You’re at a family reunion, making your way across the room to greet everyone there. You go up to an aunt, smile, kiss her on the cheek. She remarks on your appearance, asks about school, and then –
O ha, mag-aral muna. Wag munang mag-love life.
“Yes, tita,” you nod. And then you excuse yourself to continue your journey of cursory greetings in the sake of decorum. You go up to another aunt, that aunt, smile, kiss her on the cheek. She remarks on your appearance, asks about school, and then –
O, wala ka pang boyfriend/girlfriend? You’re not getting any younger.
You laugh – ha ha. “No, tita.” And yes, tita, I’m aware.
You turn away and think, oh med school’s hectic, I haven’t got the time. But your mind is a traitor, supplying you with images of batchmates who do have love lives and who manage to juggle their academics with romance, and quite seamlessly really.
And then you wish you hadn’t attended the reunion to begin with. *half-jokingly*
So hey maybe you haven’t found the one yet, but not all hope is lost. Enrolling in medical school does not necessitate five plus years of lonely nights spent poring over transes (though that will happen too).
Because for some individuals, the hallways of Calderon and PGH saw them find both love for medicine and love in medicine. Read the first installment in this exciting series.
Tony Dans (Class of 1983), Department of Medicine
Inday Dans (Class of 1983), Department of Pediatrics
How did you meet and was it love at first sight?
T: In pre-med – vertebrate anatomy lab, first year, second sem. It definitely wasn’t love at first sight. We were friends, part of a barkada, for five years before becoming a couple.
How did med school/training impact your love life?
I: We were groupmates (Dans and dela Fuente) so we saw each other often.
When and how did you know they were the one?
T: She was being courted by someone who I thought wasn’t good enough for her. I was getting serious in another relationship. That’s when I realized I needed to rethink where things were going.
I: It just was a bit awkward because we didn’t want to disrupt the barkada. Then someone told me – don’t think about whether or not you’d hurt somebody; decide based on how you feel. Kasi later on you might blame the person you were trying to protect.
How do you maintain your relationship amidst the demands of your profession?
T: The profession is actually part of our relationship – we do studies together, teach the same lectures, have the same advocacies. We have clinical epidemiology as our common field and it’s allowed us to research and travel together – for instance, we’ve been going to Singapore every year for 20 years to teach evidence-based medicine.
I: There are things you do together and things you do by yourself or with other people. It’s important that you allow the other person to grow. People say when you get married, you become one. It’s not about becoming one, but becoming two stronger people.
T: We used to have this policy – one day a week.
I: When you have kids, it’s all about the kids. And then we realized we were losing the adult relationship, so once a week we’d go out without the kids. It’s not a fixed day of the week and sometimes we bring friends, but mostly it’s just us. Now that our kids are adults themselves, we also enjoy taking them along.
What advice would you give those seeking love in medicine?
T: You don’t have to look farther than your barkada, because you already have deep ties. That’s what we advise our kids – [look at] your friends, your true friends, who you would never have thought of.
I: There are no strict rules, so it depends on the two people. Choose your battles – there are things you can let go. Try to look for solutions and if it really bothers you, you can talk about it. When you’re about to enter a relationship, values are important. Not a lot of relationships are successful if you go into it thinking, “I’m going to change this person.”