Honor thy parents. You will be blessed over and over when you respect and honor your parents. Manny in this aspect is a role model. He isn't ashamed to admit that he got his talents from his mom and often greets them after a bout. You often see that in women. But for men... they're too macho to admit their affections. Manny has proven that a man is still a man despite a display of love to his parents.

So, what's the score for Manny? As an athlete, he's a winner.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Old Folks are Adviced to Keep Working. But How?

In last Sunday's issue of the Panorama Magazine, Beth Day Romulo's column featured Primer Minister Lee Kwan Yew. According to Mr. Yew, the elderly should not retire. He sites that apart from regular exercise, proper diet, and all the other musts for keeping a long, healthy life, having a job makes one productive and keeps one's mind functioning.

That's fine and, honestly, I find it to be of value. However, in the Philippines, that easier said than done. In here, age is one of the best assets to finding a job. When you're over 35, the chance of finding work diminishes faster than you age. The government itself lets everyone stop working through a mandatory retirement at age 65.

I agree with Mr. Yew. When anyone stops working, his brain becomes accustomed to it and thus becomes sluggish. When the brain is sluggish, all bodily functions become sluggish with it. But the body, in order to be in tip top shape, has to maintain the a normal level of functioning. It's like when you oversleep and become sleepy the whole day despite of it. Lesson learned from an 85-year old man.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Activity for Summer: A Family Photo Shoot Can Be Fun

Summer's here and the kids are home. Running out of ideas for activities this summer? Why not try a photo shoot with your own family. Go to a park or a zoo or even in your own neighborhood. Bring along as many digital cameras as you can and each member of the family can take his or her turn to use these. Then create a yahoo groups or flickr account and upload your pictures. Or make a movie out of it and save it to a disc.

We had one today in Tagaytay. We brought Boyet's D80, the old G2 and the Powershot A460. All three of us took pictures of the plants and other sceneries in the area. When we came home, we viewed them and had fun discussing the pictures. The best thing is that Ikee decided she can actually write about her own pictures in a blog. That's good. Aside from being able to practice taking pictures, she'll be able to practice her writing skills too. So, maybe next week we can go to the nearby Rainforest Park to photograph the butterflies.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Teaching Kids About Environmental Protection

As a teacher, I feel it is important for everyone to be involved in the protection of the environment specially with the recent threat of global warming. And, yes, I do believe even kids should be involved in the campaign to save the earth. To be consistent with my "philosophy" of being a conservationist, I have started with my own daughter and family. She grew up not throwing garbage just anywhere, does not harm the trees or plants, and encourages recycling to the point that she bugs me about it.

The easiest way to inculcate anything to children is to point out the harm in whatever is present and available in their surrounding. I for one taught Ikee that the reason it gets very hot in our home is because of the lack of trees. Then I related it to our lot in Cavite where there are trees planted and the air is cooler because of it.

The hardest to teach are the adults. But when the children are taught about nature and the effects of its destruction brings to mankind, they become better stewards and are better at adhering to what is proper. It's a shame though that sometimes the kids who have been taught lose their interest because the adults around them ridicule them. Perhaps we adults should learn to keep our thoughts to ourselves when we know the kids are right.

by the way, do check this lady's blog. I found it rather interesting.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Which State Should We File The NCLEX At?

It's been so confusing. I've said before that I'd like to file the NCLEX for California. But lately, my former classmates have said that it took them 6 months to get their application approved and an additional of at least 2 months more to be able to take the exam. One of our classmates who filed with the state of New Mexico took only about 6 months inclusive of the exam date. However, lately the NM Board is requiring the CES which costs just as much as another exam. Another friend of mine said we could be better off filing with Vermont. I was told it should take a shorter time.

I'm not considering filing with the state of New Jersey and New York since their fees are so high. My friend said that she filed with NJ and everything cost her around 1,400 USD (inclusive of the freight). Oh, well... let's see where this leads me to.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Shortage of Nurses in the Philippines? But Why?

You go into college, work on getting yourself into internship, more work during duties which require you to do case studies on top of your graveyard shift. On Saturdays and Sundays you go to your course audit from 8 am to 5 pm and on Sundays at 10 pm you gotta rush to the hospital again for your duty. Before your graduation, there's the stress of having to complete your cases to submit them to file for your transcript of records as a graduate. You attend your review and take the board... and then what? Normally, the hospitals hardly hire new graduates.

Such is the plight of the nursing graduate in the Philippines. I was at Tiendesitas last night with 6 of my former classmates. Among, there was only 1 who had not passed the board exam but only another 1 is going to start her pre-employment training at the Medical City. The other 5 are still jobless. Why is this so?

While the Philippines continuously complains of not having enough nurses, the graduates continue to search for the elusive nursing jobs in the country. Is it really so bad? One doctor commented that we do not have nurses because we do not want to take a chance on the fresh graduates. But that really is easy to solve. My recommendations to address this issue are:

1. Hospitals, PRC and perhaps the DOH should collaborate and come up with a recommendation to increase the nursing course from the present 4 years to 5 or 6 years once more. This will provide more exposure to the nursing students and give them the opportunity to master their craft. I personally feel that the 4 years is not enough for me. Thus, even with my license which I got by earning a good score during the board, I'm still planning to undergo training for about 3 to 6 months before actual hospital work.

2. CHED should monitor the number of students in each nursing class. A good ratio of students and teachers would be somewhere between 21:1 to 30:1 students. 40:1 is manageable but not really good. Beyond this, you cannot expect quality learning anymore.

3. There should be more training hospitals. Ok, so there are schools that take pride in having tertiary hospitals as base hospitals. But, in reality, these tertiary hospitals hardly give opportunities to the stundent nurses to handle their clients. Usually, the most you can do is to get their vital signs and administer medication apart from bedmaking and spongebath which are more the function of nursing aids these days.

4. Another option is to require the nurses to take additional outside trainings like perhaps from the PNA in lieu of the additional exposure in school which for now is probably hard to implement.

These strategies although very crude are aimed at allowing the new nurses to get hired soon after graduation and will at the same time address the issue of shortage of competent nurses in the Philippines.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pasig Flying Dolphins Website

Actually, it's the Internationa Aquatech Specialists, Inc. (IASI) website. IASI is the company of Coach Efren Jocson who is also the Head Coach of Pasig Flying Dolphins. The contact numbers are there.

Incidentally, Coach Efren and Guchie announced 2 weeks ago that the Pasig Flying Dolphins Team will go to Mindoro for a competition some time soon - either on the last week of March or the first week of April. I have not received any word as to the arrangements and fees there.

Christms Jingle

students from Mother Goose Playskool and Gradeschool present a christmas production number during their program.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Best Time to Get Your OathTaking Tickets is Now

ATTENTION NEW NURSES! Get your tickets to the oath taking NOW while there are not too many people around. We were at the Philippine Nurses Association Office at Pedro Gil corner Benitez St. and were really surprised to find a very, very short line. In fact there were only about 2 persons before me in the line today. Probably because it was between 12 Noon and 1 pm and most people would think that noone would be there to accomodate them at that time. Or maybe because most people have opted to go home for the summer. Really, I wouldn't know what happened but all those people who were there at the PRC would have gone to the PNA. and yet... noone was.

Good for us. By the way, in case you didn't know, the fee is 350 per person. You can buy as many tickets as you'd like. Oath Taking will be at the SM Mall of Asia with 4 schedules: Oct 17, am, Oct 17 pm, Oct. 18 am and Oct. 18 pm. We chose the Oct 18 am time slot because we will still be able to go around the mall after. Oh, and you might want to know that the UPOU (UP Open University) is at the same building too. Just in case you'd like to take the M.A.N. with them...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Getting Out of Debt

Having bills left and right stresses me. Or so it did once in my life. When we came back from the US, there were bills that had piled up that it didn't seem possible to ever get out of it. One of the main reasons was that I had used up the VISA card to its limit. No matter how I wanted it paid soon, the interests kept coming every month and it seemed harder and harder to deal with. I was miserable.

It is such good fortune that my husband is supportive. I surrendered my card but kept paying for the balance until the whole debt was paid for. Then, I remembered how I did the budgeting when we first got married. The lowly but priceless (to me that is) small brown envelopes did the trick. I made a list of everything there was to pay and labelled each envelope for every item on the list. Whenever I had money, no matter how small, I would keep part of it in those tiny envelopes. I also got rid of all the jewelries that I was paying for. Some I returned, the others I sold. Until finally, I was free from all that ordeal. It wasn't easy but it can be done.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Keeping in Touch

The other night as I was surfing around the web, I took the chance to open my friendster account. Not that I always do, but every now and then I try to check up on what's happening with my friends. A single email really struck me. It was from my former high school classmate. It put a smile on my face after all not having been in touch for about a decade you'd think that there couldn't be a way to connect any longer. But, hey, that's the magic of the internet. Once again I have undermined its power and once again it has proven me wrong. With this technology, you'd be able to find anyone anywhere if you wish to. If you wish...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Where's My Voice Ariel? - Managing a Cough

Remember Ariel the Little Mermaid? She lost her voice and I have lost mine.I have the cough. How uncomfortable to blog when you're coughing. It's even worse if you go out to work with it. I have it right now but I've managed not to drink any medicine for it. How do I do it? here's how:

1. Garlic - I take raw garlic. It has antibacterial properties when it is eaten raw. Plus, when you chew it, some juices trickle over the throat adding a topical application of the antibiotic.
2. Steam and clapping - I inhale steam by boiling some water and pouring it into a mug. Then I cover the tip of the mug with my hands and make a little hole from which the steam can come out. After that, I give myself a pound on the back using a cooking spoon.
3. Oregano - In the Philippines, our oregano has flat and fleshy leaves. I get 3 mature leaves, heat it over the flame for a few seconds only until it slightly changes color. Then I squeeze out the juice and drink it. This becomes my expectorant. I do this 3 times a day. An alternative to this is
4. Gargle with saline - I make a saline solution of 1 liter water and 1 tsp salt. when the salt is dissolved, this becomes my gargle which I use almost every hour.
5. Rest - how important is it? Very important I should say. It lets your body regain its strength to be able to fight the bacteria.
6. Ginger - this becomes my lozenges. Ginger the size of a sour ball will do the trick.
7. Fluids - As mother used to say "Drink your water!". I would gulp 2 to 3 liters of water. Juice can be taken but water is better.
8. No sweets policy - well, not really. just 1 teaspon of creme brullee' a day wouldn't hurt. haha! Sweet food actually makes the throat dry and thus becomes itchy.

So, there you go. Next time you have the cough, don't be taken over by it. Don't take meds as much as possible but if after 3 days you still have it, by all means trot to your doctor!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Bees Swarm

The bee frame at Ilog ni Maria in Silang, Cavite. Ilog ni Maria is a place to buy stuff made from bee products - Honey, candles from beeswax, soaps, etc.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Polka sa Nayon

Freshman students at Pasig City Science High School doing the Polka sa Nayon.

Kris Aquino at the PBA - Why Not?

I am a wife and whenever my husband wants or needs me to be around where he is, I'd surely be there to support him and to also let him know that I love him. If I were a celebrity, should it be any different?

Today, as I was driving to Makati, I heard some announcers talk about Kris Aquino and whether she should or shouldn't have been at the PBA finals because her husband, James Yap, is one of the basketball players. Some people according to them said that she shouldn't go to the finals because she's bad luck for Purefoods. Like I said, when it comes to dealing with family, it shouldn't be any different for an ordinary person or a celebrity - a wife is a wife no matter what her stature is. I'm no fan of Kris. I don't even like her. But she has her rights as much as anyone else. I mean even Mrs. Arroyo will agree to it. and she runs the whole country.

Everyone is entitled to do whatever they wish to as long as they don't step on anyone else. It's time we teach ourselves to respect each one's rights. Bad luck is subjective and is only real if someone believes it. But, just because someone does, doesn't mean another should. Wouldn't you agree?

Extracting Pure Coconut Cream and Other Tips

Coconut milk is such a vital ingredient in a lot of filipino recipes specially those that are of Bicolano origin. I've read some blogs and recipes that recommend adding water prior to extracting the coconut milk/cream. Personally, I don't recommend it. That's because it will just dilute the cream and will not taste as "creamy" as it should. Anyway, it's quite easy to add water if you really must. Just be sure you add a maximum of 2 cups per coconut.

There's an advantage to adding water though. Some say it's easier to extract the milk. Well, that's not quite accurate. It makes it easier to squeeze the grated coconut but not to extract the milk/cream from it. The technique in manual extraction is to squeeze the coconut hard several times so that its juices come out. A final squeeze (after about 5 times of squeezing it right in the container) is to get the juice out and to make the juice pass through a sieve so that any meat that is left will be filtered.

Another thing about cooking with coconut cream is to treat it like real milk - you can't leave it to boil without mixing it or the oil will separate from its water component. That's if you are not trying to make latik or extract the oil for cooking. But if you do intend to extract the latik you shouldn't mix the coconut milk too much. Not touching it at all before the oil starts to surface is even better.

I've found a good blog about this. You may want to browse through Pinoy Food Recipes.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Keeping Whites White - Laundering White Clothes

Keeping white clothes shimmering white is not an easy task specially because I'm not really used to doing the laundry. But my maid has taught me stuff and at 43, I'm now better at doing it. Still, despite the knowledge, the skill of doing it does not follow. I don't know how to hand wash clothes which was required to do the whites. The stain on clothes usually come from a mixture of dirt, grime and grease. But I've found a better way to do it.

First, I would immerse the clothes overnight in the washing machine with water and a mixture of about 1 tsp oxalic crystals, 1/4 cup Chlorox, some liquid washing detergent (I use excel all purpose detergent which is good for washing dishes), and about 2 heaping tablespoons of washing machine detergent. The excel will ensure that the grease will be lifted from the clothes making the rest of the chemicals work better. At least that was my theory.

The following day, I'd wash the clothes in the same mixture in 3 wash cycles without rinsing. After the 3rd washing, I'd rinse the load. Then wash them again about 3 times in water with ordinary washing machine detergent. and voila! the clothes are white as new. Some clothes might require a little hand wash like the hem on the sleeves of shirts but the washing will only take about a minute or so. And there wouldn't be too many of those anymore. My maid is so glad I've discovered that. This time it was I who taught her how to do it.
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