Microsoft word - doc oying.doc
By Gerald Tejada
DOC OLIVER despised being a doctor. He felt, his parents pushed him to take up
medicine even though he hated it. His interest actually lies in singing, for he has always dreamed of becoming like his inspiration, Rico J. Puno.
To Doc Oliver, what’s worse than being a doctor was probably being a
government doctor -- which he was. He had to survive piles of patients, long hours and meager pay.
But then, what’s worse than being a government doctor was probably being a
barrio doctor who goes to remote villages and towns -- which Doc Oliver was. He hated traveling to far-flung areas and meeting odd strangers.
But then, what’s worse than being a barrio doctor was probably being the only
doctor of a remote town -- which Doc Oliver was.
And worse if that town happened to be Bunca-ag -- which it was.
The town of Bunca-ag was so isolated that only few people knew where it was on
the map. There were no buses or jeeps that travel to it for it was so distant and out of the way. Hence, Doc Oliver had to take an airplane ride everyday from the city. But the town was so secluded that no airplane actually landed there. In fact, Doc Oliver had to hitch on a cargo plane carrying chickens and eggs going to the island of Matansol, then parachutes down when the plane was over the town.
But then, what’s worse than parachuting everyday was probably the way Doc
Every afternoon after his clinic hours, the townspeople would stretch out a large
blanket in front of the church, pulling its sides tightly to create a makeshift trampoline where Doc Oliver would jump on to catch the passing plane back to the city. With him would be a red flag he waves up in the air just in case the pilots fail to see him.
For it was indeed a miserable life to be Bunca-ag’s only doctor, because Doc
Oliver would jump off a plane every morning with a red flag and a big heavy red medicine bag in tow. In the bag would be his stethoscope, sphygmomanometer, thermometer, pen light, tongue depressor, reflex hammer, tape measure, surgical tools, gloves, cotton, alcohol, Betadine solution, medicine samples, prescription pad, and a number of rubber stamps that read:
ORAL REHYDRATION SOL’N, 1 GLASS PER BOWEL MOVEMENT
To Doc Oliver, his life as the town doctor was monotonous. He would open his
clinic in the morning and attend to the mile-long queue of patients all day. His only break was to eat the lunch his wife prepared for him at noon.
“Doc Oying,” said an elderly farmer, for this was what the townspeople call Doc
Oliver. “It is here again. Kinulam na naman yata
.” And the farmer produced his son to the doctor.
, Mang Inciong, it’s no witchcraft.” said Doc Oliver upon seeing his son’s
Doc Oliver took a prescription paper and stamped MEBENDAZOLE, SINGLE
DOSE on it then dismissed the farmer and his son with the prescription for a deworming medicine to face another patient.
For this was how Doc Oliver worked: Aling Juana receives the stamp for
SALBUTAMOL for her wheezing, Mang Juaquin receives the stamp for AMOXICILLIN for his cough, and Aling Tining’s daughter receives the stamp for ORAL REHYDRATION SOL’N for her diarrhea. For Doc Oliver has been Bunca-ag’s doctor for some time now and has come to expect the same complaint from each town inhabitant day after day after day.
Even though he least look forward to getting home through the improvised
trampoline and on the smelly plane everyday, sometimes Doc Oliver couldn’t wait for the day to end.
“I quit!” cried Doc Oliver while having dinner with his wife one day.
“I’ve never seen a more sickly town than Bunca-ag. Everyone seems to be sick!”
“But the town needs you. You know that there’s a lack of doctors going to the
provinces these days.” his wife rebuked.
“I know that it was never been your choice to become a doctor. But it will
always be your choice to make most of what you have. I think Oying, you need to open your eyes and heart, and find a better way to help these people. Hala
, eat now your dinner, and tomorrow I’ll prepare your favorite binaggoongang baboy sa mangga
That night, Doc Oliver stayed awake a bit longer and thought about what his
The next day, Doc Oliver didn’t catch the returning plane to the city, for he has
resolved to stay in Bunca-ag for the night instead.
After his clinic hours, he went around town. He saw that pigs, dogs and
chickens were roaming freely around town, leaving their excretions anywhere they liked. He saw that the street canals were blocked, and that the dirty water spawned mosquitoes and flies.
He also visited the rice fields, which were very much untended because the
farmers were getting sick so often there was no one to till the land. Even the vast mango orchard was left unattended. The fruits were left to decay on their branches because no one was able to pick them up.
Furthermore, when he went to join Mang Inciong for dinner that night, he was
appalled to find that their outhouse was situated too close to the well where they get their water to drink.
It seems that Doc Oliver despised being a doctor so much, that all he could think
of was finishing his patient load each day and to quickly get back on the plane to the city, that he went unaware of the pressing condition of the town.
“Something has to be done. Someone has to change.” the town doctor thought.
So the next morning, he asked the town mayor to call for a town assembly. There,
Doc Oying informed the townspeople the importance of hygiene and clean surroundings to ward off illnesses. He pointed out that animals shouldn’t be let loose, that canals should be cleaned regularly, and that privies should be far from their wells for these may carry microorganisms that will cause diseases. Then, he taught them how to properly dispose their garbage and the importance of taking a bath every day and washing hands often.
With the town mayor’s leadership, the town went to work on Doc Oying’s
propositions immediately that afternoon. They built pens for their pigs and chickens, and leashed their dogs. They unblocked the street canals and cleaned their surroundings. And before the plane arrived that afternoon to take Doc Oying back to the city, they have transferred their outhouses far from their wells.
However, it would take some time before Doc Oying notice the improvements
his suggestions made to the town. And it came one boring afternoon.
He had been bored stiff in his clinic all afternoon, he was all alone, daydreaming
about his favorite singer, when Mang Inciong brought a bushel of ripe mangoes for him to bring back to his wife. And then it dawned upon Doc Oying, it seems that the number of patients he has been seeing daily have dwindled in the last few weeks.
It was so because farmers were back in their fields, and the mango orchard was
bustling with busy harvesters again. Soon, the reputation of the town’s sweet mangoes was recognized throughout the province and the governor constructed a cemented road going to Bunca-ag. And then later, buses and jeeps started to travel through town.
Meanwhile, to Doc Oying’s relief, he no longer needed to parachute to get into
town, for an airfield has been built in order for the town’s produce reach the other parts of the country faster.
No one could have predicted the progress the town made in just a short time.
Not even Doc Oying who now spends his afternoons at a newly built videoke bar when he was not seeing any patients, for his clinic have been torn down and on its stead a hospital was being built.
On the other hand, on the matter of his detesting being a doctor, well, he has
learned to care for his profession. Like singing, being a doctor could inspire people as well like Rico J. Puno did for him. For there were worse things than being a town doctor, and one of them was to have the power to initiate change but instead decided on doing nothing.
Doc Oying picked another song in the videoke machine and started to sing to the
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