Friday, June 24, 2011

A DAY IN THE LIFE (an expat's day off)

Most of you might probably know (or not) that Thursdays and Fridays are considered as the weekend here in the Middle East.

Let me share to you how my weekend turned out. It's as ordinary as it may turn out to be but I wanted to share it with you anyway. =) You might find that I may have some flight of ideas as you read this but just bear with it, okay? Or stop reading… Your choice.

I woke up very, very late, half past 10 to be exact---a product of staying up late the evening before because I watched a movie that was recommended by a colleague at work. The title: Hello Stranger.  It is a hundred and twenty minutes Thai romantic feel-good movie set up in Korea about a guy and a girl who visited the Land of Kimchi separately, and eventually bond together after coincidental encounters, sharing of rooms and confessions of heartbreaks. ***Since Saudi Arabia has no movie houses, we download movies from the net. So, feel free to suggest movies we need to watch. We would be forever thankful! =)

Anyhoo, the first thing I did upon waking up (before I even wash my face and brush my teeth) is to open my laptop, sign in to Facebook, Skype and my yahoo mail. It's not that I'm a Facebook addict (or maybe I am) but it's my way of connecting with my loved ones back at home. And indeed, I was able to chat with my lovely daughter. =)

My brunch was a reheated food from last night's dinner and some leftover takeout given by my flatmate and when I was full, I proceeded with cleaning the house. Boy, I wonder why I put so much effort from cleaning but end up as if nothing has changed from the way the house looks like when I haven't cleaned it up yet. These are the times when I surely missed having a maid around… sigh…

After that, I browsed the net aimlessly and proceeded on blogging---my one way of warding off homesickness and keeping my sanity in check. It's a nice outlet especially during stressful days---writing about anything and everything under the sun.

Then I watched another downloaded movie from the net. This time, a Korean movie: Lovers Concerto. The storyline is unique with lots of twists but it made me cry nonetheless. Just watch it and you'll see…plus, the lead actor is Tae-hyun cha from the Korean movie, My Sassy Girl.

***Other Asian movies I recommend you to watch: My Little Bride, Crazy Little Thing called Love, 100 days with Mr. Arrogant, 200 pounds Beauty, Windstruck and My Sassy Girl. The last two you may have watched a million times already and have memorized the line by heart. haha! Lately, I have penchant for Asian movies...hmmm...

Come 7 pm and I was preparing for a night run (since obviously I can't wake up early except when I have work, teehee!). It's a good thing my housing compound has a 1 kilometer  rubberized walking path that I can run into. I could still enjoy running without being restricted into wearing Abaya since when inside the compound you can wear whatever you like without being reprimanded by a Muttawa. Some nights I would find a couple of other people walking the strip, some nights I am alone. But these past few days I am glad that there are handfuls of other walkers and runners on the strip---some of them in their Abayas. Would Sport companies (calling Nike, Adidas) think of making dri-fit or climacool Abayas for our Muslim sisters who enjoyed walking and running without them breaking any Muslim law? It's just me thinking out loud.

The walking path around our housing accommodation

Anyways, I completed 10 rounds (1 round equivalent to 1 kilometer) 8 of which I ran straight and 2 kilometers I walked before and after the start of my run in 1 hour and 9 minutes. Running is my stress-buster-alternative-to-shopping-recreational sport. Before coming here, me, my brother and friends are suckers for fun runs and weekend races in the Philippines. It is where we spend half of our salaries---registering for runs, buying new running shoes, running apparels, hydration bottles, caps, sunblock, energy gels, copy of the latest runner's world magazine and excuse for dining out (carbo-loading phase). 

I intend to keep on running even if there are no running events to join here. I intend to self-train here so that when I went back to the Philippines for my annual vacation, I could still join running events (half-mary or full, let's see) and be able to finish strong.

"In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, 'I have finished.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that." 
-Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

Another day had passed... It is time to sleep and get ready for the start of the week. Tomorrow's battle ground is the hospital I am working with... Tomorrow would be another day to help another human being win their battle against disease...


photo credit:

  • You have a collection of safety pins from your race bibs.
  • You have more running clothes than regular clothes in your laundry pile.
  • You get an invitation in to some event and you automatically think about what race the date will conflict with.
  • At least one of your web site usernames or e-mail addresses has the word "RUN" or "RUNNER" in it. (guilty as charge!)
  • Your toenails are black. If it haven't fallen yet.
  • Your shoes have more miles on them than your car does.
  • You have chafing in strange places.

photo credit:

  • Your friends go on the elevator and you beat them on the stairs.
  • You start the race in shorts and finish in a G-string.
  • Your Christmas list includes more than one pair of running shoes.
  • Gatorade is your drink of choice.
  • You start to crave Power Bars.
  • Your favorite food group is carbohydrates.
  • You are running in your dreams.
  • You always stretch while waiting in the lunch line.
  • You're running and you don't know why.
  • Your feet are comparable to rawhide.
  • You routinely race dogs down the street...and win.
  • Your calves are bigger than your biceps.
  • Some little kid wants to know why you're running in your underwear.
  • You refer to puke as a normal bodily function.
  • You have a very distinct "watch tan" and sports bra tan (for the ladies) and shorts tan, i.e. your thighs are as white as your rear.
  • Ibuprofen is your recreational drug of choice.
  • While everyone is sleeping you are up running, and while everyone is awake you are sleeping.
  • Your first thought when you look at the weather forecast is, "When can I fit in my runs?"
  • You've had your running shoes for three months and you know it's already time to replace them.
  • You know how to correctly spell and pronounce plantar fasciitis.
  • When you hear PR, you automatically think "personal record", not "public relations".
  • Your Facebook or Twitter updates frequently involve running.
  • You frequently get asked, "When's your next race?"

photo credit:

Thursday, June 23, 2011


  • Your hands looks older than your grandma from frequent hand washing and wearing gloves.
  • Your feet are flatter and rougher than a primitive man.
  • You gobble and swallow food without properly chewing it even if you are in a restaurant (you always think you are in a race when eating).
  • You can drink a pot of coffee and still go to sleep in the morning.
  • You memorized by heart all the phone numbers of every late night food delivery place in town.
  • You pause in the middle of something thinking you just heard the alarm of an infusion pump goes off. Even if you are at home.
  • You see stress as a way of life.
  • You think to yourself what a great vein a complete stranger has… For IV insertion.
  • You probably tell this to yourself a million times---"Why am I here?" or "That's it, I quit!"
  • You have a bladder capacity of 4 people combined.
  • Your friends and neighbors ask you for medical advice.
  • You think it's acceptable to use "Penis" and "Vagina" in a normal conversation.
  • You refer to motorists as Organ donor.
  • There is a "toxic" food or a "toxic" person you need to steer clear of during benign duty hours.
  • You find yourself uttering this line: "11 hours to go! Yippee!" and do the happy dance during a 12 hour shift.
  • You have ever had a patient with multiple piercings and tattoos but are afraid of shots.
  • You’ve ever run out of linens, syringes, IV fluid, meds, and patience all at the same time.
  • When you need the money, your shift is cancelled; when you have a weekend planned, you have to do overtime.
  • You believe If the child is quiet, be scared.
  • You believe just because someone’s license date is before yours does not mean they know what they are doing.
  • You own at least three pens with the names of prescription medications written on them.
  • Most everything can seem humorous… eventually.
  • Every time you walk you made a rattling noise from all the scissors, pens and clamps in your pocket.
  • You believe everybody has to die sometime.
  • You can make the bed of a patient in 30 seconds. But not the bed on your own room.
  • When you get a call telling you the name of your next admit and you can do the care plan before the patient gets to the floor.
  • You consider a tongue depressor as an eating utensil.
  • You refer to idiot patients as CNS-QNS [central nervous system- quantity not sufficient].
  • You avoid unhealthy looking COPDers in the mall for fear that they’ll drop near you and you’ll have to do CPR on your day off.

MEDICAL MALAPROPISMS---just for laughs! =D

photocredit: babygurl26_2007

I am a Nurse for 4 years and working as a Nurse is not an easy task. Every day in the unit seems like a battle ground---dealing with patient's illnesses as well as their out-of-the-world demands that don't fit in your job description. Things like: busted lights, television that doesn't work, lappies that can't connect to WiFi, parking tickets and how to validate them, specific food your patient wants to order for dinner, blah, blah, blah… TALK ABOUT MULTITASKING!

AND sometimes, that extra service is what they would complain about not the work you do as a Nurse---> Assess the condition of the patient, Give medication right on time, Carry out the Doctor's order for the patient, Refer health problems and status of the patient to the Physician blah, blah, blah... But what can we do? The customer is always right…RIGHT?! =D 

And being a Nurse means we are the frontliners of the healthcare profession because we are the ones who are constantly dealing with the patients and their family.

On the lighter note, I would like to share some of the Medical Malapropism committed not only by Nurses but other healthcare professionals. These are actually seen on patient's chart but I will assure you, no patient was harmed during the writing of these medical malapropisms. 

During a very busy, toxic duty, these are what we need to lighten the mood. JUST FOR LAUGHS! =p

"Medical Malapropism is the usually unintentional humorous misuse or distortion of a medical term or phrase; especially: the use of a word sounding somewhat like the one intended but ludicrously wrong in the context."

INTRATHECAL METHOTREXATE UNDER SEDUCTION-seducing the patient or the doctor? haha! Should have been: INDUCTION.

BOTH LEGS ARE SWALLOWING (swollen, she means…)





 "OLD TIMER'S DISEASE" (ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE) makes sense right? =)

In love with GANCICLOVER (antiviral medication spelled as ganciclovir)

And what about this?

IMMUNITY CENTER (was thinking of AMENITY CENTER)  was dedicated too much on her work, eh? 


Friday, June 3, 2011


The  runners!

We had a break from our usual routine (duty-house-window/shopping) this weekend when the employee social club of the hospital we are working with held a fun run and family day for the employees and their dependents.

It was scorching hot (43 degrees Celsius!), enough to do bikram yoga outdoors, but nevertheless it doesn't dampen the mood of those who participated. 

The 3 km fun run started at 5 in the afternoon. And with the heat, I find myself getting tired easily and having cramps (you know, having THAT time of the month). There were also games for the family--- mother and daughter face painting, tug-of-war, hoola hoop relay, soccer dribble relay, and taekwondo exhibition. All-in-all, it was so much fun!

I just hope there would be more events like this in the future and I do certainly hope the 3k fun run would jumpstart the running craze here! =)

The taekwondo girls! =)

Marian, my colleague at work with the face-painted girls. =D

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