“By time, verily mankind is in a state of loss. Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and exhort one another to truth, and exhort one another to patience.” (Al-Quran, Al Asr: 1-3)
There’s a difference between someone who works 36 hours straight, and someone who SINCERELY works 36 hours straight.
Alas, I cannot be certain which categories I belong in.
I have been scolded – Mildly and ferociously; rightfully and unjustly.
It’s kind of hard to maintain sincerity when you are feeling down about yourself.
I have been on-call for most public holidays and every weekend.
It’s really hard to maintain sincerity when you find yourself missing your parents even though they are no longer a thousand miles away across the sea.
I have been in a constant state of internal turmoil of whether or not I should stay in the medical field.
It’s impossible to maintain sincerity when you are not entirely convinced that you know what you are doing.
I had dreams of being more than just a doctor. (notice the past tense, yet?)
Now, I am thankful if I could go through one day without feeling like I am the lowest scum on the face of the earth for not knowing something so basic.
Some MOs really give it to you, sometimes! They make you feel terrible…sometimes their scolding is justified; sometimes not. You want to give it back to them. But you recognize how it would make things even worse for you. So you keep your mouth shut, and you bleed inside.
For the first few days of being a houseman…I felt like quitting.
I still do, from time to time.
But now the pressure is off. I feel like quitting without feeling the pressure of feeling like quitting.
Does that make sense?
Once, I felt like quitting and was stressed out for feeling so.
Now, not anymore.
Now, I feel like quitting without feeling any remorse about it.
I told myself that “Yes, I do work under the MOs and under the specialists. But I don’t work FOR them. I work for the sake of Allah, for my patients, for myself. I don’t need the money. I don’t have any financial responsibilities. If things become too unbearable, I can quit any time I like and no one can stop me.”
Then, the pressure is off. I recognize that they don’t hold any real power over me. The pen is lifted and the ink has dried. What I am going through has been written down since time immemorial. All I have to do is walk through it. What happens in the future, who cares?
Oh, don’t get me wrong. There are good times too. You make new friends. You learn new stuff. You meet interesting patients. You exchange funny jokes during meetings and audit. There are good times too.
There are good times too…but it was few and far in between.
I have to remind myself that I need to have that vital component of ‘sincerity’ if I were to make the most of my sleepless hours.
There’s a difference between someone who works 36 hours straight and someone who SINCERELY works 36 hours straight, remember?
Both of them will feel tired. Both of them are counting the lack of family time they have to put up with. Both of them are exhausted of feeling like crap.
But only one of them wins in the hereafter.
Nowadays, I don’t waste time feeling miserable. I leave my work pressure firmly at the hospital. When I am home, I make certain I actually talk with my parents about something other than medicine. I play with my mixed Siamese-Persian kitten. We are going to have another Persian cat brought home soon. And perhaps, another flat-faced one. I have four Hamsters too. I make it a point to have life outside the pressure of medicine. I am resolved to separate my working life from my social life. I try to lead as normal a life as possible.
I miss having usrah, actually. I haven’t had any since working. Terrible, huh?
I miss what used to be my normal life.
My advice to those who are contemplating to work in Malaysia:
1)Perform your istikharah prayer. The only thing that stops me from regretting the decision to come home is the remembrance that however miserable I feel now, this is the best for me, confirmed by my istikharah. That’s the only thing that makes me feel better when things get especially trying.
2)Don’t miss your prayers. No matter how busy you are, perform your prayers. Be close to God. That’s your only salvation. Don’t change your ibadah routine for medicine ; not worth it!
3)It’s inevitable that you will feel like crap. You will bring pressure and tension into the family everytime you find the time to be at home. Don’t do it! Don’t destroy yourself. Once you are at home, get over yourself. Start having hobbies and distraction. (like me, I start having pets, thought it’s more of a coincidence rather than a planned agenda.)
4)This is my personal view: Don’t think of having financial responsibilities (like buying a car or a house) until you are 90% certain you will get through housemanship without quitting. Like me, I wouldn’t think of buying a car until I am AT LEAST, a 4th poster already. (even then I would think twice)
But that’s just my personal inclination. I don’t like unnecessary commitments…especially financial ones. Once you have financial commitments, you are tied down to your job. It’s okay to be tied down to a job that you like. But if you don’t like your job and you feel like quiting every other day, there’s no sense in pressuring yourself further by buying a car. You should want to feel like you are able to walk away from that job anytime you like without any worries. Sometimes, that’s the only thing that makes you feel better; the knowing that you don’t need the job, after all.
Does that make sense? I feel better now because I know that I can walk away from being a doctor anytime I like, if God wills. That I don’t need this job to pay for anything. You need to feel a sense of ‘relative’ freedom in order to feel good about a bad situation. If you don’t yet get what I mean, you will get it once you start working.
Yes, I know. It’s been entirely too long since I last update my blog.
And I can’t promise when will I next sweep off the cobwebs and wipe the dust off around here.
Until next time, please take care of yourselves, dear readers. And pray for me to have fortitude and strength to go through another 22 months of housemanship.