Sunday, February 27, 2011

As Seen On TV

Believe it or not, I actually enjoy watching infomercials. The ones wherein a "breakthrough" product is introduced, and available only when you dial a certain number and if you dial now, you get a huge discount and freebies!

These offers range from the "best acne treatments", cooking aids, exercise equipment etc. We've actually bought a few "as seen on tv" products, although we never really called the number flashed on the screen. We'd eventually find some of these products in some stores like ACE hardware or another store.

Some of them actually turn out to be good buys, like the Jack Lalaine juicer. I haven't used Proactiv, but this acne remedy is now available everywhere, which attests to its effectiveness, I guess. A friend loves the George Foreman grill. So they actually have some very good products, although some do turn out to be lemons. Well, this applies to most things anyway.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bad sense of direction

I am not very good with directions and I don't like going into unfamiliar places. My husband claims that it is a female trait. I do not if it is true but it certainly applies to me. I like driving only to places that I am familiar with. For those places that I am not familiar with, I'd prefer my husband, who has a much better sense of direction than me.

But what if I have to go to an unfamiliar place and my husband couldn't go with me. I'm no good with map reading and besides it's difficult to read maps when it's dark. I'm seriously researching on the pros of mobile gps. I wonder if these gadgets could detect the one-way streets especially since there are so many especially in Makati.

Don't even let me go to the probinsya without a companion.  I have no confidence that I won't get lost.

For some reason, I get lost more easily here in the Philippines than in Hong Kong!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Balance of foods

When I stepped into puberty and started having some acne, my mom and the other elders blamed my diet. They claimed that the foods that cause the pimples are too "diet" or "heaty".

This stems from a belief in Traditional Chinese Medicine that you have to maintain a balance between "hot" and "cold" (or yin and yang) to maintain health. Having pimples means that I have too much "heat", according to this principle. So, the principe of how to remove pimples means that I have to eat foods that are less "heaty" and more "cool". That means less fried foods, less oily foods, less chocolates and other foods deemed to be "heaty".  More green vegetable and fruits are recommended.

It's different for women who just gave birth.  Since they lost a lot of blood during the birthing process, they are deemed to have lost a lot of heat and thus needs to consume more of the foods deemed heaty and avoid the cool foods.

It's actually quite interesting, and while there are no RCTs to support it, it's one of those things that do not really do any harm, in my opinion.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I don't like "requested" prescriptions

About 10 or so years ago, when Orlistat first came out in the Philippine market (the first brand being Xenical), it was by prescription only. Some of my relatives want me to prescribe for them, and for their friends besides. I'm ok with them coz I see them, what I'm not ok with is prescribing for people I haven't seen at all. Sigh.

Well, Orlistat has since become an OTC drug. Here in the Philippines, the same strength that used to be prescription only no longer needs a prescription. I wonder how the pharmaceuticals managed to do that, but I am glad that I am no longer obligated to provide prescriptions for my relatives and their contacts. I'm very afraid that the medical license I worked so hard for might be in jeopardy for such "requested" prescriptions, so having that out of the way is such a relief.

In the US, I believe they came out with a lower strength orlistat now popularly know by its brand name Alli. This one needs no prescription so I guess it boosted the sales of the pharmaceuticals as many people want to lose weight. Now, is alli effective, especially since it is lower dosed than Xenical? I'm afraid I do not have much data on these, especially since the one marketed in the Philippines is still Xenical and Alli does not seem to be available.

But like I said, I'm glad I'm no longer obligated to give prescriptions for people who want an easy way of losing weight.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kids make life worth living

The past few weeks have been very hectic for our family. It's mainly because my kids got sick, one after the other, for two rounds. Thank goodness all that is over. Now I feel that I'm always hungry. I guess my stress levels are so high that it feels as if I've consumed fat burners.

I guess that's  how it is when you become parents--you are now responsible for other people who are fully dependent upon you - your children.  Now that I have 2 kids, I often wonder how my parents were able to raise us.  Everyday feels like a struggle, trying to make ends meet and trying to be as hands on as possible. 

But would I trade this life for a lighter life of singlehood without having to worry about somebody else?  No, not for the world.  The life that I have now may be hectic, but every smile from my kids, every simple accomplishment makes me feel that everything is so worth it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

My kid needs a little fattening

Since I go to a new clinic at Shang Mall, I now get the chance to look at the organic, natural products at Healthy Options. I was looking at the racks carrying vitamin supplements and weight loss products because I was looking for a way to boost my son's protein intake and maybe gain some weight.

Most of the elders in my family, especially my mom, have commented on E's "thin-ness".  Which puts a lot of pressure on me as his mom.  "Thin kid", as far as the elders are concerned, means that the mom is not doing enough.  Sigh!

It's also pretty difficult to get him to eat a lot, and eat fast.  Watching him eat "eats" up a huge chunk of the time for me.  Kinda reminds me of myself when I was a kid like him, so maybe it's karma working against me?  My mom seems to think so.  :)

Adding to my woes, he can't have cow's milk, which would have been an easier way for me for him to up his protein and his calories.

On his last pedia check up, his weight is average for his age, but he's on the upper curve as far as his height is concerned, which probably accounts for the fact that he looks really thin. I try to tell mom that his numbers are pretty good, but she turns the table and shows me that he really looks malnourished.  Double sigh.

So that brings me to Healthy Options and its health food racks.  However, I haven't found anything suitable.  I've started him on one egg a day, mixed into his breakfast oatmeal.  It seems to be working a bit.  I hope so.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


On my son's last Pedia check up, my son is on the 75th percentile of the height chart. So, no problems there. I do not need to check out growth hormone reviews for him since his growth seems to be on the right track and is even in the upper curve. If this trend continues, he'll be taller than my husband and me.  Which would be great, because height is usually an advantage.

Will he be a basketball player? Well, it's what most people think when they see tall people, right? Well, I don't know, but he certainly likes shooting his (small) ball into his (small and low) hoop and idolized his Uncle J. Why not, eh?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Healthway Congress

Last Wednesday, I attended a congress by Healthway. It was a pretty productive day for me. Since I've specialized, I no longer update myself on the new trends in other specialties via formal lectures and congresses like these. It's also good because I found myself relating to these topics both as a doctor and as a patient (or parent of a patient). For example, the lectures on antihistamines and topical spray steroids had me think of my son's chronic allergic problem and made me think of putting him on a low dose maintenance therapy. The dermatologist went through the different approaches to acne treatment. Is there a role of vitamin b for acne? Does diet play a part too? What about stress? All these were tackled. Being somebody who was plagued by acne during my younger years, the lecture is quite an eye-opener for me.

For most of us doctors, the most fun lecture was the least medical.  Former beauty queen and now image consultant Abbygale Arenas showed us the basics of looking more professional and more trustworthy.  It can be summarized in these words:  smile, eye contact, handshake, attire, makeup.

I enjoyed myself.  I even found a new friend.  All in all, it was a morning well spent.  I even enjoyed breakfast and lunch, and there was even free shuttle.  There was only 1 glitch -- we were supposed to end at around 12:30pm.  We ended up at around 3pm.  Which meant that those of us who were supposed to be somewhere ended up late.

Oh well, there's always room for improvement. At least a good thing has been started.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Unromantic Tsinoys

They say that Tsinoys are not romantic -- they'd rather give you something useful like blackberry covers rather than spend for "useless" flowers and chocolates. Of course, that's just a generalization but my grandfather and father were certainly good examples of these.  My mom probably got more designer bags and perfumes than flowers from my dad, even if the designer things are actually more expensive.  Well, I guess that's the "practicality" of the Tsinoys setting in.

That does not mean, though, that Tsinoys don't love the women in their lives.  They do, but they are just not as showy as Pinoys.  And they may not be sweet in the usual Pinoy way, but if they love their women, they would make sure that they take care of their women really well.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Kiong Hee

We just had our Chinese New Year's Party and in addition to the usual family members, Cousin L also came with husband R and little S. It was very nice meeting her family for the first time! My family's getting "international", with L and her family based in Shanghai, Uncle W (who was able to come! Hurray!) and his family based mainly in Canada, cousin Z (who was not able to come this time) based in USA. The weather cooperated, and we got a lovely cool breeze instead of the usual humidity that Manila has. My grandmother chose to stay in the backyard instead of the main dining room as she enjoyed the weather.

My gadget-loving family, with their IPads, Galaxies, Sony VAIOs, and digital cameras, were somehow too excited to document the events.  I miss Uncle M, who is the photo enthusiast and has a new toy a DSLR (can't remember if it's Canon or Nikon though) and ends up as the official documenter of these family affairs.

The kids got their ang paos, we had good food, which, 2 days later, we're still enjoying (the leftovers, that is).

Kiong hee huat zai!  I hope the Year of the Rabbit will be a prosperous year for our family and for yours too!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chinese New Year's Eve

Tonight is the eve of Chinese New Year. Of course, my side of the family, being ethnic Chinese, will have a celebration! This year, it's going to be at my mom's house, since my grandma's house is undergoing repairs.

I'm excited to finally see my cousin L who's been away for a long time, gotten married and had a baby. This is going to be the first time I'm meeting her husband and her baby. I'm sure we'll have lots of things to talk about.

It's pretty sad though that we very rarely get the whole clan together. L and her family were not around when my grandmother had her 90th birthday bash. My Uncle W and his family came over, as with a lot of other relatives, but L, and other cousins A and M couldn't make it. Now that L could make it, Uncle W and family, cousin Z and family, cousins A and M couldn't. Sigh. With the wonders of technology, I wonder if we could just hook up one of the computers and possibly make a "Conference call Chinese New Year celebration"?

I guess that's the price of globalization and migration.  It's really very difficult to bring people from different parts of the globe to one place at one time.  There will always be somebody who cannot be around.