As a child, I idolized my dad the doctor. I still do. He is the humblest doctor that I know of. He does not go around wearing a white robe or a stethoscope around his neck just to show what profession he is in. He usually wears long-sleeved shirts rolled to the elbows and a pair of slacks. Because he is fond of charity work and of helping out relatives, we did not even own a car when I was young. Whenever there was a jeepney strike, he had no problems with walking to the hospital. (I got this from him. I have no problems with taking the public transport even if I can afford to pay cabs. Cab drivers make me feel awkward and scared.) We later moved on to an apartment, which was about ten minutes’ walk to the hospital he worked for then.
Today, even though he lives in the Caribbean, drives an SUV and lives in a large house in a good neighborhood, he remains humble. He is not patronizing like some doctors that I have met and I’ve met plenty, given all the ailments I have. He is a quiet man. He makes me believe that silent waters really run the deepest.
As a child, I wanted to become a doctor. In high school, when my family was already living in the Caribbean, I decided I would become a psychiatrist. This, however, coincided with the desire to become a writer and a nun.
So, why didn’t I become a medical doctor?
1. I was a sickly kid. – Whenever I was admitted to the hospital where my dad worked, nurses would whisper about me and how I was the daughter of the Chief of Clinics.
2. I could not stitch to save my life. – I thought that since I was awful at stitching cloth in Home Economics I would not be effective as a surgeon. I have such clumsy hands for an artist – contradictory, right? But I would rather make mistakes on paper than on somebody’s skin.
3. I am too emotional – I probably would cry along with the patient or his relatives. That would be very awkward and unprofessional. (Okay, I am actually good at hiding my feelings but I probably would spend my life with an aching chest.)
4. I take everything personally. – If someone dies under my watch, I probably would take the despair to my own grave.
5. I thought I would become really old before I become an MD. – I was wrong about this. I am 31 now but I don’t feel old. My 28-year old brother had just finished his medical internship, is about to take the board exams and will eventually move on to his Orthopedic Surgery residency.
6. I basically fell in love with Bill Gates. – I took Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science for my “O” and “A” levels. I did not take “Chemistry” and “Biology”, which are subjects required when one wants to pursue Medicine.
I don’t really regret being who I am right now. Okay, sometimes I do and sometimes I have “what if” moments. It could not be that bad, though. I have a Bachelor of Science in Digital Illustration and Animation. I have 18 units in Masters of Mathematics. I experienced four days in Law School and I am now an MFA in Creative Writing student struggling to finish my thesis proposal. I am also a Multimedia Arts instructor and a paid blogger. I’m a mom to a three year old who is smarter than most kids his age: can read a little, can add small numbers, expert with laptop and tablet, solves puzzles that are designed for elementary students, knows how to count to 100, etc. If I play my cards right, I could still become a doctor, not a medical one, though. It could go one of two very different ways: a Phd in IT/Computer Science or in Literature. I am not sure which, yet. My life is like a weird Choose Your Own Adventure book, with options that seem to not belong to only one person.