Ahmad Sampang ibnu Hajiri, MD

A Personal blog by a Tausug medical student (now a doctor!) from Sulu and the stories that inspired him.
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Nagbustak na isab sin dum limabay yaun. 

Makusug in bustak bat najugjug in bay namu' kailu. Laung sin kaybanan ha gimba, laung sin kaybanan ha Brigade sin Marines. 

Way pa agun miyabut hangka-adlaw in haylaya puasa, awn na magtuy nagbustak. Mayta na baha' in hula' ini?
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Misan bulan puasa wayruun nila ra liyappas, masi-masi ra in paghilu-hala' nila. Hambuuk adlaw awn nagbustak didtu ha tungud public hospital, ha waiting shed, ha guwa’. Maynaat pa kunu’ yadtu sung na pagsusuwd sin kabataan pa iskul. Awn nahalul duwa atawa tuw. Awn pa agi bata’-bata’ kunu’ sung paiskul in hambuuk nalapay. Agi isab sin kaibanan, nawafat da kunu’ kailu in hambuuk, amun timitindug-tindug ha lugal-lugal yadtu. In kainu-inuhan isab sin mga tau, angay-angay isab in lugal yaun kiyalawaan pulis-sundalu ha adlaw yadtu. Laung ha gimuwa’ news ha National TV in target kunu’ pabustakan in mga marines sundalu pasal masuuk man yaun ha campo nila. In nagpabustak kunu “Abus” na isab. In tau raayat way na kiyublaan sin nasabbut na isab in ngan yan. BIya’ kahaba’-kahaba’ na hadja awn kahiluhalaan asal gumuwa da in ngan nila. Biya’ sapantun “ready-made” sasambungan sin pangasubu hisiyu in tagkahinangan. Bihadtu na in piyaguwa piyahati pa mga tau ha guwa sin hula’. Sin in tau halawm raayat agun dugaing-dugaing da in halawn atay nila. Sa kawni hisiyu isab in dumungug, hisiyu isab in makatawakkal mamung bang n kabuhi’ mu ra in magmula.

Pilangkapitu isab limabay yan, malawm dum na sin timagna’ nagkansang nagkanyun in mga sundalu inday bang tudju pakain na ka. Agi sin kaibanan pa Jati’ ha Patikul, agi sin kaibanan harap pa Indanan. Awn kunu’ kiyasa’buhan sung “umatak” pa raayat. Hangkan sin lisag hamgpu’ sin dum sampay miyabut pa tungaan-dwum wala nakatug in tau raayat Lupa’ Sug: ha lawm buga’, ha alwm kubla’. Sampay na hadja laung piyaabut in pagbati’ nila piyagsahulan. Simung adlaw biya’ da way jimatu. Wayra panghati in kamatauran, unu baha’ tuud in jimatu kabii yadtu.

Pila adlaw simunu’ awn na-awn pagtimbak ha tabu’. Awn hambuuk usug tiymbak, tiyumlang ha uw. Miyatay “dead on the spot” laung sin anggalis. Nakapaguy da nakaragan in nanimbak. In suysuy utang kunu’ in piyagkaluhan. Bang unu na in jimatu puas hadtu wala’ na nag-agi, himati in kamatauran sin tau. In timampal hadja, awn nanimbak, awn miyatay.

Bang kunsum sin adlaw awn nagtimbak ha tabu’, simunu’ isab in pagtimbak pag-apas ha tiyanggi. Maynaat lisag hangpu’ pa yaun awn na diyungug duwa passik timbak. Wayra nag-inu-inu in mga tau nakarungug arakala awn hadja nag-apas mga pulis yaun. Sakali’ day’-day’ pa kiyasunuran na isab. Bang! Bang! Bang! Upat timbak. Bang! Bang! Bang! Tuw timbak. Nagdawdagan na in tau similung timapuk, giyugulgul, tiytabunan in mga anak-asawa nila kailu. Dimuhung mayan in katan, simunu’ na in paghibuk pagsuysuy: awn kun’ duwangkatau itymbak duun ha tungud LBC ha raig Santanina Sports Complex. Miyatay in hambuuk, nahalul in hambuuk. In nanimbak kunu’ duwangkatau isab miyamagad ha motor single, yadtu na iyapas sin kapulisan, sa pawgay nakapaguy ra. In motor sin duwa natimbak yadtu na diya pa Municipal hiyati bang kansiyu. Awn pa hambuuk motor tricycle siyanggaw ra isab iban sin driver niya. Didtu kunuh ha tungud niya naligad in natimba kanda siya siyanggaw kiyalaungan. Piyangasubuhan na kunu’ in mga tau bang unu in jimatu, laung sin kaybanan piyabu’luy ra in driver tricycle yadtu. In suysuy isab kunu’ haini pulitik kunu’. Agi isab sin kaibanan pagkuntara, atawa nag-agad da karuwa. Tuput Tuahn na in makaingat bang unu tuud…

In katan ini jimatu ha bulan Ramadhan sin tahun ini. Bulan puti’ salanu’-lanu’, salingkat-lingkat. Bulan liyaggu’ sin Tuhan mahamulya, bulan pagtatawbatan, bulan pagpakusug sin pag-ibadat sin katan. Aykaw nakapakain na kabuga’ sin mga tau ini? Nakapakain na in luman nila sari na pa mga tau, sa pa Tuhan nagpapanjari kanila? Way na nila hiyalgaan in bulan, way na nila hiyalgaan in kabuhi’ sin mga tau nagkapuhinga’ nila. Way na nila hiyalgaan in kasanyangan, kahanungan sin raayat ini. Tantu tuud in mga tau ini, hisiyu mayan sila, Tausug na ka atawa bukun, Muslim naka atawa bukun, landu’ na tuud halawm tigidlum, liyawung nila na in baran nila. Tantu ha adlaw mahuli’ Tuhan na in maharap nila, maghukum kanila sin katan sin hinang nila panghina’, panghilu-hala’ pa tau katan.

Makaulung. Makasusa. In hula’ ini kailu, masi-masi ra.

Masi-masi ra halawm lingug. Masi-masi ra halawm buga’. Masi-masi ra lawm kahinaan.
Ku’nu pa baha’ laung kailu in hula’ ini makananam kahanungan? Ku’nu pa baha’ in hula’ ini makakita kasanyangan?? Ku’nu pa baha’ dumatung in adlaw in tau raayat bukun na halawm hanggaw buga’ sin di’ na mapuhinga’ in baran iban ahli niya kalasahan? Ku’nu pa baha’ laung? Ku’nu pa baha’? 

Ya Allah tabanga kami. Patinduga in hula’ ini ha agama mu, pakusuga in hula’ ini ha kawasa mu. HIdayati in tau raayat sin Lupa’ Sug pa ran mabuntul ha mammayan masamut madawhat in kahanungan sin hula’ ini. Ha mammayan mahambuuk in tau raayat magsama-sama, magtbang-tiyabangi magpabuntuul, magbangun, magpasambu’, umatu pa mga sila wayruun na dugaing hiynang dayng sin maghilu hadja pa hula’ ini kailu. Ya Allah tuput ikaw in Tuhan sangat in kawasa, anduw’ tabangan kami. Allahumma ameen.

In sha Allah in hula’ ini magbangun da ha susungun in sha Allah. Sari na madtu di’ ta abutan, salugay makusug in panggawgut ta sin tantu dumatung da ini, ha pagbaya’ da sin Tuhan mahamulya.

Salam iban kasilasa.
“Good morning, Doc!” someone greeted me with a flash of smile as I entered the Rural Health Unit. She was one of the health workers assigned in the registration area and thus will always be the first one to see, or greet anyone who comes in.

“Good morning da isab, maam,” I replied with an equally warm smile that she gave me, “Misan ‘Sir’ na hadja ba maam, bukun pa isab aku duktur.” I explained that she can just call me ‘sir’, I am not a doctor yet after all. And I am not really used to being called a “Doc” (yet) by so many people, especially those senior than me in the health service.

Ayaw doc, di’ manjari! Mabiyaksa ra san kaw.” She remarked with a simple yet decisive tone. And that’s how the discussion ended: “Nope. It just can’t happen. You have to get used to it anyway.” And since then, almost everyone in the health center would address me as “Doc”. The younger “Doc”.

Whenever I meet my patients, I would always introduce myself as a medical student, a “not-yet Doctor”, to keep us in the same level of understanding: That I may not be able to be someone what they were looking for but I will do everything to the best of my knowledge and skills to see what I can do for them. But I could already see in their eyes that somebody already told them something else: “Look! We have a doctor on duty! And yes, believe it or not, he’s that thin guy with a ‘goatee’ over there!”

I know they intend nothing but good by doing it—because there was simply no other person in the building to be called “doc”.  I know, I am supposed to get used to it after almost four years in Med school, but every now and then, whenever they address me as such, I would find myself responding with a pretty awkward and troubled mind.

Why wouldn’t I? I myself know for a fact that I really do not look like a doctor at first glance! Had a couple of incidents where our patients—and even fellow health workers—mistook me as another patient! Haha! (Mental note: I should ‘wear’ my stethoscope once and a while). And it is a fact as well that there is still so many things that I know so little about in the big, big world of Medicine! Yes, you got it right. I am not that confident (yet) to call myself a real doctor! I feel that I still have a lot of things to learn, a lot of pages to read and understand, a lot of sleepless hours to spend before I could call myself a real “Doctor”. And I know, I am still far from seeing that happen. And the weight of responsibility of being called “Doc” is something I see as a gargantuan piece of duty that must be carried with great preparation and compassion.

The responsibility of being called a “Doctor” is really not a joke. After years in medschool, even during rounds with our consultants or even in our own patient encounters, I have seen how amazing and yet equally scary that responsibility is. People would believe what you say more than they would believe themselves. They would put their trusts on so many things to you. They share their deepest secrets to you. They would allow you to know things they never even shared to their loved ones. They would even put their lives in your hands, believing with all faith that you will be able to help them somehow, save them from the agony and malady of their illnesses. Scary indeed!

To me this is not something to really brag about. Being called “Doc” does not always mean that that person is recognizing your worth as someone smarter or better than him. Rather, it is more of a reminder that you have the greater responsibility to know what your patients do not. That’s why they come to you in the first place, to seek “consult”. Thus, you have to study hard and learn a lot, so as not to fail them. Being called “Doc” doesn’t mean you already have the right to treat other people lightly, and see them as lowly. It is rather a reminder for you to humble yourself that they are putting their trusts on you, that they are giving you the chance to serve them.

Thus, you have to train harder and be a better physician each day. Being called “Doc” does not mean everyone is under your command and they should just follow all your orders and demands. It is not that they—your patients, your nurses, your fellow health workers—are nothing without you. Rather, it is a reminder for you that you are there not as a dictator to dictate what you want them all to do. You are there as a leader, a guide, a companion for them. That you will be nothing without them as well.
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I know I am still far from being qualified to be called a real “doc” and I am still terrified by the weight of responsibility it brings. I know I still have a long, long way to go before I could confidently call myself a “Doc” one day without hesitations and get used to it. But I am honestly hopeful for that day to come. I know it will come, in God’s great plan, in sha Allah. But for now one thing is for sure… I must do better than myself each day that pass by for me to be there. And that, I will strive to do, in sha Allah!

Ah, there is this one exception by the way. A single statement with the word “Doc” in it that instead of giving me an uneasy feeling, it would radiate a warm, wonderful sensation whenever I hear it from patients I meet. A feeling of happiness and fulfilment amid my very pessimistic mind. A feeling of acceptance of my humble, imperfect services to them. And that is:
Magsukul tuud Doc!”  Thank you, doc!

I will be looking forward to becoming that doctor that my patients really deserve.
Yes. I will do my better “best”. For them. In sha Allah! (God willing)

Salam Kasilasa,
Ahmad ibn Hajiri

Ahmad is a proud Tausug coming from Sulu. He is now a Clinical Clerk (4th year) in UP College of Medicine. Every summer break, he would go back to his dear homeland and serve in different health centers in Siasi, Pandami and Jolo, Sulu as part of his commitment to serve back. He loves coffee. He blogs at www.ahmadhajiri.blogspot.com


PS. This was supposed to be a “less than 500 words” post, but I ended up making it 1000+ words again *face-palm* I really need to cut my posts short! I don’t know, I just can’t help myself. My fingers just keep on typing the words in my head. And I am too lazy to edit and proof-read as well. Badumm tss! Let’s just leave it at that.

And oh! A wonderful EID MUBARAK to all Muslim Families around the world! May Allah Accept all our efforts and sacrifices this Ramadhan. And may He allow us to reach the next Ramadhan as well, Ameen.

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just saying. -Dr. Ahmad