Wednesday, June 3, 2009


So I wake up today around 10 am (and yes this is early for me) with a stuffy nose, and phlegm-y throat. Lying there, I just wanted to hurl every insult I knew at my older brother who has had a cold for a week.

He seems to lack all awareness of proper hygiene, and apparently remembering to cover his mouth while coughing or sneezing, or making sure to stick with his one drinking glass is too much for him. Forget about the repeatedly washing your hands bit. No matter how much I would yell at him, NOTHING would register with him.

So I guess no surprise that I finally caught a cold from that walking, talking, germ spreading creature. Well, it was a bit of a surprise, since I don't really catch colds. Thus explaining my further annoyance with my him.

But I was good and I held it in. Just grumbled to myself, and rolled my eyes at nobody.

So there I am, at the bathroom sink, coughing and spitting up phlegm, every 5 seconds. I couldn't even brush my teeth properly, having to stop and spit out my mucus friends.

I don't remember the last time, I've been at the sink that long, just coughing crap out.

But here's the thing, somewhere between lifting my head up and retching like I had a hair ball, the third time around, I realized I was actually happy.

And not like a happy dance, kinda happy (which Amillionmilesfromeverywhere will demonstrate for me), but it was a grateful happy.

I grateful for being able to cough up and spit out that phlegm. Alhumdulillah.

What the heck is wrong with me?
Plenty of things. But none that have anything to with me being grateful.

I volunteer at a children's hospital. And I meet all kinds of kids and parents.

Once I had a met a kid whose body could not break down the phlegm. I was with him, when the nurse or some other health care professional had come to interrupt our fun. I didn't know what was going on, and I'm not allowed to ask either.

As I looked at that ten year old (i think he was ten...) to say goodbye, he decided to explain to me that it was a session to help him cough up his phlegm, because his body needed help draining the mucus in his lungs.

I responded to him with an okay, not sure what else to say. Told him that maybe I'll come back and said goodbye.

That conversation had circulated in my head for about two minutes that day. Two minutes, because that's the amount of time it takes me to leave and enter the next patient's room. And then it's a whole new set of problems.

Then there was the girl I met yesterday. I didn't realize she was the same girl I had seen last week, until she told me her name. The thing was, I couldn't recognize her at all because last week she looked like a normal, healthy, really shy child. Yesterday ...well, other then her familiar eyes, I had trouble finding the same girl from last week. And once again she didn't talk much, but this time it wasn't because she was shy.

Saliva or mucus was constantly accumulating in her mouth. Constantly and at a very fast pace.

And she had a yellow bucket next to her, in which she would spit into every two minutes or so. And the once in a while she would respond to me with words, I could both see and hear the effects of the saliva or mucus filling up in her mouth.

So here I am, with working lungs, a chest that can break down and cough up my mucus, and a mouth that can handle the amount of liquid that is secreted into it. While for those 10 minutes I may have been spitting out my phlegm, I knew it was gonna get better. And even if it stayed the entire day, I knew it would be better by tomorrow Insh'Allah (God willing)

Since the time I had met that boy, the first kid I talked about, today was the only other time I had thought about him. I meet so many kids, in conditions that are much worse, it would be impossible for me to remember each kid.

But the thing is, I didn't even have to think about those kids to be grateful. It was when I was wondering why I was grateful for something so disgusting, that I remembered both those kids.

So yeah there I was coughing up phlegm and happy for being able to do it.

Did all this talk of phlegm gross you out? Haha Poor you.

P.S. Would you all stop congratulating F.U. (post below)for entering my room? It's like not it's some kind of a festival or something.


Artistic Logic said...

there's probably phlegm in your room... is that what you're trying to hide??


and yea i was pretty grossed out at first with all the phlegm talk but thats just me... i'm sure people like FU are enjoying it lol...

poor kiddos =(
Inshallah they get better or someone finds a cure soon

Constructive Attitude said...

what the heck. you have a signature.

i want one.

p.s. go gargle. with salt water.

Lisa said...

Oh I feel so bad for you! I'd be asking the brother to buy me some dayquil about now. Love you, feel better!

Nevin said...

salam alaykum sister, just popped by :) what an ausome site, i am so following it lol Nice post, we should always say alhamdulilah no matter what.. its so sad that there are kids suffering like that.. May God give them strength, patience and hope. Only God can heal.. I remember going to the hospital and seeing so many kids like that :(

Falling Up said...

Yay phlegm. Studying medicine makes me so amazed at how our body works and how it gets affected and everything. It's so breathtaking..literally. Sometimes I just sit there and wonder about all this stuff. And then I get so grateful when I enter the hospital and see everyone suffering and I think I am the luckiest girl in the whole wide world. This is why I can't be a pediatrician. They're so little and innocent.

Anonymous said...

what a great post. it's good to remind ourselves that we are incredibly lucky to have our health. even though phlegm is disgusting (and i got a little nautious ((i can't spell nautious)) reading your post) it's good to remind us that our body does that for a reason, and it would be much worse if we weren't able to do so.

and if you want to get an idea of what my happy dance looks like, it looks something like this:
i'm the girl in the pink dress, with the stringy hair bopping my head from side to side :o)

fuelMybrain said...

Way to find the silver lining, that is something rare for me when sick and miserable! I always get mad at whoever "gave" it to me.

Love the signature!!!

Gotta go, my dog is knocking on the back door (actually knocking! Now if I could just get her to do the dishes).

fuelMybrain said...

OMG it wasn't my dog, she's right here... it's one of the chickens! It's like Hitcock's The Birds, they're finding a way in.... AAAWWWWWW

controlled chaos said...

FMB-are you okay??? you're starting to sound bird crazy....

Paris said...

uh...phlegm...uh yeah! gross! =)

Do hope you are feeling better, though! And kudos to you for your work!

LiLu said...

Aww. That definitely puts things in perspective, huh... Poor little guys!

EmptyWords said...

eewww... but awww

Faith in Writing said...

She went in your room?? I;ve been away far too long. And yes, it is a festival. The festival of your room exposed -I'm yet to read about it, lol.

And my hub is like your brother. Some sort of germ spreading creature. One minute he says he's sick and the next he's trying to kiss me (ew, i HATE germs, even on the man I love). And he never gets it. You COVER your mouth, if you're sick you don't breathe all over our baby. Now she's sick because of him and I won't be far behind. Hmmmph