Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hot Chocolate and Sandwiches

At college, as part of my Graphic Design course, we were presented with some words. Thinking out of the box, we had to research visuals to best represent those words.

Let's take the word, say... cancer.


What do you think of?

Zodiac sign?

Astrological truth or rubbish?

A personality trait?

An illness that attacks other people?

A lingering and painful illness?

Loss of hair?


To me, the word cancer conjures up images of hot chocolate and cold sandwiches. Sneaking into the staff cafeteria to grab some food, knowing which hospital serves the best hot chocolate and which the tastiest sandwiches.

Of Iftars broken at the hospital and lonely Eids spent celebrating alone at the Oncologist ward. Staring sightlessly outside the window, watching, waiting… Looking up, hearing footsteps go past… wondering how long Eid celebrations last... one day, two days, three days... yet no visitors

Of facing up to the horrors of chemotherapy; loss of appetite and loss of hair. Late night emergency visits to the hospital… emergency blood transfusions… Never the loss of will to live or the strength to fight.

Of despair and grief and whispered prayers, rosary beads clutched to for support and comfort.

Of tears... lots of tears. But above all, of shared smiles and laughter.

Laughter through the tears.


Sarah said...

Wow. You think of all of that? I'm not sure what I would think of first... I suppose the first thing that would come to mind is chemotherapy and death!

May Allah (swt) protect us all and our families from such a terrible illness :(

widad said...

It is rather the first thing you think of... chemo, the side effects, death...

Hot chocolate and sandwiches come in later, much later. Really, after the chemo has started.

I'll say this for cancer. It shows you who's really there for you and who's not.

neuroticnoon said...


yes you've gained another stalker!

Well i worked in an oncology department last year so although my inital thoughts on the word cancer are a little negative my experiences there have certianly changed my outlook.

i think of smiles, encourgement and the way a patient can be so positive when they've been given what i'd consier as bad news.

they'd come in positive and willing to get on with the treatment so when i think of cancer i think of the times when most of patients would sit and crack jokes, give me advice, i remember one patient who'd call her apointment a "coffe morning", she said "it makes it alot more interesting and also you don't dread it as much".

"I'll say this for cancer. It shows you who's really there for you and who's not."

I'd have to agree with you on that, its certainly a test of commitment and patience.

widad said...

neuroticnoon, welcome :)

Are you from sc? A medical student?

You're right in that cancer pateints sometimes show immense will to live and strength to fight. One learns a lot watching them.

neuroticnoon said...


yep from sc, well I'm planning on going to train as a therapy or diagnostic radiographer inshallah, so i did a little work experience.

yes i certainly learnt alot from all the people i delt with


Karachiite said...

hii, saw u on noons blog list, and came up to read and you know, this is one of the bestest entries I've read in quite a few days, yes illness often reminds of the time spent in hospitals waiting for the loved ones to enjoy with us..waiting for them to get better..