Lessons from 2010 ~ part 2.

Just a day before we had sam admitted for the operation. Twas Bilal's birthday.11 May 2010

Two days after Sam’s surgery, he was still in the ICU. I needed to stay close to him so I slept for a couple of hours in the common ladies waiting room in the night and kept waiting for the visiting hours the rest of the time. I had not visited the kids the first 5 days. There was a large, safe and clean cafeteria which was 24 hours so really almost all my immediate needs were taken care of.  Needlessto say, I hardly slept. I would be seen prowling constantly infront of the ICU, waiting for visiting hours to begin.

Most of the security guards and cleaners and nurses had come to know me very well by now. And one thing I was asked several times, is how I managed to keep so composed ! I remember, a distant friend of mine called once and tried to console me briefly; becoz she did not know all the details, she almost made me feel, “like its not the end of the world”.

It took a whole lot of patience and maturance to not snap back at her. Perhaps my state of mind and patience was already stretched beyond its capacity and here, I had someone telling me, that it could’nt be all the bad !! I must have been alittle sharp in my tone, although I said nothing offensive. This friend came all the way from Dubai to check up on Sam in the evening while I was in the cafeteria. By the time I returned, She had already seen  Sam.  She came over to me and just broke down in tears.   Human emotions are fragile. I learnt just how very fragile.  I found myself consoling her that evening !!

During those first 2 weeks, my telephone was flooded with calls. Calls from abroad, local calls, dozens of sms’s. At some stage, I almost felt like a telephone operator and at some other times, like telephone voice message. I nearly detested it having to answer the calls and repeat the same updates over and over !  Most of the calls that came from Sam’s friends had a similar feel to it.

It went something like this :

“How did this happen ?

” “Why did’nt he tell us ?”

 “I found out thru so and so ”

“How did you’ll diagnose it ?”

“Why dont you get it done in India?”

“Let me know if you need anything ”

Duh !!! As if !!!!!!! I realized that we should be careful in what we say to a person when he going thru an ordeal especially one which involves health. He sits there feeling “how would you know, you dont have this problem” while we ask all the silly questions and even offer our unwanted advice !!

Nobody really knows whats going thru the mind of a person sinking in his boat except he himself !! so why pretend to have answers. But I suppose its a polite etiquette or ritual to do so !!!

Trying so hard to ease his pain... young sawaab

In all of Sam’s friends, there was only one guy whom he has disclosed his condition to, and also explained in detail about the operation.  Instead of making the effort of being around with us, he calls two days later wanting to know how things were !!! His wife had the audacity to state that 8 months back, when she was in India where her mother was sick, We didnt call on her in India, we just visited her hubby here !!! Thats friendship for you.

I learnt that encouragement, support and compassion does not necessarily come from those whom we know for sure will show it. Many a times, there can be a big disappointment. And many a times, it can come from a totally unexpected corner !! Therefore, its best to pin hopes only from Allah swt. He is the creator, he will create a way. . .

The lesser your expectation, the better chance you’ve got a solid relationship !! In all honesty, I dont believe in what I just said.     How can one not have expectations from someone you speak to virtually everyday ??? Someone whom you share your domestic secrets and office hassels ???

I realized now, that someone going thru trauma, doesnt need our silly superficial talks, he just needs genuine concern and someone who can listen and perhaps understand. Not judge. Never Judge !

I’ve learnt that Health, Wealth and children are a man’s biggest assets and they are also his biggest weakness too. He is most vulnerable when there is a deficiency in either his health or his wealth and if his children are away or hurt.

On the left is samie's surgeon, Dr Ziani and on the right is Dr ousama at Sheikh Khailifa Medical city.

I also learnt that what ever our sickness is, the two extreme way approach is not really the best.

Either we focus on the sickness so much that all our positive energy is drained and we’re completly touchy and depressed all the time.

On the other hand, completly living in denial and trying to carry on with life as though nothing has happened is not going to take us anywhere too.

When a disease strikes, it is a way of the body responding and telling us that something wrong is happening. why ignore and live in denial that alls well. We have to make positive changes to cure our problem.

Earlier I never stopped sam from the quantity he ate, or the amount of his salt intake, or from munching those                in-between snacks or hogging on all those nihari’s and ghee smothered parathas !! How much could our body take ?? Naturally we made changes. How could we not ??

I’ve also learnt that staying in a hospital, no matter how plush and sophisticated it is, can be quiet a sad and lonely experience. There’s a reason why Muslims have a sunnah, which is to visit the sick and that too it states, how and for how long should the visit last and what should be spoken off when visiting.

While we were transfered to the private room from the ICU, a bunch of volunteers had organized an hour program for the long staying patients of the hospital. They got out their guitars and sang lovely songs, some played board games and some card games. It was so refreshing to see the smiles on the elderly patients, who had, by now, gotten so used to staying over long periods of isolation ! 

A visit to the hospital can really make a great difference in the life of the patient and it makes us realize how fortunate we are for being blessed with good health too. we may feel, what good would a single short visit from us do for a patient, what we probably dont realize is how he/she may not have had seen family, friends or relatives for so long and a short talk with them may make them feel “wanted” or “not forgotten”  Try it, you’ll know what I mean.

This post was not supposed to get long, but perhaps I “Have” learnt quite a bit. I really hope, what I have learnt from my experience helps you to make even one single change in your life.

Come back to read the 3rd Part of “lessons from 2010”

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An incredible pregnancy & birth story-part-1

march 2002

I think the  toughtest trial that I had in our marriage was when I was carrying Eman five months.  I was diagnosed with a complication termed Placenta Previa.  Its the worst situation a pregnant mother can be in.  I had Bilal who was just 3yrs old,  Sawaab was barely 5-6 months old and already I had been admitted twice to the hospital due to excessive bleeding.

Bilal attended Nursery school in Mankool and we managed to keep Sawaab at Matilda’s house at Gold souk for the day. She obligded because she knew we had a difficult condition at our hands but … I was restless,  in agony. My precious little baby of 5 months was left at the mercy of someone we barely knew but surely trusted,  strange how that sounds !!

I remember while I was in the hospital, I worried and worried about Sawaab and Bilal endlessly. I was prescribed complete bed rest and occasionally when I’d stroll past the ward and briefly meet the other patients.  It would be a ritual to ask the new comer why they were there and what was wrong.  I met a pakistani female who had very high blood sugar and had lost a previous baby who was a still birth. These are times that we realize that the world is also full of couples who cant conceive inspite of their best efforts and treatment. This girl religiously followed her diet and probably had a sugar count more accurately monitored by herself than the nurses.

 Compared to her, I was a wreck. I’ve always been a junk food freak and never really concerned too much with my appearance or what that food did when processed inside me. Her heart fell off when I told her my medical condition and she quized why I was so bothered about the children at home and not at all worried about the life inside me. I remember telling her very promptly that the children outside were my responsibiity becos Allah swt had already got them in this world thru me, but the one inside was Allah swt’s problem.  If “HE’ willed, my feotus would survive and if it was in my best interest, he would’nt. My faith amazed her. At that point, it wasn’t really my faith, thinking back, I feel it was simply a maternal instinct  to be with her young ones.

 That time, was a time, I also understood, where my relatives and friends stood and what their limitations were. It took me many years to forgive them and perhaps one day, I might even forget it. But for now, it is still fresh.

Sam used to visit me briefly becoz he used to keep both my little precious darlings waiting ‘alone’ at the entrance of the hospital with only the security guard who would casually look after them.  He had made it very clear that babysitting was not his responsiblitiy which I completely agree with.

I urged the doctors to release me but they were very adamant that it would be a suicidal mission to let me go. I persisted but in vain.  The doctors know best and they knew that in my condition, resting was the best precaution. the damage was already done and all they could do was to keep me going till the baby was ready to come…. but I did’nt realize that … or perhaps I was in denial.  The idea was to keep me in the hospital till the baby arrived …. for 3 onths in the hospital !!!!! I missed the boys so much. I felt quilty. I felt anguish. I felt some how I was being punished. And most of all I felt helpless. I was caged and all those whom I cared for the most were suffering becoz of me. 

Finally the last straw, on the 5th day, early morning, sam arrived in the morning and as much as he did’nt want to tell me, he said that Sawaab was very sick .. I must have been sitting on hot lava. I protested with the doctors that I needed release.  The senior consultant came for round in the afternoon and when I told him my end of the story, although he was compassionate, and tried his best to convince me, then persuade me to stay back, finally he gave in but not before knocking some fear and sense in my head. He told me with a stern face in a voice I’ll never forget

” If we let you go now, the next time ONLY your body will be coming back to us”

I remember feeling some amount of realization for the first time. He was serious ~ My condition was serious although I walked and talked and felt absolutely no pain.  My uterus was a time bomb. I had a previous scar  in my uterus and my placenta was edging it.  Only when we have fever, we seek medication. If we have a headache or some body part ache, a paracetemol, tylenol or panadol is all we look out for.  When we hear ‘Cancer’ we are terrified and seek urgent attention. My doctor had tried to convince me that I was making a mistake but I was a determined mother who had immense faith in Allah. No physician came before that faith, but the physician came after the faith.

I was asked to sign a form which stated clearly that my situation was explained and clarified and in the event that if anything should happen to me, the health officials would not be held responsible. Little did I know …. I was signing my suicide note……

Healthy Misconceptions :

Q: Doctor, I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?
A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that’s it…  don’t waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually.  Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that’s like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster.  Want to live longer?  Take a nap.  

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies.  What does a cow eat?   Hay and corn.   And what are these?  Vegetables.  So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system.   Need grain?   Eat chicken.   Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable).  

 Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?  
A:  No, not at all.  Wine is made from fruit.  Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way.   Beer is also made out of grain.  Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one.  If you have two bodies, your  ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can’t think of a single one, sorry.  My philosophy is: No Pain…Good!

Q:  Aren’t fried foods bad for you?  
A:  YOU’RE NOT LISTENING! !! …..  Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil.  In fact, they’re permeated in it.  How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?  

Q:  Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.  

Q:  Is chocolate bad for me?  
A:  Are you crazy? HELLO Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It’s the best feel-good food around!

Q:  Is swimming good for your figure?  
A:  If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q:  Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?  
A:  Hey!  ‘Round’ is a shape!  

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And  remember:
‘Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways – Chardonnay in one hand – chocolate in the other – body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming ‘WOO HOO, What a Ride’    

AND…..

For those of you who watch what you eat, here’s the final word on nutrition and health. It’s a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.  

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.  

5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

CONCLUSION

Eat and drink what you like.
Speaking English is apparently what kills you.