Jun 12 2020

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Here, there, and everywhere….

Here, There, and Everywhere: My Lodestars are the Beatles and UPCM (UP COLLEGE OF MEDICINE)

By Henry Echiverri, Class 81  


“Why the Beatles broke up.” In the midst of the COVID pandemic and the lockdown now, the news hearkened me back to the halcyon Beatles years of 1962-1970. Those times were a chapter and verse of my life – a nominal Baby Boomer. It crystallized the happenstance of the show, “LOVE” on the Beatles which we attended during the UPMASA-AGC of 2007 in Las Vegas.  Las Vegas was the canceled site for the 2020 AGC, which made me dig up this old article, hence the “remastered” version .



“It was 20 years ago Sgt. Peppers taught the band to play”

I recalled the instance when my eldest daughter declared she just found out about this great band called the BEATLES.  She was 8 yrs. old then and was beginning to explore music beyond the usual Disney songs reverberating in our house.  I was ecstatic that there was finally someone who was going to play music that I liked.  I proudly told her that I was fond of this group as well and I took my guitar and with eyes closed, began plucking the strings just the way my idols did.  I sang a few numbers, and my God, I even thought I sounded like them, uttering the lyrics in their unique enunciation.   I still remember the look in my daughter’s face: “dad is cool”.  To me then, being cool meant passing the torch to my Gen Z children. 

My son and youngest daughter l also became Beatles fanatics later on.  The 3 of them happened to play cello, viola, and violin and the 4 of us learned to play songs like Yesterday and Eleanor Rigby. “Suddenly, I’m not half the man I used to be”



On our second night at the Wynn Hotel during the Las Vegas AGC, 2007, my cell phone rang, “Hello, si Archie Ong po ito, UP Medicine Class 2006.  I am in Chicago right now and another schoolmate Henry Reyes, Class 2005, told me to call you.   I am currently waiting to get into a Residency Program and I am interested in Radiology.  I heard you were in charge of a Neurovascular Stroke Program and I would like to shadow you for a while and observe your work, if it is OK?”  I said yes. I am he, you are he, and you are me, and we are all together.


When I got back to Chicago, Archie promptly showed up in my hospital.  He was prompt and eager to start.  It was going to be his first exposure to a non-PGH rotation. …I get by with a little help from my friends. Mmm, I get high with a little help from my friends.  Mmm, I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends…  So we started clinic and he went through his first exposure to computerization of health records.  it was 2007 then so it was just beginning   I guided him to signing into the network and beyond. 

With my position as a director of a program, it was a perfect teaching moment.  I had this opportunity to introduce him to the ways of US Medicine. Any time at all, any time at all, any time at all, all you’ve gotta do is call, and I’ll be there.

I sensed that this rotation would give him an edge and I remained grateful to do this for a co alum.  He related his PGH training. We both reminisced on the long walks to Radiology, scrambling for Xray results and sometimes stealing (another word for borrowing) Xray plates, the pasting of lab results in the chart. “Dapat tuwid at pantay and pag-paste, baka sakaling maging Intern of the year”.  It also became apparent that Archie and I shared the same boundless love for our alma mater, the UP College of Medicine and PGH.  You say you want a revolution. Well, you know, we all want to change the world.

One afternoon, while making rounds, we answered a CODE BAT (Brain Attack Team) at the ER and he was struck with the effortless workflow of transporting the patient from ER to CT to the Angiogram Suite. The transfers only took a few minutes. With amazing efficiency, the team was swiftly pulling out a clot from the cerebral artery with the Merci Retriever.  Overall, it took a little over 30 minutes from puncture to recanalization.  Archie was so awed how it all worked out straight away!   It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been working like a dog…

I got to know Archie some more the next several days of his “shadowing”. With his enthusiasm and motivation, I liked that he was also very engaging with the patients.  …. learn to fly, all your life.  You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

While making rounds, as I would just be starting a discourse on correlations of the neurologic findings with the radiologic tests and Archie in the meantime would already have pulled up the images on the computer screen.  He updated me on plans for patients and topics discussed the previous day before even being asked.  Medical records were lined up when needed and data collated.  I was getting spoiled.   We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine…full speed ahead Boatswain, full speed ahead.  Full speed ahead it is Sgt.   Cut the cable, drop the cable.  Aye Sir, Aye Captain, captain.  As we live a life of ease, every one of us has all we need, sky blue and sea of green….


I do not recall seeing Archie’s kind of work ethic from others, even as far back as when I was a Clinical Instructor supervising Residents and Students at a University Hospital in Chicago.  As I surmised, it was reflective of UP Medical School graduates being fine Physicians with impeccable clinical skills and genuine industriousness.

My interaction with Archie transformed me into a hardcore UP Medicine Alumni Fan and a truly affirmed UPCM fanatic.  Archie has since become a Stroke Neurologist.  There were many more instances of shadowing or rotating graduates of  UPCM (UP College of Medicine)  with me through the years, and most of them became Neurologists. Did I have anything to do with their preferred specialties?  Maybe so or maybe not at all.  All I know is that I remember them all, with a special kind of fondness. Though I know I’ll never lose affection, for people and things that went before.   I know I’ll often stop and think about them, in my life, I’d love them all.


On a light note, I attended Archie’s wedding recently where I met a few other UPCM graduates. “Come together right now, over me.”   Lately also, I just heard his wife, Katie, delivered a healthy baby girl, Astrid.  Can’t wait for more UPMASA apos.  “Grandchildren on your knees, Vera, Chuck, and Dave”




It has been wonderful interacting with these young doctors.   I will be 64 years old this year, but I still look forward to meeting more energetic physicians from the UPCM.  Somehow, it keeps me feeling young.   That, to me, is also what UPMASA (UP Medical Alumni Society in America) is all about  …Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64.



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