A Week in the Life

Last week some money was stolen from my bag by a patient who I left in my car, alone, with my handbag.  Only about $20, and I know that he was hungry.  I get why he did it, and because I can’t be sure of anything, as I only suspected something after he’d walked away, I see little point in following up on it beyond keeping my bag with me next time.

A few days prior to that, I found myself driving two men around town, looking for their stolen car.  We spent 1.5 hours chasing this green station wagon (figuratively speaking), that always seemed to be a step ahead of us.  It was here this morning; we saw it at lunchtime; etc.  Eventually we gave up because I had better things to do.  The owner had given this young guy the car keys and it was to be returned to him the following day.  By the time I came onto the scene, it had been gone for four days.  The owner, an elderly man in poor health, owes money on the car, and clearly thought he may never see it again.  His worry was palpable.

A few days later I drove into the camp, and a green station wagon was in the yard.  “He brought the car back!”.  Yes, and  he fixed the fuel pump, that’s why he kept it, because he was fixing it.  Everyone was thrilled and the car thief was a great friend.

Last night the family of a young man recently arrested and charged with a brutal murder, rang me to talk from their remote community.  Last time I saw any of them, I was dropping grandma at the Bush Bus, so she could travel home and be with everyone in their time of shock and grief.  She was furrowed with worry and sadness.  It’s been a shocking experience, yet they seem to be okay and coping.

Yesterday morning I visited a young girl in hospital who a young man I know extremely well has been in a relationship with.  She is unrecognisable after being beaten to a pulp.  It is not the first time he’s done this to her.  My connection to the perpetrator had me feeling nervous that their anger may be directed towards me in his (in-hiding / on-the-run from police) absence.  Instead, Mum, who spent the night curled up on the end of her daughter’s hospital bed, hugged me.

Three nights ago I received a call from Western Australia, where a young woman I know has been waiting to deliver her first baby in the nearest main town.  The baby was due end of September.  It was 11pm when she called, and the beeping of the answerphone woke me.  I rang her back and launched into a telling-off about please not calling me so late.  She replied “Okayy, but Helen?  My back is REAL sore……”.  Right, well I can’t help from here, you’ll have to get someone over there to check you out.  “Okkkaaaaayyyy”.  I hung up thinking, gosh, she does sound like she’s in pain.

The next afternoon I rang her number to see how she was, and her partner answered excitedly, with
“Helen!  My mother in law!  She bin have the baby, it’s a baby boy!  He’s real fat, he got fat little face, fat body, fat little legs.  Real NICE baby!!  You should send clothes!”.  It turns out she was in labour while I was busy telling her off for calling me so late, and she’d rang me for some reassurance/advice, which never came!  But they’ve forgiven and forgotten because they have a nice, fat baby to celebrate.

Yesterday afternoon the young man in hiding, came to see me after his hunger couldn’t keep him away from a potential meal any longer.  I did feed him, but I also launched into the longest lecture of my life (which is saying something, given the lectures he has had from me over the years) about the wrong path he’s on.

Just another week in the life …

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