“The darkest hour is just before the dawn.”
It is 4:18 am this moment, and the only light I see is this slowly filling space on my screen.
It has been a long day. It has rather been a series of long days since quite some time.
I haven’t been feeling so well lately, either; both physically, and mentally. The past few months have been dull and bleak, yet eventful as heck.
I cleared my degree for medicine and I am officially a doctor now, Alhamdolillah. (well, that’s old news, been over three months)
I joined a charity school as an English teacher as a substitute for my friend and ended up working there for two months, earning oodles of divine memories with my kids that I won’t ever forget, iA.
I had planned on continuing with the job unless one fine day, I am interrupted from my very rare power naps by a call from SIUT’s HR office, calling me over as an elective student for the month of April.
Overwhelmed with joy as I would be, I started off my journey at Pakistan’s biggest kidney related tertiary care hospital that provides quality healthcare and kidney transplants for free.
As a medical graduate who is pretty much an airhead at the first few days of the rotation, this new journey came out to be pretty enlightening.
I learned that not all the members of the white coat clan are devils in disguise, but came across dozens of doctors with great compassion. You had to preserve the moment I saw Dr. Adib Rizvi for the very first time, at a few steps’ distance, in the Operation Room, greeting me with the warmest of smiles in the sweetest of words. The reason I love this particular hospital is this very man- the man who pledged on not letting them die simply because they can’t afford to live. The man who maybe had a desire so pure to aid the feeble that The Almighty just had to blow life in his dream. I had an exhilarating desire to see him live, to see him work, just so I don’t lose the compassion I had burning within as a doctor. And his presence didn’t disappoint me one bit. It flamed my passion to serve the humanity, and got me another friend, and a mentor I know I can count on.
The very same day, I found out that my real-life idol, Dr. Najeeb Naimatullah- my mother’s doctor throughout her cancer treatment, also works at SIUT. Last I had seen his name was at Shaukat Khanum’s website and all I had known was that he had left Aga Khan Hospital as a consultant almost 7 years ago.
I had never seen him, for I was just 14 when my mother was battling against an aggressive lymphoma and I was never told of the facts about her disease or treatment progression and was only allowed visits either during the visiting hours or when one of the doctors or someone from the immediate family had to politely ask me to meet my mother for the last time, expecting a fall in her life status any instant. All I know is, that this doctor had always been gentle to my mother during the course of her disease and had offered his best weapons to help her win the war against cancer. I had loved him ever since. The day I found out he and I are working in the same place, I was definitely on cloud nine.
The red letter day finally arrived, I had my posting at the oncology clinic which, I had heard, he was supposed to chief.
I was excited to see him yet fragile as ever as the sore and aching memories of my mother’s last months kept bombarding my head.
And finally, as I stood in my cubicle waiting for a senior consultant’s remarks over my patient, a face neared my radius- a face so calm and dervish-like, illuminating with wisdom and acumen.
My heart instantly screamed it was him!
And it was. For a few hours, I tried my hardest to keep myself composed but the moment I found him alone, I just couldn’t glue myself together any longer.
I wept. I thanked him for treating my mother with utmost zeal and wept again.
I told him how I want to pursue medical oncology in the years to follow and be another Dr. Najeeb.
I emptied my heart out- what had been hidden for almost 9 years now, and ever since, working with him seeing how he interacts with patients had made respect for him increase to a hundred folds.
He, and his oncology team, keep noticing my yearning and they’ve seen me stay after work at the onco wards and out patient clinics just to learn and absorb as much as I can; support from them has been commendable! I can’t thank Allah enough for placing me here.
Where it’s all rainbows and butterflies and the time of life at SIUT, I also end up strengthening my rather biased opinion on the majority of the y chromosome being complete mysteries. Medical hierarchy isn’t the coolest ladder to fit in in a system like ours. I have learnt that men will always objectify women based on their color and curves, and I have learnt that the only wise decision a girl can make is to always draw a fine line around her, because a few walls for everyone doesn’t hurt anyone.
It’s 7:22 am right now, and I realize I had passed out in the maze of the words above, and now, the only light I see is everywhere but within.
They tell me I have got some fire in myself.
The sad part is, instead of burning in itself, it is burning me in itself.
I must not be ashes, not so soon;
in nights like those, I must shine like a moon.