“Are you having a cough for about two weeks now? Is it accompanied by night sweats, bloody sputum and/or weight loss? Have yourself checked because you might have Tuberculosis!” This spiel is the usual spiel of medical professionals with regards to Tuberculosis. As medical professionals, we have heard this quite a thousand times before. During our clerkship duties, we have diagnosed patients using these symptoms and often times we were right. These spiel has been part of our life as medical professionals who are practicing in the Philippines. We got so used to it to the point that it became boring to us. Uninteresting. And so this topic totally came out of our mind.
Last week, we gave a lecture on Tuberculosis during the TB awareness program held by the barangay. This activity was not through our own initiative. About a week before, Ms. Maria Angela Padilla, The municipal link on 4Ps, asked for our help to give a short lecture on Tuberculosis is to the Barangay of Molos. “TB again?!” was in our minds, but we kept is to ourselves. We simply accepted the offer and completely forgot about it. We don’t want to sound arrogant but I think we have enough experience during our clerkship days and so we don’t need much preparation. To cut the story short, indeed we did no preparation for it. We actually just borrowed the PowerPoint presentation of the Nurse Deployment Program (NDP) in the Rural Health Unit (RHU). We gave our… well… their (NDP) presentation. As we presented the lecture on TB, we noted the looks of the people. These were looks of interests. Looks of revelations. And then it struck us. These words that we are saying, these repetitive words. These spiel. These meaningless, senseless and most of all, repetitive words to us meant a lot to these people. For the first time in their lives they have appreciated what Tuberculosis is. What was cliché to us was valuable information to them.
Reflecting on our experience on that day made us realize that that day was just an example of the rest of our lives. We have been studying for about 3 years about physiology and pathophysiology. We have accessed, gained and kept knowledge. Only few of the population of the world have such knowledge. We even thought of ourselves as few of the elites. All these times we thought that we were keeping knowledge for ourselves but that experienced made us realize that we were accessing these knowledge so that we can share it others who cannot.