Archetypes, the female patient – Azah, a muslim student

The concept of an archetype is that there is a standard and recurring depiction in the human condition, in this case, the female patient. In the practice of gynecology there are recurring themes. There are patient types. While there is variety, it is the commonality that allows a provider to find a common solution.
I see this in women’s ages. There are unique situations that arise at certain ages much like Piaget’s developmental stages. I also see this in personality types and chief complaints. I am intrigued by this. I believe that in hearing other women’s stories, many women can find their solutions. I am going to experiment by telling stories to see what response I get from my readers.
Azah is a woman that came from the United Arab Emigrates to a small town in Oregon. She came to study. She is the eldest
female of a traditional Muslim family. She has two sisters. She loves her family and hopes to come back to her country
some day with her education to improve conditions in her home country. On arrival to her new small USA town of residence she finds an apartment and adapts quickly to the academic environment. She is a good student, studying engineering. There is not orientation to American culture. Women are free to wear whatever they want and they go out alone at night. They are alone with men. They assert themselves as freely as the men. The cultural G forces are palpable to Azah. Did her family fail to prepare her? Did the University overlook the need for an orientation? She is not prepared for so much cultural change and is defenseless to it. She falls in love with a mideastern man named Tahir from Oman. He is handsome, bright, gentle and loving.
He respects her as an equal. They become lovers. The time comes when it is time to return to her country. She is fraught with torment around her love for Tahir and her love for her family and country. She has promised her beloved family that she will return and lives in fear that they will discover her loss of her virginity to her beloved Tahir. She fears for her life, knowing that honor killings occur in her country. She is afraid to confide to her family about Tahir and her life in America.
She elects to prepare to return home by having surgical correction of her hymen to regain her ‘power’ and to protect her life. She secretly, with Tahir’s blessing, undergoes surgery and pays cash. She returns home not knowing if she will ever see Tahir again. She hopes someday they will marry but she needs to be prepared for the demands of her parents to marry the man of their choosing. She does not want to take away the option for an American education for her siblings. Azah returns to UAE to confide in her mother her hearts desire. The outcome, uncertain. Tahir plans to return to Oman and wait to hear from her. He is uncertain whether to share his heart with his parents. The loneliness of their experience is profound and so sad.
We are failing these young people when they land in America. We need to empower and prepare these men and women to follow a path that allows them to enjoy their experience and be true to themselves. Information is power. Azah is my archetype.

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