Br Ayman and I left the country for vacation this summer around the same. Rania was in Lebanon (please pray for her and her family, and her sister Afifa who's suffering from MS- This Ramadan has been fairly difficult for her), so Sawitri was handed over the pager. For her, it was a terrifying experience. It could beep anytime- be it 1am. And you had to show up @ the ER. It could mean anything- a death, an accident, a surgery, support. You'd be in constant fear hoping that everything is alright. Sawitri was very thankful when I got back, and she handed over the pager to me.
I examined the device, and pocketed it. She explained how it worked briefly, and that was that.
I ended up with the pager for about 4 months. I wanted to be as accessible as possible, and Alhamdulillah, most of the times it worked out.
A few weeks ago, br Ayman returned, and I gave him back his pager, minus the battery cover.
Anytime the pager would beep, I'd call the number back, and the on-call chaplain would brief me on the situation. They are so very little aware of Muslims and their habits. Of course, my first instinctive reaction would be to call up Sawitri: ' Sawitri, I got paged!!! The patient is... wait, I can't read my writing. I think this is the name... hmm... did he say 5B, or 5D?'
And I'd get 1/2 an earful for being so careless with those details. At work, my colleagues don't know that I help out with the chaplaincy, so I tried to be discrete while taking these calls.
These children are so brave. Sawitri and I would meet up in the main lobby, give each other assured looks, and proceed to the elevator. There wouldn't be much conversation, I'm sure each of us was thinking about how inexperienced we were, and what exactly where we thinking, and now that we're here, what are we doing!
I can't imagine what the heart of a mother goes through, when she sees her child suffering in front of her, and she can't do anything.
We'd show up @ the main desk of the ward, much like the housekeeping in hotels, who chime at your door, and go, 'Laundry!', except that we'd say, 'Chaplaincy' and that would be our passport to the patient. I'm pretty sure with our helmets, bags and all, we were a sight. 'Are these girls really the chaplain...?' Sometimes, I'd flash my badge.
Allah has blessed the kids in the hospital with a lot of strength and endurance. I don't understand medicine, or diseases, or procedures- And shamefully, I haven't picked up much either, but when you have wires going across your chest, needles in your arms, scary devices all around you, you really don't want to see that in a nightmare either.
I'd see the little babies, and would often muse, 'why do they have to suffer this?' There was this one girl who was unbelievably lively. Sawitri spent an unbelievable amount of time with her. Very cool. Sometimes I really helped me switching to Urdu. At other times, Sawitri and I just didn't know what to say...I'd wonder if the parents would even understand what we were upto!
La ilaha illa ant, inni kuntu minazalimeen
Read Part I & Part II.