Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Tuesday, August 17, 2010 0
Mint chocolate on a hot day.

Working at the ER was in essence what I'd imagine working within a bowl of mint chocolate ice cream on a hot day felt like.
It was irritatingly hot, the walls and floor swathed in a rather pale shade of green with black peppering throughout, and things meltdown before you get a chance to grasp them; the halls echoed with the oh so familiar sound of the emergency room doors being battered open by a charging gurney mounted by the blood spattered and manned by unwavering EMTs, not far behind them; an entourage of family, friends and/or people who were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

I write now of an occasion that is destitute of any personal familiarity.

The setup was the same, doors burst open; gurney sped through, a blood beaten child no more than three atop it, medical technicians at the helm, the concerned entourage should soon follow.
But they did not, just under a minute after the gurney had stormed through to the operating room, a heavily veiled woman lurched into the ER, a woman who, despite her veil had a look in her eyes that sermonized indifference, a woman with a white-turned-scarlet child's shirt held tightly against her chest.

She sat across from the reception where the other interns and I took roost, shirt in hand, vacantly staring into the distance.
A doctor had immerged from the operating room some ten minutes later, all attempts to revive the child had failed and he was announced dead on arrival at 2:56 AM.

With death comes paperwork, no one knew this better it seemed, than the woman, who had gotten up and made her way towards the reception where the papers were to be drawn and the forms filled, the staffs attempts at consoling were futile as she seemed beyond any form of consolation.

The silence was deafening, all eyes were on the reception; the woman slowly filled out the forms for some time until finally, she spoke,

"I was his mother," she began, "I have three daughters and a husband, my husband worked at a factory near the medical quarantine and is a heroin addict, twelve years ago he had gone into an addicted rage and beat my three year old son to death with a tire iron as my daughters and I watched," she paused, as though to let those around her process what had been said, the customariness and monotony in her voice caught everyone off guard, but they said nothing,

"He had been taken to prison for seven years and upon his release, returned to his old habits not shortly after we had a second son" she droned, nodding toward the operating room, "History repeated itself, my son was smothered and beaten unconscious, my husband is now in custody and I'm going to bury my second son"
At this one of the younger female interns put her arm around the woman, "They're never letting him out." She said in a reinforcing tone, but the woman quickly cut her off,
"They're going to release him just like they did last time, they're only adding a couple of years to his sentence, and when he's released, he's coming after me and my daughters, I have no family or friends to run to and no money to leave the country" the intern had attempted to say something, but no words came out, "Just let me bury my son" the woman concluded, signing the last of the forms and making her way to the operating room to see her son one last time.

The world is an unpleasant place to live in once the curtains of faux solace have been lifted and its factual underbelly revealed, the tale I tell is but a hair off a lions mane of atrocities committed by the dominant species of this planet; to those who keep the curtains drawn I ask only that you realize that there are those who are forced to live behind it and that everyone, no matter how sheltered, will get their curtain call.

Monday, July 26, 2010

i, Vegetarian

Monday, July 26, 2010 0
Ahh, the old blog grind. How I have kinda-sorta-not-really missed thee, with your words and things...

Little to nothing of note has taken place since last I gathered you lot around the old fireplace. Between college and the rapidly expiring remnants of a social life, there's very little to write about that would peak the interest of the follower or pursue the already vague and undetermined theme of my blog.

The theme of my blog henceforth shall be... Hakeem.

After breathing our sighs of relief and regaining our composure, I shall speak to you of what could be a very relevant topic following the Hakeem theme; a series of increasingly frustrating events concerning diet-related cases at the sanatorium, repetitively unhealthy household lunch menus regardless of advice and the ever apparent lack of interest in synthetic hormone packed livers and kidneys. I, Abdulhakeem Hisham Jomah, am now a vegetarian.

Before you flood the streets with thy huzzahs at this conversion, herbivores, a point must be made clear, I do not hiss at the thought of meat, I hiss at the thought of modern meat. Had meat been less synthetic, hormone ridden and physique friendly, I would be all over that mother cow like nobody's business, but the here and now is far from carnivore friendly. Steroids and cancer catalyzing agents (especially in women) are a main, overlooked part of everyday diet; ESPECIALLY in Saudi Arabia due to IMMENSE meat dependence and I've grown quite fond of my current hormone levels to not need anymore, thank you.

The catalysts for this conversion (freckled or otherwise) are many. The pediatrics and Ob/Gyn departments of our good, good teaching hospital has been home to testosterone deluged women and young girls, progesterone smothered men and a surfeit of congenitally deformed babies due to tainted breast milk, osteoporosis thirty year olds due to excess calcium excretion as a result of said hormones, diabetes and impotence in twenty year olds, shoot, even some ovarian and colon cancer cases, DIRECTLY linked to faulty dietary practices that pertain to meat. For just over a year I have been witness to such cases, dismissing them as naught but carelessness in eating pattern, which is not entirely false, however, consumption of meat regularly (more than twice a week) will taint you with the same effects during late thirties as the heavy hitters of massive consumption (more than four times a week) during their twenties.

"Protein this, protein that!" object the carnivores and they'll get no argument from me save for the fact that there's more protein in soybeans, seeds and legumes than in most meats (see table, yes, table) and with a little determination you too can rid yourself of the risk of excess facial hair growth, ma'am!, and you too sir, of male menopausal syndrome!


Friday, April 30, 2010

Too stubborn to die

Friday, April 30, 2010 0
Just under eight months ago I was in Alexandria for the unorthodoxly traditional vacation with the family, originally planning to stay there for only a week; I had begun packing my bags during my final night there in preparation for my flight the next morning.
As the process neared completion, my brother enters my room and says that my mother had fallen ill and that she required our attention, and an ever tightening feeling in my chest told me that I wasn't going to catch my flight the next day because of this news, the thought struck a particularly annoying cord in my head. Pulling myself together, I shake off the annoyance and get up to see what the story is.

Skipping the finer details of illness and other pleasantries of that fateful evening, I was left with two choices after it was all said and done and my mom had finally gone to sleep:

A-Catch my flight the next day as planned, leaving family behind (They were going to catch up three days later)

B-Stay and trudge through another three days, closely observing my mother and returning to Jeddah with them.

Being put on spot by the chronological order of things when it comes to decision making is never pleasant, on one hand I had an hour left for a flight back home and three family-less days, on the other, I had an ill matriarch that, where she COULD survive without me for three days, would appreciate my choice to stay and earn familiar brownie tokens.

In Alexandria I live in a small house overlooking the beach, dawn had not yet broken and the orange hue of a peeking sun had just begun to show on the horizon.

Ignoring my nagging and outraged brain (imploring me to grab my bag and make my way to the airport) I run towards the beach, throw off my shirt and dive into the freezing water.

I began swimming, my eyes closed, face submerged, taking the occasional breath every now and again.
After about seven minutes of swimming, I stop and look towards the beach, which was barely visible due to the shrouding mist, deciding that I had swam far enough to obliterate the possibility of me swimming back, showering, get dressed and heading out in time to catch my flight, I make my way back to the beach, only to realize that I was swimming in place and that no matter how hard I tried, I would get pulled back by an abnormally powerful currant, which was only getting stronger and had begun snagging me downward, I continued to struggle against it, but to no avail, just before I was completely dragged under I managed to utter "No, no , no, no!", after which I was fully submerged, light had just hit the surface of the water and it was getting darker and darker, taunting thoughts were running rampant in my brain, "You're going to die here, aggravated and alone", yelled the quickly rebelling neurons.

I continued to sink deeper and deeper until finally hitting the sea bed, at that point I started to white out, not even frightened or panicked, but annoyed that, if indeed I were to drown, I would drown annoyed. ("Not cool" I believe the Laymen would call it)
I close my eyes as random irrelevant images fluttered by, most concerning events taking place earlier in the day, I could hear a phone call I had made to a friend back in Jeddah almost as though it were ongoing still, a loud pounding in my head quickly drowned it all out.
One final, shattering pound and I open my eyes as my feet touch the sandy bed only to notice an algae ridden rope that was probably attached to a deflated and unnoticeable buoy topside, it took me all of three seconds to grab it and pull myself against the current towards what adrenaline told me was an inevitable surface, as the light got closer my already burning lungs had long given up and felt as though they were on the brink of implosion.
The lifetime it seemed to take for me to hit the surface was now over, I broke through and took an immense gasp of air, the sun peeking through the clouds, everything so still, I could now see one or two figures walking along the beach, they did not notice me and I did not bother addressing them, the currant had left me, I absentmindedly began making my way back to the shore, dragged my feet along the cold, damp sand, did not bother picking up my shirt, walked into the house, ignored my brother and sister as they spoke to me in passing, entered my room and lay on my bed.

When one completely destroys the possibility of an obviously favored option being chosen, the other, less pleasant one, wins by default and not because one wills or prefers it.

Three more days, old boy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Apprentice, my brother from another mother.

Monday, April 26, 2010 0
On Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 at 3 PM, I was greeted with the news that I had a new brother from my fathers second wife, one Tameem Hisham Jomah.
At 7PM, I was at the hospital, looking into the eyes of a being that shared a shocking resemblance to what I once was.

A small, froglike creature with an overbite, like mine.
His eyes curious and brown, semi-slit, like mine.
He took my glasses and broke them, straight to the point, initiative, like mine.

"Hark! New meat!" I laughed to myself as he threw my glasses aside and yawned,

"I shall make right in this child what went wrong with the others (excluding myself)

I shall teach him that thought comes from the brain and by no means the heart,

I shall edify that companionship is a convenience and not a necessity,

I shall obliterate in him the "What ifs" and embolden the "What nows",

I shall solidify that pain, pleasure, anger, happiness, love and hate are all physiological responses derived from the same chemical source, that they are energies and like any energy they can be utilized to ones destruction or development,

I shall impel him to have no role models, that he should look up to no one,

I shall instill that goals are self limiting finish lines for those who cannot go beyond them,

I shall instruct him to speak his mind, even if it gets him shot, that I would rather he hold his own than his tongue,

I shall implore that he owes no one anything and to ensure everyone owes him everything,

I shall finalize that when all of it is said and done and it all comes crashing down, all he will ever have is himself and that is all he will ever need."

I gave him a smile and a nod as I placed him in his mothers arms, one last glance and I left the room.

He's going to be okay, this one.

"The resemblance is uncanny, Allah yistur" -Dr. Hisham Jomah

Monday, April 19, 2010

Two Thousand and Ten

Monday, April 19, 2010 0
Not long after the dusts of World War II had settled did the world truly grow to fear the modern concept of totalitarianism, though the fanatical vision of European and ultimately worldwide dictatorial rule perished with Adolf Hitler, the idealistic (yet confined) dictatorial taint of then Soviet Russia stubbornly remained.

In 1949, George Orwell concocted Nineteen Eighty-Four, a grim tale of the future as Orwell saw it had the Totalitarian threat not been quelled when opportunity and circumstance necessitated it, it tells tale of an independent mind in a conformed collectivist society, where ignorance is strength and independent thought is a crime punishable by death.
The story delves into the concept that history is only written by the victor and how he who controls the present, controls the past, regardless of how far back said past was, the zealous people of Oceania (a dystopian region of Europe) would believe whatever the Party (the totalitarian power ruling Oceania) fed them; the Party could say that the world was round one day and flat the next and the people of Oceania would believe both equally.
This idea of "doublethink" as it is called in Orwell's book is essentially accepting two contradictory beliefs simultaneously, knowing that something is an obtrusive lie and acknowledging it as irrefutable truth at a time, having a single, absolute belief was known as Thoughtcrime, an offense rivaled only by treason against the oligarchic Party, resulting in the torture, brainwashing and, only after the alleged criminal has accepted the beliefs of the Party and admitted their "crimes" before the entirety of Oceania were they executed.
In the slums of Oceania reside the only means for salvation of it's people from totalitarian rule, the proles; essentially the working class of Oceania, the proles represent three quarters of the population in Oceania, they are not monitored by the Party as opposed to the rest of the Oceaniac population, they are capable of thinking, feeling, breeding and writing without consequence, but never felt the need to do so as they believe ideally in nothing but the Party and what the Party represents.
"Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious." Winston Smith

Though a rather outlandish abstraction, there is some truth to the Orwellian view of the future, in our revolutionary day and age, where independence and freedom of expression are said to be the ultimate ends, the preponderant population that lack ambition are dubbed feckless whereas the highly ambitious minority are singled out and dubbed extremists, the only existing middle ground is neutral conformism, where we are told what is normal and abide by it; what one never stops to think about is, whom, when and on what basis did someone decide that so and so is the norm? What is the inappropriate or the abnormal? If one mans trash is another mans treasure, then does the opposite not apply to those who mentally consider it? Can ALL treasure not be trash until proven otherwise? The trash sown by past decades of humanity is welcomed and treasured by the present and embraced as truth only because we are told it is, they hold the pieces to the puzzle and they put it together so we do not have to, knowing full and well that we will not bother putting it together ourselves if it has already been done for us, knowing full and well that we are willing to accept history as a given, readily available convenience as opposed to a carefully studied necessity.

That's not to say the masses should run rampant in anarchical splendor, nor that the entirety of written history is a farce, information should, by the individuals standard follow the "Guilty until proven innocent" theorem, rather than the "Hearing is believing" pseudo-theorem, which is the deplorable universal standard.

Food for thought.

"And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'" Winston Smith, Nineteen Eighty-Four

Sunday, April 11, 2010

On Death and Dying, an ode to Mortimer Bigglesworth the First

Sunday, April 11, 2010 0
My medical forays have taken me through an assemblage of experiences both academic and ultimate, books tell us the routine physiological functions that hold the delicate balance of homeostasis in place, the pathological invaders that attempt to disrupt said homeostasis and how to destroy them, what goes where and how that gets there.

Our superiors tell us how to interact with patients, how to treat them, both medically and professionally, how to smile and nod until they are discharged in the mild cases, how to press on and stand by them and their loved ones in the severe cases and how to tell them they're going to die in the hopeless ones.

In 1969, the Kübler-Ross Model, commonly referred to as the five stages of grief, was introduced in the book Death and Dying, Kübler-Ross goes on to say that there are five fundamental stages to any grieving process, specifically death, that any individual essentially must go through, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and ultimately, acceptance.

Lenny's dog recently died, Lenny has no Cheetos in his home, Lenny is upset, how will Lenny react?

The "Everything's alright"s and the "I couldn't be better"s are what Lenny will chirp and coo in the initial phase of his grieving process.
Lenny will put up a stubbornly proud forefront to convince others that the death of his dog did not have him contemplate suicide or abuse pain medication whilst hiding his true, ever hoarding emotion.

Denial is a mask that hides aforementioned emotion, after extended periods of lying to himself and others, the emotional buildup leads Lenny to implode into the next phase of grievance, anger.
Directly proportional in duration to denial, the anger phase of grievance is essentially venting all that Lenny left to hoard, in this phase, an immense surge of helplessness and rage flood Lenny, hurtful requests such as "Go fuck yourself" or "Eat a dick" could be made by Lenny to family and close friends, none of which are literally meant.

Anger is a draining emotion, mentally and physically, when all is said and done in the anger department, Lenny will drop to his knees and address the higher powers in an attempt to bargain with them with what irrelevant chips he has at hand, in this phase, Lenny realizes his fear of meeting a similar fate to his dog, or having to go through this painful grieving process again for whatever reason.
Things like "I'd give my left nut to have him back" or "Let it be me next time" are all seemingly seductive offers provided by Lenny to the higher ups, resulting in a fruitless wait for an answer he does not truly expect, lobbing Lenny into the next phase.

When no one heeds Lenny's call, he slumps into fetal position and remains stagnant there in bitter defeat, "What's the point?" and "Why bother?" are fearless on Lenny's breath as depression blankets him in what is theorized to be the longest of the five stages.
The cul de sac of hope and all things contented, the depressed typically present with fatigue, lethargy, hopelessness, regret and more often than not, hate.
A disgustingly tight feeling in Lenny's chest will burden him for an embellished period of time until rising into the fifth and final phase.

Like a broken phoenix from ashes, Lenny learns that crying over milk that hath been spilled will only hinder progress and cripple intuition.
Lenny has grasped that death is an inevitability and plateau-ing in a state of melancholy will only seal his fate amongst the socially, mentally, physically and universally irrelevant.
Lenny has found that remaining in the torpid limbo of what has happened and what will happen only pessimistically veil what's happening now.
Lenny has found that there is naught he can do but accept, experience and push on for the better.

Lenny hath found acceptance.

"And were your back as broad as heaven, and your purse full of gold, and did your compassion reach from here to hell itself, there is nothing you can do." - Alan Paton (Cry, the Beloved Country)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"Does me calling you Abdulhakeem annoy you?" -Prologue

Sunday, April 4, 2010 0
Though certainly not my first time at the blog dance, it has been quite a while since I felt the necessity to jot down my thoughts, haps and mishaps on a regular basis, but a dull aching in my groin told me that it was time to dust off the old digits and get back into it, either that or it was telling me I had testicular carcinoma, I chose blog.

I am Abdulhakeem* Hisham Abdulsalam Jomah, I reside in the middle-eastern goodness that is Saudi Arabia.
Half Egyptian, half Palestinian, all yummy, I have been studying medicine at the lovably ghetto Ibn Sina National College for just over four years, I am three years away from becoming a general practitioner, I am three years away from providing the lucky few with only the finest of medical care absolutely free of charge.

When not saving lives, studying or making stool, I socialize.
Despite what outsiders would assume, the social scene in Saudi Arabia is obnoxiously active if you know where to look; the jocks, the environmentalists, the gamers, the stoners, the artistic, the list goes sickeningly on, from glow parties to hiking trips to pimps'n'hoes themed gatherings, you name it, we've probably had it.
Social highlights are fantastically abundant and shall be mentioned in later posts when it seems relevant, now not so much.

As time progresses I shall blog about said active social scene, the life and times of a medical student, what I think of you and other exhilaratingly exciting things , stay tuned or I kill your mother (I heart the environment)

"Haha! Wallahi this guy...this guy!" -Abdulaziz 'Abz' Awad gives insight on Hakeem.

*Even those closest to me have only recently learned my real name as opposed to simply calling me "Hakeem", the reason for this is that I never thought it necessary to introduce myself as Abdulhakeem, as Hakeem is more tongue friendly, until one day I was asked the question "Does me calling you Abdulhakeem annoy you?"; after a brief silence and an exchange of dirty looks I asked him why I would be annoyed by being called my real name, to which he did not respond.
Shortly after, I would always introduce myself as Abdulhakeem and let people make of it what they will, as being considerate is lame.

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