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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  /Up Close and Personal/  Editorial List

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Up Close and Personal

On my recent trip to the Philippines I had intended to find out as much as possible about caregiving and healthcare in the country. In one instance, I think I got a little more than I bargained for. Late last month I was a guest at a rural area Fiesta, a magnificent event that most closely compares to an American “Sadie Hawkins” dance. After a night of great cheer and many questions about life in the States, as well as many local gastronomical specialties, including one oily dish that I know now I shouldn’t have attempted, I found myself making a visit to the local emergency room with a suspected case of food poisoning. The hospital existed in what I could only describe as being a time warp, everything from the beds to the IV stands were right out of an episode of Dr. Kildare, and of course showering was mostly a bucket and pail affair.

The staff was all highly trained and professional, the doctor left her father’s funeral to make her first call to see me, and when the occasion arose to ring the buzzer, there was always an attentive nurse at the door within minutes. The only problem was that to many Filipinos everything can be cured with a good meal, and my friends in the area and their friends and family members all trooped in with the last thing I wanted to see, lots and lots of food. My stay lasted only a few days and as a positive side benefit, I walked out having lost a few pounds (which I much needed to lose). I now call the experience “my trip to the spa.”

But one thing my hospital stay convinced me of, was the universal truth that all good healthcare begins with good people. I couldn’t have gotten better care in the most modern hospital with all the lights and buzzers than at St. Anthony College Hospital in Roxas City. Although I did make a copy of the sign on the door that stated ‘Gambling, Smoking, Drinking of Alcoholic Beverages and Cooking are strongly discouraged inside the room’. That only makes sense to me.   

Gary Barg

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