Parenting After Brain Injury Part 3 (mostly trachy)

22 Dec

After some time I was able to sit in a less supported wheelchair, the rotastand which I used to help me transfer seemed to be doing my core some good. It’s funny thinking about those days now. I would be sat upright and in order to show someone how much thought and effort I had to put into sitting, I would tell them to watch what happened when I would relax and I would automatically flop to my left but over time, the amount I flopped over was becoming less. I remember in my early days of rehab this was still happening because my physiotherapist examined me in my induction to the unit. When sitting I wold flop to the left and when standing if my feet were together, I would fall to my right. It was really bizarre so I always stood with my legs quite far apart because the wider my base, the more stable I was and felt. My head was, and it still making me feel like I’m floating sometimes. I really can’t explain it but it also feels like the opposite at times.

When I was in Royal London my daughter was more used to seeing me which was lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed watching her twirl about and mingle with nurses. Her chatting was relatively less because she was in an unfamiliar setting but eventually she caught on that mama was in “huptal” and if anyone was leaving our house she’d ask them “where going?” and wanted to put her shoes on assuming they were off to see me. She still didn’t want to come near me, if she was tired and needed a nap she wouldn’t even want to be put on my hospital bed. She also managed to make my bed malfunction a couple of times by pressing every button possible in multiple combinations and/or all at once. The main problem with this was the bed would’t go low enough for me to safely transfer. We even tried turning it off and on again. Nada. Then some Healthcare Assistant (HCA) came along and she fixed it.. multiple times. They had to call her from the adjacent ward and I acted like I didn’t know what happened each time. No hablo Ingles. In fact, no hablo at all!

In the last two weeks there was all this drama over my secretions (I wasn’t swallowing saliva as one normally would) which was gathering on top of my lungs. This would cause excessive coughing which hurt my head. I knew I had secretions which needed to be removed and my signal was using my right hand, four fingers together almost touching my thumb like tongs repetitively. That was my suction signal and because I couldn’t speak I was the patient who always banged frantically on the side railing of her bed. That was my call. No buzzer needed. The doctors and physiotherapists said the tube in my neck should be smaller so I remember on maybe August 23rd a doctor who was very butch came along to change the tubing size. Again, I couldn’t speak so I gave him the thumbs up (that was my thing and if you were really nice you got two thumbs up) and mimed something just before he began. I mimed it but my sister lip read and said it aloud, ” ‘Do a good job’, she said” – I used a movie quote on him. At that moment I thought that was equally funny and stupid. He proceeded to change my tube and an oxygen mask was placed over my nose and mouth whilst they took me off my main oxygen supply. He was being supervised by a lovely older Australian Doctor. She was brilliant. There was a moment when I couldn’t breathe and although it felt like ages, Aussie doc was telling me how great I was doing and how relaxed I was so I assumed it was all good and normal. Then I threw up a little in the mask which was surrounding my mouth but that’s when I was able to breathe again so I breathed and saw the vomit bubble. Classy. The change in tubing went really well and was painless so I was pleased. Every time a nurse suctioned me they had to suction around the tubing coming out of my neck(same as before). That’s where I was coughing from, not my mouth so I’d have to cover my neck when coughing which was amusing. They would aspirate me, which meant removing mucus from my subglottis using a syringe. They would then measure and record the amount of mucus extracted. Apparently this was all I was waiting for to become zero and then I could finally be decannulated and have my trachy removed and I should be able to speak. In theory. Over the next week or two this was closely monitored and it was suggested that my oxygen flow was changed to warm oxygen to help my secretions loosen up easier so I wasn’t having such severe coughing moments. It did help. I should also mention that when I was on ITU I was ‘restrained’ to put it, bluntly.

On ITU I was naughty. I was scaring everyone and my Dad was ready to tape my hands down. So it turns outs it’s normal for people who’ve had brain surgery to be agitated and fight and tug at stuff… I was trying to pull out every tube in me. I actually remember fighting with various members of my family, trying to push them away, punching one of my sisters in the face (bonus points for it being the nose, that counts as a bullseye, surely), I remember constantly being told to behave and the number of times I was firmly told “No!” was beyond ridiculous. And I understand why now because one night I pulled out five tubes; my catheter, a cannula, trachy tube, NG tube and my head drain which was draining blood from the cerebrospinal fluid in my brain. That one was very bad and I needed an emergency CT scan to make sure I didn’t screw my brain up.  The thought of it scares my family to this day and grosses them out.  Alhamdulillaah I didn’t cause more harm.

So anyway, I had these large wool stuffed, lilac mittens that looked like boxing gloves put on me. In my dream I was feeling unwell but the mitts were irritating me. That’s when I punched my sister in the nose. Nobody knew but my right hand was tingling and I wasn’t really with it and obviously unable to speak so I did everything I could to get them off. In my dream I saw relatives sat on my bed and my parents too, it seemed like they were ignoring me so I was hitting them to get their attention to say take these things off me. I remember faking a fever and putting a hand over my forehead to say I’m ill remove them, it didn’t work. I mimed how can I sleep like this I need to put my hands under my cheek, it didn’t work. Instead my sister said I could sleep in any position because she saw me sleep every day in random positions and told me to stop lying, the mitts weren’t coming off. Apparently one nurse loosened them towards the end because she made a deal with me and I said I wouldn’t take them off. I put my hand between my knees and successfully removed a mitten, my expression was apparently comical and I looked so chuffed with myself. The stories of me highly sedated were hilarious. I actually wish I met myself back then. Eventually the mitts were removed and I did promise to behave myself otherwise the mitts were going back on. Those things traumatised me. I can’t believe nobody believed that I needed them off. My right hand was tingling. I noticed that when I left ITU and was with it, the tingling got worse, with the cold oxygen tube on my shoulder for my trachy, it felt like my hand and arm were numb, I told my family who relayed it to the nurses to pass on to the doctors and consultants during the ward rounds each morning. Massaging it helped for a while but it was spreading to my right leg. This tingling and numbness was slowly overtaking half my body and I didn’t know it. I was eventually given medication for this about two weeks later (being a mute, essentially, meant noone knew the true extent of my problems and what I was feeling. The pain was from this numbness wasn’t so bad then but it’s nuts now. I have a high pain threshold so I tend to not make a fuss of pain.  I think it reached the point when it was keeping me awake at night that I was finally given medication).  After my trachy tubing was made smaller and I was given hot flow oxygen, my numbness felt better. It was the peak of summer and there I was with a fluffy, fat blanket I requested from home. I was never cold but now I was freezing. I assumed the cold was making me numb so I just sucked it up.

Things were a lot better with the warm oxygen, however, during a physiotherapy session, I was sat up and threw up a whole load of mucus, not out my mouth but it was gushing from my neck, to the point that one of my physiotherapists swore, I guess it took him by surprise and there was only so much he could catch but he was really cool about it and noticed pretty early on that I had a really irritated cough that would always get bad when I moved or sat upright. I’m so grateful he spotted this and was on the ball because I just remember being concerned about my arm being numb. He immediately paged a specific consulting team and raised his concerns with them, they came down and I was nil by mouth (or as I like to say, nil by nose seeing as nothing was entering my mouth that evenining until after my procedure the following morning)the new tube was  too long so was irritating me and my cough was getting worse and when I thought about it he was right. I had my two physiotherapists, occupational therapist and speech and language therapist around me when I threw up from my neck. Very classy. I wrote a note to them saying i had a phobia of vomit, I really do. This led to a discussion about morning sickness. I didn’t have any so that was an incredible blessing for me. I also wasn’t intolerant to any foods which was even better but being pregnant for the rest of one’s life isn’t an ideal or possible cure for food intolerances.

so going back to my trachy tube being changed, a dr from another hospital (turns out it was my local) was there and he and my dude PT did that trachy change. I would just like to say that despite it being a smaller tube, when the dr inserted it into my neck again it was so incredibly painful and quite traumatising. Thankfully my PT was there, talking me through and comforting me the entire time, telling me how well I was doing and how brave I was. He knew how to do the change but wanted to be shown once more before doing it on a patient. Later down the line when there was discussion about weaning me off the oxygen and making me breathe completely on my own again, I was worried they’d change my tubing again but it turns out it was just a straightforward removal of the tubing and I should be good to fly solo from then, hopefully.

Throughout these weeks, seeing my daughter gave me so much joy and pleasure to just observe her. I didn’t realise then but she was a cruicial part to my recovery. I didn’t know the extent of my problems back then or that I needed rehabiitation care. Somewhere in my mind I assumed I would stay at The Royal London with all those same patients and soon I’d be walking and talking like my old self, dressed in my own clothes and then I’d go home and that was it. I was so wrong and so naive I’m willing to blame the meds and not my lack of intelligence.

During this time I was so happy, I also had a permanent goofy smile on my face after surgery (my facial expressions are normal now, thank God), my recovery and outlook seemed good to all and I was happy being surrounded by my family and daughter, especially on Eid day. Every day back then was a good day. I did wonder if I was indenial because surely it wasn’t normal to hear you were so ill you almost died a few times and be that happy. I even wrote , “I don’t know why I’m smiling so much consideing I almost died” to which my sister replied, “It’s because you’re grateful.”
And I was, I still am. Emotional times. Pass the tissue box. Until next time, people… Peace!

Advertisements

Parenting After Brain Injury Part 2

20 Dec

Today marks my 2 month walkiversary and it feels good to have my independence back. I’m so grateful to be home with my family and most importantly my daughter. My family are the most amazing support network anyone could ask for. They understand when I can and can’t do something, when I feel tired, my feelings and emotions, although they don’t fully understand it’s great that they know to just let me be me and whatever is going down is a part of who I am. A lot  more has happened in my life than I’m letting on and I have shared various details with very close friends or trustworthy people who I know won’t let me down. I’m a member of various stroke survivor websites and groups online. I often find some people giving up, swearing, having enough and sometimes wishing the stroke finished them off. I understand it, I really do although not once, alhamdulillaah (praise be to God), have I ever had that thought. In fact I shared a little more on a group today and this was a part of what I said in response to someone feeling sorry for me:

I couldn’t be happier with my life right now. Yes it’s hard but it’s been such an incredible experience and I wouldn’t swap it for anything else. I’m in early days compared to most people here. Stroke was August 1st. Was in rehab for 3 months. Been home almost 2 weeks and trying to be a mum to my now 19/20 month old baby girl. I haven’t been happier in life i don’t think. God bless me and my family 

I honestly don’t regret any of what I’ve been through in the last four to five months. Obviously we can’t regret a stroke because it’s not like we have control over it and it wasn’t a choice, especially in my case where I was born with something that has changed mine and my family’s life, probably for forever. As incredible as the journey has been, I don’t wish this hardship on anyone else. I’m in contact with some patients from rehab, some have been discharged and others are still on the unit, one in particular was messaging at 4am because of insomnia due to pain and I was awake because I was reluctantly co-sleeping with my toddler which basically meant her head was actually on my head for part of the night and I had to keep changing sides because she was all over the place. Anyway, I thought it’d be nice to share how I felt about my position in life right now. I could have been a lot worse than I am so I am grateful for that and so much more. If you think your life is bad, take a look at someone whose life is currently a little worse or harder than yours and be grateful. Your challenges in life could have been worse.

Speaking of challenges; my daughter. This post is after all, about parenting. I mentioned the first time my daughter saw me. The very moment and how I felt. My family could see that seeing my daughter made me happy although noone knew the pain I was feeling. It was a bittersweet. The most bittersweet feeling a person could ever have. I loved her and loved seeing her, in fact, I loved everything about her. All her “perfect imperfections”. If you’ve ever stayed in hospital for three or more days you’ll quickly discover magic fm is the favoured radio channel amongst most, if not, all hospital and ambulance staff. That song played whilst my daughter was visiting and thinking back to that moment, those words kinda fit. Seeing her was so sweet but the pain was what was bitter. After every physio session and after every false alarm to the toilet, I’d get back into bed and I’d be at an angle. I’d have to shuffle so I  was straight and more often than not I’d have to try to slide myself up the bed using my limbs which didn’t work properly at the time. Sometimes I’d just quit and be like ‘you guys are on your own right now, you shift me’.

My daughter came to visit me one time and I mimed round and round the garden like a teddy bear on her whilst my other sister said the words, hoping it would remind her of the relationship we once had. She wasn’t having any of it so I stopped and told my sister that was enough. They hung around for a few hours and as usual that was great. My daughter was very well behaved on most days and  the nurses absolutely adored her.

Pretty soon, I was told I was getting a wheelchair. I imagined a regular wheelchair but this one was a little funkier, comfy and had a neck and head support like Professor Stephan Hawkins’ one minus all his other gadgets. They started me off slowly. I had to sit in the chair (I make it sound so sinister) for an hour a day. ‘Easy’, I thought. The first day I did almost two hours and then the nurses made sure it was just an hour after that but pretty soon it was getting exhausting.  It wasn’t a matter of just sitting in a chair and that was it. I had to concentrate and put effort into sitting up. I’d have to actively think and try to engage the muscles in my core and force myself to sit straight. I couldn’t slump or relax, I had to pay attention to my posture and position. The moment I stopped concentrating, I would flop to the left but this never happened, I’m pleased to say. Unless I was demonstrating it to my family.

So how was I able to get from bed to chair I hear you ask. It was an amazing piece of equipment called a rotastand. Okay, it’s not that amazing and I only ever used it when I was in the Royal London hospital, but me and that thing were close! I truly believe having to lift myself on it engaged my core which helped strengthen my muscles and made sitting easier. Particularly on the day when I  had nine trips to the toilet and six of those were false alarms. Woohoo for the three that weren’t! I also had an Occupational Therapist who gave me my first test and established I only had to work on my higher level thinking so I made that hour in my chair fly by whilst doing sudokus, wordsearches and crosswords. I quite like crosswords now and the metro puzzle page was my best friend on weekday mornings at breakfast in rehab.

When my daughter first saw me sat in a chair she was less anxious around me, she was taking her healthy baby snacks from me and talking a little. She seemed less frightened of me. I was in awe of her when she was walking. I was, and am, so grateful. Occasionally, I’d cry tears of joy, thanking God that my child was okay. She was and still is, my most prized possession. I was so happy when I saw her each day. The pain was always there but my heart was filled with an abundance of joy and gratitude. I had to be patient, very patient. This was a long road (even longer than I initially thought). It was as if seeing me sat in a chair was one step closer to ‘normal’. My family were amazing at making me feel normal and really made me feel so proud of myself for being able to sit. They too, were very proud of me and happy because I could have died several times, I could have been paralysed but Thank God for His endless mercy, He made me able to progress, kept me safe and in good health. My memory was intact as was my intelligence, ability to understand and more.

There was one day where I felt nasty… you have bed baths and sadly that doesn’t include washing the hair. I asked when I could wash my hair. Turns out the nurses had to check with my doctors because the stitches, or rather, staples from my craniotomy were still in my head and that’s my biggest scar. First we had to establish if they could be removed and then when I could have my hair washed. Taking the staples out was painful and the sound was disgusting. I remember thinking surely being stapled couldn’t have hurt that much because I don’t remember that pain but cutting them out with clippers was loud painful and it was grazing my head. A while in I told the nurse to stop, she just finished throwing everything  away and told me she was nearly finished when I bucked up the courage to endure the pain. As soon as she was done clearing up I told her she could carry on. What can I say, I’ve always had terrible timing, ha.

One day, towards the end of my stay there, one nurse insisted on giving me an actual shower, up until now I had been told I was allowed to because of my trachiostomy, the tube and being hooked up to oxygen. This lovely nurse said she’d put a towel around my neck and my first shower in five weeks felt like the ultimate spa treatment. I felt amazing, I felt so clean and refreshed. That first shower was just days after Eid and I was slightly gutted I wasn’t squeaky clean in time for Eid and also gutted i missed Eid prayer in the park. Anyway, everytime I transferred from the bed to my chair it took one or two nurses, a whole bunch of unhooking and hooking me back up once I was settled into the chair. I even had to make sure my external bladder was with me at all times. I’ll never forget the day my physiotherapist hooked it onto his pocket and was so casual about it. He hooked a pee bag to his trousers. Gross. Even if it was mine. Still gross. But they’re used to it I suppose.

I remember being so proud of myself for getting out of bed. That rotastand was my best friend. It’s so sad. I saw a rotastand in rehab about a month or two after getting there, is it sad that I got excited?!

Everyday after seeing my daughter in the Royal London was progress for me. Seeing her motivated me and it gave me something to work towards. My recovery was getting faster, I was constantly laughing, joking and sometimes, up to no good.

I had always wanted to homeschool my daughter, being a teacher made me quite snobbish about schools and I frowned upon them. I didn’t know how long I’d be in that state, I didn’t know if If’d ever be remotely like my old self, i didn’t know if I could teach again. So I made plan, I told myself if I have no choice then I’ll put my daughter into school, reluctantly. She wasn’t attending playschool or toddler sessions yet, I was just looking into them before my stroke. I had to wait until she was a little more sociable and comfortable playing in the park because for me, that was a good indicator for how she’d be interacting when it comes to other children.

I wrote a note to my family telling them to enquire about a preschool near us that I mostly approved of. My family initially though I didn’t know my daughter’s age but I explained there was a waiting list and I need to apply just in case I wasn’t able to do what I planned. My daughter’s happiness was everything to me. Seeing my parents happy and grateful I was alive was everything to me. My dad is one of those soft and quiet guys, he is rather panicky if anything happened to his loved ones, especially his children and I’m the youngest in my family. I remember being very concerned about my dad and how he was feeling. I made sure he was always happy, smiling and okay. At the time he was in charge of looking after my daughter whilst I was in hospital since I was with my family when it all happened. I wrote a note for him on one occasion, “Always be happy and always smile for (daughter)”, it read. I folded it and stuck it in his pocket. No matter what happened to me I wanted to make sure my daughter was surrounded by love, laughter and happiness. This particular event happened before I found out my dad did CPR on me and was the first person to actually save my life, by God’s Will, of course.

As mentioned in my previous post, despite being through the worst of it all and surviving, my coughing would cause such bad headaches and being suctioned numerous times a day would cause so much pain I would turn beetroot red and felt like I might die on two particular occasions.

My family had continuously told m how brave and strong I was to endure what I had. Sever times my family wouldn’t complain of their pains or ailments because it was no comparison to what I had endured. Now though I can say this. My family were grieving, for the first three weeks of me being in hospital they were the strong ones, they had to be brave, my dad got so choked up about it he didn’t really talk to others for a good week or so. One of my sisters was ready to prepare for my funeral, another one was ready to raise my child the way I would have wanted. My family consistently showed patience and perseverance during that time. They had each other and their belief and faith in God. They prayed so hard and a close and strong family became even closer and even stronger. During that time I was just me. I did nothing. In fact, I pretty much slept through the whole thing so I didn’t have to be strong or brave, everything was being done to me without my knowledge so I just lay down and chilled. The time when I had to be strong, in my opinion is when I went to rehab from September 13th onward. That’s when I was grieving, not that I had lost anything but I had to come to terms with what had happened to me and how to go about getting through the next stage and not giving up. Truly, God is great, if I didn’t have my baby girl, I don’t know if I’d have been as motivated or determined as I was.

I now know and say, my daughter is my kryptonite. She is my one true weakness. She can break me. Yet she also has the ability to build me up again… Kids are great. They are a blessing and a gift from The Almighty ❤

Parenting After Brain Injury Part 1

18 Dec

As mentioned in my previous post, in the years that I’ve been away from blogging, I got married and had a child. Alongside my full time job of teaching primary, baking wedding cakes part time, I was a mother to the most amazing little girl (I know we all say that but it’s true) she made me so happy in every way and she was breastfed so we had a very tight and close relationship. She was skeptical of new people, just like her mama. Being my first child, I wasn’t one of those worry wart mamas because I had plenty of experience with my many nieces and nephews. Motherhood came easily to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d share news of her first tooth, second, third, fourth and so on, when she crawled, learnt to walk and just about everything on facebook. I felt gutted when she was teething one time and I didn’t notice. My poor baby was playing up and I couldn’t figure out why. We were extremely close, went to the park, crawled through our first tunnel together and went down slides (well she did, I watched and cheered her on). Mama got very tired lifting her up because she could only crawl up steps at that point and park steps were not brilliant. Mama was hoping she would be multilingual so she was learning Arabic. At age 15 months, that’s when my madam’s life changed. Her mama put her into bed and then suddenly she was gone. Madam woke up confused and silent in my sister’s bed the following morning. They were both awake and the feeling of trepidition hung over them. Someone had to stay with my baby girl whilst my parents were with me in hospital as well as some of my siblings, their husbands and the older children. At this point I had a head drain and was on life support due to not being able to breathe on my own and having a partially collapsed lung. My family are simply the best, someone was by my side consistently for the entire four and a half months and in the early days, overnight too, calling whilst I was in critical care, taking it in turns to pray over me, play Qur’aanic recitation and play audios of my daughter. It’s true what they say, people in comas can hear so talk to them and make it count.

There were times when I was highly sedated and agitated, failing to calm me down, the doctors and nurses let my sisters into calm me down and only these audios and sounds would help me. I distinctly remember hearing Qur’aan and my sister say “Focus on the words” whilst the other played audios of my daughter. This resulted in a strange dream where my entire family were there and it focused on my sisters’ and mine role as a mother to our daughters and everyone in the dream being worried about my daughter because she was the youngest of the granddaughters. It makes sense to me now but even at the time it was an extremely emotional and touching dream (it was a you-had-to-be-there kinda thing).

As I previously mentioned, my daughter was the last thing I was thinking about and when I woke up properly, my first memory was the two lovely, chirpy and giggly physiotherapists asking me to sit on the edge of my bed. I didn’t know at the time but as soon as I had woken up I was able to communicate by writing to my family. I was telling them everything and asking questions.  Apparently one of the first things I did when I came to, post coma was ask for my daughter. My signal was doing to pigtails on my head with my hands and somewhere along the lines, in my dreams(?) I remember saying “Bring (daughter) to me she can make me better.”, the spookiest thing about that is  my sister quoted those exact same words to me. So did I dream them, write them or say them?? Either way, you get the point. That girl means the world to me and she was always in my thoughts.

I have been shown sheets of paper with my scribblings on them, me asking for my daughter and underlining her name thrice (indicates importance to me). Anyway, after leaving ITU, I was on the neurophysio ward and maybe a week later… I felt ready, I wanted to see my baby girl, to hold her, hug her and kiss her despite being bed ridden and really only being able to use my right arm and hand to write. I was in bed, had a catheter, cannulas, a nasogastic (NG) tube feeding me via my nose and going directly to my stomach, I had a tube coming out of my neck from the tracheostomy hooking me up to oxygen and about half my head was shaved in a couple of places. I was in a gown and in an unfamiliar place whilst looking extremely unfamiliar. The day had arrived, in walked my baby girl holding my eldest sister’s hand with back up in the form of my eldest nephew to help keep my daughter calm, hot on her heels. My sister picked up my daughter and showed her mama. She said it, she called me mama, she knew who I was, this was easy! But oh no, it was far from easy…

My daughter was clinging for dear life on to my sister screaming her head off like she was pleading not to go to this strange being in bed who she knew she recognised clearly. I kissed my hand and placed it on her cheek, that was the closest to a kiss I got. It hurt. It hurt so bad. I cared about her whilst I was in pain and agony and having a stroke, I dreamt of her in my coma and when sedated. I cared for her and loved her so much and that was the affection I got in return. I was already hurting physically, coughing up secretions hurt my head and being suctioned directly from my neck by nurses made me turn beetroot red as my family described and it felt as if someoene was tearing my soul from me but my body was physically fighting to stay on the bed. Twice I wrote “Please don’t let me die”, once i was through the worst of it. On top of all that physical pain, I was struck with this emotional grief. My daughter didn’t like me anymore. Forget loving me, she didn’t even like me. But I had to muster the strength, courage and bravery from somewhere. After surgery I had a smile plastered to my face and I maintained this smile. I had to be strong for her, I had to be normal for her. I put my feelings aside and just played the typical Mama role, I asked if she was brushing her teeth yet, she was 16 months old by this time. I pretended to not be affected by her reaction, put it aside and did what I knew best; be a pestering mother!

Seriously, the doctors who saved my life and the nurses and therapists who looked after me whilst I was at The Royal London hospital have mine and my family’s eternal gratitude. I can’t wait to go back and visit them. Despite the threat to their lives I was a top patient (their words, not mine!)

25508129_10156027930138223_1277945532128337768_n

“What really happened?”

25395796_10156027930023223_7474820159848170782_n

“Why is it not safe?” – Something about risks before/after my final surgery. I was eavesdropping on a conversation between the doctor and my family. He then spoke to me directly but that was a waste of time because I don’t remember a thing, ha.

25395808_10156027930443223_4463561362861925570_n

“Sajdah ash shukr” – prostrate to God and give thanks – clearly I was happy ❤

25442778_10156027930368223_8650425877479908635_n

*shrug* But I was apparently frustrated when nobody could understand this.

25396111_10156027931193223_946361129761396537_n

From another angle it reads “FTake the tube out”

25399059_10156027930583223_1284700073842721972_n

“Where are my family? Tell them” This may have been when I was being moved or taken to surgery. I don’t know.

25396049_10156027930538223_7625872405351522071_n

“Soooooooo good. Badass” – describing my doctors LOL – this was also based on what I was dreaming about and later…. I was actually trying to kill doctors by strangling them and grabbing their lanyards… haha, oh dear… My Mum was saying I was offering to bake them cakes one moment and trying to kill them the next, it  was funny at the time, if you weren’t a doctor treating me

25446448_10156027929853223_7455066437683589848_n

Asking for my daughter and where she is. I was too out of it to remember the answer or who I asked or writing this.

My Stroke Story

17 Dec

So here goes, my stroke story and all the questions answered about what happened that day and the days that followed. The only time I’ve had to talk about it was with medical students, doctors, therapists and patients in rehab and then of course with my friends. The dates I didn’t know until my family had told me…

Late on July 31st 2017 I had a migraine and I decided to sleep it off with a nap. My then, 15 month old daughter should have been asleep by then, and I guess, I’m incredibly grateful she was still awake. Apparently my head was hurting so bad  I asked my eldest sister to deal with her (I was thankfully at  my parents’ home) because I didn’t have it in me. After waking up from my nap, I chilled and watched the food network ( I don’t remember this) and then took my daughter up to bed. Tucked her in and got myself ready for bed (at this point it was gone midnight and we were now on August 1st). I suddenly felt my migraine come back with a vengeance, it was showing no mercy and I just couldn’t cope. Something was wrong, I knew it. No migraine cool strip, painkiller or cup of tea was going to touch this pain. I knew I needed help. I went straight down to my parents’ bedroom and started banging on the door “Help me, help me!” I pleaded. They opened the door, I told them I had a really bad migraine and they had to call an ambulance immediately. They were both abruptly awoken from sleep and naturally moving slowly (it feels a lot slower when you feel like you’re dying of pain!) They lay me down on their bed (good move), the lights went on and I yelled something along the lines of “Why would you do that??!” I was clearly photosensitive by now. As I lay on the bed I kept telling my parents to call an ambulance and I was getting frustrated that it felt like things were going so slowly and my pain and symptoms were progressing too fast. My neck was stiff and my shoulders hurt, I felt like I was going to throw up, I lost patience with the pain and waiting for someone to call the ambulance. I grabbed the bedside phone and diallled 999 myself. “Ambulance!” I demanded and then gave my name and address (I think) I then handed the phone back to my Dad because I couldn’t speak anymore. Without much notice, out the vomit came, some in the bin and loads all over the bed and floor. I apologised for making a mess and felt a warm trickle of blood on the surface of my brain. I knew it was blood but nothing else clicked. and that was my last memory. My parents and family have filled me in on the unclear bits. Apparently I was muttering a prayer which my Mum could just about make out. It was the du’aa for forgiveness and one which all Muslims should recite every morning and evening. I also apparently asked my parents for forgiveness and then I passed out. My Dad had to follow the emergency service’s instructions to give me CPR (Go Dad! Super proud of you!!) I was only taking one breath for every six I should have been taking.  I can only think I must have thought I was dying but all I remember thinking was my baby girl is upstairs and someone should go to her (I was expecting her to come out the bedroom and follow me as she normally would if I left her) I also remember putting her into my bed in case she woke during the night and needed me. I figured if I was ill it would be made easier for me. My next memory was being asked by two physiotherapists to sit on the edge of the bed.

Now, I wasn’t alarmed waking up in hospital because I could hear things throughout and I was having some very bizarre dreams. By the time I reached this point I had three brain surgeries (including open brain surgery or a craniotomy). The  first procedure was on August 1st, a drain was inserted into my head to drain the blood from the cerebrofluid. Around this point I was put into a medically induced coma, intubated and all the rest of it. I was also unable to breathe independantly  due to a partially collapsed lung. I needed to be aspirated due to swallowing/choking on some vomit and it entering my lungs. I was in a coma for approximately 4/5 days and on life support before being slowly weaned off 100% oxygen. On August 8th, an embolisation was done but it failed (the weirdest thing about this was I knew because I heard the doctors say this and I relayed the message to my family (who were already informed by this point but couldn’t understand how I knew. I do remember writing “they screwed up” and that a doctor told me??) this procedure actually made me bleed more Finally, on August 9th I had the craniotomy just behind my left ear. The scar is huge but thankfully hidden by my hair! I didn’t know I had a stroke until my physiotherapist on the neurophysio ward told me. This was probably around August 20th – 25th I’m guessing. He didn’t sugar coat it either but then again I assume he thought I knew already. He just told me that the part of the brain where my stroke happened was responsible for movement and balance. Yes you science nerds have guessed it. It was on my cerebellum. I didn’t freak out hearing this because what I felt on my brain before passing out now made sense. My parents were naturally trying to protect me so down played it when I asked them. I say asked but I was actually writing everything at this point because I had a tracheostomy and thus had a tube coming out of my neck and I was hooked up to some oxygen this was finally removed on September 6th which was the day I could talk and eat again (I also had an ENT doctor or two examine me via my nose and neck using a fibre optic camera to try and figure out why I hadn’t been able to make any sounds since I was on ITU. My speech and language therapist discovered this and I eventually discoverd – by hearing the first ENT Dr who examined me, ask for a second opinion from the registrar because he thought my left vocal cords were paralysed – and they were. It turns out it was possible for me to speak because my right vocal cords were compensating. They told me about the AVM (arterivenous malformation) and how it was basically a tangle of veins and arteries on the surface of my brain which ruptured. I then asked for one of my sisters to come and explain it all to me. In fact, almost 5 months on and I’m still asking my family about what happened in the time that I was unconscious. It turns out AVMs are congential (you’re born with this rare condition) and it’s not hereditary (I asked how I can be sure my daughter doesn’t have it and if I could and should have her screened). For now, madam is doing just fine, thank God and I may give screening a thought when she’s older. My AVM was the primary issue which led to a secondary subarachnoid hemorrhage (the actual stroke). My sister also told me they found two other bleeds on my brain which didn’t surprise me and now I can talk I can explain why – I felt them a few days prior to the main event.

I should also admit that when I was finally with it, I thought a year and a half had gone by and genuinely thought I was 30 years old. I only figured out the date and year by reading the date on the cannulas put into my forearm.  After I was decanulated (trachy tube out and able to speak, breathe and eat on my own and also catheter and nasogastric tube out the next day), I was shafted to my local hospital for a week where I waited to go to a specialised rehabilitation unit. I was in rehab for 3 months from September 13 to December 11th. I was finally able to walk unaided on Friday 20th October and my wheelchair was officially taken away! Although I practised walking with a frame and walking stick in PT sessions, I skipped these two stages in reality, I also impressed my physio by stretching my quadricepts whilst standing, apparently it was like a rehab patient first for him. If you haven’t noticed, I’m approaching my 2 month walkiversary (it’s a thing since 2 seconds ago).

My remaining stroke symptoms:
-Left 4th nerve palsy/ diplopia – temporarily corrected using prisms on my glasses – likely i’ll need surgery soon
-Cognitive fatigue (I didn’t know it was a thing until my rehab physio told me after
I turned up to my session tired immediately after a psychotherapist session which consisted of loads of mental tests)
-I’ve started to lose bits of my short term memory over the last 3 weeks
-I’ve got chunks of my memory missing in the couple of weeeks leading up to the stroke
-Numbness all on my right side with pins and needles and tingling
-Loss of sensastion and temperatures on my whole right side
-numb tongue (was 100% but slowly getting better currently last 1/4 numbness left
-Loss of some motor ability in my left arm/hand
-I walk funny
-Sometimes my left leg joins in and does silly things
-Peripheral nerve pain since the end of August (right side)
-A tracheostomy site which is overgranulated and not healing as fast as it should
-Some loss of hearing in right ear

My hand is starting to hurt and I’m getting tired so I’m gonna leave it here for now. Thanks for reading and well done for surviving that long. The stroke is mostly why I’m aiming to be the paleo woman I was a few years ago. Being in a bed and immobile for most of the time, combined with foods can make a person… out of shape and I need the strength, energy and fitness to be able to look after my baby girl, bake and maybe go back to teaching. I can’t remember if I stated it on my previous blogs but I’m a cake baker and decorator, I launched my own home business back in October 2011 – before I went paleo. Here’s a cake I made for my therapists, doctors and nurses at my rehab unit 2  weeks before I was discharged:

rehab cake collage

In case you hadn’t guessed the name of my  business is Crumblicious Delights. I specialise in wedding cakes so I gave the cake a wedding theme and included my date of admission to discharge in rehab on the bottom tier in Roman numerals and the name of the unit on the top tier RNRU (Regional Neurological Rehabilitation Unit). I know I’m paleo and bake unpaleo things but they’re not usually for me and remember I started baking before I went paleo. I have just set up an instagram account specifically for this blog, litera;ly just now @paleostrokesurvivor and Twitter is back up @GFSalafi

All praise is due to God I’m not paralysed at all and I’m alive! God is good! ❤

I cannot tolerate…

24 Dec

I’m doing that really important thing today calling “sorting out your life before you screw it up so badly you end up being mental all over again”
Long title but I think you get the point. Back in September I ate all sorts of junk to have this human MOT test done to see what I was intolerant to, what the problems were with my body, to check out my hormones and yadda, yadda, yadda. I found out I was intolerant to loads things. Due to my busy life style and can’t be botheredism I kinda fell over, my face met the floor and it was downhill since then. Not like the good ol’ days(!) so it’s all good. I can fix it if I fooooooocuuuuusssss…

The list totals up to about 50 things but obviously a few categories include several things so it means most, if not all staples are out the window.

So, my intolerance list in no particular order:

  1. Fructose – that’s fruit sugar in case you didn’t know
  2. Cheese – I eat the raw kind if I find it and it doesn’t smell or taste like feet (note: that doesn’t mean I’ve tasted feet before)
  3. Cow’s milk – I totally drink raw milk though!
  4. Gluten – This is summarised as the next three items of food
  5. Wheat
  6. Barley
  7. Rye
  8. Quinoa
  9. Spelt – I think?!
  10. Oats – apparently I should be able to stomach (nwithhout pun intended) some.  I’m happy without.
  11. Seafood – prawns
  12. Rapeseed oil
  13. black pepper, apparently.
  14. Nutmeg – we Muslims can’t consume it anyway
  15. Pork – So haraam even the test’s telling me to avoid it.
  16. E211 – aka sodium benzoate aka benzoic acid sodium salt
  17. E214 – aka Ethyl p-hydroxybenzoate
  18. E215 – aka Sodium ethyl p-hydroxybenzoate
  19. E216 – aka Propyl p-hydroxybenzoate
  20. E217 – aka Sodium propyl p-hydroxybenzoate
  21. E218 – aka Methyl p-hydroxybenzoate
  22. E219 – aka Sodium methyl p-hydroxybenzoate
  23. E220 – aka Sulphur dioxide a common preservative used in almost everything processed. Lovely.
  24. E621 – aka Monosodium Glutamate aka MSG which needs to be illegal and banned from the Earth.
  25. Yeast – all kinds as far as I’m aware but specifically brewer’s yeast.
  26. Soya – again, needs to be banned from Earth
  27. Brazil nuts – adjusted my raw fudge recipe for this. Still yummy though!
  28. Cashews
  29. Peanuts – really? Mind you, they are legumes which brings me on to…
  30. Legumes! – all of them, this includes…
  31. Lentils – all of them obviously
  32. Grapefruit – was never a fan
  33. Kiwi – a known allergy in my family.
  34. Hops
  35. Malt – as above really. No malteasers
  36. Corn – aka maize, refined maize starch and all those similar things. Includes popcorn
  37. Goat’s milk
  38. Rice – white, brown, ground, flour
  39. Allspice
  40. Tomatoes
  41. Flaxseeds/Linseeds
  42. Nori – aka Seaweek. Need to find out if that includes kelp noodles which did give me stomach aches… oops?
  43. Chia seeds
  44. Kelp
  45. Semolina -I was totally intoxicated after consuming halwa, an Indian dessert so that was obvious
  46. Agave – agave syrup is apparently bad for us anyway… more on that some other time
  47. Millet
  48. Hemp flour(?) but apparently I’m ok with hemp seeds so abstaining from all to be safe!
  49. Stupid people – Never tried eating one before so that’s good (the human MOT didn’t show this, I may have added that in myself

May Allaah have mercy on me and make this next stage in my life easy for me, aameen!

Remedies from the Sunnah Part 2

15 Dec

It’s finally here!! I do apologise from the bottom of my gluten free heart. I have been busy lately and also struggling with food.

So… Health and the Sunnah!

Ibn Qayyim said: After guidance the next blessing is our health.

We need to fulfil our duty with our health and being healthy is from the Sunnah.

We learn that for every disease there is a cure:

“…There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its remedy.” Bukhaari 7,582.

Thus, there is no such thing as an incurable disease (except old age).

We learn that eating healthily is from the Sunnah:

Four Aayaat relating to this in the Qur’aan:

  1. “O mankind, eat which is halaal and tayyib …” (Al-Baqarah, 2:168)Ibn kathir explains this as meaning that which doesn’t harm the body or harm your mind.
  2. “Eat from what Allah has provided you as halaal and tayyib, and fear Allah in whom you believe.” (Al-Maa’idah, 5:88)
  3. “So, eat of the spoils you have got, halaal and tayyib, and fear Allah. Surely, Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.” (Al-Anfaal, 8:69)
  4. “Eat from the good things (tayyibaat) We have provided to you, and do not exceed the limits in it, lest My wrath should descend on you…” (Taa-Haa, 20:81)

So now we have the commands how can we do this? Let’s take a look…

Importance of Breastfeeding:

There ate three Ayaat in the Qur’aan relating to this:

  1. “Mothers (should) suckle their children for two full years, for one who wants to complete the (period of) suckling…” (Al-Baqarah, 2:233)
  2. “We commanded man (to be good) in respect of his parents. His mother carried him (in her womb) despite weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years…” (Luqmaan, 31:14)
  3. “…His mother carried him with difficulty and delivered him with difficulty. And his carrying and his weaning is (in) thirty months*, …” (Fussilat, 41:15)

*here 30 months includes the minimum period of pregnancy, that is 6 months and the maximum period for suckling a child, that is 2 years. So 6 months plus 24 months is the full two years.

As we all know that breastfeeding an infant increases intelligence, immunity, decreases risks of diabetes, obesity, risks of infections, asthma, allergies etc.

However, what the World Health Organisations (WHO) and other similar organisations don’t tell you is that if you don’t breast feed your baby you are putting them at risk of exposing them to the above diseases. For instance not breastfeeding your baby and switching to bottle feeding increases the risk of diabetes and obesity. This message, when put this way is more alarming. (As a side note, have you seen how many formula milks contain soya amongst other rubbish? I had a look out of curiosity!)

Wean your child correctly:

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah said: “A child should be given only milk until their teeth appear, because their stomachs are weak and unable to digest food. When the baby’s teeth appear, his stomach has grown strong and is able to be nourish by food. Food should be introduced gradually.” Book: Tuhfat al-Mawdood bi Ahkaam al-Mawlood. 16th chapter.

Do not force feed them into eating when they are not ready. Instead wait another week and try again until they are interested in food.

With that I shall conclude and inshaaAllaah the next part which you won’t have to wait long for I hope, we will look at fasting and praying and the benefits of each briefly.

Seal Ramadhaan with Istighfaar!

6 Aug

Abu Hakeem أبو حكيم بلال

Bismillahi Wal Hamdullillah Was Salātu Was Salāmu ‘alaa Rasūlillahi

Ammā Ba’d:

With this the final day of the blessed month of Ramadhān, no doubt it grieves us to see it end with such quickness. And it the likes of this rapid movement of time that we witness that brings to mind the like of the statement of the Sahābi Al Jalīl Abdullah Ibn Mas’ūd – Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu who said:

I have not grieved over anything the way I grieve over a day that the sun sets, my determined period shortens, and I have not increased in my actions

But keep in mind constantly that the affairs are by ones final actions (as occurs in an authentic hadeeth), so let the end of this month of Ramadhān be with Istighfār (seeking forgiveness) from Allah and Taubah (repentance).

For certainly Istighfār is the seal of righteous actions.

Allah the most…

View original post 277 more words

‘Laa Haula wa laa quwwata illaa Billah!’

25 Jul

Abu Hakeem أبو حكيم بلال

Bismillahi wal Hamdullillah was Salaatu Was Salaamu ‘Alaa Rasoolillahi

Ammaa Ba’d:

Upon the authority of Abu Hurairah – Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu – who said: “The Messenger of Allah – Sallallahu Alaihi wa Salam said to me: “Say ‘Laa Haula Wa Laa Quwwataa Illaa Billaah’ (There is no might or power except with Allah) in abundance, for indeed it is from the treasures of Jannah

(Collected by Bukhaari (6952) and At Tirmidhi (3601) upon the authority of Abu Musaa Al Ash’aree -Radhiyallahu Anhu)

Meaning this is a treasure that will be preserved and rewarded to the servant in Jannah if he says it!

As far as its meaning is concerned then ‘Laa Haula’  meaning ‘Laa Tahweel’ which is to change from one affair to another. That is there is no ability to change and turn from disobediance and sin except with Allah. As for ‘Laa Quwwata’ then it literally means no power or…

View original post 909 more words

Six Occasions when du’aa is accepted

18 Jul
Taken from the audio “Six occasions when du’aa is accepted” by Abu Khadeejah Abdul Waahid. These are notes created from the audio which can be downloaded here.

Du’aa is an act of worship and you must fulfil 3 conditions:
1. That you have Tawheed and eemaan (Believing in Allaah and worshipping nothing but Him)
2. You are sincere in your act of worship
3. Your act of worship is in accordance to the sunnah

6 individuals whose du’aa is not accepted:

1) One whose earning are haraam.

This can be through dealing with interest, stealing, oppressing others and deception and the purchasing and selling of haraam food/drink such as pork, alcohol etc.
It even includes breaking a contract. For example, taking on a new job and saying you will stick to the contract but then later you go against the contract and still take the money from the job.

Abu Huraira (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam as saying: O people, Allaah is Good and He therefore, accepts only that which is good. And Allaah commanded the believers as He commanded the Messengers by saying:

“O (you) Messengers! Eat of the Taiyibaat [all kinds of Halaal (legal) foods which Allâh has made legal (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables, fruits, etc.], and do righteous deeds. Verily! I am Well-Acquainted with what you do. (Al-Mu’minun 23:51)

And He said:
“O you who believe (in the Oneness of Allaah – Islaamic Monotheism)! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with, and be grateful to Allâh, if it is indeed He Whom you worship. (Al-Baqarah 2:172)

He then made a mention of a person who travels widely, his hair dishevelled and covered with dust. He lifts his hand towards the sky (and thus makes the supplication): “O Lord, O Lord,” whereas his diet is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, and his clothes are unlawful and his nourishment is unlawful. How can then his supplication be accepted?

Saheeh Muslim, The Book of Obligatory Alms, No. 2214

It’s important at this stage to look at what you earn your money from and find out if it is halaal or not. Does it involve fitnah, dealing with the aforementioned things, does it promote evil things or encourage them, are you accepting and allowing something which breaks the laws of Islaam etc? (This is advice to myself first)

2) The one who asks Allaah for something haraam.

For example, asking Allaah to make sinning easy for you such as making it easy for you to steal something, or asking Allaah to make it easy for you to start slandering someone, perhaps by looking for a fault in someone and then using this fault to create a lie against them.

3) The one who abandons enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.

This is an obligation upon all Muslims, to encourage good and forbid evil.
The Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam said: “Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hand; if he is unable to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is unable to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest form of Faith”.
(Muslim)

Hudhaifah (May Allah bepleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “By Him in Whose Hand my life is, you either enjoin good and forbid evil, or Allah will certainly soon send His punishment to you. Then you will make supplication and it will not be accepted”.
(At-Tirmidhi)

4) The one who implements exaggeration.

For example, one who creates acts of bid’ah in their du’aa such as screaming, wailing and shouting so they can be heard by other. Or do not be from those people who take part in congregational du’aas as this goes against the Sunnah. Note that this is in reference to those groups of people who sit and make dhikr in unison.

Allaah says in the Qur’aan:
Invoke your Lord with humility and in secret. He likes not the aggressors.
(Al-A’raf 7:55)

Also, don’t call upon anything or anyone other than Allaah for it is Shirk! And Shirk will invalidate your du’aa.

5) The one who is heedless in his du’aa or inattentive.

Under this category we have the people who turn away from the Deen (Islaam) and neglect the obligatory actions that Allaah has commanded us to do such as praying. Thus a person is disobedient to Allaah. Yet this person who does not thank Allaah in times of ease yet when he is going through hardship he will happily cry out to his Lord seeking His help.

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam said:
“Whoever is pleased that Allaah answers him in times of hardship and grief then he should supplicate to Allaah plentifully in times of ease.” (At-Tirmidhi)

“Remember Allaah during times of ease and He will remember you during times of difficulty” (At-Tirmidhi)

When we supplicate to Allaah there is no waiting list or queue, Allaah hears our du’aas and it is a direct link between us and our Lord. We shouldn’t ask “How will I know if Allaah will listen?” because this is from the people who show inattentiveness.

6) The one who contradicts the sharee’ah rulings.

Under this category are three types of people:
i) the one who remains silent about his evil wife and refuses to divorce her
ii) the one who lends money to somoene without witnesses
iii) the one who gives money to a foolish person

(Recorded by Al-Haakim and Imaam Dhahaabi authenticates it)

Furthermore, Allaah says:
And give not unto the foolish your property which Allaah has made a means of support for you, but feed and clothe them therewith, and speak to them words of kindness and justice. (An-Nisa 4:5)

So, before we seek to call upon and ask Allaah for favours and if we wonder why our du’aas are not being answered we must look towards ourselves and we need to make sure that we do not fall into any of these six categories. And Allaah knows best.

Finally, from some of the etiquettes for making du’aa, one should seize the opportunity of time, situation and circumstance in which prayers are answered or more likely to be answered:

1. Between adhaan and iqaamah
2. At the time of rainfall (or the person who is in the rain)
3. During the last third of the night
4. An hour on Jumu’ah – the last hour after ‘Asr
5. Whilst travelling
– father aginast his son
– traveller
– the one who is oppressed
6. Night of Decree – Laylatul Qadr

Therefore, if a person avoids falling into the first six categories and they make du’aa during the times where the du’aa is more likely to be accepted then there is more of a chance of their du’aa to be accepted.
May Allaah keep us firm upon the Qur’aan and Sunnah, grant us sincerity in all our (good) actions and protect us from any bid’ah (innovations in the religion) aameen

Remedies from the Sunnah Part 1

15 Jul

Bismillaahi walhamdullillaah Wassalaatu Wassalaamu ‘Alaa Rasoolillaahi, Ammaa Ba’d:

Yesterday I attended a workshop run by our beloved sister Umm Sara who runs the website Health means Wealth. The workshop consisted of cures for diseases as mentioned in the Qur’aan and Sunnah as well as scientific research and evidence from many health experts around the world and authors of numerous books. We touched upon ways to detox the body, in fact this took up quite a large part of the workshop from what I can recall, and the essentials needed for life. We also learnt about personal hygiene (for women) and children. In this post I aim to write up all my notes and share with you all the benefits the attendees took from this workshop. There is a lot to mention and some things like detoxes may require their own posts. Over the next week or so everything should be blogged and there will of course be several parts detailing this workshop. May Allaah bless it, all those who were responsible in making it possible, the attendees and those who will benefit from the notes.

We began the workshop by renewing our intentions. It is important to have the correct intention with anything we do. Likewise, we should have the correct intention when we seek to improve our health. For example, we should have the intention to have good health in order to improve our acts of worship.

When we carry out actions we should ensure that they are according to the Qur’aan and Sunnah. The prophet ﷺ said his actions approved of the importance of tawheed (worshipping Allaah alone and attributing no partners with Him) and staying away from bid’ah (innovations) and shirk (polytheism or attributing partners in worship alongside Allaah).

Furthermore, we should look to follow the companions in all that we do as we know from an authentic hadeeth that the Prophet ﷺ said that the best of his people are his companions, those who came after them and those who came after them. Thus the first three generations of Muslims are the ones who we should strive to follow as they are good examples for us.

Evidence for this is when Allaah says:

So if they believe in the like of that which you believe, then they are rightly guided, but if they turn away, then they are only in opposition. So Allâh will suffice you against them. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. (Al-Baqarah 2:137)

and

And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination. (An-Nisa 4:115)

It is essential to have good manners and having the correct belief in Allaah. When it comes to seeking remedies and cures, people fall into two errors:

1) They say they will make du’aa and not take any remedies, as Allaah is the curer.
We know that this is wrong as it opposes the sunnah which states we should do both. That is, to take a medicinal cure and to make du’aa

2) The people say the cure came from a remedy only and this is shirk. We take a medicine and with Allaah’s Will we are cured as Allaah has control and power of all things and nothing will happen except that He wills it to happen. If He willed, a medicine could also not cure somebody.

We know that Allaah is the Curer and the proof:

“And when I am ill, it is He who cures me; (Ash-Shu’ara 26:80)

We learn that du’aa is an act of worship. As Muslims we should have firm faith that the entire Qur’aan is a cure. We know that every remedy is made more powerful by adding to it the recitation of Qur’aan.

There are four main ways of how we should use the Qur’aan as a cure and they are as follows:
1. To place your hand over the area of pain or on the head and to recite the verses
2. Spittling into water (for drinking regularly) or olive oil (used for magic as stated by sheikh ‘Ubayd Al-Jaabiree – this was something discussed later in the workshop but I have added it here for your benefit inshaaAllaah)
3. Reciting and spittling over something
4. Recite, spittle into hands and wipe hands over as much of the head and hands as possible.

There are authentic narrations where specific ayahs and surahs are mentioned and favoured when it comes to performing ruqya, even though the whole Qur’aan is a cure. The specific aayahs are:
1. Recite Surah al-Faatiha seven times
2. Surah Baqarah is used against magic
3. Ayatul Kursi
4. The last two aayahs of Surah Baqarah
5. The last three surahs of the Qur’aan (Al-Ikhlaas, Al-Falaq and An-Naas)

An important hadeeth about performing ruqya concerning 70,000 people who will enter Heaven without reckoning as mentioned in Saheeh al Bukhaaree, Volume 7, Book 71, Number 606: Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:

Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Nations were displayed before me; one or two prophets would pass by along with a few followers. A prophet would pass by accompanied by nobody. Then a big crowd of people passed in front of me and I asked, Who are they Are they my followers?” It was said, ‘No. It is Moses and his followers It was said to me, ‘Look at the horizon.” Behold! There was a multitude of people filling the horizon. Then it was said to me, ‘Look there and there about the stretching sky! Behold! There was a multitude filling the horizon,’ It was said to me, ‘This is your nation out of whom seventy thousand shall enter Paradise without reckoning.’ “Then the Prophet entered his house without telling his companions who they (the 70,000) were. So the people started talking about the issue and said, “It is we who have believed in Allah and followed His Apostle; therefore those people are either ourselves or our children who are born m the Islamic era, for we were born in the Pre-lslamic Period of Ignorance.” When the Prophet heard of that, he came out and said. “Those people are those who do not treat themselves with Ruqya, nor do they believe in bad or good omen (from birds etc.) nor do they get themselves branded (Cauterized). but they put their trust (only) in their Lord ” On that ‘Ukasha bin Muhsin said. “Am I one of them, O Allah’s Apostle?’ The Prophet said, “Yes.” Then another person got up and said, “Am I one of them?” The Prophet said, ‘Ukasha has anticipated you.”

It refers to the one who asked for ruqya to be done on them, but if you have tried to do it yourself but if, for example, magic overcomes you then going to a rakki (one who performs ruqya) then it is ok, as long as you tried and you don’t go for every small illness rushing to a rakki or if someone performed it on you due to you being ill this is a form of du’aa then this does not remove you from the 70,000 as explained by Sheikh ‘Ubay Al-Jaabiree and Allaah knows best.