My goal for the day is to write this blog and survive. Phew, talk about up and down.
Some of you might be aware of the 2 year old who was brought to us on death’s door. Natalie is working on writing that up so I’ll leave it to her to tell that story, but the stress of that obviously plays into our feeling as we do.
2 weeks ago we had a bout of sickness, with Oscar and myself enjoying some kind of stomach bug. Eventually, Oscar stopped throwing up everything we gave him and we tried to crack on.
The cracking was only partially successful. My motivation to learn language was an unfortunate casualty of being sick as well.
Since then I’ve been waking up half the mornings feeling OK to keep going and half of them forcing myself to get to work. The result has been a struggle to get my hours in on quite a few days, barely limping over my 7-hour target or giving up at 6.
Even spending a bit more time on work I enjoy like analysing our grammar patterns and programming our text interlineariser to automatically highlight in red any words we don’t have in our dictionary yet couldn’t shake the feeling.
Extra days off were taken, and extra days off don’t seem to help.
People keep coming to see us, which doesn’t help. Word seems to have spread about the life-saving treatment we’re giving this 2-year-old and Saturday’s medical time was so frustrating. We tried to take the morning off, but people from 2 hours away just sat outside our house all day. Whenever they got a glimpse of us they jumped up and rushed over as they were here for medical care.
In the afternoon I start assessing patients (how woefully unqualified I am!) and everything is what we’d call in PNG ‘traim tasol’ — just trying. An 18-year-old “I have a headache, give me medicine.” No, sorry.
An old lady “I have an earache.” We’re sorry, but we’ve talked about this before. We’re only here to check on serious illness (that we can treat).
4 infants “my baby is sick, he had diarrhoea 2 days ago.” Does he now? no? drink fluids. We’re sick too and we don’t take magic medicine to fix it.
In the end, I went down and told them, “Look guys you know we’re only here for serious sicknesses. d
Does anyone have something really wrong or is it all these little problems? If you went to the hospital in town with a cold they’d send you away too.”
Oh, how we want to love and serve these people. Stepping in as a saviour to fly paracetamol in to give out for free isn’t helping though,: it’s enabling their ‘gimmie, gimmie, gimmie’ thinking.
Who is sufficient for these things? We’re feeling worn out, like butter spread over too much bread.
I trust I’m able to express our frustration and exhaustion without people worrying that we’re close to quitting.
The Hansens now go through a wave of sickness with their kids throwing up for a few days. Out of nowhere, Oscar starts throwing up again!
Yesterday was a great day though. Language was fun and 9 hours of it flew by in the blink of an eye. Yes, back on track again! We found out that there’s a plural suffix for nouns – but only family nouns. One or many ʔɔgɔt (pig) is still ʔɔgɔt, but several inda (father) becomes indamɔt. Weird.
But then today’s a wipeout.
Oscar threw up 2 times in the night again, Gerdine threw up 4 times and I barely slept. Phew, tired today and there goes my motivation once again! Our whole team seems to be tangling with the same lingering sickness. Gerdine’s been sleeping most of the day. I’ve been sleeping while Oscar watches Toy Story and thankfully now Oscar is having a nice long nap.
It’s such a shame! Yesterday put us back on track and we looked set for a productive 2 weeks before our break.