From My Heart


February 2014

It Rained

Tap tap on the window pane
I looked up
It rained

My eyes teared up
My heart in peace

A few groups of men held group prayers
Earlier today
Istisqa’, they say
Prayed for the rain
Prayed hard
Because it is Allah that they have faith in

* * *

“And your Lord says, “Call upon Me, I will respond to you….”
[Al Quran, Surah Al-Ghaafir, verse 40]


The Ageing Parents

Time flies. We grow up. Our parents get older, and so do we.

It gets more challenging as the days go by.

Parents get unwell. Some get diabetes, heart problems, kidneys failures.
Some even get cancer. Curable or incurable.

Some have the chance to be treated but miss their medications.
Sulk when the children remind them about their health.

Some get a stroke, become fully dependant.

Some get health problems but would rather take alternative medications, which may worsen things.

Some take their medications but don’t change their lifestyle.
Get angry with the kids if they are reminded.

Some get problems that are difficult to diagnose.

Some fathers stray.
Mothers depressed.

Fathers quit their jobs. Do their own business.
Bills unpaid.

Some meddle into the children’s love lives.
At times a little too much.

Some are jealous with any daughter- or son-in-laws brought home.
They want attention only to themselves.

Some just ask the same questions again and again, and no, they don’t have dementia.

Some have dementia.

When we were younger,we prayed for them to have long lives.
Now we are older, we still pray that they have long lives.
Of course, they are our parents. We love them as we would not love anyone like that.

After all those prayers, our parents reaching old age is such a privilege.
It’s a privilege that not everyone have.
Ask the orphans.

With privilege comes responsibility.
Like grandpa said more than 14 years ago, the more privileged you are, the more responsibilities you have.

He’s right.

So let’s not give up on our parents.
It may seem difficult, it may seem impossible.
It may even look ridiculous sometimes.
We might feel like quitting, like leaving it all behind.
Maybe just leave the issues hanging.

But they are our parents.
They have never given up on us, no matter what happened.
Maybe we’d need some rest, but not to give up altogether.

All because they love us, and there will be nobody else who would love us like that.

* * *

Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu Anhu reported:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “May he be disgraced! May he be disgraced! May he be disgraced, whose parents, one or both, attain old age during his life time, and he does not enter Jannah (by rendering being dutiful to them)”.



Palliative Medicine: More Than Just Morphine (Part I)

This article was written for on 9th February 2014 in conjunction to World Cancer Day. It is the first part of three.

* * *
Palliative medicine is a relatively new field in Malaysia. It is, at the moment, growing, as more people joined its training programme. Exposure to palliative medicine has also widened as doctors from Masters of Medicine as well as pain management trainees under anaesthesiology are introduced to at least a few weeks of their training programme.

The field, however, needs more understanding amongst medical practitioners. Despite a few weeks to months of exposure, many still do not comprehend the essence of palliative medicine. This enlightening field is commonly perceived as “frustrating”, “do nothing, no active resuscitation”, and “easy, just give morphine”. Having worked in a specialised palliative care unit for more than three years have proven those perceptions wrong.

Cancer itself is regarded by many as a taboo, by both doctors and lay person. It is disliked by many doctors as it marks as a failure of modern medicine; although many are curable, patients present late, it tends to recur, and when advanced, it’s incurable, hence the “death sentence” stigma that’s stuck with it. With lack of understanding on palliative care, many doctors tend to think that there is “nothing to do” once a patient has advanced cancer, and worse when they are terminally ill.

As with other fields of medicine, there are many aspects that need to be approached in palliative care, even at the end of life, as well as after death. The natural history of advanced cancer renders the patient to disease progression, deteriorating performance status leading to increased dependency, and worsening symptoms.

With the aim of improving quality of life, the outcome is that the remaining time the patients have is used to its fullest. That, in itself, gives much enlightenment, gratification and job satisfaction to both the caregivers and medical practitioners.

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