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.
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?