Sunset over the Galata Tower, Istanbul, Turkey

The evening sets on an amazing twenty-four hours in Uskudar…

I am not a smoker but I got a brief peek into the lives of those who survive the other devastations caused by smoking but develop chronic hypoxia and COPD…………

It is night and my ability to breath and cough is progressively interfering with each other. I have taken all the possible medications both allopathic and the nurturing ones with honey, ginger, cloves and elaichi.  I am tired of being tired so I take my last inhalation treatment of the day………and crash into bed.

Exhaustion wins over the vehement coughing though somewhere in the back ground of my subconscious I hear the hacking cough which I seem to be participating in. That’s odd I think, it just doesn’t stop……

…And then as I lie down, I feel my lungs are full and no more air is squeaking by or very little, I feel myself tossing and turning and stealthily, the feeling surfaces…it is an odd unusual unnamed feeling that you will never have with anything else.

 It is a low level of anxiety, and restlessness, which is rising slowly and steadily……

Much like what a person who is being water boarded would feels as the level of water rises inexorably till eventually one will no longer be able to breathe……. It is the moment before that that mimic what I am beginning to feel……..

Somewhere from my textbooks in my third year medical rotation on what we called “the cigarette ward” as it was filled with dying smokers, the definition of early hypoxia kicks in.

“ The patients feels a sense of gradual but rising panic, restlessness or anxiousness with slow onset hypoxia, unlike cardiac ischemia which is……………..” and it goes on.

I sit up; my head is starting to hurt.

An image of a book on my bedside table at home across the Atlantic flashes across my eyes :………”the spiritual cure”. I sit at the edge of the bed and recite surah Fatiha, and go to the living room to take an additional dose of the bronchodilator.

I then mentally turn it over to the Divine; there is nothing more I can do. I have used up all the means. It’s in His lap now and He will do as He deems fit and nothing I do is going to change it.


 I look out at the Bosphorus, its waters are still, the Blue mosque is lit, as is the Aya Sophia and the never sleeping Galata bridge, It is a truly timelessly beautiful scene.  Fleetingly I think of tahajjud. It is 3 am in Uskudar and everyone is asleep.

He (Subhanawataala) will decide what will happen and He will also provide resources if I need them, because I have exhausted what I know to do.  I return to bed, my body exhausted from many nights of restless sleep………..

As I drift away into sleep somewhere my mind clicks into the medical mode and says “that is what hypoxia feels like…” and with that thought I feel my chest loosen, the anxious restless feeling fade and I drift into a light sleep punctuated with coughing…

Next morning help comes on the chariots of love, caring, compassion adorned with the action flowers of medical resources.

My Suhbha sisters truly become bonded with blood and become a true kardeslik. The care of the neighbors, and the compassion of the Turkish doctors flows to me, with house calls, mothers day flowers in advance, visitations, and a discussion of the Turkish medical system with a young doctor, an examination by experienced hands which speak volumes of examining hundreds of people like me, being driven around by the young Turkish lady doctor to find a pharmacy that may be open on the weekend to find what I have been prescribed………. An amazing experience beyond words. I am speechless.


Curbside flowers for sale for Mothers Day, Uskudar

I return to my apartment and stand rooted at the entrance, overcome with gratitude……… At the door is a bottle of ZamZam with a note with duas of healing

How can you not love Turkey and the Suhbha?

Are there enough words to thank the Sheikh and Sidi Moutesem for bringing us to Turkey where hearts are transformed……… by example?


POSTSCRIPT: Alhamdollilah I am feeling much better:) Thank you to all who helped and continue to help from closeup and far and wide.


Merriam Webster defines hypoxia as: a deficiency of oxygen reaching the tissues of the body

Early signs of hypoxia are anxiety, confusion, and restlessness


Sunlit Bosphorus, after Dhuhr

WRITING RENDEVOUS: This article was written on the balcony facing the Bosphorus to the strains of Andrea Bocelli



8 thoughts on “WHAT IS HYPOXIA?………….

  1. Pingback: A CLOSE CALL……………….. | Siraat-e-Mustaqeem

  2. Asma dear, so grateful to The Ash-Shafee, who gave you shifa. May you stay blessed with love, health, sacred knowledge & its inculcation leading to a “qalbun saleem”. Missed you at The Pearls conference here.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love your musings… this one though was different… more intense… I felt your breathlessness and panic…I experience occasional bouts of anxiety and you have captured that precise feeling with your words… ultimately… the trick is to hand it over to Allah … 💝

    Liked by 1 person

    • JazaikAllah hu Khairan for reading and commenting. Thank you! I wanted to share something that chronic smokers live with daily and it breaks my heart to see so many young people smoking in Turkey.
      I am glad He Subhanawataala brought me out of it🌹


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