Showing posts from 2012

The Quest for Happiness

I've been thinking about it a lot lately... partly I suppose because I'm not very... My youngest has moved out a week ago, and to my surprise, I'm not happy. For 25 years I've looked foward to having my freedom back, no more sleepless nights, endless interruptions that stop me from creating the worlds missing masterpiece, the simple joys of sitting on the toilet without being disturbed... And now I've got it. And I'm feeling a tad lost. Suddenly I am facing the fact that I can do anything I want... Only problem is, I have no idea really what I want to do! Part of this is I think simply because for the last 25 years, I HAD to do things. Get up in the middle of the night and feed the baby, feed them, cloth them, stop them from poking snakes...and then get up and go to work to pay the bills and out food on the table. Now suddenly, I don't. Going away on adventures in the outback was wonderful when I was "getting away" for a bit...but n

Lake Nash adventures

My first impression was of neatness and cleanliness. It's a real contrast to the previous community I was on. The yards aren't full of garbage, and theres even the odd bit of lawn and a decorative shrub or two! The people from the community are clean too, with neat brushed hair and clean clothes. Quite a contrast to the last two communities I've been to. And you get the feeling that people here feel a sense of themselves and their home. The clinic itself is spotless too. The manager here runs the place with a velvet gloved iron fist. Strong, but very caring. She knows every community member, who's related to who and exactly what’s going on with each and every person. And the community seems to love her back too! There's a driver and a community worker, who both double as cleaners too and mop the floors daily, and a young white receptionist who's pretty makeup and elaborative hairclips brighten the place up no end. The community worker is a

Flying, Navigation and Internal Plumbing

Well, so far it's just been weird and unpredictable. Which I guess is how adventures are supposed to be. After the fiasco with NT health and the 3 changes to where I was actually going, I finally boarded a plane that they had leased just to fly me up to Lake Nash. I felt really special! Normally you see they only do things like that for doctors...but it seems there simply was no other way to get me there... So instead of the usual large airport with all the security I am used to, I got a taxi to a private hangar with a miniature waiting room and free tea and coffee instead of expensive shops. I was introduced personally to “my” pilot, a sweet young dark haired lad, who looked barely old enough to hold a licence. We clambered aboard the tiny little plane, with just a bit more room than your average landcruiser, and he began to go through the checklist, double checking everything with procedure book and fiddling with his instruments. When he got the green light over

Northeast of Centre

Well, after a short stint back in suburbia during which my beautiful daughter gave birth to another delightful member of the Jones mob, I've run away to the outback again. This time to Lake Nash, which is North East of Alice, sort of. It took Central Australian Health 3 goes to decide where to actually send me. First I signed a contract to go to Lake Nash...then they rang me to ask if Id be willing to go to Hermansburg instead...then when I got to Alice on sunday I got another phone call late in the afternoon asking me to go to yet another place further away... Hermansburg had mobile access and a museum Id always wanted to go to so I said Id prefer to go to Hermansburg..soooo....I spent monday sitting in the RAHC office twiddling my thumbs and exchanging gossip with the delightful staff there waiting for the head honcho to come out of a meeting and share their decision as to where they actually wanted me. And it turned out to be here...which incidentally was the place they had

Blue Moon over Kaltukutjara

Full moon...last night I had a lovely campfire set up outside the unit so I could sit and contemplate the amazing huge full moon rising overhead...but of course, I was on call...and as soon as I had lit the fire, people turned up wanting to see me: "Sista! Hot baby!"..and indeed it was...poor little mite, a 2 year old with a fever over 39 C...and a nasty history of chronic lung infections, failure to thrive, low iron... I gave her a shot of antibiotics, some panadol, and went back to my fire...and prayed I had done the right thing in sending her home....evacuations at night are a nightmare....a one hour drive over the WA border to the night airstrip for starters.... Seems my thoughts were heard, cos she made it through the night and came back this morning still breathing. But I decided to no take any more chances, so I've been sitting in the clinic all morning waiting to hear from the Royal Flying Doctor service what time the plane will get to the local airstrip here (

Out in the Desert

Sorry, no photos here this time guys... The browser in the clinic is so antiquated the blog program doesn't work properly.... And I don't dare muck around with the computer too much, the clinic manager isn't exactly the friendly sharing type to put it mildly. Had a bit of a territorial dispute on the first day with her...I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and say her rudeness was due to overwork and exhaustion, but it still doesn't make up arrogance, dressing me down in the middle of a consult with a client or for a half arsed handover leaving me with no idea of where anything is or how 99% of the procedures in the clinic actually work, before she dissapeared to Darwin for a week. The other agency nurse who arrived with me is luckily amazingly experienced, and an absolutely amazing woman to boot, so we've managed to sort out things quite nicely between us. The Desert is dry. Really dry. You don't realize what that actually means till you are out h

Back in Alice

Well, leaving behind the dating saga for a bit, i'm back in Central Australia for some more adventures-and a much needed cash injection! This time I'm heading out to Docker River, a small community of around 300 people a few hundred km's west of Uluru. I've spent the last few days in Alice Springs, doing some mandatory and pretty useless "training", which as so often in our modern world, consisted of 2 days of lectures about corporate structures, the endless importance of using the correct paperwork, and the odd useful phone number of who to ring when u are trying to organize a plane evac out of the middle of nowhere... I did learn a bit more about the role and training of Aboriginal health workers... It's an odd job that was created to bridge the divide between the white medical system and the communities... Aboriginal health workers basically do nursing work. But their training is aimed specifically at the kind of things needed in remote communities. An

The Great Dating Race

Well, that last post of mine ended the hatchling relationship...self fufilling prophecy? Or just a sign of exactly what I was talking about.... Dumped New Style, blocked on facebook, skype addy removed...and suddenly the connection you had is dead in the water, as if it had never existed. The photo on the FB chat thingy, dark eyes and quirky grin above that wide manly chin that made your heart beat that little bit faster every time you saw he was online is suddenly replaced with a blank human outline and the name "facebook user" and finally: closed as a contact on the dating site. More than 2800 messages.....a relationship in words and thoughts...did I just imagine it all? What the hell happened there? I ended up taking that next road trip...and cried all the way up there..and most of the way back.  Visiting old friends who've known me for over 20 years and asking for their opinions and some kind of explanation and feedback to WTF just blew up in my face and WHY??

Sex, Lies and Internet Dating

Today I thought I'd write about Love, Sex and Relationships....hence the car. (It'll make sense towards the end, I promise...) Of all the things that affect our Health, Relationships are probably the most hard hitting and the least controllable. Divorce and Losing a Loved One rank highest on the list of stressful events that impact our health, yet it is also something we are least equipped to deal with, both personally and as health professionals. As some of you know, I work in mental health as a nurse. And 9 times out of 10, what brings people through the doors of the unit is problems with relationships. Regardless of whether we are talking suicide attempt, drug abuse or depression, most of the time, the trigger is a broken heart. A lover who left, or cheated, and sent the client spiraling into an out of control binge of drug taking and self despair which ended at 3 in the morning on the tracks of Wyong railway station. Slashed wrists cos he's been sleeping with the

The Journey Home

Well, I'm in Alice again, looking out at one of the Sleeping Caterpillars of the McDonnell Ranges. Last night was open mike and art show night at Ningke Nungue in Tennant Creek...with a whole host of women showing and selling their paintings from neighboring communities, and a concert of yukeleles of all things, which are suffering from a strange revival in The middle of the Red Centre... Today a 5 hour drive, broken up by a delightful breakfast in the pub in Wauchope, which has the most delightful garden full of gnomes and rustic wooden tables hidden behind it's typical outback colourbond fence. Peta, one of the other RAHC nurses and I took it in turns driving along the pretty close to dead straight Stuart Highway, past the one and only Mango and Vege farm back to Alice Springs. It was quieter here this afternoon than on my way up....its cold and windy, so there wee only a few locals out sitting on the grass of the Todd Mall, and much less of an underlying feeling of agro and

Out and About Town

My last weekend in Tennant.... Yesterday we went for a drive to the lookout next to the, you forget how vast this land is when you hang around town all the time... One photo shows a dirt track stretching off into the distance...the next city from here is Alice Springs...which is 5 hours drive away, grin! The other photo is of a lone cloud on the horizon seen from up there...took me a while to realize it was smoke from a wind, not even a breeze, which is why it was it was just collecting there in one huge smoke cloud low on the horizon. Today, after a long lazy breakfast checking my emails, i wandered down the main street to see if any shops were open...past the serpent winding along the wall of the emporium sports store, where the local kids all buy their baggy shirts and shorts...and found a little Aboriginal art gallery called "Desert Rose 21". It's run by a delightful woman called Jenny, who works in the local schools during the week, and

Karriji-Kari Women's Conference (part One)

Wow, the last two days have totally changed my view of Tennant Creek. After 4 weeks of living amongst drunks and street people, and seeing filthy starving clinic in the streets, i finally got to see the strong, powerful side of the place! The Karriji-Kari women's conference was hosted by "Stronger Families" a local organization that functions as a support service for women and children, offering counseling, running a variety of groups such as traditional teaching outings into the bush, healthy cooking... The idea behind the conference was to get all the local organizations together to show the local women what is actually available in the way of services. I originally got in touch with Pamela, the head organizer, because as a short contract nurse here i was feeling pretty frustrated, not knowing who i could refer the people to who needed different help than i could offer them in a short consult in the clinic, and i wanted to know who else was offering what here.... Pamel

Longreach Waterhole

We went camping out at Longreach waterhole, about 270 km's further north this weekend... The two Alan's, nurses from rural and remote, a sort of community nursing team that travels out to the surrounding camps, picked us up at 6.30, way to early for this night owl. They turned up in 2 lge 4 wheel drives, with a large cage trailer which has Alans portable camper tent thing installed on top of it. The sun was just rising in the most ridiculously picturesque manner as we drove up the Stewart highway, and I almost forgave them the uncivilized hour. There was 6 of us all up, me and my housemate fellow nurses Sue and Peta, the 2 Alan's and Emily, a young doctor from Taiwan, who alone out of all of us, had never been camping, let alone in the Ozzie Outback! After about 2 hours we turned off the highway and headed out towards the lake over dusty red dirt roads through the scrub....and numerous confusing turns onto various tracks later, arrived at Alan and Alans favorite camping sp

Black and White

What a day...or better two days. It all started when this blond fair skinned woman came into the clinic with her 6 yr old pale, blonde, blue eyed daughter and wanted her to get a flu shot. She had a funny accent and i assumed she was South African, as id seen a few families from there this week... We don't normally give flu shots to kids, so i rang the vaccine centre to double check, and they said that we could give a 6 yr old a flu shot, but that Mum would have to pay for it unless her daughter was aboriginal or had a chronic disease.... I got half way through saying this to Mum, when she went off her nut, screaming at me and calling me a racist white bitch, and how "you white bitches from down South know nothing about being Aboriginal" yadda yadda yadda.... I tried to point out to her that i was part aboriginal myself, and that that no-one would ever suspect that since i am equally pale...but she just went on yelling.... She then went out to the waiting room and ranted

socializing in the Outback

Life in the outback.... Tennant Creek Raceday was decidedly amusing. Everyone was dressed in their tarted up best...fascinators and short dressed, the men in suits and bright pink shirts... Everyone one from the white community that is, I only saw 2 or three black people. I should really say non indigenous though, there was a good collection of every other race: Maori, Chinese, Asian, Italian, Celts and every mix in-between. I managed to improvise an outfit out of a nightie, some artificial greenery and some hairclips, but the only shoes i had were my boots....and it was a tad cool and windy, so black leggings went with them, grin! Between us, Sue and i managed to lose $20.... My choices actually managed to come last! The 3 dreadlocked hippies are actually from my old home town, Nimbin! They are traveling around Australia, teaching the local kids circus performance arts! How cool is that! On the way home we stopped and filled the car with firewood, still in our pretty dresses, for ano