PUAN ZAKIAH OTHMAN!!!
Hehehe..my very own mum :)
The ever most beautiful, sporty, caring, kind, lovable; all those good deeds you can ever think of, you have it all mama. You complete my world.
And this song goes for you; Everyday I love you :)
'Each taught me the meaning of life in her own way ' written by Maria Zulfiqar, RD april 2007
My sister Maryam and I would often pretend that she was terminally ill and the only option left was an operation. The best part of it was my declaration to our mother, in the most melodramatic tone I could muster, that Maryam had not survived. My mother always told me very gently that a doctor’s first priority should be to save her patient’s life, no matter what. “The rest lies in God’s hands,” she said.
When I was 18, my childhood dream took a step closer to reality when I was accepted into King Edward Medical University in Lahore. My mother’s words about a doctor’s duty rang in my ears on my first day at the college.
Clinical interaction with patients didn’t begin until the third year, and when it was my batch’s turn for the ward visit, I was almost hysterical with excitement. Beds were allotted to individual students. I walked over to my bed and encountered a very strange sight: a woman covered with a metal case on which a light cloth was placed. She was moaning with pain. I soon realised that she was a burns victim.
It was the first time I saw someone who was critically ill. I tried talking to her but she was barely conscious. Her mother, a grey-haired woman with a wrinkled face and a determined gaze, was standing by the bed. She told me a little about her daughter. Her name was Aisha*. She was 22 years old. Her husband was a shopkeeper and she had two children – a two-year-old daughter and an infant son.
When I asked about the cause of the burns, the mother broke down. Covering her face with her hands to hide her tears, she told me that Aisha’s husband had set her on fire. At that moment, Aisha, who was nearly comatose, raised her hand and grabbed her mother’s shirt. “I told you, he put the fire out,” she said weakly. “I was cooking – it was an accident.”
“Why are you defending him?” the mother replied. “He is the one who did this to you. He should be punished for what he has done. You just tell me the truth!”
Her cries drew the attention of other patients in the ward. I tried to comfort her by telling her what was being done to save her daughter. It made no difference. Sobbing, she slowly moved towards the corner and collapsed on the floor.
I looked at Aisha’s chart – it said she had suffered burns to 83 per cent of her body. Oh God! I thought. At 30 per cent, burns are regarded as life threatening. She was up against almost three times that! Still, I tried to console Aisha’s mother. “The senior doctors are trying their level best to save your daughter’s life. Please don’t lose hope. If you cry, what will Aisha think? She needs you more than ever now.”
With a heavy heart, I left the mother and daughter and returned to my classes. That night, I couldn’t sleep. How will I face the mother if Aisha dies? I kept thinking. I considered Aisha to be my responsibility even though I was just a third-year student. I should have told the mother the truth, I thought. I shouldn’t have given her false hope.
The next day, Aisha’s bed was empty. I asked the senior doctor what had happened. “She died last night,” he replied. “Couldn’t do much for her.”
His easy tone shocked me. “How did you tell her relatives?” I hesitantly asked.
He eyed me with curiosity. “I just told them she was dead. What do you think I could have said?”
I was taken aback by his “professional” attitude, which lacked the slightest touch of humanity. A mother who had lost her daughter to a violent and painful death had learned about it in such a cold-blooded manner. I left early that day and cried my heart out. When I was a child, telling my mother about the make-believe death of my sister was easy. Now I shuddered at the thought of what I would have done if I had been the one to tell Aisha’s mother.
A few days later, I ran into Aisha’s mother, who had come to the hospital to pick up some paperwork. She looked at me and smiled gently. Then, placing her hand on my head, she kissed my forehead and prayed for my long life. “You doctors did whatever you could,” she said. “The rest was His will.”
That was nearly three years ago, but her words are still fresh in my mind. I have just finished my final year of medical school and I haven’t seen another case as horrific as Aisha’s. But I am not afraid anymore. Aisha’s mother equipped me with something I already knew but didn’t understand. My own mother had told me the same thing again and again, but it was lying dormant within me.
I will always be thankful to Aisha’s mother for telling me the meaning of life: that we should do everything we can; the rest lies in God’s hands.