Jul 1, 2017

The Fast and the Houseman

The clutters and the voices are overlapping with the music blared through the corner place speaker where I am currently sitting at. It's McDonald's, again, and this time I straight away come here after work. It's so hard to find comfort food nowadays, and this eatery I'm frequently visit does not come out of the pleasure - merely the familiarity and the accessibility that it offers.

It's been a month of not writing anything here. I really missed writing, and the month that came and go was.. something to talk about, especially regarding the month of holy Ramadhan and the subsequent occasion that comes after it which is the Eid Mubarak. Yet, with my laptop failing me and me failing myself to find some time to write had brought the whole month passing by wasted.

It's surprisingly not that difficult to work while fasting during Ramadhan. Call it rahmah, or baraqah, or to simple-minded person the collective easing of personal burden, I found that fasting during Ramadhan while working as a houseman is actually quite fulfilling. For me personally, the topic of Ramadhan fasting has been on my mind since I was in medical school simply because I was wondering about it and no one has shared anything about the topic back then.

Well, now that I had lived it, I have to write it down here somewhere or else I would forget the first experience of it. The next encounter will always feel and be different than the first encounter in my opinion. During the fasting month, I usually will have my sahoor early around 4 am. I continued my sahoor diet I developed during my final year in medical school which consisted of 1 or 2 packets of Gardenia's sambal ikan bilis breads that I wolfed in between big gulps of plain drinking water.

The reason for the early sahoor should be obvious: I need the 1 hour sleep in between sahoor and the Subh prayer. When you become a doctor, you will realise that every moment you spend sleeping will keep you alive bit by bit. And that pretty much becomes the routine of my fasting days. Working may pose a little bit of challenge, especially when you work in a crowded, busy ward and the humidity is high, the heat is antagonizing, the patients are eating in front of you and some actually had the nerve to ask, "Doctor tak makan ke?" I know you all were just trying to be polite, but dear pakciks and uncles, makan la saya tak kacau.

When I worked a week in ED as part of peri Ortho (peripheral - meaning reviewing Ortho cases outside Ortho wards) and the subsequent one week in OT, there was a few changes that I like. For instance, time during sahoor and iftar can be considered untouchables - even OT will stop calling cases for operation because all the staff wanted to break their fast. And what made it more amazing is that, after iftar it would be too late to call for another case then (as OT for operation under local anaesthesia closes at 9 pm during Ramadhan) and hence, I got to go back to my room as early as 6.30 pm.

Two-third of my Ramadhan I had my iftars at the mosque across the road from the hospital. The food usually alternate between chicken, beef, and fish and that was pretty much more than enough for me. It's been closed than a year that I lost my glutton appetite of eating huge meals. I can eat a lot, but during Ramadhan sometimes eating kuihs can already make me full. 

Ramadhan this year though, to me, is one of my bleak moments in life. There was actually nothing wrong with my life, but I feel I have wasted it all. My room is a mess, my energy plummeted easily to the ground, and I felt so lonely and miserable. This is different from the time in O&G. Back then I knew there was a real external stressor (the whole department LOL). But for one whole month and onwards, I feel like out of sorts.

I tried to pinpoint the causes for it, but I don't know what they are. My logbook is okay, my assessment went well, I finally solved my sleeping condition problem in the room (I bought a standing fan, like duh~ what an obvious solution) - yet I am missing the blessing of Ramadhan. I felt angry, I felt disappointed, and more than ever, I felt defeated. 

To top it off, I did not get any raya leaves as I had used up all my cuti rehat when I had the 13-day MCs for the shingles I unluckily got some time before Ramadhan. It made my days more bitter as tomorrow will be the first day of Raya that I got. I have been working for two weeks straight and all hopes to buy baju raya or whatsover went out of the picture. Even when I finally have my off day starting as of now, the feeling of it has long evaporated. The only thing Eid-related that I can still enjoy is weirdly, but satisfyingly, singing to Sepahtu's Raya Sedondon song out aloud in the car.

p/s: I am writing this down using a 2-day old laptop that I just bought out of anger over my decrepit creaking laptop. It's Adele. 

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