Friday, September 19, 2008

Alhamdulilah for Catharsis

I have had many discussions with people who question me as to why I do the work that I do. These people aren't necessarily asking me for an explanation as to what makes me tick but rather they ask in a manner that I find insulting, I get this especially from brothers who feel like women should stay home and simply cook and care for their children. Granted, I think its good to be a good mother and insha'Allah when the time comes, I will embrace the opportunity with open arms and an open heart - I think children are amazing.

Why on earth would I want to be a nurse? Why would I put myself in a position in which I have to work so closely with men, in a profession that requires me to touch them when necessary. My answer is usually followed by a whirlwind of anger and frustration that the question was asked in the first place, but here it is:

My desire to be in this profession came about from my fascination for the human body and the Iman rush I get from studying it and from seeing how intricate it is - Subhan'Allah its amazing. I wanted to do something that in my mind benefits society and what better way to do so than caring for the ill? And yes, my job requires me to touch men, but giving a shot, hooking up an IV and bandaging a wound in my mind isn't something that is going to lead to fitnah. And while I agree that it is not proper for a woman to view a man's awrah - situations such as that only arise when the patient is too incompacitated to care for himself. I remember helping an old man bathe and the whole time he apologized to me and told me how embarassed he was that he couldn't even do that much for himself. I pray that Allah (SWT) sees the compassion in my actions and judges it accordingly and that He keep us all in good health so that we may be able to bathe and clean ourselves without assistance.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a patient of mine that moved me almost to the verge of tears that I had to excuse myself. She's my age, we share the same birthday ironically and the fact that she has borderline personality disorder only (I say it like its no big deal) I find it rather easy to connect with her - she's almost like a friend. She's full of life and makes it a point to make me laugh, smile and and feel at ease, despite the fear that is all too visible on my face as I walk onto the unit. Masha'Allah she's amazing. I asked her if anyone ever visits her at the hospital on the weekends or while I'm not at the hospital and she said "no." Here is our conversation:

Me: Well, do you have family?
Her: Yea, my brother is in Kansas and my mother is in jail.
Me: What did she do to go to jail?
Her: She used to sexually and physically abuse me and my brother.
Me: (Silent)
Her: I wish I never said anything, I feel bad. Cuz, I feel like if I never said anything I would be with her right now, and not here.
Me: But you know you didn't do anything wrong right? It's not your fault.
Her: But I mean, I should have stayed queit, it couldn't have gone on forever, it had to have stopped eventually.
Me: Its possible, but you don't know that. I think you did the right thing, you have nothing to sorry for.
Her: You know, sometimes you feel like having a family like normal people, having a mother to talk to and being able to enjoy weekends - I don't have that. I have the people here, but its just not the same.
Me: (my heart stopped and I could feel the cry bump starting to form and the tears starting to well in my eyes - I excused myself and returned after I had regained composure).

If anything, I like my job because it teaches me to be greatful for what I have. Until today I haven't understood how families can just erase their members simply because they are sick. I wonder if my patient's family members think about them. I don't accept that you can just ignore it - I mean, how could you?


Jasmine said...

I'm with you and in support of you sister.

Forget what these people say: they are just ignorant. People should not be refused care, compassion, kindness or treatment on any basis: race, religion, sex etc - and you cannot split the whole world into male and female: its impossible and unmanageable - we would have two globes, two world economies, two societies...its just...not possible.

And to not have a female workforce is crazy as well - there is too much skill and talent to keep at home, and we all of us need to work to maintain a good and peaceful society - males and female.

Everything is about intention, and mashaAllah, your intentions are pure and clean...and whosoever sees what you do in any way other than the actions of a good and sincere person, can take a walk. They dont deserve you, you rock...and inshaAllah you will meet someone who shares your mentalitym wisdom and compassion and you can heal the sick together,

Peace, love and blessings,



Salaam said...

salaam alaikum,
Sometimes a person can look in from without and observe a pattern that may not be apparent to you. I will be so bold as to say that I observe an irrepressible single motive of compassion and compassionate service across your various posts. Whether you are writing about praying for the baby bird that fell from the tree in that post you took down, your feelings in working with people in the mental ward, or what you choose to notice and observe in this post, Allah (swt) has raised you up to be a formidably good human being, and a commendable example to others.
If you are as you seem on your blog, then nursing seems like just the right place for you.
Wassalaam said...

Jazak'Allah khair for your kind words.

Jasmine: I completely agree with you, there is absolutely no way that you can split the world into male and female. I think that when segregation was prescribed it wasn't prescribed in the extreme context of it. I mean, I can see how free mixing among males and females can lead to fitnah, but as I said I don't think a needle stick or hooking up an IV could cause something like that. Besides, as you said its about intention, and I pray that Allah (SWT) keeps my intentions pure throughout life's journeys, insha'Allah.

Salaam: I don't know what happened to my bird kinda just disappeared (maybe I deleted it on accident?) I try to be compassionate in my dealings with people and nature - one can only try. I hope that I don't portray myself as someone that I am not on this blog (apart from the anonymous part). This blog was necessarily to sit here and talk about myself..but more so to have a means of catharsis as this post's title indicates.
I'm generally not the type of person for whom it easy to sit and talk about feelings, so instead, I use this. Besides, everyone needs some sort of emotional outlet.

Amaat al Kareem said...

May Allah swt accept all your work and provide you guidance when dealing with your patients. Its not something easy and I really appreciate you giving us your insight and personal experience about your work/career. Judging by your articles, this isn't a simple job that you go in and leave without some type of emotional connection. In a way, it also humbles you and reminds you about the grace and mercy of Allah swt.

It also got me thinking, how would it have been like at the time of the Rasool (S) - they had wet nurses to suckle children... but what about those who were of old age? Those who were not in a right state of mind. Have you been able to search from an Islamic perspective to see which parallels that you do as a medical profession and that which Islam has taught us? Sorry it is a bit random haha ... if you find anything I would be interested to know! :) If not then please excuse my randomness!

Anonymous said...

Well, I believe the profession you are in is one of the noblest in this world. I would say, nurses play more important role than that of doctors, who usually give orders. May Allah reward you in both the worlds :-)

bb_aisha said...

May Allah reward you for your heartfelt compassion. Nurses play such an important role but their is undermined & they are treated as lesser beings than doctors.

As for being a working woman, I too feel that awoman can live her life Islamically, maintain a career & be a good wife & mother. I studied biomedical science, but journalism was a calling & I currently produce & present a radio current affairs programme. I intend lecturing in the life sciences field in the future Inshallah.
Both professions allow me flexibility as when I get married or when i have children Inshallah I can freelance or if i'm still in radio, just go in to present. And as a lecturer, I can take take on a half-tenure where I only teach a few classes.