Rx for living

By: Fatima Gimenez - @inquirerdotnet - Columnist/Philippine Daily Inquirer | July 18,2022 - 09:00 AM

GUSTO KO MAGING DOKTOR.” Hearing these words fueled instant waterworks. It was not because it reminded me of how difficult but fulfilling being a doctor can be, but because it came from a balding, brave, three-year-old who was in mortal combat with retinoblastoma. Retinoblastoma is an uncommon childhood ocular malignancy.

Having lost an eye and bound to lose the other, her positivity just totally knocked me over. Feeling giddy about the thought that maybe we were her ultimate inspiration and her future career goal was to be like one of us, we proceeded and asked her why so. “Para maka-injekshun!“ all delivered in one breath with so much gusto coupled with a distinct glitter in her eye and obvious glee on her pale but beloved face. Bravo!!! She was the instant hit of the party.

What is it about children that get to us? Maybe because they don’t filter, are untainted, grudge-proof, oblivious to pride’s existence, and immune to the constant need to impress people. Evidence-based? To some extent but mostly coming from being privileged to experience them.

I have been in practice for close to two decades, and working and being with children never fails to renew my sense of purpose. Undoubtedly, children are the ones who instinctively know how to live life, and how to just be. If we ever did or do as grown-ups, it is because we consciously resuscitate our pediatric selves or choose to have a pediatric state of mind.

If you happen to know of Robert Fulghum, I strongly recommend to include him as a key reference in providing the Rx on how one should live. There is so much wisdom in attributing everything we need to know was learned in kindergarten. Anything else that comes after is a reflection of how one has mastered the basics. My personal takeaway from this classic piece is to immortalize everything preventive, be it sanitation or upholding values.

A lot of infectious diseases either bacterial or viral or both (yes, they can comfortably coexist), whether food, water, or vector-borne, like dengue and leptospirosis, are preventable. Please allow me to fill the first half of the prescription on the 101 of life using snippets from his piece.


Wash your hands before you eat.


Clean up your own mess.

Take a nap every afternoon.

Warm cookies and milk are good for you. (In moderation please.)

Bottom line, basic hygiene, adequate rest, and nutrition goes a long way.

Next, values. Rev. Fr. Francis Lucas, president and CEO of the Catholic Media Network, said that every person possesses values. Values once lived become virtues. A virtuous person is a person of integrity.

So here comes the other half of that prescription.


Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say you are sorry when you hurt somebody.

Lastly, he talks about “living a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.” Devoid of word pollution, his style definitely works. These simple, easily digestible words are made impactful, not only because of clarity but the potential to morph into interpretations that make them more meaningful and personal.

At the start of this article, I mentioned Ginalyn. It was Christmas time and a year after we met at the party. She had lost her other eye and when asked how she was, she excitedly said “Mabuti po Dra, tignan ninyo po ang ganda ng kulay ng suot ko at ng kapatid ko.” The wonder brought about by her words succeeded in a repeat knockdown. How can one tiny human being be so physically broken but complete? Her attending doctor recently updated me that she is not only Braille proficient but learning to write. I have not had the opportunity to be with her again but having experienced her, I wish the same for you. That at one point as you grow in years, you get to meet that one person who leaves you speechless and gets you thinking about life’s essentials.

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TAGS: Cebu Daily News, cebu news, children, doctor, Fr. Francis Lucas, Retinoblastoma, Robert Fulghum, RX, values

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