All about meme 2016 edition

Friday, 30. December 2016 19:41 | Author:

I have been filling out this meme for over 10 years and it is still something I find worthwhile. 2016 has, on the whole, been a great year, espeically after the few years before it. I suspect the big difference is how I have chosen to deal with setbacks.

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

Visited Nepal with CQUni

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I am not a resolution maker, however I have made some craftolutions (see previous post to this!)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

I knit two baby blankets for friends :)

4. Did anyone close to you die?

It was sad being at the funeral of a uni colleague. Cancer sucks.

5. What countries/states did you visit?

Melbourne for Mum’s 70th and to settle Immy into college/uni life; Bendigo for Spendi wool show, Nepal with CQUni!

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

2016 has not really lacked in very much at all!

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

No dates as such but some wonderful memories were made on my trips to Melbourne, Bendi and Nepal

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Achieving great marks at uni, getting a casual job as an AIN at the hospital and being awarded champion item in the Cairns Show!

9. What was your biggest failure?

I could have eaten better and walked more.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had the occasional cold and came back from Nepal with a intestinal bug, but nothing serious, no!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I didn’t buy a lot this year really. There will always be skeins of yarn that enter my stash that I feel I can’t live without!

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

I have amazing kids and an amazing partner.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

I’m trying not to talk politics on here!

14. Where did most of your money go?


15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?


16. What song will always remind you of 2016?

I think I have reached an age where I could not tell you any song that was released this year!

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:?

a) happier or sadder?

b)thinner or fatter?
probably fatter

c) richer or poorer?

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Walking. I felt the healthiest in Nepal when I was walking 15-20,000 steps per day and eating unprocessed foods.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Stressing over assignments!

20. How did you spend Christmas?

The kids were home for the first time in a few years! I worked Christmas Eve, came home, put the turkey in the oven, went and slept and then cooked for us. Cooking does put me in my happy place!

21. Did you fall in love in 2016?

Over and over again with the gorgeous MIML™

22. How many one-night stands?

None! I think I might actually remove this question…

23. What was your favourite TV program?

Game of Thrones, Outlander, Call the Midwife… I also watched all of Gilmore Girls including the November special!

24. Did you make a friend with anyone that you didn’t know this time last year?

I am still meeting some wonderful nursing students, especially those who came to Nepal :)

25. What was the best book you read?

Fight like a Girl

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I have just seen the discovery I made last year- I thought I had made it this year! I still love listening to random 70s and 80s hits!

27. What did you want and get?

A paid job!

28. What did you want and not get?

More hours in said job- however it is swings and roundabouts and some weeks there are lots of shifts going and others not so many- it is what it is!

29. What was your favourite film of this year?

I did enjoy the Ghostbusters remake!

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 44. It was not that memorable!

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I have had a satisfying year. This is the first year in ages I can say this!

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?


33. What kept you sane?


34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Ewan McGregor still does it for me!

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

Asylum Seekers, US election.

36. Who did you miss?

It was lonely with Immy in Melbourne- I hope to visit more often next year.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

Hard to single anyone out specifically, however Caitlyn and I had such a blast as roomies in Nepal!

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

It is hard to listen when your mouth is open!

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.


Tonight I’m gonna have myself a real good time
I feel alive and the world I’ll turn it inside out – yeah
And floating around in ecstasy
So don’t stop me now don’t stop me
‘Cause I’m having a good time having a good time

I’m a shooting star leaping through the sky
Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity
I’m a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva
I’m gonna go go go
There’s no stopping me

I’m burnin’ through the sky yeah
Two hundred degrees
That’s why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I’m trav’ling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic man out of you

Don’t stop me now I’m having such a good time
I’m having a ball
Don’t stop me now
If you wanna have a good time just give me a call
Don’t stop me now (‘Cause I’m having a good time)
Don’t stop me now (Yes I’m havin’ a good time)
I don’t want to stop at all

Yeah, I’m a rocket ship on my way to Mars
On a collision course
I am a satellite I’m out of control
I am a sex machine ready to reload
Like an atom bomb about to
Oh oh oh oh oh explode

I’m burnin’ through the sky yeah
Two hundred degrees
That’s why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I’m trav’ling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic woman of you

Don’t stop me don’t stop me
Don’t stop me hey hey hey
Don’t stop me don’t stop me
Ooh ooh ooh, I like it
Don’t stop me don’t stop me
Have a good time good time
Don’t stop me don’t stop me ah
Oh yeah

Oh, I’m burnin’ through the sky yeah
Two hundred degrees
That’s why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I’m trav’ling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic man out of you

Don’t stop me now I’m having such a good time
I’m having a ball
Don’t stop me now
If you wanna have a good time (wooh)
Just give me a call (alright)
Don’t stop me now (’cause I’m having a good time – yeah yeah)
Don’t stop me now (yes I’m havin’ a good time)
I don’t want to stop at all
La da da da daah
Da da da haa
Ha da da ha ha haaa
Ha da daa ha da da aaa
Ooh ooh ooh

Written by Freddie Mercury • Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Roll on 2017!

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2017 Craft-olutions

Friday, 30. December 2016 19:05 | Author:

So 12 months ago I made some craftolutions. Some have been met, others not so much! I am almost finished my twelfth self-0striping project for the year and I knit a baable hat. I did finish or frog quite a few WIPs and my stash didn’t grow that much (that I am willing to admit, anyway!). I decided early in the year that there are so many wonderful podcasts out there that me adding to them was not really adding anything new.

For 2017 I want to focus more on garments. This year I knit two sweaters- well one still needs buttons and I have three WIPs- all of which were WIPs at the start of the year too… I also want to get back into spinning more regularly. So I have decided to try and keep goals simple…

  • 6 garments (including the three on the needles!)
  • 12 bumps of fibre (might even sign up for Spin the Bin I think!)
  • 12 self-striping items- but look at more worsted weight items perhaps!
  • Camp Loopy
  • 4 new sock patterns. I feel a lot of the time I am knitting vanilla Fish Lips Kiss Heels or Mystik Spirals and want to branch out- I have heaps of ideas in my queue!
  • Attend Spendigo and go with a list of plans and purchase for plans!

I am fortunate in I have a job where I sit with patients and some of the time I can sit and knit. This works so well as sometimes patients get anxious when you sit there and look at them and doing something can put them at ease, plus it gives us something else to talk about! The plan is in 2018 to be working as a RN and I will not be in the position to sit and knit at work.

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Reflection on 2016

Monday, 12. December 2016 1:24 | Author:

In years past I sent out Christmas Cards, usually with a ‘newsy letter’ included. One of the joys of the digital age is the ease at which I can produce an epistle, and put it up for those who want to read it to read it and those who don’t can skim over it or ignore it altogether!

Overall 2016 has been a great year and this is the first year in a while I can actually say this. I am not sure how much is me choosing or being able to ignore the not so pleasant parts or if I deal with them in a different way, but the good seems to certainly outweigh the bad. My studies are going really well and I am achieving great grades. I know it is not all about the grades so it is also great to have amazing placements and to receive some very positive feedback from this work based practice. In April I started working as an Assistant in Nursing (AIN) for Queensland Health. Usually I sit with high acuity patients who need someone with them to ensure they are safe. I have met some amazing people in this work and I really love it. I think that one of the things I will miss as a Registered Nurse is being able to sit with the same patients for 8 hours and listen to them.

In February the four of us travelled to Melbourne to celebrate Mum’s 70th birthday. Only three of us returned home! Miss 18 stayed in Melbourne as she was accepted into Melbourne Uni to study Arts. She is majoring in Communication and Japanese and would like to become a journalist. She has had an amazing year. She received a scholarship to the same residential college her parents attended and has taken to college life like a duck to water.

Mr 15 has also had a great year. He has just finished year 10 and is ready to start his senior years. He will be glad to be rid of science subjects and taking Maths A which is the life application maths stream that looks at interest and budgets and has more practical application in his life. He is yet to look for a part-time job but had an amazing week’s work experience at a local web design company. He fluctuates in his ambitions, however he is determined to head to uni. Whilst he loves his drama still he is not sure he wants to pursue an acting career and is now wavering on game design instead looking at following his sister to Melbourne to study Arts majoring in creative writing. He is yet to secure a part-time job, however has had some acting/entertaining gigs that have boosted his bank account a little! In September he went with school to the USA for a fortnight for Space Camp at NASA. He had a wonderful time, despite his so called disinterest in science. Go figure!

MIML™ has spent a great deal of this year restoring an old 1970s Landrover Series II. I keep being told about it and I nod, but really am none the wiser about the diff and the gaskets! After joking that I would prefer it to have power steering and air-con, he has found a wreck that has some form of power steering which he is going to try and fit. Air-con is a fair way off I think!

Ninja the black lab is getting older but still acting like a puppy. She enjoys her evening walks with MIML™ and I and every so often we think she has stopped digging. Alas I don’t think she has yet to extinguish this trait! Max and Leo the ragdolls still lounge around the house and occasionally disgrace themselves believing someone’s bed is the litter tray. Bad kitties!

Both spawn are home for the holidays this year which will be lovely. I am not sure if I am working yet so will see if we have Christmas lunch or dinner! Miss 18 has a job at a local hotel in the food and beverage department so she may be working Christmas Day too.

So there you have it. A brief update on where we are at and so much easier than printing things out, stuffing envelopes, finding addresses and mailing them! Wishing you and yours a happy and safe Christmas and an awesome 2017!

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Home again, home again…

Sunday, 13. November 2016 14:19 | Author:

I don’t feel that I have been to a market to buy a fat pig, however the last 3 weeks have been a market of experiences that I am still trying to decipher in my mind. I am writing this in Brisbane airport as a storm rolls in, possibly delaying this evening’s flight home to Cairns. I don’t want to think how long I have been travelling home for, but it feels like days!

I must give a plug for Thai Airways. They were magnificent on every flight. The food was delicious and the standard gin in economy was Bombay Sapphire! Our clearance at Brisbane airport this morning was the quickest I have ever experienced- from landing to clearing customs was 20 minutes. Unfortunately this means I am stuck in Brisbane airport for over 7 hours, but still…

We went to Nepal for a cultural experience and we got one! I said early on that ascribing value to differences was not always helpful, however there was one major difference which still irks me. Nepal is a very patriarchal society. Sons are valued much higher than daughters and as one obstetrician told me, she can tell all her patients that she is a successful doctor and has vowed to take care of her parents as well as her husband’s parents in their old age, she will have patient after patient returning for their fourth, fifth, six or even seventh child in the hope of having a son. Whilst international pressure has been placed on improving the maternal mortality rate in Nepal, it has been left to external agencies and overseas governments to fund this. As a group we were told by our lecturers from the start that we needed to be aware that we were in a patriarchal society and needed to keep our voices lower than normal and remember that it is uncommon for women to drink alcohol so to be careful. I think I have drunk more in the last three weeks than the last 12 months, and that was usually a beer or a cocktail each evening, sometimes more :) I knew that I did not want to take my values holus-bolus and impose them on another culture, but to me, equality of the sexes is one value I could not sit back and ignore. Would me drinking have made any difference to the way men see women in Nepal? Probably not, but to me it was a small stance I could take.

The biggest display of sexism I saw on the trip was at Kathmandu airport as we were leaving. After clearing immigration, we needed to have our hand luggage scanned. We were shown there were two lines for men and one for women. The mens lines moved very quickly and the women’s line dragged. There were not more men travelling than women, but the men did not have the time to wait. Oh and the mens lines had 3-4 tables for the men to arrange their hand luggage into baskets which were readily provided, compared to the women’s line that had one table and you had to ask for baskets. Whilst away I read Clementine Ford’s new book Fight Like a Girl. One of the things Ford argues strongly about is that we as white middle class women living in the west, need to acknowledge our privilege and use it to help women in developing countries, women of colour etc.

I wish I had been able to visit more hospitals in Nepal. We really spent most of our time at one so my experiences are based on this experience in a private hospital, recognising that private hospitals in Nepal are vastly different to those in the developed world. At Fishtail, Florence Nightingale is revered. We were presented with certificates on our last day and these even feature a portrait of Nightingale. As I noted last year in an assignment, Nightingale was a feminist and her values of eschewing marriage for a careers and seeing nurses as more than doctor’s handmaids is often forgotten by some who still see nurses as the handmaids at the beck and call of the doctor. The nursing notes in patient’s charts at Fishtail all followed the same formula- medications given as charted, patient observations as per chart, no abnormal activity this shift. With the families providing so much of the nursing care that nurses in Australia provide, nurses almost had minimal contact with their patients, save for taking vital signs- families often administered medication too, especially oral meds.

One thing that the trip reinforced to me was my desire to be involved in women’s health and to do my midwifery. Whilst I may not work as a midwife, it will give me more options to work in the future.

Being with 21 other people in close proximity for 22 days was a challenge at times, especially for me as I value solitude to regroup, however it was a great group of nurses. Everyone had their own strengths and found ways to add them to the group which was greatly appreciated.

Africa got under my skin the first time I visited, however now Nepal has too. I really want to take MIML™ and the spawns there one day as it was so eye opening. People have asked me about the earthquake and the effect it has had. Some places we drove through between Kathmandu and Pokhara had evidence of the earthquake, but people don’t like to talk about it. People I talked with said that although the death toll was horrendous from the earthquake, it was the downturn in tourism that has had a bigger impact. Tourism is one of the main income streams for people in Nepal and to them they asked that I encourage all my friends to visit. I can tell you that in visiting you will experience a culture so different to Australia’s, or perhaps any other developed country, but you will experience a culture full of the most lovely people.


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Farewell Fishtail and Pokhara

Friday, 11. November 2016 22:19 | Author:

Another post with two days in one :) Yesterday we farewelled Fishtail Hospital and today we farewelled Pokhara. Fishtail was very enthusiastic to hear about our experiences in an evaluation session, however it was a little sad when they thought we would be able to tell them where they need to improve. I am not sure if this is because other groups from developed countries come offering suggestions or if they think they need to improve, however we were able to tell them what an amazing time we had had and how it had impacted us. I pointed out that we may do things differently, however that does not necessarily mean that one way is better than another and let them know that I was taking back to Australia the way they involve families in care and how we tend to shut them out a lot of the time.

After lunch I had an hour or so to spare so I was able to spend time doing one of my favourite things in a foreign country- spend time browsing in a local supermarket! It was great seeing the huge range of goods they sold- many similar to Australia, some different. Instead of getting photos of everything, I chose 3 items that I saw that made me smile…

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It was sad to see that a lot of products are aimed at negative body image- slimmers honey and rice for the obese? I can count on one hand the number of obese nepalese I have seen in the last 3 weeks and have fingers left over! Quite a few shops sell ‘chilly’ powder- I think it is just a lost in translation moment :)

We were then farewelled by the Fishtail Nursing College students and staff and hospital staff.


The students put on a cultural show with dances and we joined in! It was a lot of fun! Last night we had our farewell dinner and said goodbye to two of our in-country hosts. Today we farewelled Pokhara and took the 8 hour bus trip to Kathmandu. It seemed a lot quicker than travelling to Pokhara, however the traffic as we hit Kathmandu was atrocious! The traffic, driving methods and road conditions are not something I will miss! Sadly the bus ride was too bumpy to knit, however I did bit of reading.

Kathmandu is noisy and dusty. It is probably as dusty as Pokhara, however because there is so much traffic, both vehicular and foot, the dust is kicked up a lot more. Tonight I am repacking my suitcase as this was this morning’s effort…


The next post will probably be from our layover in Bangkok. It is sad to leave this amazing country, but I am ready to head home to my family.

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Kids and mums and bubs

Wednesday, 9. November 2016 23:44 | Author:

Thanks to all for the best wishes for my cold- I am much better today :) I started this morning in the Paediatric ward at Fishtail. 15 kids and their families in a room around the same size as our deck. Three kids had had a cleft palate repair which was closish to home as my brother was born with a cleft palate. A surgeon flew in from Kathmandu last weekend to perform the surgeries and the kids were doing really well! Other children with respiratory illnesses, other infections (including UTIs) and gastro.

We then listened in on a lecture on maternal health in Nepal. Nepal has the highest maternal mortality rate in Asia. In Australia we hear a lot about foreign aid and what it is used for, however today we heard of real examples. UNICEF and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) are two organisations who have helped bring about a 50% reduction in maternal mortality in Nepal over the last 20 years. Before the projects funded by overseas aid began 539 women per 100,000 live births died in childbirth. Today that figure is down to 281 deaths per 100,000 live births. In comparison, Australia has 6.8 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. The projects help fund at least 4 antenatal visits at 4, 6, 8 and 9 months with an incentive program offering 400 rupees for women to travel to these appointments. 10 years ago 90% of Nepalese babies were born at home, however today 48% of women choose institutional delivery, again with incentive payments for delivering in an institution. In more remote communities, Female Community Health Volunteers are trained to be skilled birth attendants which has also helped decrease the maternal mortality rate. Another initiative funded by foreign aid is three post natal visits to the mother at 24 hours, day 3 and day 7. Despite all the efforts of these programs, only 50% of women receive antenatal care.

Other initiatives to help decrease maternal deaths have been promotion of contraception and sex education in schools which has seen the birth rate drop from 3.1 to 2.1 children per woman in 20 years and in 2002 medical abortion was legalised up until 12 weeks gestation. Speaking to an obstetrician last week she did note that often men prevent their wives from having abortions and they ended up having the final say over their wife’s body.

It was great to see a healthy promotion of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, however at Fishtail, women who receive caesarian sections are kept away from their baby for 24 hours because of the pain associated with both the delivery and the spinal anaesthesia. In this time babies are given formula. I spoke to a doctor about this and she said that they have better longterm success with breastfeeding after caesarian with this method than encouraging the mother to put the baby to the breast in the first 24 hours. This is possibly just another difference in health services between Australia and Nepal.

After lunch we visited Western General Hospital, the government hospital for the region. We met the Matron and took a tour of the maternity and gynaecology wards. Women who had delivered vaginally were on wooden beds in corridors and at times it felt like we were being taken through a zoo to look at animals which was rather uncomfortable, however we did see the conditions in the public hospital compared to the private facility we have been working in. Laundry was hung from banisters and walkways outside, families all gathered at the bedsides of patients. In Nepal birthing is women’s business and the father is not present. After a vaginal delivery the mother and baby are discharged after 24 hours if there are no complications, with the postnatal visits outlined in our lecture this morning. It is a shame we couldn’t spend more time there and be more hands on, however we did get to see how things are done and it helped put some of this morning’s lecture in place.

We leave Pokhara on Friday and I managed to finalise my shopping this evening (I think!) I am looking forward to getting home, but in many ways don’t want to leave either. Nepal has gotten under my skin in the same way Africa has.

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No post today

Tuesday, 8. November 2016 21:41 | Author:

No post today- I went down for breakfast at 6.30 and was told I didn’t look well and it was suggested I stay home for the day and not spread my germs. If I had been home I would not have gone to work, so it was sensible I stayed back here. I slept until midday and after 1.30 went for a wander and grabbed a small bite to eat. Looking forward to an early night and hopefully being better tomorrow.

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Peace Stupa, caves and a cold!

Tuesday, 8. November 2016 0:00 | Author:

Today was our day off for this week. I did not sleep well and felt I was coming down with the cold that the rest of our group had last week, however decided to get up and head with a group of people to the Peace Stupa. I am so glad I did. It was a long way up- step after step after step, but once there the view was amazing.

From the bottom carpark, the trek looked ominous…


This photo was taken about 80% of the way up!


But once there it was so worth it!

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The Stupa itself was quite serene, even though many tourists didn’t understand the meaning of the word silence!


The descent was a lot easier! After lunch we organised another small group to head to the Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave as we had been told the architecture was quite spectacular. We did venture inside the cave, but it was so humid and all evidence of stalactites and stalagmites was long gone as souvenirs to tourists before us. The architecture was quite amazing however.


A group of people were singing and dancing at one stage, although we were not sure if it was a form of worship or celebration. We were invited to take video, however I stuck with a photo!


Tonight I have been to a local pharmacy where I was offered pseudoephedrine without having to show my drivers licence! I also picked up some Vicks Vaporub and hope after a good night’s sleep I will feel better tomorrow!

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Monday, 7. November 2016 1:16 | Author:

It is extremely difficult to put into words the last three days. On Friday afternoon we travelled to Sisaghat, a small village around 3 hours drive from Pokhara.


Sisaghat has a population of around 1600 according to one of the locals we met, however it would not surprise me if this figure included neighbouring villages in the area.


We went for our major health camp, to provide medical assistance to these people who are fortunate if they see a doctor once per year. There is a bus that comes through to Katmandu and Pokhara at least a few times per week, however most people have hardly ever left their village. The isolation did not mean these people were insular though and although we were a little bit of a novelty being from Australia, there were lots of questions asked and we were able to see so much.

We were greeted with garlands of marigolds and the traditional Nepalese horn.



For such a small town there was a diverse ethnic mix with a Hindu temple, a mosque and a Christian church. Other houses hung Buddhist prayer flags.


Our guide, a 21yo lad who was studying science in Pokhara but returned home for our visit, proudly showed us his home and we met his mother. They had goats, chooks and buffalo and we were able to watch the Buffalo being milked.


The milk was heated over an outside stove and we were offered it to drink. It had a sweetness that was different to cows milk. We walked down paths and met children and our guide introduced us to his other mother and explained that his father took two wives.

We also saw some of the local crops including the millet which was ground and used for breads and also made into a local spirit which was, er, interesting!


Dinner was back at our host families home and consisted of traditional dal bhat.


The family had killed one of their chickens especially for us.

Sisaghat is in a valley of the Himalayas and in the morning it was cold and a fog had swept in. The temperature was cold enough for us to see our breath as we breathed out, however once the sun came up from behind the mountains it warmed up and we were hot in our shirts.

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Our host father cooked chapati for breakfast made from the local millet over the outside stove.

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The family kept goats, chickens and pigeons. We heard the goats baa-ing from early morning and eventually they were let out of their pen to graze.


We were here however for the Health Camp.



Doctors from the Fishtail Hospital travelled out to see over 700 people who had travelled from far and wide. Our job was to take the pulse and blood pressure of those who registered and direct them to the doctors. Many people thought we were doctors from Australia and our local guides had to explain that no, we were nursing students and even though we were white skinned, we didn’t know more than the local doctors! Whereas last week a lot of people had blood pressures that were much lower than we see in Australia (90-100/60-70), this week more people seemed to have higher readings. This was just one test and it could easily have been caused by anxiety at visiting a health camp when there is such little medical assistance usually available to them. We took it in turns taking vital signs and at other times sat with doctors.

I first sat with the doctor conducting ultrasounds. The machine looked like it had come straight from the 70s.


I learnt later that the majority of people presenting at the health camp came with complaints of lower back or abdominal pain. This was mainly caused by squatting in the fields all day, or at their stoves, or at their toilets. Ultrasounds showed no major abnormalities on most patients, however I was surprised at the incidence of mild to moderate fatty liver that was found. These were fit, healthy people who eat dal bhat most days, eating very little red meat. I wondered if it had anything to do with alcohol consumption which appeared to be rather high amongst the men especially.

I also spent time with the obstetrician/gynaecologist who again reported women with lower abdominal pain from bending all day. She did tell me that in most villages there are trained locals who can assist with delivering babies, however the infant mortality rate is still quite high. The dentist reported pulling over 30 teeth for the day (I did not stay there long!) and the paediatrician comforted parents and grandparents worried about the runny noses and sore ears of their children.

My most interesting time was with the orthopaedic surgeons however. In Australia, MIML™ and I joke that psychiatry is the basket for all the ‘too hard’ cases in the hospital- if the medics can’t work it out they send it to the surgeons, who send it to psych! At this clinic, the orthopods were the dumping ground for the too hard cases. Yes, I did see men and women in their 50s crippled with arthritis from their hard work, and these consults usually took a couple of minutes with the doctors being very forthright and telling people they need to rest for a week or two and the people saying they couldn’t so the doctors telling them there was little they could do. One consultation took a good deal longer. A local came in and spent the consultation looking at the ground. The doctor spoke with them for several minutes. Afterwards the doctor told me that the patient was concerned that some mornings they wake up and want to sit in a corner and not speak to their family and yet other mornings wake up and want to run up and down the street and they can’t explain their behaviour and they thought something must be wrong. The doctor had listened and even though he told me he thought the patient had a classic case of bipolar disorder, he wanted them sent for a cat scan and for some thyroid tests. Although he was not a psychiatrist he did not mind talking to the patient and offering advice.

Over lunch, doctors talked with each other about what they had seen and bounced ideas off each other. The collegiality was really nice to see.


At the end of the camp we went for a walk around the village. There is a wonderful suspension bridge over the river and we walked across it.

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We also came across some locals who had mixed reactions to having their photos taken.

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Coming into Winter the harvest is in full swing. Rice was being cut and left to dry on the ground before being piled into stacks.

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Corn is also hung around houses ready to be turned into cornmeal.


This morning we said a tearful goodbye to our family and headed back to Pokhara.


The self-sufficiency of the villagers really struck me. They almost live off the grid with electricity connected to the homes in order to run a fridge, a few lights and a small television. Water is not plumbed into the homes. The squat toilet is flushed by pouring water from a bucket down it. People bathe by pouring water over themselves, even in the cooler climate, however there was a fire near the water tanks where the water could be heated. The villagers loved having us there and appreciated the health care, but as one doctor told me the doctors feel like they can’t do a lot for people as they are predominantly healthy. In many ways it seemed an idyllic lifestyle- tending the land and feeding your family, however people grow old very quickly.


I have to include this photo I snapped this evening- I went into a shop to look at scarves and came across this cat who seemed awfully happy with itself!


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Friday, 4. November 2016 13:59 | Author:

This is an early post as we are heading out to our major health camp this afternoon and it is doubtful as to whether or not we will have Wifi. I spent this morning in theatre at the Fishtail Hospital. It was a fascinating experience and one that I will no doubt be reflecting upon for some time to come.



The first case I saw was a total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy. In Australia, my understanding is the majority of hysterectomies are performed vaginally. Here they have abdominal surgery because they lack the facilities for laparoscopic surgery. In Australia everything is disposable, here it is sterilised and reused. Regardless of the differences however, the patient received the best care available.

There were some minor procedures we also got to observe and then we were told there was to be an emergency caesarian section. Meconium was present so the procedure was rather quick. The father was not present in the room, however when the baby was checked and found to be fine he was taken to his father and grandparents who will care for him for the next 24 hours whilst the mother is in recovery. I will admit I find this a strange practice and as a mother I don’t know how I would cope being separated from my new baby for 24 hours, but this is a different culture and practices are different.

This afternoon we head out to our major health camp. We are camping there for two nights with a family. It should be fascinating, however I know I am rather anxious about it all. No doubt upon our return I will have lots of photos and stories to share :)

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