Where the raindrops as they're falling tell a story...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Are doctors perpetually late?

We decided to have our Congenital Anomaly Scanning done in All About Women in SM Cebu. Because we thought it's convenient, heck the clinic is in the mall, what's more convenient than that? We thought wrong.

At 22 weeks, my initial worry has peaked. I'm not sure if I'm just naturally paranoid, but being a mother of a kid with congenital heart defect, I wanted all bases covered while the Dumpling is still in the womb. I wanted a Congenital Anomaly Scanning. I wanted to do all that I can to prevent any congenital defects while I still can and at the earliest time possible.

My OB-GYNE is currently on vacation, and I forgot to ask for a request before she left. We went first to Cebu Doctor's University Hospital Women's Center. They'll do the CAS at P1600 but we have to have the doctor's request. I didn't have that. I called AAW in SM, and they'll do the scanning without the doctor's request but at P2500. I didn't mind, I wanted it done no matter.

At 22 weeks, the doctor said the baby is still too bony to be doing complete anomaly scanning. She told us to go back 2 weeks after. She volunteered to give us an initial ultrasound report, but none of the details of the anomaly scan as this will be done when the baby is 24 weeks of gestational age. Appointments are set and clarified. Yesterday, we went back there 30 minutes before the appointed time. We were told that the doc will be arriving at 3:30 PM because she's still attending a meeting. We decided to wait since we're already there. We used our time shopping for stuff we don't need yet but might.

We went back to the clinic at 3:00. At 4:00, still no doctor. At 4:30, we asked if we can have a refund because my back is hurting from their uncomfortable chairs, and what a waste of time it was. The staff said they can't because payments are non-refundable. The staff explained that they're looking for a reliever doctor to cover the rest of the patients, but it should be Dra. Abu who should do the CAS. We didn't have a choice, we had to wait for her. Somebody suggested to contact Dra. Abu and let her know the situation in the clinic. Somebody answered they won't because Dra. Abu already said she'd be in by 3:30. We asked the staff if Dra. Abu knows what time she'll actually be in, they didn't know for sure because she's still in a meeting. I gather from the discussion around that that meeting was for a social event the next day, it wasn't some case of life and death. My opinion wasn't asked, but I told the staff anyway that they should just have cancelled the patients when they came in and not let us wait for four hours. I told them that this is my second pregnancy and I've never waited for a doctor this long; and how inconvenient this has become. At 5:00, we decided to go. They can't pay us back, and they can't pay the time we wasted from waiting, why wait some more?

Before heading out the door, my husband got up and gave them his calling card telling the staff to let the doctor call him because he's demanding a refund. The staff realized that my husband was a lawyer and easily regretted for saying the payment was non-refundable.

When we were in the car, a text from AAW came saying that we'd be refunded of the 50% that we paid. Reply: That is unacceptable. Another text saying that they'll deduct the initial scan that Dra. Abu did. Reply: Still unacceptable. We didn't ask for that ultrasound, it was your boss' idea, we wanted a CAS. If you're not paying us the full amount, you'd be forced to spend more than the P2500 we paid if this goes any further. Another text saying that Doc said it's OK to refund the whole amount. Reply: Please have the amount ready, my messenger will pick it up tomorrow.

We didn't ask that they pay us for the hassle and for the time we lost from waiting. All we wanted is for them to be professional enough to let us know what to expect. And we wanted our money back because technically, there was no services done anyway. We didn't want that initial ultrasound, it was only 2 weeks after my ultrasound, why would I want another one right after? If my husband was not a lawyer, would they be willing to negotiate with us and actually refund us of the money we spent for non-service? I doubt that.

This is not a bad rap for doctors. I know doctors had to attend to hospital patients and I understand why they're almost always late in clinic duties. But I also personally know  these doctors to be considerate on other people's time. My OB-GYNE is the only doctor I know who's never been late on an appointment. Xofia's pedia always makes it a point to explain why she's late in coming in the clinic. Xofia's pedia-cardio always arrives earlier than us on appointed times. If she's late, she'd call us and let us know. These doctors give us their phone numbers which we use very discreetly and only when absolutely needed. We have high regard for these doctors who didn't think that their privacy are gems that should be protected by not giving patients their cellphone numbers. In return, we don't call them on unholy hours, we wait unless it's an emergency. For somebody as paranoid as me, I had to really work on my worries at 12 midnight when my daughter has spiking fever and not call the doctor.

PS: The receipt they gave us has no TIN in it. It wasn't an official receipt, for sure. There was no BIR notice of some kind pasted in the clinic. We're actually thinking of reporting them to BIR. Heck, we're paying exact amount of taxes here, let everybody share the burden in fattening up this country's corrupt government official.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Racism and kids these days

Xofia has never been judgmental based on appearances of people. When we had our vacation in Pearl Farm last summer, Xofia was particularly fond of this male African guest, they even had pictures taken together.

Imagine our surprise when she said she'd never want to live in Africa because the people there are dark and have frizzy hair!

Their current lesson in school is about the seven continents. I raised this with her teacher, and the teacher said that she only described the people living in Africa as "dark-skinned and curly-haired". I learned from her that the moment she said that, another from the class said that they'd never want to be friends with people from Africa because they're dark. I am not sure how the teacher responded to that reaction, but it certainly gave Xofia (and probably the rest of the class), an opinion about dark-skinned people. A not-so-nice opinion at that, and even bordering on racism. So far, I've raised my kid in a judgment-free environment until this instance. Sigh, the things you sacrifice just to get your kids out into the real world.

Read on and see how racism is a real problem: Death penalty now a possibility in alleged Mississippi hate killing

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Beef Shank Caldereta

We have a favorite place that me and my lunchmates at work frequent to to have our fill of the sinful beef pochero, Cebu style. Cebu style, because the Manila pochero is cooked and seasoned differently than what we're used to here in Cebu. I think the closest thing of the Cebu pochero is the bulalo from Luzon. We went there for lunch yesterday all the while thinking that I'll be having pochero again for dinner since that's what we told the househelp to prepare. The husband dutifully suggested that instead of pochero, we can ask her to make beef caldereta instead. However, dutiful or forgetful, he didn't call the help and we ended up with pochero anyway. I wasn't worried. As long as the beef is already tender, I can do anything with it in 15 minutes max. So I suggested I'll make the caldereta myself having been absent from the kitchen for so long already.

In cooking pocheros, I seldom use pochero cut. I find that they're more of bones than anything else. Beef shanks, however, has all the generous serving of gelatinous thingy, meat and bone marrow.  I used beef shanks, pre-cut into half-inch with their marrows still intact. Here's the transformation of the mediocre pochero to a creamy, filling beef caldereta.

Part I (yes, there is a Part II)

  • 2 thumb-sized ginger, pressed
  • 1 whole onion, peeled
  • half a head of garlic, peeled
  • 4 slices of beef shanks

  1. Place everything in a thick-bottomed pot.
  2. Add water enough to cover the ingredients.
  3. Bring to a boil until tender. Meat usually gets tender when water is reduced to half. Just make sure to keep the heat in med-low.
  4. Separate the meat from the soup.
  5. Strain the soup, discard the spices, set aside the broth. You now have a homemade beef broth you can use for your caldereta and other cooking.

Part II (I told you)
  • 1 large potato, cut in squares or bite-size pieces
  • 1 medium-sized carrots, cut in the same size as the potatoes
  • 5 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1 medium-sized onion, cut in half, then quartered (gets mo?)
  • 1 medium-sized can of whole peeled tomatoes or 8 fresh tomatoes cut in wedges
  • 1 small can of liver pate
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (I only had Eden, so I used this)
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • beef soup
  • salt to taste
  • brown sugar (optional)
  1. Use the same pot you had the beef cooked to a tender. No need to wash. Heat the cooking oil.
  2. Saute the garlic and onions.
  3. Add the potatoes. Cover for a minute or less. Make sure the potato slices aren't sticking to the pot.
  4. Add the tomatoes. Let simmer for a while. This is why I like to use canned whole tomatoes, the juice is just enough to make a tasty sauce.
  5. Add the liver pate, mix well.
  6. Add the tenderized meat. Mix well, make sure the meat is coated with the saucy tomato mixture. Cover for a while.
  7. Make sure heat is at medium. Add beef broth, about 2 cups. You have to estimate, just don't drown the meat with the soup. Let simmer for a good 5-10 minutes. the sauce should start to thicken at this time. If it didn't, you added more beef soup than necessary :)) if this happens, let simmer some more until sauce starts to thicken.
  8. Add the peanut butter. Mix well and make sure it's fully dissolved into the soup. I was running out of time and didn't wait for the whole thing to get dissolved, my brother was able to eat a lump of it. LOL!
  9. Lower down heat some more. Add shredded cheese and let it melt.
  10. Season with salt and a bit of brown sugar. turn off heat immediately after desired taste is achieved. don't overcook as the cheese will curdle. The brown sugar is optional. I just added it to cut the sourness of the tomato.
  11. Serve and garnish with fresh parsley. Char!
Sorry, no photos. The preggers was way too hungry or matakaw and started eating right away.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Where have I been?!

February 8. That's how long ago I wrote something for this blog. I wasn't pregnant then. And a gazillion of things have happened since.

  • I got pregnant. We learned about it on the first week of April. We've been planning to get pregnant since late last year. We already learned it's gonna be a boy, whoop! We're scheduled for a Congenital Anomaly Scanning on the 23rd. Hope everything will be well, God willing. Xofia has pretty much understood what an older sister is. She's getting more and more responsible and less demanding especially if we remind her that she's an "ate" already. I'd like to think that this addition is doing her more good.
  •  Our house is about to cave in on us. It's imminent. I can see the signs everywhere I look. The termites are eating up what available wood the house has. We've started to embark on a major project of house improvement, and so far, I've talked to 3 contractors who can't seem to understand how I wanted this done right away. I'm not sure how difficult the task I gave to them, but I'm pretty sure it's nothing out of the ordinary. I hope the third one delivers, and let's get this started with already! 
  • Our car, the ever trusty Honda Civic got into a bumping accident with another car, and is now sporting a renewed bumper. The shop did a very good job, my husband can't see any piece of evidence that will remind him of that blooper. And the accident happened on our daughter's birthday party. Yes, we were in a hurry to pick up last minute party supplies and we forgot we're not the only car on the road. It happens. :)
  • The sister visited for about a month. Everything good and happy and memorable and sweet. I hope they visit more often. I wish US is not that far.
  • Xofia's in school, the "real school" as she puts it and is learning a lot of things. The one I'm most thankful for is her learning about junk and healthy foods. And this girl has got the willpower like I've never seen in any 4-year old. She understands that she can eat junk but not too much. She likes Pringles and mallows much. Pretty much the only ones she can't stop eating. These days, she'd say she'd only eat 4 chips of Pringles because it's a junk food and it's not good to eat a lot of it. And she told me that she should not be bringing mallows to school. I think if the teacher had her way, she'd tell me herself. Ooops! Sorry, teacher! But really, teacher, chocolate - a junk food? I'm not a fan, but you may want to rethink that.
  • I visited HongKong for the 2nd time. This time with my mother, hubby and daughter. I can't quite get enough of the shopping, I wanted to go back. I actually planned to go back late this year, but then I got pregnant. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise: I don't get to spend for shopping. Hah!
  • No-barfing morning sickness for this pregnancy, yay! Unlike when I had Xofia, I was barfing every hour or so. I had to eat something so that the acid had to stay low and I'd actually be barfing food, not acid through my esophagus. This time around, I'd get almost sick everytime I feel a little bit of a hunger pang. Result: eat all the time. So I'm like an eating machine right now. I got a different kind of sick: sick worried how I'm gonna get rid of this extra pounds I've piled up. I'll cross the bridge when I get there, promise.
  • We think it would be cool to give our little boy the same name initials as Xofia. So yes, XES. Power in a name, err, initials!
  • I realized I have never cussed so much in my life until I started driving. A lot of psychos with their hands on a steering wheel are roaming around our streets, no one is safe. Sometimes, I'd dream that I were a mercenary killing those bastards and cleaning the streets from the lot of them. My gosh, I need an outlet for this rage! I should start writing again.

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