Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Being A Mom And A Doctor In The COVID-19 Outbreak


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Her line of medical practice is not really directly similar to doctors being called almost non-stop to attend to suspected coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19).

Still, Dr. Geraldine “Ging” Zamora, who specializes in internal medicine and rheumatology, opted to list her name in the strings of medical practitioners on standby to aid the now known league of “front liners” in combatting the deadly virus.

This, as people here in the country continue to be gripped by fear by COVID-19 effects and the eventual locking down of Luzon and the continuous increase in the number of people contracting the virus as well as those PUIs (person under investigation) and PUMs (person under monitoring).

Her decision to join the ranks Dr. Ging says, is primarily because of her so-called call of duty.

Choosing to be among the “front liners” she says, is for her daughter and her colleagues in the medical profession.

“Despite it all, we do our job because it’s the life we chose. Whenever I have personal crises I’m inspired by my daughter to just keep going. And especially now with the COVID-19 issue, I’m inspired by my colleagues who are out there, willingly taking on the terrifying task of being in the frontlines,” the chinky-eyed doctor shares.

Photo Source: Pgh Rheumatology Facebook Page

“As a internist/rheumatologist I’m not in the first wave of “soldiers” but contingency plans have been created by our hospitals over the past days and most of us who agreed will have to be in the frontlines at some point,” she adds.

Dr. Ging comes from a large conservative Chinese family.

But becoming a doctor was never a part of her childhood dream she says.

“I didn’t plan on becoming a doctor. I just wanted to help my mom financially. But doors opened and I took my chances,” she says.

Despite her non-interest to join the medical field, Dr. Ging still excelled in her studies.

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Sarap pakinggan.😊 From when I was a medical clerk/intern & during training at the Philippine General Hospital, nakakawala talaga ng pagod when you see patients get better.❤️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Share ko lang din touching moments, like when I was a bangag first year resident-on-duty, a patient’s wife in the charity wards (they barely have enough for themselves) insisted on giving me 3 pieces of boiled saging na saba; they were apologetic because that was all they could afford, but it meant the world to me. I’m sure many colleagues & paramedicals have wonderful experiences like these & are grateful for the opportunity to be His instrument of healing. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ For full video please visit @krisaquino’s FB or YouTube.❤️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #lovelovelove #lifeofadoctor #fulfillment #goodvibes #womeninstem

A post shared by Dr. Geraldine Zamora (@ging.md) on

Aside from finishing her pre-med course as a Cum Laude, she also topped her class in A 2014 post-doctoral scientist program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.

Dr. Ging was also included in the elite “The Outstanding Young Men” (TOYM) in 2016 and “The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service” (TOWNS) in 2019.

These strings of achievements she surmised, could be because she has this attitude of accepting challenges that come her way “with an open heart”.

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Surreal.❤️🙏🏻 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On July 29, our UP medical student, Aurora Nakpil, texted to ask for my CV because she wanted to nominate me for TOWNS. To be honest I got surprised, because: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 1) It was just 2 days before deadline of submissions. (My thought bubble: Sis, anong nakain mo and you suddenly thought about this now? 😂 But seriously, thank you so much.😘), and 2) I thought I was too young <#feelingera> & under-qualified for it. As usual, the Impostor Syndrome kicked in. Long story short, & after almost missing the email notification that I would have to be interviewed, this presscon happened. It feels surreal to be part of The Outstanding Woman in the Nation’s Service, to be among such accomplished women of integrity, to be in their Viber group!😂 I’m excited to get to know my batchmates better, because I’m sure we’ll do more meaningful work together.❤️ All glory to God. 🙏🏻 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #TOWNS #women #sisters #Filipinas #🇵🇭

A post shared by Dr. Geraldine Zamora (@ging.md) on

“I guess sometimes no matter how much you plan for your life and future, you will have to take the opportunities presented to you, accept challenges with an open heart, and decide to be happy and content with where you are, so long as you know you gave your best and did not step on anyone’s toes,” the doctor says, with a warm smile not leaving her face.

A typical day for her is doing hospitals rounds, checking on her patients, training future medical practitioners as a member of the UP Medical Faculty, aside from enhancing the skills of residents and fellows of the Philippine General Hospital and some other institutions PGH and other hospitals, aside from attending various meetings.

But outside of this noble profession, Dr. Ging says, she is first and foremost, a doting mother to 11-year-old Nala.

Spending more quality time with her daughter is a priority to ensure that Nala will grow with much confidence and strength, despite what’s happening in the world today, she says.

Their favorite bonding time together: praying, baking and painting.

“I also have been spending more time with my daughter while I still can, and trying to make it less scary for her. We pray, do projects together (bake, paint etc). I also try to exercise while reading my phone/laptop. My daughter and I exercise also with the ‘Just Dance’ game on her Nintendo Switch,” she says.

“When I get home I need to be present for my daughter to hear her stories about school, occasionally help her with her exams, dinner if I don’t go home too late, then after she sleeps I usually have to get up and work on either finishing research paper/protocol edits,” Dr. Ging adds.

Before the current pandemic, her day-to-day schedule consists of Nala, the hospital, the UP Med academe, and some workout.

Despite all these activities and obligations, Dr. Ging still tries to squeeze “gym time” in her already tight schedule.

“As much as possible I try to insert some physical workout, like using the stationary bike in the gym while I go thru hundreds of messages on Viber… At least I get to burn calories,” she says.

Dr. Ging shares, her way of recharging her energy is to turn off her phone once the clock ticks past midnight.

This she religiously practices while she can still sleep comfortably and while they are not yet being called to be the next batch of front liners.

“Otherwise I won’t be able to sleep because of admixed emotions of fear and anticipation, in addition to absorbing all these new info on COVID and our new duty schedules, and coordinating support between the Foundations I serve and the front liners,” she says.

Before ending the interview, we’ve asked Dr. Ging to look back in her younger years, specifically, as her 16-year old self.

To her 16-year old self and girls today with the same age, Dr. Ging’s only advice is for them to keep on fighting and be confident.

“I was surrounded by very passionate, strong-willed, outspoken classmates and I was terrified. I would advise my younger self to just keep going, don’t worry that you don’t seem to fit in, just continue being yourself, build your confidence, make friends (and keep them), always pray, and give your schooling your best shot because it’s for your future,” she says.

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#Pleats indulge me! 😁 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ “Serving modern #AstridLeong realness. Doc Ging is wearing a preview of our 2020 Bridal Made-to-Measure collection. Astrid top in silk gazar paired with Trisha electric pleated ball skirt in silk organza.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Gown by @oppositesattract.studio @maraxchua ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Earrings by @hosekijewelryart ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ HMU by @05jhojho by @bobbibrownph ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Directed by @chinotobias and @issa_tobias! Haha! ❤️😘⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #buildingbridges #chinatownball #mrmschinatown #modernchinese #virtues #pearls #slowmo #pleats #cra #astrid

A post shared by Dr. Geraldine Zamora (@ging.md) on

Asked what profession she might have landed if she opted not to pursue a medical career, Dr. Ging in jest says: “Maybe a dancer? Haha. Or maybe I would have pursued modeling. Or became a flight attendant.”

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