Heart of Kidney Care-A A +A
Sunday, June 24, 2012
“I DON'T think there is anything fun about it,” says Dr. Mayleen Jeniffer Limchiu Laico about her profession, uttering the words in a compassionate tone and finishing with a kind smile.
Yet, Mayleen, a nephrologist, loves her profession.
Born into a family of doctors, Mayleen inherently possessed the heart for medical service. Her father was in family medicine and used to be the chairman of the Anatomy Department at Cebu Institute of Technology while her mother was a pathologist at Cebu Doctors’ Hospital. Evidently, she shares not just the same blood but also the passion with her brothers, one also being a nephrologist, the other, serving in pediatric critical care.
She took inspiration from the positive influence of her parents when she decided to brave the challenges of medical school. After 12 long years of study since pre-med, she joined Chong Hua Hospital. Other than being a nephrologist, Mayleen is also the assistant medical director for continuing medical education in Chong Hua and the training officer for the Nephrology Fellowship Training Program.
What exactly is a nephrologist?
“A specialist that treats mainly kidney diseases as well as hypertension by medical means as well as dialysis” is how Mayleen describes herself. With nephrology being the branch of internal medicine and pediatrics that deals with the study of the function and diseases of the kidney, it is safe to say that a nephrologist is someone that takes care of the kidney.
Nephrology is not “fun” or something to be taken lightly, she says, because “almost every time we’re called in, it is for emergency cases.”
As a nephrologist, she usually starts her day with in-patient rounds, then dialysis rounds and another set of rounds in the afternoon. When emergencies arise, she has to make herself available and respond immediately.
One of the main challenges of this practice is dealing with patients who refuse to undergo dialysis despite the necessity and urgency of it. As Mayleen puts it, it causes doctors a lot of frustration in performing their duty. But she does not let this hamper too much her goal of maintaining a patient’s wellness.
That is why she sees a kidney transplant as “a gift to someone.” She says it is a safe procedure as long as a donor undergoes the proper preparation and measures before the operation. She added that a person can live healthily with only one kidney, though that should not undermine the significance of this organ.
Mayleen does not let financial limitations get in the way of treating her patients.
She makes it her prime mission to exhaust all means possible to help alleviate the condition of her patients. As she puts it: “No matter what you are doing, as long as you’re happy and fulfilled with what you’re doing, regardless of the monetary compensation, then you will be satisfied.”
Her perseverance is rewarded when she sees “patients who come here with kidney disease whom we thought would need dialysis and yet we were able to reverse the situation and we were able to save the function of the kidney.”
Mayleen’s profession demands a lot of her time and effort. But she never makes this an excuse not to be a responsible mother to her two children and wife to her husband, who is, not surprisingly, a doctor as well. The satisfaction she gets from seeing her patients feel more comfortable, get better, or live normal lives after dialysis make
all the stress worth it.
Her secret to living a balanced life is proper time management. “If you’re not able to manage your time, then you won’t be able to get through every day. If you are able to prioritize the things you need to do, then you will not be stressed.”
Finally, Mayleen finished her story by saying, “I won’t change my profession for anything else. I’m satisfied.” What better way to celebrate June as National Kidney Month than to hear these noble words from a nephrologist—the heart of kidney care?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 25, 2012.