Fasakh. For her.

Once in a while I would come across patients who need more than a formal medical consult. They may need a meal, a lift back home or genuine advice as to how to navigate their lives. I try my best to do what I can within my capacity. Sometimes it helps, rarely it doesn’t.

Recently, I crossed path with a mom of 4. She initially brought one of her kids to the clinic for an upper respiratory tract infection. I treated the child accordingly and like any medical clerking – I asked about her social history. Meaning how big the family was, was she working, how was the kids school etc. That was when I learnt that she was ‘divorced’ while being pregnant and that now she is a single mother.

I enquired if she had help to manage her kids from a financial aspect and if she had a good social support – it seems that she is stuck at the part of defining her marital status. Her talak was never brought to court for confirmation and her husband had left her without a single cent (this is only from her side of the story, of course). She now has difficulties to proceed with fasakh because she was unsure of what to do . Her family was in the same clueless boat.

I asked if she wanted me to have a look at what her problem was. She seemed glad. Since I was also not truly familiar with how the syariah system works, I did some digging myself – asking on watsapp groups and from friends who at least knows a lawyer to explain the procedure to me.

It was actually very simple. And I believe the officer at court gave her proper instructions on what to do – she just seemed a bit lost on the computer part. So I did what I can and helped her type out her application for fasakh in a readily available template from the website.

This was done on a separate ‘special consult’ session that I arranged with her on one of my lunch call days in the clinic. She brought the necessary documents and boy, she was in awe when I started filling in the details. It was not tech savvy level – just something you can do on WPS Office. She told me that she had wanted to do them at a cyber cafe but they were charging her quite a lot for an hour – (.. again, only her side of the story).

While I was typing, I reminded her to later secure a job that could keep her family afloat and not to rely 100% on zakat and welfare money. I made her promise to keep her kids in school and have them get the highest education that they can get. I babbled on how she should think of a skill that she is good at and monetize from that. She seems to be listening and said yes to everything. I am good in giving advices and encouraging other people – but I am not doing that for myself. HA HA HA.

Once I have completed typing out the forms, I printed out a copy and told her to make more copies for her self. I created an email account for her so she could use them in the future. I also told her about a thrift shop I came across near her residence if she ever needed cheap, new pair of clothes for herself and her kids. And just before she left, I slipped some birthday money in her hand for her youngest kid hoping that it will be put to good use.

I felt good after this experience and I wonder if there are other women who are in the same dilemma of not being able to fight for themselves because they cannot type out a form. In this case, fasakh is important for her because I want this lady to establish herself as a single mother and benefit from the various programmes we have in Malaysia.

I wish I could help out more. I wish I understand the system better when it comes to social rights and welfare. Perhaps there is a class, a course or a diploma I can take to learn more about it. So I could do it just as well as Syed Azmi because in this line of duty – networking and reliable resources helps.

A line from the movie Widow

I was watching this movie called Widow. There was a scene in church. The priest was giving out this speech, voicing out his frustration of how people are so complacent, not willing to thrive & strive for success. And a sentence resonated with the current social climate of my country,

“.. Ignorance is now Excellence..”

and I could not agree more

Recently, I received a complaint for a minor problem blown out of proportion. After hearing out what the problem was, I could not help thinking,

… if you as a child grazed your knee and elbow while learning how to ride a bike, could just get up and apply an antiseptic ointment on the wound – why would it be any different once you become an adult. This is on the condition that the wound is relatively the same size and acquired via the same mechanism – only difference being the vehicle is a motorbike. Dah kenapa plak badan dah besar nak mintak org bukak dressing set and cuci a wound that you could have easily do at home. It is not that I did not provide you with a medical certificate for you to rest at home and recuperate.

And these people act like I chop up their leg. Sheesh.

Weight watching. #BLS 2020.

My weight loss support group BLS 2020 just had our first weigh in a few days ago. This is after a month into the programme. It’s basically us girls who are trying to lose weight with a coach minding our progress. The coach is none other, also our friend of the same study batch. HA ha ha.

We are free to choose whatever fitness programme we like. Be it keto, paleo, GM diet, Intermittent Fasting and what not as long as it supports the idea of a CALORIE DEFICIT.. We can do whatever physical activity to our liking. The ultimate goal for the support group is to motivate each other, exchange recipes (if any) and hope to lose at least 10kg within this 6 months. Just in time before our reunion in April 2020.

For the past one month, I find that I am more obsessed to understand my eating habits and food of choice. I did not do much on physical activity yet. I incorporated a bit of the Smartlife programme I did back in hospital as a facilitator. Part of the strategies from Smartlife include;

  • Calculate your calorie requirement per day in line with your lifestyle. I lead a sedentary lifestyle now that I am working in a clinic setting and my requirements came up to only 1285kcal/day. Knowing that, I should aim for a deficit.
  • Having a food diary. Everything is online now. Find an app and just record your meal intake/calories. I use the inbuilt Samsung Health app. There’s not much Malaysian food in it so most of the time I just record it manually.
  • Set a small, achievable, measurable health target every week. Two, if you’re ambitious. It can be an eating habit, a lifestyle change, a spiritual boost et al. If I could go beyond, I feel great.
  • Physical activity log. I still have a lot to improve on this area.

In the process of learning about food intake and calories, I discovered that;

  • Healthy eating need not be expensive. Yes, you see people take shakes, almond milk, organic this and that, avocado, berries, greek yoghurt and chia seeds. If you’re on a budget, then my advice is go for real food. Meaning tak salah nak hirup sup bayam as snack. Nak telan tofu ngan sos tiram bawang putih masa lunch. Nak minum kopi O satu sudu teh gula as breakfast. Nak minum smoothie jambu batu dan epal. Cause we know in Malaysia, things like avocado and berries are kinda premium purchases, apatah lagi almond milk. So choose food according to your own budget. Make it local. Yet healthy. I think there are more and more trainers/coaches in Malaysia that are trying to make meal plans more local, more Malaysian. If budget is not an issue, then go for it. I personally loved Velvet’s Almond Milk with that nectar thing in my morning coffee.
  • Hydration is really important and is a miracle. Apart from water being good for your skin, it suppresses hunger and make you eat less. Sometimes I add a drop of doterra Grapefruit EO or Lemon inside my drinking water for a tinge of flavour.
  • I need to slow down and be more mindful of what I eat. I have always been fast ever since I was a houseman. Including my husband. Back during the times when we were dating, we’d be walking in the mall like we were tracing blood investigation results. Laju semacam. Makan pun laju. So having to consciously remind myself to sit at the table and have my meals S.l.o.w.l.y kills me a bit, knowing that it is important for proper digestion to occur. I even find 7 mins to make my perfect half boiled egg very agonizing.
  • When you are just starting, try not to have cheat days first. Cause it’ll kill the momentum. It is undeniably difficult during long weekend holidays. But, TRY.
  • Food prep helps. A LOT. When you plan ahead of what you want to eat, it keeps the motivation high to see the numbers on the scale change. You are less likely to give in to the temptation of tapau-ing food or grab fast food. Come to think of it, I haven’t had McDonalds for quite a while now. But I still have KFC from time to time. The breast part without the skin in my sandwich.
  • I should eat less bananas and less snacking on almonds if I want to use my calorie bank for other food items. 13 almonds is 100kcal. I can have like 2 kiwi fruits to substitute for that. In other words, I learnt to switch and prioritise my meals.
  • Once I am firm and consistent with my regime, my family especially my husband tends to follow suit. Lately, he has been getting less portion of food from pasar malam and is more thoughtful of the types of food he wants to buy for dinner. Of course he still buys Tam Tam and Super Rings but not as much as he did before.
  • I can still eat out but I must be smart with my food selection.

To warm up my engine, I just made sure I was eating on a calorie deficit and that my meals were before 730PM. It’s because I tend to reach home just before 6pm and would need to do prayers first before I prep dinner. I wasn’t confident nor ready to commit to a GM diet or a keto yet. Once I get the hang of eating on a calorie deficit on top of HYDRATION with light exercise ( a bit of dumbbells and planks) – I feel I am ready for more.

So I tried Intermittent Fasting. I downloaded an app called Zero to help me get started. I managed it for 3 days in a row until I got my period which kind of tipped things a bit differently. In a way, I need to modify how and when I eat so I wouldn’t get symptomatic anemia while I bleed for the next few days. I figured eating regular meals on a deficit would be better for now. Until I find new ways of how to diet safely while menstruating. Ha ha ha.

Wish me luck. I have 5 months more to go.

I found my Patience Guru , it came in the form of a teenage boy

It was already 2 minutes to 5PM. We close at 5PM. Despite how altruistic the doctors are, to see a non emergency patient after hours in a clinic which opens only from 8 to 5 – we cannot even run a simple blood tests because the lab is closed. Hence, any emergency cases that comes after 5PM will be attended, stabilized using the drugs and equipment we have in the emergency area and then transferred swiftly to the nearest tertiary centre.

So when the boy who came for his medical checkup looked lost outside my door because he has not apparently been seen since he arrived, I felt sorry for him. He had asked a staff earlier of what to do but his questions were probably not understood correctly hence he was told to wait for his number to come up. The young teenage boy failed to realize that he first needs to put his card with the number outside the respective doctor rooms before he was called. Thus, he was never called into the doctors room because they never got his card.

And he waited patiently throughout the afternoon session. Even nearing 5PM, not a single staff at the waiting area asked him which room he was waiting on. Us in the room.. we were already swamped with whatever cards that were coming through the door, frantically writing down our prescriptions so our fellow pharmacists need not have to work late every single day and writing treatment plans promptly so our colleagues could follow up on it during the next appointment –  and now is it also our job to ask everyone in the waiting room  –

“Hi, may I ask, have you seen the doctor, are you waiting for anything or anyone in particular?”

I was disappointed that this kid had to wait that long. So I told him to give me a few seconds while I finish up on my last patient and I will see him. Thankfully, another colleague swung by my room and helped out. What broke my heart was to realize that he was there even before the afternoon session started, had his relevant tests done and yet he waited. And waited. Asked a question to a wrong person and kept on waiting. What then crushed me to pieces was that once he has been clerked and examined, he was still able to smile and utter a very sincere and grateful THANK YOU to my colleague and I.  I rasa macam nak nangis pun ada bila jumpa manusia penyabar macam ni. Bless his  beautiful soul. Bless his elderly father too for the father was also very patient, who also smiled and said a thank you.

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I take this experience as a sign from Allah that I should be more patient in my daily undertakings. The boys affairs were easily done and gotten over with in less than 5 minutes but he remained patient for hours waiting outside our doors! And was still able to be on the sunny side of his character. I felt so embarrassed of my own short fused temperaments nowadays as a Muslim. That boy, he was not even muslim. 

I pray he gets the college admission he’s applying for. I pray that Allah will ease his sufferings (if any). I pray that my Patience Guru will have success in life. InsyaAllah. 

I had too much People today

Working in a Primary Care setting demands a certain set of skills. Apart from having the best clinical acumen across a breadth of medical knowledge, you must be prepared to talk. A LOT.

Consultation is the word.

Patients take this for granted in Klinik Kesihatan because they just pay RM1 at the registration counter. Which explains why some people throw a fit when GP’s charge them a fee for consultation in cases where medicine is not prescribed . The public fail to realize that for every

“saya nak tanyalah doktor… ” 

the answer comes with a fee that is glaringly noticeable in a private setting.

Anyway, back to what I was saying – talking can be a chore. A burden. A pain. An energy draining job for people who have an INFJ personality. Today, for instance… I just had too many ‘people’. I was basically talking, counseling, taking a history and god knows what from 730AM to 4PM. I was just glad that I get to finish early because I don’t think I can talk for another hour or so.

To reward myself, I bought a handbag that I could bring for my short trips to Tesco or shopping mall without the kids. It’s a fresh breath of air as I do not have to carry a big bag which is almost always an equivalent to a diaper bag.

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The bag is from Vincci and it costs me RM99. Gosh, mentioning the price reminds me #cikepal. I think people forget that as a full time lifestyle blogger – it’s part of her job description to Advertise, Show & Tell. Inevitably these characteristics tend to spill into their daily lives. Which I get it, can irk some netizens. But you cannot blame cikepal for that as she was wired, ‘trained’to blog for probably more than a decade. It is part of her intrinsic traits to share her experiences. Like every single detail. And trust me, it is not easy.

Like how I would try to look for reliable evidences before advocating Peppermint EO cures cancer (it doesn’t, I am just taking this as an example). It is because apart from calling myself a doTERRA advocate, I must first remember that I am a medical doctor. Kau mislead public with health related information using your doctor title, bersedialah kena tatatertib. Which can be suspension or termination. Its part of my trait to take testimonials as the lowest credible form of evidence to a claim.

Please do not get me wrong. I have no problems with advocates or sellers using testimonials to help convince their prospects/ buyers. It’s just that, because of my profession, I cannot lah duplicate their method 100%. I still want to keep my job. Although I hate the talking part. I feel that I have yet to find the field or terrain in medicine where this flower can bloom at its best.

I had actually wanted to vent this matter out as my status on Facebook but I realized that my agonizing little problem of forcible talking in my daily job is nothing compared to some of the things my friends went through today. A divorce, a case in court, and just a few hours ago.. a family members death. Sometimes you are just at lost of words of what to say, but I feel that if you speak of things from the  heart – the message will get there, to where its gotta be.

Which is why I am thankful for this space in the blogosphere. I can pour out my woes here who could be looking for a cyber friend to sulk with. I rarely journal about sad and stressful stuff in my HoboMinci as it is supposed to be perceived as a book where I highlight positive agendas of my day. Ha ha.

I think my People battery has been recharged to 75% having bought the bag, had an avocado juice, a pretzel, a slice of pizza, my kids kisses and hugs and stories of their days, a sniff from my doTERRA diffuser (its Sandalwood + Bergamot tonight) and of course blogging. As for the remaining 25%, I’ll just do some work to top it up.

Thank you Allah. Alhamdulilah. For all the blessings you have given me today.