Dear Ika, Just Keep Going


Yogyakarta, July 8th, 2019


Dear Ika,

It was a Saturday night when I experienced my first patient's death. I was in the ER on a night shift, when my patient's vital sign dropped --for a split second, it felt like mine was dropping, too. You will never forget your first patient's death, that's for sure. Mine was an old lady, in room number 5, on a Saturday night, in the ER. I was wearing a brown shirt, a black khimar, and a black skirt; now every time I look at that set of clothing I wore that night, it reminds me of my patient. Innalilahiwainnailaihirojiun. How about you? Do you remember your first patient's death? Let's take a break for a moment to pray for the souls that have left us, may they find peace and happiness in the hereafter, insha'Allah.

Talking to fellow student-doctor is heart-warming, because despite the distance between us, at least we still understand what goes on and how it usually went (the things) in our lives. Ika, I had a hard time adjusting my self in the harsh new environment called "working reality" and the depth of grief I feel towards my patients' griefs. It's heartbreaking to see someone died. Even harder when you have to speak to the family about the patient's condition, breaking the bad news, being the bearer of awful information.

When I was in psychiatric rotation, and I think you have too, we learned about transference and countertransference, I'm having a hard time with the second one. When I spoke to older patients, they remind me of my grandfather/grandmother. When I spoke to someone near the age of my parents, they remind me of mom and dad. When I spoke to younger patients, they remind me of my cousins, or my future kids --the ones I yet to meet. I cannot help but let my mind wander to the future; what kind of doctor will I be, what kinds of patients I'll be destined to meet and treat?

Ika, the road we've chosen was not meant for the faint-hearted. Each day, filled with problems, tests, and stresses, are continuously going to happen. That's the price of being a doctor, we're going to be paid to solve problems, body-mind related, life-death akin. But the greater price of being a doctor is we're going to be rewarded with goodness, insha'Allah. I think within clinical clerkship, it's a loss if we only do it to get an A, despite the difficulties, I pray that all of us will remember to do it to please Allah. Because pleasing Allah is affording. Even a deed such as smiling when meeting one's brother is very pleasing to Allah, especially when intended to help people in distress, people in need, and try to make them happy.

Dear Ika, the road that we've chosen isn't going to be easy, but I think you've already known better because you started the journey of "working reality" first. I just hope that we will keep each other within our duas, so that be can all be strong, ikhlas and healthy in providing care, equipped with nurturance in delivering healthcare for the ummah and everyone in need, insha'Allah, aaaminnn.
Semangat!

Love,
Zhifa



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