A Life Undeserved

If only academic problems were the only problems plaguing me. If that were the case, life in medical school would be so much easier. It’s true, and I always knew it was, that following God’s calling for my life would be no walk in the park. But I never expected it to be this bad.

It is as they say, that the race would be riddled with entanglements. Distractions. Things that trip you and make it so difficult to get back up again. When you finally do, what is left of your energy and motivation is but just a few drops of oil dribbling down to the bottom of a steaming gas tank. And instead of running the race, you end up shuffling. Crawling even. Desperately wondering how you’re going to reach the end with your heart shattered into a thousand pieces.

Sometimes the things that trip you aren’t necessarily evil. It’s not always sin. A lot of times, it’s a gift that God himself gives you. Something good, like an opportunity, favor in the eyes of men, a dear friend, or even a childhood dream. Something that draws you to thank him for each and every day.

And when all is perfect, and you feel that nothing can go wrong, there’s a plot twist, and God takes it away from you. And in an instant, your whole world shatters, and walking the road to the kingdom becomes just a little bit harder. A little bit lonelier.

I am currently reading the book of I Samuel, I saw the faith of David when he went up to King Saul and said that he would challenge Goliath, saying that because God helped him kill the wild animals who threatened his sheep, he would be able to slay the giant who threatened God’s people.

And I’m torn inside. On one hand, I’m thinking, “Wow, what amazing faith, this David has.” I knew how he would swear by the name of God to defeat the Philistine who threatened Israel and become a powerful and mighty king.

On the other hand, I’m thinking, “He has something terrible coming up.” I’m thinking of his entire affair with Bathsheba, his inborn child, the rebellion of his son, and the rape of his daughter. I’m thinking of how even a righteous man, in an instant, can have his entire horizon to warp into obscurity.

But then I stop and think. Could there ever be anyone righteous enough to deserve God’s blessings? Is there any one man who can dare go up to God and make a demand by his own merit? There is truly none. I am a child of God and a follower of Christ, but even then, I can never demand that from him. Even if I have plans and dreams, it is God who ultimately determines what happens in my life.

Even Jesus Christ himself, a man wholly righteous and One with God the Father, did not get what he wanted. He could have been a great earthly king, ruler of many kingdoms, and respected and honored by all men. But in obedience and humility, he conceded to His Father’s will, giving himself up to death on a wooden cross. Because of His obedience, He was glorified. And because of His sacrifice, I am set free from death’s power. I am destined for an eternity in the Father’s embrace. An embrace undeserved.

By this truth alone, I am thankful. By that, I am humbled. I realize now that even my wildest dreams, I do not deserve. Fame, acceptance, glory, I deserve none of that. All the blessings I have in my life are undeserved. Yet, in God’s love for me through Jesus Christ, I am accepted as His son and destined for a wonderful life lived serving Him. A life filled with blessing, promise, and wonders I could never dream of. A life undeserved.

God does everything for a reason. And when my life is shaken up, I can see now that it’s only so He can bless me more. When I remember again that He died and rose from the dead to bless me with freedom and eternity, I am reminded that I have been blessed with something that can never be taken away from me: a part in God’s loving plan. And with this renewed sense of identity, I get back twofold whatever was lost: more opportunities to serve Him, favor in the eyes of God, more chances to love, and more creative ways to dream.

It is through my identity in Christ, that I am being continually transformed into a new creation. And with this transformation is the hope that I may become more like him.

Seeing my problems now from His eyes, it’s almost like they were never there at all. He has given me a renewed sense of purpose, and a renewed perspective on my life.

A life undeserved.

On Antibiotic Resistance

You might have the question, “Why do I need a prescription if I want to buy antibiotics?”

There’s actually a broad history to this. In essence, i’s all about antibiotic resistance, but I was thinking you’d appreciate it more if there was more detail on why prescriptions are necessary.

There’s a TLDR at the end if you’d like to check it out. 🙂

HISTORY
The classic antibiotic penicillin was developed long ago as a remedy to bacterial infection. It’s a beta-lactam antibiotic, meaning it ruins the bacteria’s cell wall which makes it easier to kill. Penicillin was hailed as a “miracle drug”, and it was often used for bacterial infections. However, because it was rampantly used, bacteria also began developing resistance to the drug.

SCIENCE
In a lot of cases, antibiotics are not necessary for patients’ treatment. Doctors avoid prescribing due to factors like allergies and side effects. (Look up Steven Johnson Syndrome, it’s scary.) And when antibiotics are necessary, there is an entire plethora of antibiotics that can be prescribed. Each antibiotic targets a certain type of bacteria/fungus/virus. Medical students spend at least two years studying drugs in the classroom setting, and even more after that, just so they can find out which drugs are appropriate for particular diseases. In addition, data is continually updated as per which species develop resistance for certain antibiotics, so doctors in turn update the way they give prescriptions with the emergence of new research.

How do bacteria develop resistance? Well, bacteria multiply in a way far different from humans and animals. Instead of just copulation, bacteria make clones of themselves and make copies of themselves at exponential rates. This is an advantage for them because it makes it much faster for them to grow their population and transfer their genes.

In addition to their core DNA, they also have another kind of DNA that’s called plasmids, which allows them to exchange new information with each other. For example, if just one individual bacteria mutates in such a way that it becomes resistant to a certain drug, it can easily transfer its newfound genes to other bacteria.

Because of these mechanisms, entire populations of bacteria can become resistant to certain drugs in a short matter of time. Self-medication of antibiotics, stopping your antibiotics prematurely, or over-dosage of your antibiotics can contribute to the process of developing antibiotic resistance.

Drugs like Amoxicillin and Coamoxiclav (which itself is a combination of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid) are given as if a bacteria is no longer susceptible to certain drugs (such as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria), or if a patient has allergies to first line drugs. Giving these prematurely is like sending a blueprint of a weapon of mass destruction behind enemy lines, giving them a strategic advantage in the overall war.

PRACTICAL TIPS
Self-prescribing antibiotics (a.k.a., buying antibiotics without a prescription) is not advisable because just giving the wrong/unnecessary antibiotic can strengthen your bacteria and will make your body more susceptible to systemic (widespread) infection. Things can get worse if these bacteria spread to other people, as these have the potential to create entire pandemics, wiping out great portions of the earth’s population.

Stopping antibiotics prematurely will give your bacteria a “strategic advantage” when their populations are still not completely wiped out, and will help them to strengthen their arms using what remains of the antibiotic in your system.

Finally, over-dosage of antibiotics can result in development of resistance in other bacteria, making a patient worse off than he was when he first consulted.

TLDR?
In a nutshell, there’s a whole host of things that doctors consider when prescribing antibiotics: the bacteria in question, condition of the patient, the potency of the drug, the duration of dosage, and possible side effects. You can trust your doctor that he will give you the correct prescription, and you can be happy if he does not prescribe you antibiotics. If the latter were true, it’s good and it probably means that you’re in a much better condition than if you would need them in the first place.

https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/about.html

Job

God I don’t know what I’ve been running from
Still, I can’t help but feel afraid.
The memories of yesterday are just so dear to me
I’m scared that they will all be torn away

God, all my feelings are distracting me
It’s hard for me focus on the now
I know I’m supposed to have a role in your great plan
I only wish that you would show me how

Because it’s you who put inside me the desires of my heart
It’s coz of you that I can rise to face the day
Coz of you, I learned to laugh, I learned to live, I learned to love
You gave it all to me, and took it all away.

Thinking for the Future

I aspire to work in a neurology residency program in the USA. Preferably somewhere on the east coast like in Massachusetts or in Virginia. Ever since I had cancer as a child, I’ve always wanted some sort of education in the USA, in order to give back somehow. I want to become a neurologist, a teacher, a researcher, someone who will inspire other people and lead them to God through what I do. Though there’s nothing wrong with being idealistic and having dreams, I realized very recently that it’s important to be grounded and have a perspective of realism.

I was talking to my dad this afternoon. He asked me what I had planned for the future, particularly how I saw myself financially after I graduated from medical school in 2020 and got into residency. I told him that I didn’t expect to earn much from residency, and that I would only start earning with significant profit once I finished and became a neurology consultant. This was regardless of whether I would end up in a residency here in the Philippines or in the States.

After I told him about what to expect in the future, my dad gave a follow-up question and asked me how much I expected my day-to-day cost of living would be. After I told him about my daily food, cellphone, rent and travel expenses, he asked me more questions. How much would internet be? Electricity? Clothing? Taxes? This made me stop to think, have I given my life a reality check?

Thankful for a dad who reminds me to think long-term.

Last night’s dream

I had a dream that I was in an art class. One day, I was sitting in the classroom and submitting ny artwork, which I think was acrylic paint on canvas. I left the room when class was done, only to realize that I had another painting due, to be submitted at the plenary later that day. So in an attempt to cram, I set to create a large watercolor, with a depiction of the earth in the top center, and I would fill in the remaining space with random things. I remember explaining to a classmate with me at the time that I chose watercolor due to the fact that it would dry up faster.