When was the last time you had flu? Or Diarrhoea? Or perhaps a sprain? It’s safe to say that each and everyone of us has bene hit by some illness in our lifetime. In fact, flu always seems to be ‘around‘ and some dietary mishap (as I’d call it) can cause diarrhoea all of a sudden. As a medical student involved in the hospital three days a week, I come across so many people suffering from all sorts of diseases, ranging from common to unimaginable syndromes! It really gives you a whole new perspective of diseases and their significance in our lives.
I was ill this week too, with indigestion and diarrhoea. It started suddenly, in the middle of the night while I was asleep. To soothe the burning feeling in my stomach, I walked to and fro slowly, rubbing the ailing area with my hand. As with any illness, the first thoughts that come to mind are usually worrisome and more along the lines of “Why did this happen? Oh when will it end? Owwww…” Alhamdolillah, I remembered what we had been taught about dealing with illnesses in Islam and kept repeating,
Wa idha maridtu fa-huwa yashfeen
“… And when I fall sick, it is He who heals me.”
(Quran – S. Sho’ara: Verse 80)
Alhamdolillah, the worst was very soon over and only some cramps and low-grade fever lasted the rest of the day.
I learnt an important lesson during this episode. Whenever we are down with such minor illnesses, all we can think of is how difficult our situation is. What totally escapes us is how well the rest of our body is functioning, which we must certainly be thankful for. If it’s a flu that is bugging me, how can we forget to be thankful, even more, for healthy limbs, vision, sight, intellect, mobility and countless other blessings? Instead, all our attention becomes focused on that tiny thing that is the ailment.
Indeed flu, diarrhoea, sprains, cramps, coughs all seem so tiny and ordinary to me now, when I see others suffering from so much more! Today, in the ENT OPD (Out Patient Department of ENT), we came across two shocking cases. One lady, past sixty years of age, had such a huge mass/growth in her nasal cavity that her face had become grossly distorted due to it. Hey eyes were bulging out, and widely separated as compared to normal faces. Pus drained from her nostrils and in fact, the mass could even be seen hanging into the back of her throat, upon viewing the oral cavity. It was shocking, especially when we discovered she had this growth, progressively increasing in size, for the past twelve years! Now that she was losing vision in one eye because of the invasion of the mass, she had come to the OPD to get it checked.
The case of the second patient, a lady of about thirty years, really shook us. There was a sudden commotion in the OPD and the doctor who was instructing us, was called upon to examine the lady. She was on a stretcher on the floor, gasping for breath. A huge mass, the size of a melon (that’s how we describe it) was visible on the side of her neck. The lady was in a shabby state, hair all unkempt and clearly distressed. She was expecting too, almost in the last stage of her pregnancy! The doctor immediately noted that she had “stridor” and needed a tracheostomy done – an opening in the front of her trachea to artificially provide air to her lungs. The state of that lady (there was a strong possibility of the mass on her neck being cancer), gasping and wholly unaware of what was going on around her, in her state of pregnancy as well, made everything that we ordinarily suffer from look so ordinary!
These and countless other such cases that are encountered in hospitals are a reminder for us, the observers, that we must be thankful for what we have. Also, as our lives and our bodies are a trust from Allah(swt), we must take good care of them. Good health is not just recommended, it’s essential, obligatory! The notion that smoking, sedentary lifestyles, stuffing in all sorts of junk food, obesity, poor hygiene are all fine unless they cause a problem is wrong. The best way to be really grateful for what you have been given, at all times, is to really be appreciative of it and take care of it in the proper manner. That way, when you fall sick next time, you’ll remember the true nature and reason for illness and you’ll also realize that the oww or ouch you suffer from is just another test from Allah – will you be patient and remain grateful?
“Is not Allah sufficient for His slave?”
(Quran – S. Al-Zumar: Verse 36)