Common Word, Common Lord

In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Infinitely Loving and Merciful

Today is National Doctors’ Day, and all around the country, hospitals and medical offices are celebrating by thanking the thousands of physicians that work hard every single day to help patients feel better. Our hospital’s celebration was last week, and it was very nice to be appreciated in such a nice fashion. 

Becoming a physician is not easy. It takes eight years of schooling, and anywhere between 3 and 6 years of post-graduate training before one is allowed to practice medicine. That does not count the many licensing examinations that must be passed if one wants to get a license in the United States. 
When I went through training, there were no work hour restrictions that exist today. I would frequently work 30 hours in a row and nearly collapse from exhaustion. Now that I have been practicing for ten years, the challenges that face our field have never been greater. 
Our hours are long. Our work is tough. Just last night, I had to come back to the hospital at 4 AM to tend to a very sick patient in the ICU. 
We have to comply with endlessly changing regulations and rules, and there are not enough hours in the day to finish the enormous paperwork sometimes. In addition, the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” has thrown so many uncertainties into the future of Medicine. All this does not even mention the constant threat of malpractice litigation that looms over every physicians’ head. 
The pressure can be overwhelming at times, and many physicians have cited dissatisfaction with their careers. In fact, I have heard so many of my colleagues say that they would not advise their children to pursue a career in medicine. 
I have not been immune to this pressure. Yet, despite all of this, words cannot express my gratitude to the Lord for being a doctor. Ever since I was a young child, being a doctor is all I ever wanted to be. It’s the only career I envisioned for myself, and I never stopped thinking about it. 
Yes, it is hard work. Yes, the hours are long. Yes, the pressure is enormous. But to help a patient come back – by the grace of the Lord – from the brink of death gives me a feeling that is truly indescribable. The Quran says that saving a life is like saving all of humanity. I get to do that for a living. The privilege is truly extraordinary. 
Thanks be to the Lord, we have many, many more successes than failures. The overwhelming majority of our patients do well. Yet, sadly, sometimes they do not. And at that moment, I am given a chance to comfort the patient’s family which faces the horrific reality that their loved one will pass away. Moreover, if I can help relieve the suffering from that patient who will, unfortunately, not get better, it is an enriching experience as well. 
I am very grateful that I have been chosen to be a physician, for, truly, healthcare is a calling. Like most of my colleagues, I share the anxiety that comes with an uncertain future of healthcare in America. Yet, I would not want to be anything else but a physician. 
Over the years, I have heard so many physician colleagues sarcastically say – when asked how they are doing – “I’m living the dream.” I know they say this out of the enormous frustration that comes with being a doctor today. But for me, I am truly living my life dream each and every day. 
And I can never be fully grateful to the Precious Beloved Lord for it. 
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