Monday, October 30, 2006

Violence in Jordan

Violence is a part of our culture.

I remember the broken class doors, the one poor kid in each class in every school who everyone else would beat up every single day.

I remember a game which you might know, called Ja7sheh, where each team of 4 boys would bend over and one kid would jump over their backs one after another and start kicking them everywhere and the winning team is that which would not fall.

When I was a kid, a thief broke in the house of our neighbors and while trying to escape he jumped from the roof and broke his legs and was screaming of pain. I went down with my father to see what happened and I found about 20 people around him beating him up for half an hour although he was screaming of pain from his broken legs.

Whenever you're arrested for any reason, it's very normal to be beaten up in the police station and you can't complain even if you're not found guilty.

I acknowlege how beating students is acceptable in the majority of schools especially public ones in Jordan, not mentioning that it's also very common among Jordanian families, and beating varies from one to another. It frequently includes tying up children with ropes and beating them with sticks. There are children who have burned skins over their bodies and even develop physical deformities because of abuse inflicted by their parents, both the father and the mother and the older siblings.

Why do people beat their children? Many causes but none of them is a good one, including venting and frustration with life that more and more Jordanians are experiencing.

The decay of our moral values is also mentioned however beating kids was never against our moral or ethical values and it's time to make it one.

What's painful is seeing many intellectuals in Jordan, including my forensic medicine professors in college, supporting the physical abuse of children as a way of discipline. Here you know there's a problem, when the decision-makers are not willing to make decisions to protect the society.

Are children physically abused in the West? Yes they are but the difference is that this behavior is not acceptable and it is not something to be proud of, and the parents who abuse their children are questioned and punished as necessary.

Remember Suzanne Vega's Luka?
It's so easy to find a Jordanian Luka...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The -man

My first day of work as a senior resident I met my intern, Dr. Shuman

I couldn't get rid of my Jordanian habit of knowing the last name of every person I meet and trying to know where s/he is from.

I thought.... Shuman .....
I started to talk with him and tried to detect an accent..... nothing.
I looked at his hair, his skin color, almost completely examined him..... nothing.

Then I asked him, "Hey Shuman, where are you from?"

He said, "Wisconsin"

Hareega, "Ok where are your parent from?"

"From Wisconsin too"

"And your grandparents, do you know? Are you originally from Wisconsin?"

He smiled and said , "Yeah Wisconsin, we're all from Wisconsin"

I paused for a second and thought to myself whether or not I should tell him my secret.

Then I decided it to say it."Hey, listen, I think I know where you're originially from. I know that you're originally from Wisconsin, but I know where you're originally originally from."

He looked at me and seemed a bit interested, although not as much as I expected him to be. I continued.... "Dude, I think you're originally Palestenian. We have the same family in Jordan. They're Palestenian and they established a bank long time ago. IT's a HUGE bank now, huge."

He tried to complement me... "Yeah maybe.... who knows"

I answered, "Dude I know, ask your parents, they'll tell you"

I'm sure he was thinking then "God help me with this freak who I'll work with for one month", and I was thinking ,"That habaloneh doesn't know where he's from"then tried to joke a bit, "listen if you're gonna work in business one day especially outside America you can tell people that you're Palestenian and you're related to the big boss of that bank, I'm sure that will help you"

One year later.....We were sitting in the cafteria with a bunch of residents, and started talking about religion, then Dr. Shuman came in.

A resident asked him, "Hey are you Mormon?"

He smiled and said, "No I'm not" then he pointed at his badge , exactly at his last name ... shuMAN, and said, "What do you think?"

And 3 people on the table said, "OOOOO so you're Jewish"

I felt like an idiot kept finished eating my burritto.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Allaho Akbar Faisaaaaaali

Faisali Barazeelooooo
hooooo haaaaaaay hooooooo

Faisaly destroyed al-Muharraq 3-0 in the first game of the Asian Cup Final

A reminder.... they are the defending champions.

The away game will be held in Bahrain on November 3rd.

Rafa3o raasna el shabab
Congratulations for all Jordanians

Friday, October 27, 2006

From the patient's chart

We had a patient with meningitis, so he was very confused when he came in because of the illness and wasn't waking up well,
today he started to improve

here's a note that one of the resident left in his chart today, a serious note,
and remember I'm in Arizona

"Patient more lucid today than ever before- able to answer questions appropriatly, but does think he is in Oklahoma. "

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

And you thought we can't score great goals?

I was somewhat shocked by this clip,
you can see the TOP TEN goals scored in the Jordanian League last year.

I was so impressed by goals 8 by Abdalla Theeb, goal 7 by Bassam Khateeb, goal 5 By Shbool and of course goal number ONE

The quality of the video is not great but the quality of the goals is outstanding

Ronaldinho my ass

Monday, October 23, 2006

In a UPS store in Amman

I was in Jordan, I decided to urgently ship some documents to the US. It was Saturday which was half a holiday.

I called my friend to ask where was the DHL office.

Qusay, "I don't know where DHL is, but I know there's a UPS in Shemsani next to where you are."

Hareega, "Shu hada el UBS?"

Qusay, "UPS, not UBS, it sends packages 3al saree3 to America just like DHL, it's next to Markez Haya, you'll find it"

I went to Shmesani, double-parked next to Ata Ali blocking 3 other cars and started looking for UBS.

I found a sign saying UPS, went in, and found a lady inside.

Hareega, "Are you DHL?"

Lady, "We are UPS"

Hareega, "So you're like DHL?"

Lady, "Ah, kinda, shu beddak?"

Hareega, "Beddi ab3at package la Amerka"

Lady, "OK, it's Saturday today, we'll send it today, maybe on Tuesday it will be in Amerka"

Hareega, "Beddi iyyaha Monday"

Lady, "OK, it costs more if you want it there on Monday" and I saw a look of disgust on her face as she was looking at my T-shirt with 4 Ketchup spots.

Hareega, "OK mashi, kam bekallef"

Lady, "34 Jds and 30 gersh"

Hareega, "Waaaaaaaal"

Lady.... no comment, still looking in disblief of how the hell was I wearing that T-shirt.

I paid the 34 nera.

Hareega, "I need a tracking number so I can check where my package is"

I got the tracking number. That night I checked my computer. I logged in the DHL website, and typed in the tracking number, and got this message: your tracking number cannot be identified.

I thought.... "That bitch in DHL, she gave me a wrong tracking number."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Healing the heart

I was on-call one night and I came across this old woman. I was told she was a (V.I.P) because she was the mother of a great cardiologist ( a heart specialist) here in our hospital. He also owns a big local company for medical equipment. His mother got sick and was admitted to the hospital, as she got better we figured that she cannot live alone and she needed assitance at home. Howeve her son refused to bring someone at home to help her and decided to place her in a nursing home because insurance would cover for that while they won't cover for someone helping her at home. The lady doesn't have enough money to support herself.

She explained to me how upset she is about going to a nursing home. What was really sad is all these doctors coming every while and then to tell her how smart her son is, but she can't tell them back that he is a great son.

I wrote this about the occasion, excuse my crappy English (remember I'm not a poet),

On her aweful bed she laid
thinking of the price she had paid
to raise her son, to make a man
out of her little kid, Jonathan

He was a kid full of energy
He ran and jogged and sang, and loved biology
He said one day, "Mom, I want to become a doctor"
and she said, "You will honey" then looked at her husband, the trucker

She told him, "No more kids, hubby
Jonathan will be a doctor, and we got no more money
He will grow and become a cardiologist"
He answered, "OK, I think he can, I'm no pessimist"

A decade passed, or two
or twenty-two
years, of tears and fears and eventually
Jonathan became a cardiologist, so smart
that all people asked him to check their hearts

The trucker died, and she sighed,
"Where is my son, I'm too old to carry on
I need help, I need a maid
and my little Jonathan is away I'm afraid"

But Jonathan finally came
with all the glory and the fame
stood by her bed's side
wouldn't look at her in the eyes

"To a nursing home you shall go
you'll make friends there, I know,
they'll protect you you anytime and anywhere
and all your complaints they will bear"

She felt the dagger in her heart
stuck by her son who heals the hearts
"I am the one who brought him to this life,
but I'm too weak now, too weak to strive
With time I will be forgotten
and it's way too late to push the rewind button"

Today she left to a nursing home
alone, in tears, torn apart,
in her new bed she slept alone
praying for God to heal the heart of her son, who heals the hearts.


P.S. I came up with the trucker thing and a fake name Jonathan because they rhyme lol, otherwise it's all true...


Every while and then I like to (and have to) attend a medical humanity class focused on medical literature.

Last time I was asked in ten minutes to write something about hope. I wrote some crap but fixed it later:

Hope is the eye of a mother
watching her child suffer
crashing in the battle, losing his weapons
but refused to surrender

Hope is the arm of a fighter
shot by a foe
the arm, so weak and slow
sticks the flag of freedom on the sound of thunder

Hope is a child, living in hunger
with no food, no candies and no puppets
lost faith in religion and all the prophets
believes more in a dog which promised
to bring him something to eat, something to keep him alive,
as if life mattered!

Hope is the palms of a child,
joined together for a prayer
for the world, for the deprived
and for that hungry child who
with more hope, could have survived.


Conversation about the evil

We were about 20 people, doing BBQ at a friend's house.

I was talking to a Syrian friend called Jehad, after I was done I went to help my friend Bob with the BBQ.

bob asked, "Dude, is that guy's name Jehad?"
-I answered, "Yes"
-"Doesn't Jehad mean Holy War?"
- "Sometimes, but the meaning is more broad"
- "So is this his real name or did he call himself so"
-"No dude its his real name"
-"So is he a holy warrior"
- "No he's not, his name means struggle in Arabic", I explained
- "So his name means struggle?"
- "Kinda"
- "Struggle against Americans?"
- "No dude, the word was there before there were Americans. It means struggle between the good and the evil."
- "So he thinks that Americans are the evil now"?
- "No man I don't think so, he's American himself"
- "But why would his parents call him struggle?"
- "I don't know man, all Arabic names mean something, his name means struggle between the good and the evil, his parents liked it"
- "And what does Fares mean?"
- "It means Knight"
-" Night??"
- "No, knight with a K"
- " Oooo Knight, nice, why did your parents call you knight?"
Laughing hard I answered, "So I can ride a horse and fight the evil"

Saturday, October 14, 2006

There is something

There is something that keeps them standing
There is something that keeps them alive
with every sun ray that is shining
One hero dies, to let others survive

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

In the refrigerator

So I open the refrigerator, look inside, and I take the ... uhmm.... yeah... an amputated human leg. I handle it to the pathologist and we start dissecting the infected part of the hip which was removed from the unfortunate patient. The surgery was done last Friday and the leg stayed in the fridge for 4 days and only today did we take it out to look at it. The smell was not good.

studyhing it a lab technician comes in carrying a large tray of tissues from other patients: colons, prostates, lungs, you name it. We'd dissect them and place them on slides, stain them and look at them next day under the microscope.

This is pathology, which is what I'm doing this month. Organs taken from patients in the hopsital are sent to the pathologist to be studied and that is the way cancers, inflammatory diseaes and plenty of other disease are diagnosed.

The worst part about it is what I had in medical school: Forensic Medicine (tebb shar3i). When someone dies mysteriously or in an accident the body is sent to the forensic medicine lab to search of what could have caused the accident. For example someone who died in a car accident might have died of a heart attack first then then had the accident, and it might be important to determine what caused the death for legal and insurance issues. Some people who appear to have committed suicide might have suffocated to death by someone else but they were placed in a situation (like on a hanger) to suggest that they killed themselves.

Sounds interesting? Ok, wait until you open the stomach of a young person who died 2 hours ago after falling down from a building to find the eggs and tomatoes he had for breakfast this morning. Wait until you observe the brother who is slowly recognizing the black body of his sister who was completely healthy but died that morning after caughting fire in the kitchen. It's not cool.

I left the hospital and on the way back I bought some grilled chicken, and when I got home I placed it on a tray, then opened the refrigeragtor and took out.... uhm... yeah... a diet Pepsi. I remembered doing something similar earlier today, but in a different place and definitely for a totally different purpose!

I started eating my meal and hoping that nobody would be opening up my stomach in 6 hours to take out the grilled chicken!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

الملك والشاه و مقالة داراغاهي

نشرت صحيفة لوس انجلوس تايمز تقريرا يقارن بين نظام جلالة الملك عبد الثاني و شاه ايران المخلوع وكالعادة تصرف معظم الاردنين تماما كما يتصرفون عند ورود اي خبر او ثقرير او اشاعة تتعلق بالملك، تحدثوا عنه في منازلهم المغلقة وفي العلن تصرفوا كالاطرش بالزفة وكانهم لم يسمعوا بالتقرير

الاردنيون كثيرا ما تحدثوا عما سيحصل لهم اذا ما اطيح بالاسرة الهاشمية خاصة وهم يشاهدون جلالة الملك حسين رحمه الله ينجو باعجوبة مرة تلو الاخرى من محاولات الاغتيال على البر وفي السماء وحتى الغذاء التي كانت قد اطاحت بجده ومع رئيسي وزراء اردنيين فيما بعد رحمهم الله جميعا
اذن الاردن ليس تلك الجنة التي لا تنفجر فيه قنبلة او لا يستهدف فيه الملوك وعلاقتنا بدول الجوار كانت تعد الاسوا في العالم وشهدنا في العام الماضي هجوما لم نر مثله قط على ترابنا منذ عقود

منذ تاسيس الاردن والملك ايا كان كان يجد تاييدا كبيرا من الاردنيين خاصة افراد الجيش وباعتراف الملك حسين ذاته انه لولا ولاء الجيش لكان علي ابو نوار اطاح بالحكم قبل خمسين عاما، اما الجيش فانه لا يدافع عن الملك لشخصه فقط بل لانه رمز لاستقرار الاردن خاصة وان اي تهديد للعرش كان مدعوما او ممولا من جهات غير اردنية، لذا فالدفاع عن الملك اعتبر دفاعا عن سيادة الاردن وحدوده

الناس تعزي اي تقدم حضاري او انجاز الى جلالة الملك لكنها في الوقت ذاته كثيرا ما تجده مسؤولا عن اي تدهور في البلد او في او اوضاعها المعيشية حتى لو كانت الظروف خارجة عن ارادته لذلك انا لا اعتبر تقرير بورزو داراغاهي خاليا تماما من الحقائق

الاردن تغير كثيرا والمنطقة كلها تغيرت اكثر منه ودخلت الى البلد اموال هائلة لكن القليلين هم من استفاد منها اما من يعيش خارج عمان وهم اغلبية الشعب فلم يعيشوا شيئا من هذا الخير واصبح من المستحيل لهم تعليم ابنائهم في الجامعات او حتى التفكير في الاقامة في عمان التي اصبحت تبدو وكانها دولة اخرى وان سكانها من عالم مختلف , اما الطبقة الوسطى فانها تنهار بسرعة وحتى الامن الداخلي الذي كنا نفتخر به وجدناه يتزعزع امامنا بصواريخ العقبة وتفجيرات الفنادق..... كل هذا يحصل اثناء حروب وصراعات يقتل فيها العراقيون والفلسطينيون وسط صمت عربي واحباط شديد للمواطن الاردني

لا اعتقد ان جلالة الملك او الاردن بحد ذاته قادر على تغيير الكثير في المنطقة خاصة بموارده المحدودة وحجمه الصغير و جلالة الملك مختلف تماما عن الشاه ولا اعتقد ان داراغاهي اصاب عندما تنبا له بنفس المصير لكن تقريره يجب الا يهمل لان الناس في الاردن بدات
تشكي والاخطر من ذلك انها بدات تجوع واذا ما جاعت فسانها ستفعل اي شيء لنيل رغيف الخبز من اي شخص كان وباي طريقة وكل ما اتمناه الا نصل الى هذه المرحلة

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Strong words

"Were Jesus to return today and attempt to throw from their temples the modern Philistines who preach the gospel of wealth, they would most likely accuse him and his disciples of being Middle-Eastern, sandal-wearing, gay hippie terrorist out to undermine the American way of life".

John Morrow Jr.
Time , October 9th issue

Good-Bye Fabien Barthez

Friday, October 06, 2006

لماذا يا هذا ؟

لماذا اصبح من الطبيعي انهيار العلاقات بين العرب واصبح "العتاب على قدر المحبة" مصطلحا قديما لم يعد له متسع في قواميسنا الحديثة

نتذكر قبل ثلاثة اعوام عندما اصدرت قطر حكما بالاعدام على فراس المجالي بتهمة التجسس وكان الحكم غالبا نتيجة لتدهور العلاقات بين الاردن وقطر وقع فيها فراس المجالي كضحية

وقتها سافر ارفع المسؤولين الاردنيين الى قطر رغم سوء العلاقة بين البلدين انذاك تم بعدها الافراج عن فراس المجالي فعاد الى اهله ونجا من الاعدام

الان قطر اخطات بحقنا و فورا سحبنا السفير و الوضع لا يبدو مبشرا
اتمنى لو طار المسؤولون هنا وهناك لحل الاشكال قبل ان يتفاقم لان ما يتم اعدامه الان اخطر واكبر واهم بكثير من فراس المجالي

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

An Innapropriately Very Angey Old Man

Some patients with irregular heart beat are at risk of developing strokes (jaltaat) so we give them a blood thinner (momayye3) as prevention. The most famous blood thinner was originally made from rat poison. Many people in the world are on it , it's called coumadin (warfarin). I gave it to a patient about a year ago who was having this problem, he's about 80 yrs old.

I saw him the clinic the other day ....

Patient, "Doc, I have a question for you"

Hareega, "yes"

Patient, "I told my daughter about this medication I'm taking, the coumadin or whatever you call it.... and she told me it's made from rat poison"

Hareega smiling, "Yes, that's true"

Patient mesh 3ajbo , "So you're telling me I'm taking rat poison"

Hareega, "Not really, this medication has some rat posion in it, but at very very low concentrations"

Patient em3asseb , "But it's still rat poison"

Hareega, "Yes but it doesn't kill you, it helps make your blood thin to prevent clots from occuring."

Patient em3asseb o wasleh ma3o la hoon, "but it's rat poison, i've been taking rat poison for a year now"

Hareega, "If you think about it all medications are poisons, all of them can kill you if you take them at high doses"

Patient, "But they're not all rat posions, are they?"

Hareega, "No"

Patient khalas mgab3a ma3o, " so why did you give me the rat poison? Did you think I'd like that"

Hareega was smiling and trying to calm him down while thinking in his mind "3annak la akathto" , then said, "sir, there's water in rat posion but we can still drink water so what's the problem?"

Patient, "I don't want the rat poison, I'm not a rat"

Hareega, "Well even if you were a rat you wouldn't like it either ha3 ha3"

Silence for 5 seconds.

Hareega again , "OK sir, if you don't wanna take it it's up to you, but I have to tell you that you'll be at a higher risk of having a stroke"

Patient after calming down a bit, "OK, is there another medication I can take other than the rat poison?"

Hareega, "Uhm aspirin, you should be on it already, it's not as good as the rat poison but it's better than nothing"

Patient, "OK, is the aspirin a posion"

At this question Hareega felt so glad that he used to read Majallet Majed when he was a kid and answered reciting an article from Zakiyyah al Thakiyyah , "No aspirin was originally taken from a tree, but now they make it in big factories"

Patient, "OK"

Hareega wanted to add some excitement, "but of course, aspirin can kill you in high dosages, just like rat poison."

Patient, "But it doesn't kill rats at high doses"

As he was leaving, he turned around to em asking "Does it??"

I answered , "I'm not sure, ask your daughter"

Sunday, October 01, 2006

عندما تغادر رفيقة العمر

بعض قصص الشعراء العرب جميلة للغاية وهاي سولافة عالسريع
منذ الجاهلية وحتى بداية العصر الاموي كان من المخجل ان يظهر الرجل
اي علامة حزن على وفاة زوجته
.في العصر الاموي ظهر مثلث الشعراء متمثلين بجرير والفرزدق والاخطل وكان ابرزهما جرير والفرزدق الذين كانا يهجيان بعضهما البعض بلسانيهما اللسيطين في كل قصيدة يكتبونها
ثم حدث ان توفيت زوجة جرير مما اثر به كثيرا واراد كثيرا ان يزور قبرها الا ان العادات انذاك منعته من ذلك فما كان منه الا ان كتب قصيدة مؤثرة يرثيها بها كانت اول قصيدة رثاء لمراة في تاريخ الشعر العربي
-استعبار تعني البكاء الشديد-
قال فيها
لولا الحياء لهاجني استعبار ، ... ولزرت قبرك ، والحبيب يزار
ولقد نظرت ، وما تمتع نظرةٍ ... في اللحد ، حيث تمكن المحفار ؟
ولقد أراك كسيت أجمل منظرٍ ... ومع الجمال سكينةٌ ووقار
وإذا سريت رأيت نارك نورت ... وجهاً أغر يزينه الإسفار
وبعد عدة اشهر توفيت زوجة الفرزدق مما اشعره بالاسى هو كذلك واراد نظم قصيدة يرثي بها زوجته وارادها قصيدة افضل من قصيدة جرير وذلك لطبيعة المنافسة بينهما وهذه المرة قام الفرزدق بزيارة قبر زوجته ووقف طويلا لعله ينطق بشئ وهو الشاعر السريع البديهة الا ان لسانه عجز عن النظق باي قصيدة فما كان منه الا ان تذكر قصيدة غريمه جرير ولم يجد افضل منها لرثاء زوجته و هكذا كان فردد نفس القصيدة
لولا الحياء لهاجني استعبار ، ... ولزرت قبرك ، والحبيب يزار
فيبدو ان الزوجات وهن في اللحد قد جمعا ما بين الغرماء و كان الفرزدق اكبر من جرير لذا توفي قبله وعندها رثاه جرير بقصيدة جميلة
.بس خلاص
حريقة الملقب بالمجرزق