Eid Mubarak 2017

It is Eid today and things are buzzing around me. My extended family are all around me with all of my cousins so there is a lot of noise and excitement.

However, I can’t help but just be lost in my thoughts. Encounters I have had with this friend of mine in the last day continue to be strange as she communicates with me very differently to how she did before. 

Her answers to my long messages are very brief and devoid of any feelings. It all just seems a little bit flat. I can’t help but wonder what is happening in her life and what is going through her mind.

There is a lot of curiosity and puzzlement I have which does take up brain space and obstructs me from fully being aware of my present circumstances. This isn’t great :s

So I need to remind myself once again that her actions are her actions and she is responsible for them, not me. The coldness and blanking is sad.

When I ask “how are you feeling?” after delivering some important news to her, she does not respond to this. When I tell her that I hope Allah grants her good things and make an open dua for her. There is no acknowledgement of it. She does not say “ameen” or wish the same for me as she would usually do for me.

The other day it just dawned upon me, perhaps she is depressed or is going through some emotional trauma. So perhaps I should be sympathetic towards the change in her character towards me. Perhaps I should just allow these changes and not expect her to be the way she has been before. Perhaps I should just view her as this completely new person I have just met and not take anything she does or says personally. Of course, it is difficult to forget the pleasant and caring person she was over the last 5-6 years. I still believe that that person is there deep down but something has happened which has made her change or made her want to change. Maybe there is some benefit in this that I can’t really explain or understand.

I just need to accept that it is what it is and I should try to not get upset or allow it to ruin my spirits in any way. I still want to continue being nice to her and being nice to the rest of the world.

May Allah ease her struggles and the struggles of our ummah. I pray that there is goodness in this. Ameen!

Allah has purchased our Lives for Paradise

It’s sad when you have feelings for someone but have an awareness that it’s likely to not go anywhere for various reasons i.e. you know deep down that as lovely as the person is you are incompatible in many ways, or that they are of a different religion/ethnicity/school of thought to you which might make life difficult for you or might mean you would have to compromise on some of the values that you hold dear in order to be with this person. 

Sometimes there might be things in life that your nafs really wants but your rational mind is forced to take over and convince you that it isn’t right or it wouldn’t work in the long run. It can lead to a bit of a battle between what your emotions want and what your brain/thoughts want. I’m sure that would be hard.

In these situations, one part of you would need to compromise – i.e. you might have to compromise on what your emotions would want you to do in order to keep the logical/moral part of your brain happy. This would probably lead to grief and sadness as you are not really in control and can’t have what you would like to have.

If one has chosen their values/morals over their emotions, then that is the functioning of a highly developed individual who can prioritize what is more important to them. However, despite choosing their beliefs, they would probably be left with some sad and complicated feelings to deal with. You can’t please everyone/everything in life but you can choose who/what to please perhaps?

What is worth more to you? That is the questions that one has to ask themselves. What can they do without and what can’t they do without? What will please Allah more? What is a more jannah-worthy option to take? 

We all want happiness but sometimes as Muslims we might need to sacrifice the present day happiness in order to receive the eternal happiness of jannah.

And that is more than worth the sacrifice. In fact, jannah will be so good that its’ inhabitants would be willing to face all the pain that they did on earth, in order to have the beauty all over again. This is what lies in store for us if we make the right choices and pick what is everlasting over what is temporary. 

May Allah grant all the Muslims amazing spouses who they can be happy with and who can bring out the best of them inshaAllah.

“Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise. They fight in the cause of Allah, so they kill and are killed. [It is] a true promise [binding] upon Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah? So rejoice in your transaction which you have contracted. And it is that which is the great attainment.” 

[Quran, 9: 111]

A Potential Perhaps?

So this brother keeps on checking my profile 🙂

I wonder if he knows that I get a notification each time he views my profile which has been once a day for the last few days? And I wonder if he knows that his profile settings are set so that the other party will know if he views their profile?

I’m flattered though, I have to say, that someone is interested in me or wants to know more about me (is that the reason why they check my profile quite regularly?).

But anyway, don’t know where this will go. I don’t intend to actively interact with him or make a move or anything so I will just observe. Maybe one can be indirect in their approach because it doesn’t seem appropriate to directly engage with him unless/until my family have given their permission and our discussions are supervised in some sort of way.

I have started praying to Allah that He grants me what is good for me and grants me those things when I am ready to handle it.

I don’t know, but sometimes the idea of marriage feels quite trivial when put against all the other trials I face and have done over the past few years. It’s like my brain is warning me, “is it worth it?”.

Is it worth the heartbreak, the struggle, the turmoil, drama and much more that is bound to come with the process of wanting to get married in my family? Maybe one day I will be able to justify it but right now, the stakes just seem too high. Is it worth compromising upon my emotional/mental wellbeing and as a result adversely affecting my career and what I want to do with my life? Will it make me that happy? 

No, it won’t. I see marriage as an adjunct to having a good life. It is one of the factors amongst a range of factors that are required to lead a good existence, but totally not the be all and end all of life. 

May Allah make it easy for all the struggling Muslims inshaAllah 🙂

Closure, finally Alhamdulillah

I had my last counselling session today and it was good Alhamdulillah as I talked about what happened with my friend over the last couple of weeks and I got an outsider’s perspective on it. We both agreed that there were some things that were a little confusing but my counsellor praised me on the fact that I was brave enough to tell my friend what I thought but still have the maturity to approach it in a non-confrontational way.

She thinks it enabled me to have more control of the situation and yes, it did. I am in a much different place to the one that I was in a few months ago where things were bleak and dark. I’ve learnt a lot through this experience.

It made me wonder if I overshare with my friends and whether I have a problematic personality, but the truth is, friends are there to listen to your problems and if they cared for you then they would enquire. Of course, I have learnt that I shouldn’t overburden one person at any one time with my issues and I hope not to do that again inshaAllah.

There are uncertainties about what my friend is feeling and what her thoughts on the matter is, but my counsellor said that that is probably her way of coping with things and her way is different to mine. She becomes closed off and withdrawn whereas I like to talk about things and resolve things. Maybe that is an issue for her to deal with in the long term.

I did think to myself, am I too confrontational? But my counsellor thought I wasn’t, as confrontational to her means wanting to start an argument or not being willing to listen or cooperate. It was reassuring to hear that she thought I did well and she praised me on it. 

Near the end of the appointment it was clear that I probably didn’t need to come again as there was closure for me and I just wanted to move on.

I still care for this friend and highly admire her and of course I will try my best to continue being nice to her as I have always tried to do. However she decides to treat me is upto her and is between her and Allah. I will try not to compromise on my values or change my behaviour to make it in line with hers.

So Alhamdulillah for that 😀

A Potential Brother?

Where do guys come into my life?

I’m single and have never been in any relationships. It’s frowned upon within my family to find one’s own spouse and one is expected to utilise their parents and the contacts of their parents to have a traditional arranged marriage where there is minimal contact before marriage.

I want to do things the halal way of course, which means through a wali and using your mahram as a chaperone. It isn’t permissible for a man to be alone with another woman he isn’t related to in islam. And if they’re getting to know each other for the purpose of finding out if they will suit each other, then they should have chaperones.

However, I think it is vitally important to have a lot of sit down discussions and getting to know sessions with a potential spouse of interest, which my family aren’t so willing to facilitate, which can be frustrating.

So where am I now in terms of wanting to get married?

I’m not sure. I did want to get married around a year ago but then I changed my mind as I decided the process was just too intense and I couldn’t emotionally handle it alongside handle the demands of a medical course. I chose certain priorities over others for the timebeing and decided not to allow other things to get in the way of that.

I still feel I should wait until I have finished medical school but there is this one person who my friend told me of a while ago who I feel an interest towards. We haven’t met but I’ve heard about him and he seems pretty cool. It’s quite strange to explain but I would love to find out more about him and maybe even have a chance to meet. It might not even work out but I’m inquisitive to know what he is like.

Humans will be humans at the end of the day, and eventhough I know it sounds wise and rational to wait (and it is), I do have a desire to get married which I can’t explain in rational terms. Human beings have a need and desire for companionship. We are designed to live with people and live in communities. I do get frustrated living as a single student at times but I know married life will bring about new challenges which I might not even be ready for.

I am sure that I would like to wait until I finish university but maybe I can still hold onto the idea of this person as it provides a possibility. Eventhough I do not have enough information about him, the information that I have makes him sound like a promising candidate. Perhaps I will observe him from afar to see what he is doing with his life and will pray to Allah that maybe one day He can facilitate a meeting with this person or another who is more suited.

I like the idea of having a possibility, eventhough I know there is no certainty. I don’t want the hunt for marriage to take up too much of my brain space like it did before. But I feel happy when I receive information that there is another person out there who is potentially interested in me and would want to know more about me.

I have to leave it in Allah’s hands though and rely upon Him, rather than rely upon my feelings and thoughts which change all the time. And of course, I need to stick to the shariah rules and not get too adventurous in my pursuit of him 🙂 If I want there to be baraqah in my marriage, I need to try to go about it in an honourable manner.

I want to be seen as a woman of honour and dignity, not as someone who is desperate and willing to compromise in order to satisfy their nafs.

First Day On The Surgical Unit

I spent my first day at the surgical assessment unit today and it was quite productive, Alhamdulillah. I got to clerk in two patients, took some bloods, saw a cannula being put in twice and was able to see some of a cardiac arrest call.

I spent quite a long time on the wards today which was quite tough considering it was a very hot day today. The wards felt very stuffy and I just generally felt quite physically uncomfortable and sweaty.

I feel a lot more confident being on the wards this time round. I feel like I know more about what I should do and what is expected of me, Alhamdulillah. I feel more confident in approaching the doctors and asking for help and I realise that it is important to look enthusiastic and ask questions, as well as try to bond with and build a rapport with the doctors. 

I’m also with another student on the ward who I seem to be getting on quite well with. She is a nice, caring girl and I think we work well as a team. 

I did think Medicine was quite glamorous when I was younger but the reality has hit me that things aren’t so hunky dory. We’re working under a lot of pressure. There is a lot of work, few breaks, hardship from other colleagues/patients/their family, as well as trying to be mentally resilient at work whilst also having to deal with many of life’s other challenges. It is by no means a glamorous or relaxing ride. One will be tested and pushed to the limits of what one can handle emotionally. 

There have been so many changes in my life. Perhaps busy is good at times because those worries and woes that I have/had aren’t so centre-stage anymore. It’s going further and further into the background. I’m aware that those issues are there but sometimes they become less and less of an issue.

Clerking Notes

Patient One

  • 63 year old Caucasian Female who had a planned admission for IV fluids and a PICC line (a catheter that delivers parenteral nutrition straight into the blood stream).
  • She had had a oesophagectomy which involved removal of part of her oesophagus after a tumour.
  • Her current problem was that she was not able to eat properly and was losing a lot of weight. The reason for this was because her jejunostomy (feeding tube that went into her stomach through abdo wall) had failed. She could not keep oral foods down either and it was unknown why that was the case.
  • Physically the patient was well in herself but had just lost a lot of weight (due to not being able to eat) and was feeling very lethargic. She had also pulled out her last jejunostomy pipe and was in pain around that area.
  • Parenteral – straight into bloodstream
  • Enteral – Into the GI tract

Management

  • The patient needs to be fed so she was prescribed IV fluids and a request for a PICC line was made.
  • A dietician’s review was requested.
  • She needed bloods doing to check for electrolyte disturbances (U&E)- one had to be cautious of re-feeding syndrome. 
  • Perhaps in the long term she might need some sort of exploratory surgery or endoscopy to see why she is not able to eat and why the previous measures had failed.

Pre-Placement Nerves

I’m going to start my surgery rotation tomorrow and I’m feeling a little nervous. I’m praying that it goes ok. I always feel a little nervous about going onto a new ward for the first time. I feel nervous about meeting the new doctors and wonder what they’ll think of me or whether they will make me feel welcomed and part of the team, or whether I will feel ignored and like I don’t really belong. The truth is, if I think about it realistically, on each placement I have done so far, the junior doctors have always been nice enough Alhamdulillah. Perhaps it is because they were so very recently in our position, so they know what it was like. In fact, in the past, maybe it is me that has been more closed off and disengaged.

Today I make the intention to challenge myself and to learn as much as I can on the job. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and as safe as it is for me to turn to my books as a place of solace, there is so much to learn on the wards. I want to be more experiential in my approach. I want to start acting like a doctor and feeling like a doctor. I’m here to practise being a doctor and doing a doctors’ job before the real thing in a few years’ time inshaAllah. So my aim is to practice taking histories and performing examinations. Also, trying to perform as many clinical skills as possible as well as learning to handle the common clinical challenges that occur on the wards such as how to manage a deteriorating patient. If you observe, witness and get involved with a patient, there is a far greater chance that you will remember that knowledge, as you will have context.

I’m with another student on this placement which may be comforting inshaAllah. We can support each other so I hope it will be nice. I don’t want to be as shy as I was before. I want to be confident and brave but humble enough to be open to learning new things and being approachable to being taught by the doctors.

This is an opportunity of a lifetime and a chance to really learn about how to make a difference inshaAllah.

The London Fire

This has to be said but the tower block that burnt and tragically took away all those lives was due to the failings of the government to adequately look after and provide appropriate and SAFE accommodation for the working class.

I feel so sad for the victims because they weren’t cared for or looked after properly. The country and society that should have taken care of them, dramatically failed. 

Perhaps this is the very reason why the media are not reporting the exact number of deaths which are likely to be in triple figures. Perhaps the government recognize that they have failed and they do not want to be held accountable and are frightened of any potential backlash.

I pray to Allah that he holds these people to account. They will not get away with it. The value of a person’s life should never be based on their class or how much they earn. Islam came to rid us of attitudes like that. Islam teaches us that the poorest and richest members of society are completely equal in worth in the eyes of Allah, and the only thing that could make one excel over another is not their social or financial status but it is their piety and taqwa (god-consciousness).

I am pleased to learn though that when believers die through a fire, that they are regarded as dying the death of a shaheed. So I hope they are indeed in a better place and I hope the ones who failed them will be punished severely in this life and the next.

May Allah have mercy on all the believers during this religious month.

Disputes In Islam

I started to think to myself, did I do the right thing by bringing up previous things that were said, things my friend regarded as “irrelevant water under the bridge”? 

I’m not sure.

What I do think though is that she was able to move on so maybe it didn’t matter so much to her as it did to me. I needed some sort of closure in a way as I couldn’t emotionally handle the silence. At least I know now what her stance is and how she thinks we should move forward which is good and useful to know, Alhamdulillah.

I want to know how we are supposed to settle disputes between believers. I came across this verse in the Qur’an:

وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَا تَنَازَعُوا فَتَفْشَلُوا وَتَذْهَبَ رِيحُكُمْ ۖ وَاصْبِرُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ

And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute and [thus] lose courage and [then] your strength would depart; and be patient.  Indeed, Allah is with the patient.

(8:46)

Ibn kathir’s tafsir (explanation) of this verse is interesting. This verse and the verse prior to it demonstrates how the attitude of the believer should be when in battle. They are required to be patient and to not dispute with each other, as this could weaken them and make them lose strength.

The believers are allies and supporters of one another. If they dispute and turn into fractions or go their separate ways, then they become weaker to face the trials of life. So my friends’ response was mature and sensible, I think.

I was first very upset at the idea of not being friends anymore, but pssh @ friends. It’s quite a superficial bond anyway. The relationship of believers (which is something my friend expressed we could and should still be) is way more important than that.

So eventhough I have so many unanswered questions in my mind as I have a tendency to want to go back and diagnose the problem, I understand the rationale for this approach.

So I have to make myself feel more comfortable with not attending to matters which are probably not a great concern anymore. They are perhaps irrelevant and unimportant. Instead, I can focus my attentions on what is actually important such as becoming a good doctor, spending time with my family and friends as well as giving da’wah.

And I need to trust Allah and what this friend said. If we are indeed Muslim allies then both of us should be willing to put aside personal differences in the pursuit of aims which are much greater than the brief and superficial day to day interactions that friends and acquaintances have. In truth, this friend was never just a friend to me. I considered her to be like a sister and an ally. Of course I depended on her too much which means letting go of her and adapting to life without her support is a painful process. But I need to trust that it was to preserve her emotional health and I do care about her wellbeing. I care about my own wellbeing too, but our situation demonstrated that we have different strategies for caring for our wellbeing, and that was where the dispute was – where I wanted to talk about things to resolve matters whereas she thought it would be easier and healthier to just leave things and let it go.

I don’t know what the future holds but I need to keep on making d’ua that Allah grants me and the rest of our ummah good lives. We need to try to live in the best way possible inshaAllah. 

May Allah make it easy.