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made it easy for me and I found the
running to and fro quite fun! One
time, the consultant surgeon asked
me to assist in the operation by
holding a retractor which is a piece
of equipment that holds the skin
tight once they have cut the abdo-
men open to do the operation. It got
to Maghrib and I was still holding the
retractor and thinking, "OK what do
I say and how do I put it? I mean I
need to go break my fast and pray
but not so sure that the consultant
is going to appreciate this during
mid operation". Alhamdulillah he
started to close up and I managed to
ask whether I could excuse myself
to break my fast. The surgeon
looked surprised but I guess he
thought he better let me go in case I
pass out!!! The next day he asked
what the urgency was with having to
go at a precise time. I don't remem-
ber exactly what I said but I got the
impression he left the conversation
thinking that after fasting for 12
hours I would be desperate to eat as
soon as the fast was over!

Fasting as a fully fledged doctor is
slightly different. As a medical stu-
dent, your hours are pretty much 9
to 5, unless the team you are at-
tached to want you to stay later if
they are on-call. However as a doc-
tor your hours are longer, you do
the long shifts, nights, twilight shifts
etc. My first Ramadan as a doctor, I
remember wondering what it would
be like to break my fast at work. I
was so used to breaking my fast at
home or even in the prayer room at
university with lots of people
around. This would be the first time
that I would be at work, alone and
have to break my fast mid shift and
then carry on for another few hours
until 8.30 or 9 pm when my shift
ended. I used to go prepared with
my packed "iftar" box and Subha-
nallah the time passes so quickly
that there is no time to sit and wait
for iftar. You find Maghrib has crept
up on you without you even noticing.