Monday, October 31, 2011

Freedom?

I wonder what it feels like. Does it feel refreshing? Does it feeeel..... liberating? I guess it depends on how you feel about it to start with. That peice of cloth that you were either asked/forced to wear because you 'should' or decided to wear yourself because you didn't know better. Whatever the reason, you did put that thing on. And that thing isn't just a part of your outfit. Its something else. Its a thing on its own. Its an identity. So how, HOW could you just simply throw it off? I just don't understand it. I don't know. I mean, I wonder, how would I feel walking down the street with my hair out in the open? In a T-shirt and jeans? Not bothering about how tight my clothes are or how much of me is showing? After I spent the last 13 years of my life covered up? Would I feel what they feel? Refreshed? Liberated? That I finally don't have to worry so much about making sure everything is covered, can shop like everyone else and buy everything in my size? That must feel nice. Maybe that's why everyone is doing it. Throwing off that hijab like a cheap peice of scrap paper and rushing into the hijab-less world with its hair styles and low necklines. Strange enough, I just don't see the attraction.
But some girls just don't have it in them. They want to, I guess, but they can't. Either that or they just couldn't care less. Cuz that hijab comes in real handy on a bad hair day. So why not keep it on? Prance around in your skinny jeans and bodyshirt, plate-sized earings that compliment your highlights that everyone can see. But hey, you got your hijab on so its alright! Doesn't matter that your rubbing that hijab and everything it stands for in the mud. Doesn't matter that you're disrespecting the respect that little peice of cloth represents. It doesn't matter that me, you and that nonsense you're wearing are classified as the same thing. That my hijab and that joke you're parading are classified as the same thing. You know what I think? I think that if you can't/won't do it right, then you shouldn't do it at all. Maybe then you could tell me how it feels to be 'liberated'.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wannabe Doctors Beware!

There is a well-know myth surrounding the profession of medicine. A number of myths actually, but the biggest myth of all, and the one most frequently thrown in the face of teenage wannabe doctors, is that its all about studying. You're going to be studying for the rest of your life. Its really hard, with all that studying. How are you going to maintain a social life with so much studying? etc. That the most serious thing about being a doctor is studying and passing exams and whatnot. And of course, all teenagers think they're superheroes and that a little bit of studying isn't going to be enough to make them think twice about putting on that white coat, stethoscope, cool scrubs and the Dr. before their name and MD after it. Who the hell even came up with that line anyway? I'm pretty sure it was someone who WASN'T a doctor, because any doctor in over his/her head knows for a fact that studying isn't even half the problem, not HALF of it. Stupid people.
Saving a life is a very, VERY difficult thing to accomplish. Killing someone is so much more easier. I know that now. I wish I hadn't, but I do. If you and the patient are both lucky, that patient will escape your 'care' alive and with minimum collateral damage. No matter how fly, how smart, how alert, how strong your memory is, how strong your senior backup is, the fact is that eventually you will kill someone. Ok let's not say kill because that's kind of a scary word. You will eventually lose someone. You'll miss that diagnosis of a bleed in the brain or a heart attack or a broken bone, or, oh so often, that wicked, chameleon-like theif: cancer. It won't be entirely your fault. If you hadn't picked it up then your senior should have, or the radiologist reading the CT should have, or the nurse who noticed the abnormal vital signs should have, or someone who had anything to do with it should have picked it up, but they're human just like you, and we all know that to err is human.
That's what's wrong with being a doctor. Its not the horrible working hours, its not the endless exhaustion, its not the smell of alcohol on some idiot's breath at 3 a.m., and its definitely not the piles of studying. Its the fact that you have someone's wellbeing, someone's LIFE in your hands and whatever decision you make will decide whether that person walks or dies. That's what's wrong. Who gave you the right to make that decision? Who gave you the right to order all sorts of damaging investigations and pump all sorts of useless drugs into someone's body? Who gave you the right to expose a person at his/her weakest, to see what you like and touch what you like with no one to see or stop you? Who gave you the right to deny a person a second opinion when you KNOW you're wrong? Who gave you the right to tell a person's secrets, laugh at a person's fear, show a person's shame? Who?
And who do you think you are to give yourself all that arrogant power?
There will always be an excuse: your senior backed you up, it wasn't obvious on the Xray, anyone could have missed it... it was too advanced for an early detection to make a difference. But the fact of the matter is that it DOES make a difference. When your child is sick and is turned away it makes a difference. When your parent is in pain and you are told its terminal it makes a difference. When you are faced with the loss of a loved one, every single second makes a difference. So get off your stupid high horse and admit to the fact that no, you are NOT perfect, you are NOT all-knowing, you are NOT indestructable, and YES YOU LOST THAT PATIENT. And it was your fault. And there are probably more than you can imagine. And you have to live with that for the rest of your miserable, study-full life.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The End of The Green Book

So basically, alQathafi died, Allah yer7amo Inshallah. I say Allah yer7amo, because where he’s heading he’s going to need it. I kind of didn’t expect it to end this way. Dragged out of a drain pipe, barefoot and bleeding, hair straggled all over the place, pushed around, photographed and laughed at. And then eventually shot in the head and dragged on the road. The look of terror and despair on his face in that video is just... terrible. I wonder what he was thinking! Or if he was thinking at all. To be hungry and exhausted and crushed, and just know that you are heading towards an inevitable death at the hands of an angry mob that will not show you the mercy you denied them.
The strange thing is that he stood true to his words. He said he wouldn’t leave his country alive, and he didn’t. He stayed in that city of doom surrounded by airstrikes and gunshots, and stayed put. Right until the end. That I call either extreme bravery or extreme pig-headedness. And his son stayed by his side until the end. I don’t know but that was quite touching. If I should ever be in such a situation (God forbid), I would stick to my dad’s side until the end.
Here are some statistics from the great Wikipedia, which may I remind you is not a scientific reference and I place no claims to its reliability. Born 1942, ruled for 42 years. He has (had) 8 children, 7 of which were boys of various accomplishments and reputations. When he took over after the coup in 1969, he kicked out all the American and British soldiers, and demanded that the country’s share in the oil revenue be increased; raising it from 50 to 79%, putting Libya right up there with KSA in supposed wealth. Not a bad start. In 1973 he passed a law that prevented freedom of speech, and 20% of the country worked for committees that monitored any political activities, communicating with foreigners, etc, for which penalties ranged from 3 years in jail to public execution and mutilations broadcasted on national TV. Between 2000 and 2010, the country’s GDP rose 10.6%, the highest in Africa. Interesting enough, Libya also has the highest education index in the continent. Also not bad. 97% of the urban population has access to 'proper' sanitation; that’s 21% higher than the world average. During his rule, the number of doctors per 1000 citizens increased 7 times, hospital beds increased 3 times and infant mortality rate dropped from 125/1000 live births to just 15.04/1000; also the best in the continent; however not reflecting the level of patient care. There have been roughly 6 assassination attempts and plots against his life over the years.
The numbers go on and on, about his estimated wealth, estimated number of people killed over the years from his and how many other countries, estimated number of those missing, etc. His eccentricities, his many wars and support of 'terrorist groups'. His ideological persuits. He did have accomplishments, that we know. However, if I had any doubt in my mind about whether he was a good person or not, I just remember what he did to all those people over the past few months. How he blew the suppression to smithereens, like they really were a crowd of rats like he called them, and not actual people. And those Libyans, they just kept on coming. Teachers and grocers and janitors and mechanics and thieves and taxi-drivers; everyone just picked up a gun and headed into the desert. Like death was nothing to them. Like it was the most natural thing in the world. They were fed UP. And eventually, the caught the man that had ruled them with an iron first for 42 years, dragged him out of a drain pipe at the age of 69, and shot him in the head. And then spent the night dancing in the streets with the joy of freedom.