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I’m sad. Aling Marie, the old lady who helps sell flowers in church, doesn’t go to church anymore. I used to visit her every time I went home from duty in the hospital. She reminds me a lot of my grandmother, who passed away a few years ago.

Aling Marie has a condition which I suspect is deep vein thrombosis or DVT.  She often complains of pain on her right leg, which gets swollen from time to time.  She also has hypertension. She cannot afford to buy maintenance and pain medications, and barely earns enough to buy food. She simply relies on money handed to her by those who buy flowers (she does not own the flowers she sells, nor does she get any commission from selling them. She relies on the kindness of the buyers and other churchgoers). She has been told to get an ultrasound in order to correctly diagnose the DVT, but again, she cannot afford it. She has no children and no one to support her. She walks very, very slowly, with a lot of difficulty.  If a parishioner was not generous enough to buy her a cane, I don’t know how she would’ve gotten back and forth from her home to the church.

Despite her situation, she is always cheerful and is never afraid to share her blessings. When another parishioner gave her two rosary bracelets, she gave the other one to me, saying that she had been waiting for me to come by just for that.

Another time, she gave my mom a poster of Mother Mary. This generous quality always makes me think of my grandmother, who was sometimes too kind for her own good (I mean it in the best possible way, of course). I guess that’s why I’ve become somewhat attached to her.

Well, this is a perfect example of “transference.”  Transference is “the phenomenon whereby we unconsciously transfer feelings and attitudes from a person or situation in the past on to a person or situation in the present” (Patricia Hughs, Ian Kerr).  In nursing, we were taught that patients can experience transference towards their nurses. This is common especially in a hospital care setting. At the same time, nurses can also feel transference towards their patient, and we use a term called counter-transference to describe it. That’s what happened here, although Aling Marie is not really my patient.

I’m sad because ever since I started working for another hospital and in different hours from before, my visits became less frequent.  Today, I discovered that the church had removed the table and station where she usually sits to sell flowers.  It’s been a couple of months since I last saw her, so I’m a little worried.  I hope she’s okay and comes back soon.  Say a prayer for her.  Thanks.

I had the strangest dream today.  I dreamt of helping a mother deliver 6 babies inside a mall,  and reviving one of them who suddenly stopped breathing.  I gave baby-sized breaths until he/she opened his/her eyes (they were a lovely green.  Also, I have no idea what the baby’s gender was).  I think my subsconsciousness is trying to tell me something.  

For the past few weeks, I’ve had an increased number of conversations about my nursing career (or shunning thereof).  Many people are curious as to why I left bedside nursing to become a clinical analyst-slash-nurse informaticist, which is really more of an IT position than a medical one.  I find people asking me to compare traditional nursing to my role now.  My stand on this is that I like my new job better than my old one, but I worry that I’m making a mistake in the long run.  Hmmm.  Will I ever go back to being a bedside nurse in the future?  And if I do, am I wasting my time exploring other career options?

I hate asking myself questions like these so I just bury them at the back of my mind.

(On a completely unrelated sidenote, why does WordPress say that “dreamt” is spelled wrong?  Is there a new rule that says that the correct spelling is now “dreamed”?)

I just finished watching Downfall (Der Untergang).  As expected of anything that depicts Nazi Germany, the iron cross was shown repetitively all throughout, worn as a military decoration by German officers.  Below is a scene from the movie where General Weidling shows the other officers his iron cross.

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The Nazi iron cross is based on the cross pattée design, which is often mistakenly referred to as a Maltese cross.

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Above: the standard form of the cross pattee (image from Wikipedia, hah).

Why am I writing about this?

Seeing the iron cross reminded me of the nursing pin that I received during my capping and pinning ceremony for nursing school.  Below is a photo of the said pin.  It looks very similar to Weidling’s iron cross.

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We call it a Maltese cross, although in reality, it is a rounded variation of the cross pattée.

I wore that pin proudly every day that I was on duty without knowing what it meant or how similar it looked to the iron cross.

Why would my nursing school continue to use the symbol despite the similarities between the Nazi iron cross?  Is it simply because of tradition?  Or because of ignorance?  Why was the Maltese cross a significant symbol in nursing, anyway?

Aside from a history involving the Knights Hospitaller and the Order of Saint Lazarus, it seems like the great Florence Nightingale had a hand in it.

Thanks to Google Books, I can now quote the book “Nursing in Today’s World: Trends, Issues & Management.”  Hooray.

The actual symbolism of the pin relates to customs established in the 16th century, when the privilege of wearing a coat of arms was limited to noblemen who served their king with distinction.  As centuries passed, the privilege was extended to schools and to craft guilds, and the symbols of wisdom, strength, courage, and faith appeared on buttons, badges, and shields.  It was probably this spirit that Florence Nightingale   attempted to capture when she chose the Maltese cross as a symbol for the badge worn by the graduates of her first nursing school.”

“As nursing developed as a profession, each school chose a unique pin, awarded on completion of the program, as a public symbol of work well done.  Many of the nursing schools, particularly those associated with hospitals supported by religious groups, incorporated the cross into their pins.”


And there you have it.

…if I had such a career plan to begin with.  Is there no way for a nurse to get an honest job in this country that pays well enough to cover personal and family needs?  Something that can also help provide, or at least, won’t get in the way of having an overall good quality of life?  That doesn’t seem to be too much to ask for.  

So I found my niche in the nursing world, and I want to be a clinical analyst.  The design part, like UI and wireframing got me.  Combine medicine and IT and you get double the amount of ideas and possibilities.  I’m not sure about how much room for growth there will be for an industry just starting out (at least here in the Philippines), but I really want it.  The only problem is that the pay is not going to be enough to support me if I ever decided on living alone or starting a family (which is very unlikely, but still).  Rent alone would eat it all up.  I know salaries shouldn’t matter if you do what you love, but come on.  

My parents are asking if it’s going to take me anywhere.  Well hey, can’t I just stay here?

It sucks that most nurses have to leave and work in other countries in order to support their families.  Why is everyone so focused on leaving anyway?  I know this is old news, but I’m getting sick of it.

This reminds me of my old uniform.  Can’t believe I’m saying this, but I kind of miss it, aprons and big pockets and all.

Ayoko na. Ayoka na talaga. Sawa na ko sa buhay na ganito, sawa na ko sa katoxican, sawa na ko sa araw-araw na pag-iintindi ng ibang tao, sawa na ko sa responsibilidad.

Tama na. Tama na.

I’m sick of systems and I’m sick of rules. I’m sick of excellence and how it makes those seeking it become inhuman. I think I might even be sick of myself.

Endorsements, demands, questions, care care care I don’t want to care anymore. I feel like this almost every day. Just a little bit more and I’ll drop everything and walk away for good. Nakakaiyak, nakakainis. They say it’s noble, it’s rewarding, but I don’t know if it’s worth it.  So help me, God.  Please.  That’s what I said when I took the oath.