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Filipino docs rank among the best in the world

Susan’s Notes

By Susan Palmes-Dennis

TAGOLOAN, Misamis Oriental—Filipino doctors like Cagayan de Oro City’s Dr. Irwin C. Arribas rank among the best in the world and that’s my opinion.

I tell you my own story to support my claim that our doctors are great in their chosen speciality. Even before my cataract surgery, I had a persistent eye problem which I attributed to my habits that included an age-old passion for reading.

Upon examination, my doctor told me that I had big cataracts and so I underwent eye surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic. After the procedure I was enamored with my eyesight. Imagine my ecstasy when I managed to read big font letters without my eyeglasses.

Then something happened after a week. I had to resume using my eyeglasses in order to read again. I didn’t like it because it meant having to search for it among the many assorted items I stashed inside my very big bag and who needs that inconvenience?

Then I experienced frequent tearing of my eyes. I thought it was part of my post eye surgery adjustment. My eyes would tear up and those who saw it would think I’m crying when I’m not.

I was directed by the eye doctor to apply a specific kind of eye drop thrice a day or as the need arises, meaning when I was tearing up. It was really embarrassing on my part to apply eye drops in the middle of an engaging conversation or excusing myself during parties to head to the bathroom for my ‘eye drop ritual.’

I started using regular ungraded eye glasses for ptotection. I thought then that I saw the end of my eye problem, attributing it to being part of growing old. Then another problem cropped up, which is the presence of ‘gound’ or eye crusts/booger in my eyes. In Filipino it’s called ‘muta.’

Except that my sticky ‘muta’ would shut my eyelids tight making it difficult to open my eyes in the morning. The soap and water aren’t enough to clear it forcing me to visit my eye doctor again.

After examination I underwent some bloodwork and was then advised by my eye doctor to use the Johnson baby shampoo to clean my eyes. Still my eye problem persisted and the eye discharge made me visit my eye doctor again, this time ending up in laser eye surgery.

The eyesight improved but the eye discharge continued and on January 15 this year, my eyes were a bloodshot red. I remembered that day because it also was the scheduled oath taking of the new board of directors of the Filipino-American Community of the Carolinas Inc. (FACC).

I was prescribed with antibiotics and prednisone. The eye surgeon diagnosed my condition as episcleritis. My red eyes persisted but my husband Ronnie and I already secured plane tickets for our Philippine trip two days after the consultation.

The eye surgeon told me to see an eye doctor in the Philippines and this is when things started to look up for lack of a better phrase. I visited Dr. Irwin Arribas at Madonna and Child Hospital in Carmen and in between conversations about our lives he checked my eyes for any abnormalities.

He got an instrument to pluck some hair from my eyelids. He explained that ever since my chemotherapy for my breast cancer, the hair in my eyelids started growing inward rather than outward. I told my American eye doctor about my suspicions then but I didn’t know that it was hair growing inward, not outward.

Dr. Arribas prescribed Erythromycin, Loteprednol etabonate and another medicine to wipe my eyes that he said was available only in the Philippines. Barely four days after using the medicines, my tearing eyes cleared up.

I was glad that I turned to Dr. Arribas for help, having him known him during my radio and TV program days in Cagayan de Oro City. He was a frequent guest in my programs, appearing on short notice despite some reservations and I loved him for that.

The successful outcome of my visit to Dr. Arribas cemented my belief that Filipino doctors are the best. Our available medical equipment may not be world class but our doctors studied the same books and underwent practically the same basic training that doctors around the world did.

Just my opinion, Filipino doctors are good, even great and my experience with Dr. Arribas is evidence of that competency.


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