A Janitor as Phlebotomist?

It’s a regular workday and out of the stream of an ordinary under-the-blue-sky garden chores, some surprising revelations could pop up out of an ordinary conversation. Dried leaves here and there, not necessarily in the bulk of a seasonal fall. Candy wrappers to pick up, plants to trim and calamansi and guava trees to sprinkle with bat’s manure. We were doing those along with one kitchen staff and our maintenance guy, as we lung out our frustration over the current LPG hoarding perhaps in the entire land. Almost every nook in this dreaded city, there’s nowhere to refill the tank and if there is, it’s on a reservation basis like organ transplant. From Wall Street to Taft Avenue, it’s the same familiar disease that’s infecting society – greed. Now, the price of charcoal or uling rocketed to 10 pesos, double its price 1 week ago because households are now using it in lieu of LPG. Another social disease of opportunism. We feel a little nostalgic, the three of us, as we reminisce life in the province where charcoal is almost free and root crops, readily available come famine time. Except for the dearth of money, life in the province is actually less offensive to our moral and emotional sensitivity. The friendliness, the laid back pace, the less adulterated air we can breathe – the calm abiding with Mother Time. If you have been in the jungle of a crowded , polluted megapolis like Manila for long, it is easy to miss those, or even wish retirement is just around the corner. But not yet, because “we who are born in the water,” said theologian Tertullian, still have a lot of swimming to go for some technicolor reasons like reaching our dream, exploring our potential, etc. So the three of us touch the ground, caress some plants, and prune some trees. We have to continue tilling the garden of our dreams in an urban jungle.

But here’s the twist.

Not everything provincial has the touch of innocence. And from charcoal, we move to our experience with hospitals in the province. Lack of money aside, the city provides easy access to good hospitals and services that life in the province doesn’t. I was already old enough as an adolescent to recall that anti-rabies injection in our hometown was not always available that a victim had to be transported via public jeepney or ambulance (depending on its running condition or availability) 45 minutes away to a provincial hospital. By then, we had a provincial hospital and under the Republic Act 8255 of 1997, had evolved into a Regional Hospital. One memory of our kitchen staff I had conversation with, one that must be etched irrevocably (all of us I guess have a repository of unforgettable hospital memories) in her brain was how a janitor became her phlebotomist while she was a patient in this hospital some years back. The night before, she was on NPO and waited till the following day, until 1 PM, for someone to draw some blood. No one came not until she complained all the way to the nurses’ station. While doing the stint, the blood drawer admitted in her face that her main job is janitorial and was only trained and certificated by the hospital for some “minor phlebotomy works”. I was shocked to hear her story, trying to be civilized by not drawing out conclusion on the state of hospitals in the province. But how could a department of health explain such a practice granting this happened? Absolutely, it was a spontaneous confession from her, never tied up whatsoever with any law firm. And for all we know, the poor, they are the least who can afford to complain. Just pure conversation – the 3 of us while tidying up our small yard of responsibility.

13 thoughts on “A Janitor as Phlebotomist?

  1. naku sinabi mo pa yang lpg, grabe talaga..kelangan mo tumawag ng tumawag sa nagdedeliber para mauna ka kung sakali at dumating ang rasyon..mahal din naman ang uling kung gagamitin mo ngayon e..

    Nakakabwisit na talaga buhay-Maynila. Payatot, ang hirap mag-iwan ng thesis sa blog mo…

  2. Nagwikipedia talaga ako kung ano ibig sabihin ng phlebotomist.. hehehe

    Mahal na din ba ang uling sa atin? Ang hirap nmn ng buhay sa atin.. try kaya nila ung ipa? Libre pa..

    Grabe nga sa mga hospitals sa probinsya at lahat naman siguro tayo eh may bad experiences dyan, ung sister ko muntik ng mamatay dahil may dengue, sabi ng doktor mag inject daw ng pampalapat ng dugo buti nlng tumanggi ung mom ko at pinunta namin sa private hospital sa city namin, sabi ng doktor dun wag na wag daw gagawin ung pagpigil sa dugo kapag dengue kasi nakakamatay daw un.. buti nalang. Thanks God.

    La lang, nashare ko lang… hehe

    O nga Jorge, yung dating tig-limang piso, sampu na ngayon, mantakin mo yang pagiging oportunista din ng mga kababayan natin. Marami talaga tayong dapat ayusin sa health system natin. Sa kalinisan pa lang, bagsak na tayo. Buti naman ligtas yung sis mo. Tawa-tawa herbal plant ang epektibong gamot sa dengue Jorge. I-google mo uli at pwede mong i-recommend sa iba.

  3. Sakit na talaga ito ng ating gobyerno, ang pagtitipid! Di nga ako makapaniwala na sa isang government hosp, ang pasyente pa ang dapat magprovide ng syringes para sa kanilang sarili.

    I had my internship sa Ospital Ng Maynila 9 years ago, pero alam ko wala paring pagbabago till now. Luma at bulok na systema pa rin ng gobyerno ang umiiral. Kawawang mga pasyente. Sana maramdaman nila na ang dyos ay nasa mga taong tulad nila.

    Phlebotomist at Janitor at the same time? multi-tasking ito! Talented sya kung ganun kapatid. Walang problema basta ba practice nya ang sepsis, hehehe! Baka naman masyadong toxic ang hosp. at abusy ang mga med-tech kaya Janitor na lang ang kumuha ng dugo? Seriously, dapat professional ang gumagawa nito. Nothing against sa mga mga taong gustong matuto pero always put caution sa mga bagay na ganito lalo pa buhay ng tao ang pinag-uusapan dito.

    Salamat sa pagbisita kapatid!

    Oo kapatid, multitasking ang nangyari at marami sila. Malamang, isang pamamaraan sa sinasabi mong “pagtitipid” that jeopardizes patients’ safety. Kubeta or hospital wastes and clean needles don’t seem to go together.

  4. Nalimutan ko yung LOcal R.A na ginawa, para mas malapit na lang yung mga medicines need sa mga barangay health center, which is yung municipal ang magdidistribute. pero ito ang sikretong irereveal ko, o malamang di na sikreto.

    Na yung nakalaang gamot para sa mga barangay, ay hindi lahat ibinibigay sa mga tao.. kasi patago nila itong tinatago para sa pansariling kapakanan, o kaya ipinamimigay sa mga kamaganak nila rather in those who really need.. o dba unfair?

    Nalaman ko ito, ng minsang nagduty ako sa barangay health center..

    • Hi Jen, mukhang dehins secret na yan kasi mula nang ipinatupad ang local government code na yan, the full control and access to health services were at the same time transferred to the local government. kung ikaw barangay captain pero hindi naman kakampi ni mayor, hmmm, humanda ka, wala kang Kortal…

  5. Your post reminded me of the overpriced blood bag purchase sa DOH , way back 10 years ago na siguro (or more—napaghahalatang matanda na ako hehehe). I felt strongly for the people na nagbabayad ng tax (estudyante pa lang ako noon). The little that the government allocated to the DOH budget that year ay nabawasan pa.

    And with our doctors and nurses seeking jobs in other countries dahil hindi satisfied sa sweldo at sa work condition nila sa hospital, we shouldn’t be surprised if one day when we visit the hospital to seek medical assistance, a janitor will take our vital signs.

    Tulad ng sinabi ni King, nothing against those na gustong matuto. Ang point lang is dapat nasa tamang lugar ang mga bagay, lalo na pagdating sa pagliligtas ng buhay.

    DFish: Thanks Nortehanon for posting your personal experiences. To add to your pagkadismaya – we have the skills, the compassion to care for the sick, the intelligence. Kelangan lang talaga ng isang sistemang mag-aalaga sa kakayahan natin. Ikanga nga ng mga habal-habal drivers, yung makapag-ihaw man lang ng baboy linggo-linggo...

  6. Galing ng janitor ha? Multi-tasking. Hehe..

    Life in the provinces really has it’s own advantages and disadvantages. Other than poor medical services offered by the government, education in rural places are struggling because of lack of books or supplies for study.

    I like your style of writing po. Galing. ^^


    DFish: Napaisip tuloy ako sa term na multitasking na yan emilayskie kasi in the corporate world, napaka-proactive din ang term na yan, almost an evangelical byword kahit na medyo gasgas na rin. pero may positive comment din about it dito. Thanks for the compliment. Nakakain lang kasi ng champorado…

  7. same thing goes here in the province tumaas na rin ang presyo kakasabi lang ng nanay q tumaas na ang uling which we use for longer cooking like nilaga hehe..
    manila is a cemented-jungle where if you’re not careful, you’ll be eaten alive by the ‘wild animals’ who struggle to survive too…
    it’s a pity more and more provinces are becoming like this jungle too.


    Dfish: Ikanga ni Ogie sa Lhullier ad “Ang hirap kumita!” It’s called urban migration at iwan ko lang kung ano mangyayari sa mga naiiwang probinsya 50years from now…


  8. oh that same thing happened before sa isang private hospital where i was doing apprentice work. this manong who is actually an orderly sa OR, sometimes first scrub siya tuwing this certain doctor does his surgeries. doctor trusts noone else kasi raw si manong orderly was trained by him since the ’70s.


    Hi Mommy Mungs, medyo hindi pa ako nakarecover sa talambuhay mo, napaka-winding but deep ng istorya. at any rate (parang peso-pound conversion ano), ikanga ni brother utoy, me magagaling din ang mga pulso and to to think that yours happened in a private hospital…

  9. napadaan po.. hirap din kami sa lpg, walang mabili pati bilihin dito sa manila tumaas


    Dfish: We are survivors, sandi right? Like sinigang on rice cooker…


  10. try niyo po ang ipa. dito sa nueva ecija gngmitan ng ipa ang kalan.

    may nadesign din po ang philrice na rice hull stove kung saan ipa ang pwedeng gamiting panggatong. mas mura yun kesa uling.

    nwei, nature na kc ng pinoy na manggulang eh…😉 hehe!


    DFish: Ipa, that’s right yhen. parang series lang ng Survivor di ba…

  11. gaya ni Yhen, punta ka sa bayuhan sa Tumbaga, Sariaya, may isang bundok ng ipa roon. Libre yata. Nakakalungkot naman ang istorya.


    DFish: that’s right po, dati madalas kami sa rice mills, maliban sa mura ang bagong milled rice, mura din ang ipa para sa mga alagang yobabs. hehe, sa tingin ko, ala nang libre ngayon…


  12. napa-Wiki tuloy ako kung ano ang Phlebotomist. hehe…

    truth be told, there are some jobs which others can actually do without the benefit of a diploma and a working license. Dati, sa planta namin, we used to promote janitors to positions of Laboratory Aides kasi with the basic training at syempre, the capacity of these janitors to perform small tasks, pwedeng pwede. Matatalino naman kasi sila, di lang talaga nakapag-aral. In fact, i knew a laboratory aide who is more knowledgeable of beer-brewing than most chemists in the lab. hehe…


    DFish: Thanks Brother Utoy, for highlighting the positive side of the skilled. na-shock lang ako sa kwento kasi yung pagkakwento din ng janitor, parang nilubos-lubos lang talaga ng ospital yung oras nila na parang may coercion ang dating. but i agree kasi the other side of the coin (feature ka kaya ng mga French coins sa blog mo para naman makakita ako), maraming may diploma na short pa din sa knowledge and experience…

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