​​Red Nail Paint

See, I dressed up pretty today
I've got henna on my hands
Only on the outside though
I didn't put it up on the inside
I have to examine you

I wore red nail colour
The colour of blood
I imagine my hands looked pretty
Underneath the gloves
I mean, its Eid today

You, the one with a failing liver
Your father is busy right now
Outside the ED
Counting his savings
Fighting back tears of desperation
I can anticipate
He will come in shortly to discuss
Financial constraints
And with a heavy heart, I will
Type your leave against advice

You, the one with the SOL*
You bled in your brain
The color on my nails, remember
You came in interactive
Suddenly, now unresponsive
How do I save you?
Would the vent help?
No says PICU
Would decompressive craniotomy do?
No, says neurosurgery
Is there any other option
DNR**; says neuro-oncology
Your father is looking at me
With questions
My turn to fight back tears
As I break it down to him

Back home, they asked me
As a festive dinner was being served
Why did I leave half of my nails
Red looks good, they said

As clinicians, we are faced with decisions that make us question ethics, laws, morality, and
equality daily. But we have to rise above the injustice of it all and continue to do our thing. Does
that make us insensitive? Inhuman? Numb?
Eid, this year, will be spent warding off any such notions, trying to unsuccessfully desensitize,
to avoid being overwhelmed and lose focus. It will be harder than ever given the unforgiving
And as always, I will find myself questioning, how do we all manage to get through our days
without breaking down every time?
Alhamdulillah for where each one of us is today. To me, today and every other day, there's nothing
else I'd rather be doing.

* SOL - space-occupying lesion 
** DNR - do not resuscitate 

Repost from https://areebasultan.wordpress.com/
Published in the Oncology Times journal by Wolters Kluwer​

DISCLAIMER: Copyright belongs to the author. This blog cannot be held responsible for events bearing overt resemblance to any actual occurrences. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of CCIT or AKU​

About the Author

Harbouring a love for language, Areeba believes in words as being the surest means of expression. A pediatrician by profession, she enjoys reading and writing whenever time allows. Her experiences as a resident doctor have played a big role in her writing, which can be found on her blog on wordpress.