Thursday, April 06, 2006

More about death, and life...

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
Abraham Lincoln

His name was "Kaisar Haddad".
I'm sure some of you knew him, or at least heard about him.
He was the head of "Alrawda" school in Beirut.
He was my patient for his last 10 days on this earth.
He proved to be more than just a patient.
And here is the story.

I was in my fourth year in medical school, during an elective month in psychiatry.
I was asked to see him because apparently he was refusing to eat or take his medications.
Although I never met him before, I recognized the name since alot of my friends went to Rawda.
Entering the room, he was sitting in his bed. Alone.
A moderately overweight, 60'sh in age, with clear strength despite the years heaviness.
I introduced myself, and that I'm with psychiatry.
"psychiatry? whay would I need psychiatry? sho kanni akhwat?", he said.
I tried to explain the importance of getting our medications, but he cut me short by saying not taking his med's shouldn't prompt a psychiatric intervention.
Catching my embarrassment, he nicely said: "But since I got all kinds of doctors, I think I can handle one more. Have a seat, my son. What was your name? Where are you from?"
So, here I was. Instead of interviewing my patient, he was interviewing me!
We talked for more than 2 hours that first meeting.
And for the coming 10 days, we'de meet for a chat.
We talked about life,
and about death.
About love,
happy moments,
goals,
acheivements,
and regrets.
We laughed, and cried together.
When he cried, he was so quite,
when I cried, he comforted me.
He quickly became a friend, rather than a patient.
Our discussions are still vibrant in my memory...
And I remember them like echoes from the past, and I smile everytime.
He considered death part of the life package.
"A package that we didn't have the chance to accept or refuse. It was just given to us. We're all gonna die." he said.
He never considered it an end. But he hated it. Never agreed to give up to it.
Though his life wasn't as he dreamed it will, he cherished every minute of it.

In the 6th day of our meetings, his condition deteriorated, and he had to be intubated, and moved to ICU.
Rushing to the 4th floor where the ICU is, he felt my concern.
Intubated, with multiple tubes coming in and out of his body, his gave me the thumb up determined to fight.
In the last few days, he would write to me, and I would talk to him.
I still have the papers with his handwriting on it,
from the patient who really taught me death is not the end.
When he died, alot of people cried.
I didn't.
"We're all going to die...it's only a matter of when and where".

(this post was inspired by Rouba)

11 comments:

Mirvat said...

everybody is writing about death. what's going on?

hashem said...

death made me appreciate life...
but I'll take a break...
sabaho..

Coco said...

Sabaho :)
As the professor said, it's part of the package. He made the best of his "living" life and he's still remembered after his death, he's not really dead. We live well, we die well w neshkour Allah 3ala kell ne3amo, before, during and after.

Anonymous said...

coco...7elo elrawak...

Coco said...

Majhoul, maaaaaaaaaa fi a7la mnel rawa2 :)

Haitham said...

I was one of his students. I never knew how he died until now. Thanks.

faraj said...

Dear Hashem,

I was a rawdah student. I would like to know more about the last days of Mr. Haddad. Do you think you can tlak to me about that?

faraj said...

Dear Hashem,
I was a student at Rawdah. I would like to know more about the lsat days of Mr. Haddad. Do you think you can talk to me more about it?

Hashem said...

Faraj,
sure...email me if you want.

faraj said...

Keefak Doctor,

I tried to email you on your UPMC email address but i did not get a reply. Do you have another private email adress you are currently using?

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I used to be a Rawdah student and spent 15 years in Rawdah.
Could you post another set about Mr. Haddad's last days on this earth. I am now an engineering professor in the U.S. and am a member of the RHS group on Facebook, your post is on the group. It would be wonderful if you joined the group and told us more. Tarek.