A Walk To Remember

hospital corridor

 

The walk from the bustling parking area to the hospital and university gate, from the happy exclamations in the lecture hall to the stifled cries of the hospital cafeteria, from the safety of the text books in the library to the rude awakening of facts presented as real life cases in the clinics –  walks to remember.

As you enter the hospital gate, you see people from all walks of life. The guards, the peons, the doctors, the paramedics, the students. Everyone with a different sorrow, a different smile, a different perspective; a different story.

You wonder how many number of hours the guards spend on duty, if they have children, if they live in Karachi, or have a family surviving on their meager wages back in some small city of Pakistan. As you see the students rushing towards the university building, hand in hand with eager anticipation to become au fait with the complex workings of the human body, bearing the weight of a life-long, heavy friendship with *Robbins and *Guyton, one wonders if they are equally eager to put books and real life at a dehydrating competition. Within a few hundred yards, two conflicting emotions exist in oblivion. A striking contrast to this elucidation of youth and vitality , were the furrowed faces of the patients hurrying in for their turn. Their brows lined with worry, patience was all that they had. And a will to slander whatever ailment they were combating. You wonder how life is treating them. How their families are coping with their disease. How they are coping with their disease.

Books teach you facts and figures. Experiences teach you a lot more.

Standing behind the senior physicians, you are on a roller coaster of emotions. Grateful for this opportunity of observing what you have been taught, you are gripped by an unnerving feeling of experiencing what it actually is like, both for the doctors and their patients. Silently grateful for the blessing of good health, it is like being on an odyssey where you see one human after another, fighting to live. Here in the rheumatology department, it was not essentially a fight between life and death. It was a struggle for survival. It was a struggle to get up and walk. It was a struggle to cook your own food. It was a struggle to perform those little daily chores that we so take for granted. And admist this struggle, they were also celebrating. They were celebrating those joys of life that we usually ignore, deeming them inconsequential. And they were ready to live and do whatever they could to make their lives easy, and of those who loved them.

Managing *SLE with a positivity and a determination that was beyond impressive, a young woman presented the physician with a diary that she had been maintaining to record her condition. If that was not a reflection of her strength, I don’t know what is. And one could not, but help feel immense pride at her iron will.

Walking down the corridor of the Out Patient Department to head towards the hospital cafeteria, I often wonder whether it was scathing insensitivity or a mere coping mechanism for the preservation of sanity, that compelled me to easily locomote towards the cafeteria to satisfy another biological need – hunger. I hope the answer lies in the latter.

Wounds will bleed. People will die. But. Life must go on. You need to go on in order to ensure the continuity of life. And for that, you need not cringe at the sight of blood.

From the Earth we come, and to the Earth must we return.

Be it a walk to the hospital entrance, the pharmacy, the O.P.D., the surgical suite, the biochemistry laboratory, the anatomy museum, or to the lecture hall;  each of these simple acts of locomotion are unique in itself. They are walks to remember. With open eyes and an open heart, you can grok the lessons of life, espy an ambitious, hardworking soul, intuit a loving heart.

 

*Robbins = Robbins Basic Pathology

*Guyton = Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology

*SLE = Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (an autoimmune disese)

 

 

 

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Because Optimism Helps…

because optimism helps 1
Whether its news headlines that announce that the stock-market has gone down by a hundered points, or that scientists have warned industrialists to limit the use of greenhouse gases, or disturbing ones that report how many people were killed in a certain terrorist activity; optimisim has been made a figment. Either one can adopt a merciless lack of empathy and just carry on as if nothing has happened, or sit at home and mourn and be a pessimist. Reality check : these two are not the only options available. If you want to retain your sanity, and both your body and soul, then it is time you bring about a 360 degree rotation on your outlook of life.

If we are tired of all the “terrorism” that is infesting our country, then is it not making us cherish the idea of “peace” even more? The presence of any “bad” element adds to the “good” element. If it was not for all the unhappiness in the world, then euphoria would have been a foreign idea. Hence, if 60% of the population are tax thiefs, then the remaining 40 % are law abiding citizens. Looking at the good side of the picture will make life a lot easier.

Mistrust. This word can sometimes be the root of all evils. If someone is offering you a helping hand, it is not necessary that he/she has some ulterior motive beneath it. Prevention is better than cure, agreed. However, this growing trend of “national mistrust” is seeping the very life out of our society, weakening relationships.

Times change. If you were not born with a silver spoon in your mouth, it does not mean that you cannot die with one! Even the greatest of all scientists have not yet discovered a substitute for hardwork, nor are they ever likely to. Full points to Shakespeare for having Cassius say “ The fault, dear Brutus/ Is not in our stars, but in ourselves/ That we are underlings.” Bid goodbye to the blame game. You are the one in charge. Put an end to all your mournings about how the neighbour has a better car, a better house and a better job than yourself. The formula for change and prosperity awaits you.

Sitting within the confines of your living room and complaining how the economy will soon meet its Waterloo, is not going to solve your problems. Or the country’s, for that matter. You are an adult, and it does not suit you to act otherwise. Even if the least you can do is go and genuinely volunteer at the countless Non- Profit Organizations that are there, then do it! There are several hospitals out there that can train you to serve the needs of those in distress.

For those who have retired from the work force, here is a chance to be productive and help mitigate the unnerving feelings of helplessness that is bound to invade you. If you were a teacher, then look around. There are several young kids out there who could be better off at studying rather than being pick-pockets. If its pollution that distresses you, then grab a spade and a few seedlings and make the city beautiful by planting trees. If you have a penchant for cooking simple meals that are budget-friendly, then go ahead and feed the several hundered hungry souls out there who toil away in the day time only to go to bed hungry. This may not be much but every drop counts.

Research has shown that optimists tend to live longer than pessimists. Pessimism catalyses the deterioration of your mental health. And besides, pessimists are generally dispised by their peers, and that, is certainly not a very good feeling.

Stress boosts hypertension. And hypertension is the root cause of coronary problems and strokes. Men who dwell in a constant state of stress develop hypertension early in life, and with all the other problems that are harassing our nerves, we do not want another one on our minds. Even women who burden themselves with unnecessary strain related to housework, child rearing, marriage or career, can face severe consequences in the face of hormonal imbalances.

Old is gold. Rise early. Exercise regularly. There is nothing like a good Stephen Covey book, if that is our cup of tea. Count your blessings.

After every sunset, a beautiful sunrise awaits us. Things never remain the same, irrespective of the magnitude of its inertia. Infact, as I read somewhere, every child that is born into this world, is a living testimony to the fact that God has not lost hope in future generations, so why have we? Hope gives wings to our dreams, life to a dying soul. If we realize just that, then all our problems will fly out of the window. At the end of the day, it is merely a matter of perspective. And of time.

Teens,Are You Ready To Give Stress To Stress?

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“ Mom ! I can’t find my Chemistry book! Where on earth did you keep it?”

“I feel so miserable! My best friend, Sara, is avoiding me…….I mean, I just don’t get her!”

“Have you seen that new girl? She is contesting me for the Class Representative’s position! She doesn’t stand a chance, does she….?”

I am sure you can relate to the above mentioned scenario. After all, they are now everyday scenes of our lives, aren’t they?

Teenage is supposed to be one of the most important periods of any individual’s personality. It consists of the most memorable experiences and events that model an individual’s character. Studies, exams, friend issues, health consciousness, all weigh down an average teenager.

Research has proved that an individual suffers from depression and stress issues, the most during his/her teenage years. Since these years are also the most formative ones, an overdose of stress can be suicidal.

Hence, it is peremptory that it should be dealt with responsibly, if we want to grow up into sensible and responsible adults. After all, nobody wants to be labeled as “an irresponsible, confused and dysfunctional teenager” for what could be the most enjoyable, seven years of your life.

Since time immemorial, balance has been the key word. And very rightly so. Here are a few tips that may help you give stress to stress!

DO NOT MESS UP YOUR LIFE!

Read “Do not procrastinate”. You have an assignment that needs to be submitted next week? Do it now. Research, and make a rough draft before hand and complete it as soon as possible if you want to watch “How I Met Your Mother”, with an easy conscience and without spurting your adrenaline.

TAKE A HOBBY OTHER THAN “FACEBOOKING”

If you want your eyes to hurt like anything and turn red, thanks to all that time you had squandered in front of the computer screen, then you may ignore this one. Gardening, reading, collecting rare artefacts, painting, photography and even cooking can be excellent ways to reduce stress. For aspiring young writers, filling in journals, with their creativity flowing out from their pens, is a good idea.

PARENTS ARE NOT LORD VOLDEMORT!

For the rebellious souls out there, you may lower your preached eyebrows.       Yes, parents can be your good friends too, provided that you allow them to be. Sometimes, talking to them can be extremely laxative. After all, they were not born as your parents, but grew up to be one, passing through the same phases that you do, be they peer pressure or mood-swings.

PHYSICAL EXERCISES ARE NOT JUST FOR THE FAT

According to researchers, yoga and aerobics are excellent ways to bid goodbye to stress and embrace a healthy lifestyle. They will not only be your weight-watchers, but will also help relieve stress, making you feel as cool as a cucumber.

SAY GOODBYE TO JUNK FOOD

Easier said than done. True, but not impossible. That is the teenage mantra.

Coke, burgers, fries, infact even chocolates are injurious to both your physical and mental health. They are the reason of all those pimples and skin issues that cause you incessant worry.

Instead, tout vegetables and fruits as your best friends. Eating them raw can be fun, but if you find them boring, then vegetable soups, sandwiches and assortments are a good idea. Fruit salads, shakes, yogurts and punches are too yummy to be true.

Here is a bonus : they will help you get into your parents’ good books.

Ahh…..so much for an easy life!

STUDY HARD BUT PARTY HARDER!

When an adult life, outlined with endless responsibilities awaits you at the end of these seven years, then why not enjoy them to the fullest?

Study hard, because there is absolutely no substitute for hardwork, and good grades are one of the important routes to a successful professional life.

However, what is life without partying and no fun and games? Party, and let all the stress flow out! Rejunevate your soul!

So, if you want to live every moment to it’s fullest and not be weighed down by peer pressure, friend problems, and grade worries, then inculcate the above mentioned tips into your lifestyle and enjoy it’s fruits! Cheers!