#5: Philippines 2018 (Helping Children Smile Medical Mission)

First of all – I have to make an apology for taking such a long time to write this blog! There’s been a whole lot of work, and a new tiny-pawed furry addition to the family since finally landing back in Australia last month, so my hands have been kept somewhat hostage…but more on that in my next blog!

Second of all – Philippines!

I’ve been really struggling to find the right word to describe my trip to the Philippines. In reply to most people, I use the word amazing with a gushing enthusiasm and a widen-eyed conviction of the word. But even then, I know this is still an understatement. Because it was just so much more than that.

For those that have been following Life, She Wrote, you will have known that this year’s addition to Bucket List #5 came with it’s own special purpose – but for those that are new to the story, you can read about it here.

Having looked forward to trip since finding out I would be apart of it back in September, I couldn’t believe it had come round so quickly. The end of February was nearing as we all met up at a hotel near the airport in preparation for the three flights ahead of us the next morning. I had met most people prior to trip, but there were a few I hadn’t and it was nice to sit down with everyone, putting faces to names over wine, cheese and Thai.

It was still dark when our early-morning alarms sounded at 4am and we eagerly threw on our team t-shirts (bright blue and not easily missed in a crowd), making our way to the airport. With thirty-something luggage bags in tow carrying various pieces of equipment and monitors, we hustled into the group check-in and busily set about labelling and weighing bags. If I thought the amount of bags we had then and there was extravagant, I had another thing coming for me when we finally did arrive in Vigan (but that’s getting ahead of myself).

The first leg of the trip was flying into Sydney, where we met up with the two surgeons and two anaesthetists, and one other member of the team. Choosing to go it alone at the Duty Free, I managed to get myself utterly lost between terminals an hour later – but I’ll blame that on the airlines changing the terminal departure and those big electronic boards displaying way too many flights to Manilla (was there really that many people departing to Manilla?). Nevertheless, we all boarded on time and I was quite happy not to be left sitting back at terminal 34 on my lonesome.

Touching down in Manilla was a relatively smooth process. We quickly caught a bus to the hotel, with our priorities set on food, sleep and a quick 7-Eleven pitstop. I don’t remember falling asleep that night, I just figured I must have switched out as soon as my head hit that pillow and woken up 6 hours later.

After a traditional buffet breakfast we checked out and made our way back to the Manilla airport to catch our next flight to Laoag. It was a quick flight, landing beside one of the smallest airports I’ve ever seen. The little brick building, covered in pink flowering vines, could be walked end-to-end in less than five minutes.  But with a large sign welcoming Helping Children Smile to the Philippines, we felt right at home.

We collected ourselves, and our many pieces of luggage, into a large coach bus which carted us on a two hour journey to Vigan – our final stop for the trip and the location of the hospital we would be performing surgery at. We stopped midway at a small village supplier for afternoon tea where we we lucky enough to try some local food. Any food at this point was a god-send after having only had a pork bun since breakfast!

We arrived at our hotel in Vigan late that afternoon and quickly changed before heading into town to see the hospital. Having never been on a mission before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect – but the hospital appeared in relatively good condition in comparison to pictures I’d seen from previous mission trips. We toured the theatre rooms, recovery and the shed-like room that would be our ward. Everyone seemed pretty happy with it’s prospects and so we went to check on the luggage. Well in addition to the bags we had brought over, there was at least a dozen more to fill three ward rooms full. How we could have ever needed this much, I’ll never quite know – but it was our way to ensuring we never had to place any cost upon the hospital by only using our own equipment and supplies.

It was still light out when we ventured back to the hotel, so we snuck in a quick swim in the pool and laughed hysterically at those game enough to take on the waterslide that ended at least a metre above the water. There were plenty bruises and red marks all round to tell the tale of that endevour.

 

The next six days were a bit of a blur. But after setting up our recovery room on Monday, we were straight to work with two surgeries that afternoon. Back home, recovery spans across almost a whole floor catering for well over twenty patients. In Vigan, the recovery room was no more than 4 metres by 4 metres, perhaps smaller. It had two small beds either side of the room, with a cupboard in the corner and a cabinet full of drugs at the tail-end. We commandeered two small tables and set them up between each bed, tetras-packing them with our equipment. And we made-do. Theatre was much the same, simplistic, but functional – and from all accounts, better than expected.

It was such a rush to see it all play out, and then to be a part of it. Carrying the children in their hands, the anaesthetic nurse would rush out of the OT into our small recovery placing the child onto one of the beds. In a swift rush, the pulse oximeter and oxygen mask would be connected and we would intently monitor their small airways until they woke.

Waking up from the anaesthetic in the Philippines was a little rougher than at home, and so as soon as our little ones opened their eyes, we would whisk them off the trolleys and into our arms to rock and soothe. Their were plenty of wrigglers and plenty of tears, but that all got a little better as soon as mum arrived to hold there hands. After a quick dose of pain relief and a drink of water, we let them return to the ward.

Upstairs in the ward, it became a noisy collection of people after the third day. Families consisting of parents, siblings, uncles and aunties would squeeze into the same bed offering support to the children, becoming the ultimate nursing team. We would leave instructions for the parents in regards to pain relief; how much and how often, each night and return each morning to do a quick round and see how they had progressed.

The children were beautiful. And again, this too feels to be a rather large understatement. I fell in love with them the moment I met them. Their tiny faces that lit up the moment you gave them a smile, or handed them something as little as a toy car, had my heart bursting at it’s seams. These children were just so grateful for the things that many children here take for granted, and I couldn’t help but be in awe of their strength despite their circumstances.

Before each surgery we would adorn them with a little material cape made by volunteers here in Australia, and help them believe in superheroes. We would place little coins called ‘lucky money’ in their hands when they went to sleep, and would make sure they woke up with the lucky money still there. It was these little things that made surgery feel a little less frightening, and helped them feel a little more brave.

 

The differences to the their lips and palates were remarkable, and being a part of a process that changed each of their lives in the most unbelievable way has undoubtedly changed my perspective on my own world immensely.

After six days, we had performed over thirty operations. The hospital had kindly provided food each day and made every sacrifice possible to ensure our operations went smoothly. We were truly spoilt to have been able to work in Vigan, and were treated to dinner each night in the small town by different members of the Vigan Rotary Club.

On our last few days, we had enough downtime to do some exploring throughout the Provence of Vigan, a budding city on the tourist hot-spot list. From Dancing Fountain Shows to historical 17th Century walkways, monumental buildings to heritage listed sites – we were privileged to see so much in such a short time frame. And as we drunk a San Miguel (apple flavoured, for me) Beer at sunset on the beach, I think each one of us counted ourselves as lucky to have been on this trip.

After a heart wrenching clinic morning, checking up on the kids after their surgeries and waving goodbye to the children that had changed our lives perhaps even more so than we had changed theirs, we packed our bags and set off on the long journey home.

There aren’t enough words to describe the fullness of my heart, or the awe I have in the strength of these little ones and their parents. I am so proud to have been able to work alongside some of the most amazing clinicians and to have had the opportunity to utilise my own nursing career in a corner of the world that really needed it.

This trip has taught me that there is so much kindness, courage and generosity still to be shared in this world, and that it sometimes comes most from those who have far less than you.

For more information about the Helping Children Smile Organisation, or to donate to the cause for next year’s mission, click here. I cannot express how much of a difference surgery for these children makes in simple tasks such as eating and speaking, nor the happiness it brings to a part of the world who truely appreciate it.

For more details about visiting Vigan and Manilla, where to go and what to do – head over to The Travel Log!

And to have a sneak peak at the trip, the children we operated on and the places we managed to visit after-hours all in colour motion, you can head to my YouTube Channel!

This has been the most rewarding bucket list ‘check’ yet, and I really do hope to go again next year!

#5: Travel to a new place every year – check!

d x

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2018: The little things.

Welcome to 2018. A fresh new 365 days to live boldly bolstered by the memories, triumphs and downfalls of those before it. I for one, feel like this new year caught seamlessly onto the last thread of 2017 and continued to weave it’s story. 2017 was a really good year for the most part, and I didn’t quite feel the need to “leave it behind” or run from it. I was ready to just simply keep on living, no matter its numerical standpoint in a calendrical world.

For the first time since K.B passed away, we celebrated new years. Not how we used to when she was here. There weren’t any midnight dashes down to the ocean to watch the fireworks from the shoreline, or planking competitions. We didn’t have a group of strangers turn up to the apartment to party with us, or spend the next day drowning in exhaustion and hot potato gems. No, it wasn’t like it used to be – though those new years will always be the most cherished.

Instead, I think after all these years, we were finally ready to celebrate it a new way. And I think she would be happy to know that in the midst of the fireworks, although we missed her still incredibly, we found a new way to love her and the bright sparks at the same time.

We welcomed 2018 in camping under the stars on the beach, something I know K.B would have approved of immensely. With a light breeze just strong enough to pierce through the summer balminess, we set a box of fireworks alight and watched them disperse in the black night sky above us. The ocean cooed in response, wildly crashing upon the sand and I took it all in.

With perhaps more clarity than I’ve ever had on a new years eve before, I realised I had been chasing this feeling of contentment all year long. My chest felt light and my thoughts were clear as I sat around the campfire listening to the campsites next door count down to last seconds. It was like taking a breath of air for the first time in a long time, and hitting an internal re-fresh. And in that moment that I knew just how much the little things matter.

Christmas last year showed me how to be present in the little things, and new years eve taught me what to do with them.

You see they tell you that it’s the little things that matter. And it’s true. They do.

But I think what matters more, is what you do with them.

Little things can be good, awe-inspiring, the start of the next big thing. But little things can also be sad, inconvenient, and sorrowing. Being present in those moments teaches you understand their significance, but it’s what you then choose to do with them that’s important.

Notice the things that make you happy, chase them and crave to find them in your mundane everyday routine. Remember them and cherish them. Don’t know where to find them? Start with that coffee your Mr. bought you on his way home from work, or the way your golden retriever spends ten minutes rolling around on his back for entertainment in a bliss all of his own. Then notice how a flower grows to face the sunlight, and how the little old man looked at his sweetheart on the park bench next to him. Find the little things that are good and let them guide you. There’s plenty of good left in the world to be found, you just have to let yourself see it.

And as for the little things that trouble you? Well, it’s easy. It always has been. Let them go.

I recently read a letter from a young woman who passed away last week after a long battle with cancer. She was only 25. In amongst the reflection* upon her life and the things she wished for herself and others, she remarked upon the little things.

She said that people spend too much time focusing on the little things that plague their minds with worry or heartache. And that it’s not until you’ve been given finite amount of time to live that you realise that those things aren’t what’s important.

When you’re told that there’s not much time left, you start to wish your biggest issue wasn’t that your body was giving up on you, but that instead it was just terrible traffic on your way to work this morning, or a bad night’s sleep.

Because the bottom line is that it shouldn’t matter if the hairdresser cut your hair too short, or you have cellulite on your arse – these are not the things that should consume you. These are small things. And they are insignificant in the big scheme of things.

She had it completely right. And I can’t help but want to take her last worldly advice and run with it. Because if there’s anything I think I’m starting to understand in this lifetime, it’s that true happiness stems from gratitude. And I think gratitude comes from knowing how to deal with the little things. So that’s where I’m starting.

This year, it’s about the little things. And I truely think this is the biggest lesson you could  ever learn. Learn it with me if you’d like!

Wishing you the best for 2018, always.

d x

[* Holly Butcher’s Reflection: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/dying-womans-inspirational-and-moving-final-letter-goes-viral/news-story/89c6036ccdcde5c0522a23a5c10265eb %5D

Christmas Day: Scrubbed + Gloved

It’s been a big two weeks for me over Christmas this year, and almost feel as if they have sailed right by me in the blink of an eye. Does this only get worse the older I get? Please comfort my heart and say no! Any faster and we might find ourselves skipping straight to January entirely next year.

Having had the last two years off from work over my favourite holiday season, it was well and truely my turn to pull on the Christmas-owl scrubs and latex gloves, and hit the ground running on the surgical floor this year. I worked eight days straight over Christmas and felt it pinch at my heart a little at first. For a girl who adores everything covered in tinsel and sparkling fairy lights, it was hard to be inside the walls of the hospital and not with family.

But the reward of bursting in the ward’s doors with jingling reindeer ears on Christmas day morning and putting a smile on the patient’s faces there was more than I could ever have deserved for dreading in the first place. In fact, if I’m honest, I rather enjoyed spending Christmas day at work (and that’s not just the one too many rum balls clouding my memory!).

It was as if everyone brought in a bit of Christmas in with them, and shared it with those that thought they wouldn’t feel it this year. It was a day full of so many smiles, and so much warmth. It was as if we all came together to spread a special sort of cheer as far and wide across the ward as we could. I can’t really explain it any more than that, but it was like nothing else and there was this underlying understanding of the immense need for kindness.

I walked out of the hospital on Christmas afternoon with a heart so thankful for being able to bring a little happiness into the hearts of the patients I cared for. It made me realise how much I really love being a nurse. Despite the exploding stomas, the leaking drains, and the confused little old men who magically harness the strength of ten horses as they take a swing at you – I wouldn’t have chosen to do anything else.

And I’ve come to realise that you have to learn to love all these moments in your life. Even the ones spent in the hospital on Christmas day. Because it’s not about what you’re doing on days like this, or any normal day of the year for that matter – it’s about what you turn it into and what you take away from it.

I think this next year is going to be about enjoying the little things. About be present in every moment, and truely aware of the beauty that surrounds me. I already know its there, but in 2018, I want to feel it. I want to turn it into a happiness others can share in.

For me, I think this means finding peace of mind. All too often, I find myself worrying and getting stressed over the smallest of things. I let it shape how I feel, I let dictate how I act and the words that I construct. I don’t want to spend any more moments from here on feeling frustrated by the all the things I can’t change and the circumstances I once thought were less than ideal. I don’t want to feel clouded over in my mind, blind to good things. I want want my happy-heart moments to be present in every day I breathe.

Working this year over Christmas taught me a lot about what really matters. It’s not about things going to plan, or having the picture perfect day. It’s not about being task-orientated to point that the to-do lists takeover, or being organised at every turn. It’s about learning to laugh at the things that didn’t go to plan, and the days where it rained on your picnic. It’s about putting the to-do list on hold to lookup and smile at downpour instead. And I plan to bring this new-turn-old-proverb-epiphany into the New Year.

I hope everybody had such a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed it thoroughly however it was spent. Stay safe and loved as we turn our eyes to 2018, I have a feeling it’s going to be a big year!

d x

Letting go.

If there is one thing I’ve come to really realise this year, it’s that life is constantly changing. I used to think of life as having chapters that would change seamlessly into the next at the catalyst of a big life alteration.

Like when I graduated high school and entered the ‘real’ world, and then again when I walked out of the cafe for the last time as a waitress to start my career as a nurse. And then of course once more when a close friend of mine passed away and almost everything changed.

I used to think that those kind of moments were the distinctive page turns into new chapters of my life, because they were all so large and significant events. But I now have come to realise that sometimes life chapters change subtly, without warning and without a big moment.

This year my life has changed, and I haven’t really taken a moment to accept that until now.

I was spending this morning organising a few things before my Mr. woke from his everlasting slumber to take me out to our usual Tuesday breakfast date, and in a moment of nostalgia, I had decided to look back through some of my blog posts from earlier this year.

As a person, I haven’t changed a great deal. Still determined as ever to make a difference, finding various adventures to get lost upon and new hobbies to take up. Even my surroundings haven’t changed. I still live in the same place and travel for the most part, to the same places. I still drink vanilla lattes and recklessly shop online, a bad combination turn a predicament I often find myself in at 2am in the morning on night shift.

Yes, I am rather the same. But It just seems to have been the people around me that have changed instead. And most surprisingly it’s been some of the people I counted on to always be there, who have undoubtedly left in pursuit of a life that no longer includes me.

And when I look back, there was no big moment that these people walked out of my life. There wasn’t a huge fight, or a dramatic parting. No one moved overseas or passed away. We just drifted, for whatever reason. And now it seems so odd to finish this year without them, or even that my life in it’s new chapter doesn’t include them.

I suppose in hindsight, I subconciously knew it was happening at the time. It was that surging ache in my heart for no longer being the person they turned to for advice or even a pick-me-up mid-week. And when I really sink my teeth into it, I’ve probably been putting off letting go of that chapter for a long time now. Angry in the idea of even having to accept that my life will never quite go back to being like that. Fearful to so conclusively close the prior chapter of my life.

But without doing that, I can’t keep writing my own story. And more importantly, it isn’t healthy to carry around that hurt and fear anymore, and it’s exhausting to hope something will return to it’s humble beginnings. I have to let go.

This new chapter includes new friendships, and new weekly traditions. And I absolutely love it for what it is, but it’s different.

And while I miss my old friendships fiercely, I’ve come to realise that sometimes you don’t need a lot of friends. Just a few close ones. Quality over quantity, you know how it goes.

I  may not have the people in my life that I once used to, but there’s reasons for that, even if I don’t entirely understand them right now. So I’m conclusively closing that chapter and choose to look back at it with a fondness for the memories it holds.

I didn’t see it coming, but it’s here. This is the new chapter. It’s wasn’t a life changing moment that catapulted me into it and I’m not even sure yet what this new chapter will be about, but everything from here is shaped differently now because the people around me are different. And finally, I’m okay with that.

d x

beautiful-book-coffee-dark-Favim.com-2099269

Barricading the ‘Busy-ness’

I was driving down the highway towards my parent’s place the other morning with Igloo riding shot-gun, thinking about the term ‘busy’.

As of late, I’ve grown to really dislike the word. To be busy, is one thing. To let busy take over, is another. There’s a fine line between the two, and I’ve found there to be little to barricade the difference.

It seems to me that these days people have taken an odd sense of pride in the idea of ‘busy-ness’. As it if were a sign of great achievement, or self-importance to be busy all of the time. It’s almost like being busy were to mean that the life you’re living was more advantageous than others, and that no one else could ever understand just how much you had to accomplish. And when the busy it takes-over, and suddenly someone doesn’t reply to your message until five days later with the excuse that the week has just been “so busy”…the barricade appears non-existent.

I’m left to wonder, when did busy become an all-enveloping excuse for making time for the things that really should matter more?

Now, disclaimer: I’ve alway’s been a busy person. Self-confessed, I prefer the chaos. But I’ve never been someone to let it completely envelope me to the point of exclusion of all else – or at least, I like to think I never have. I have always aimed for balance, and found time for the things that matter most, like family and friends -because shouldn’t that be more important?

And so I’m not exactly sure why society has classed “busy” and “successful” as belonging in the same box when I find you can be both with, or without, the other. The internet describes the term busy in various ways, but perhaps my favourite description depicted busy as “spending time being cluttered with small, unharmonious details“.

We fill our time with small errands, and work schedules, only to then find little time for ourselves, let alone others – and I don’t think it’s healthy anymore to live like that. I’m all for to-do lists and productivity, but equally in love with bath salts and a good book. There has to be balance. There has to be time for other people, because your iPhone isn’t going to hug you on a bad day.

I think people need to change their perception of busy in the context of success. Because frankly, how could you ever think yourself successful in life if you let the busy-ness eliminate all else. Who would have left to celebrate the real triumphs with at the end of it all? Aren’t people more important than designing a new website, or replying to emails on end?

The bottom line is that we don’t have to be busy, we choose to. And I’ve always strongly believed that if you really want to do something, you’ll find time for it. So here’s my own self-acquired advice on barricading the busy-ness:

  1. Recognise
    It starts with recognising that life is fleeting, and should be filled with the things you love. There’s time to be busy, and there’s days to run errands. But recognise when work is becoming too much. Recognise when it’s becoming the barrier between you and the rest of the world. Don’t spend your time feeling chained to a busy life, staring out the window at the world passing by. Your body will often tell you that you need to stop, and when it does you need to listen. Recognise that there needs to be balance, and being productive does not come at the cost of a night out with friends or a night in with family. Recognise when life is becoming unharmonious, and focus on instilling harmony in it’s place. Chaos shouldn’t be the dot point on a map we find you living in.
  2. Prioritise
    Allocate time for being productive, and then allocate time to not be. I have found it so important to prioritise time to spend with family, friends or even just yourself. There’s something magical in leaving the laptop in the office and venturing to the oceanside where there’s fresh air and crashing waves – and the heaviness is given permission to lift from your shoulders. Find time for others, even when it feels like there is little of it left in your week. Not just because it’ll enrich your life – but because it will enrich the lives of others in your life who maybe just needed a friend during a hard week you never knew they were having. Prioritise your time, because I guarantee there will be nothing worse than looking back on your life on day and realising what you missed when you were busy being busy.
  3. Embrace
    Embrace the to-do lists and work towards your goals – let that be the definition of “busy”. But also embrace knock-off time when the day is done. Draw a line between work and play, and love it’s divide. Spend time with the people who have supported you since the beginning, and do the things you love. An email can wait until 9am tomorrow morning, just because it came through while you were getting dinner with a friend, it doesn’t demand an immediate response. The sooner you learn that you have a choice in being busy, the sooner you’ll find a better success than busy could ever bring.

 

That’s all there is to it. Busy-ness is a choice. And I hope you choose well.

d x

The support act. 

Sometimes I wonder what it is that places a heart and mind on two very separate pages of the same story. 

How is it possible to love something we shouldn’t or what tears us in two? Why can’t a heart change feelings as quickly as the mind can make the decision that we need too?

And what, just what, is it about humans that makes us believe that we never deserved better than that.

I have watched a close friend of mine lose the very things that made her, her… All because the word goodbye was something her heart couldn’t pronounce when her mind had tried it’s hardest to sound it out. 

Over the last three years, I have watched her effervescent personality fade into a shadow of self-doubt and insecurities all because she chose to love someone who will never love her as he should. And it makes me as angry as it does sad to know she’s limited her heart to a future with a hurt that could have so easily been avoided. 

I have been the shoulder to cry on, and I have provided the ‘happy gerbras’ and Krispy Kremes. And now I don’t know what more to do because I want to save her and I can’t. 

This is her battle. The task of pronouncing goodbye isn’t something I can teach her. She will have to learn that one on her own. 

Accepting this has been hard for me. I’m the sort of person who wishes it were completely possible to wipe him from her memory altogether so I could see a genuine happiness return to her world. I want her to enjoy life again, not to see life as a chore or simply her ‘lot in life’. 

Unfortunately though, it’s not up to me. In fact, I could keep doing my best to make it better until my dying breath – but it wouldn’t fix her. Because the fixing can only be done by her. 

This is something that I’ve come to really learn this year. People can only fix themselves if they want to, and there is no more you can do than be the soft landing that catches them on their darkest days. 

I guess I’ve realised that while this boy is the source of many of her problems, he’s also the source of her intermittent happiness. She has fallen so deeply in love with him that she has chosen to love his flaws no matter how cruelly they scar her. 

And while it is easy for me to sit here and form the opinion that she would be better off without him, it is far harder to be in her shoes. To dismantle the life that she has built around him over the last three years would be perhaps a seemingly impossible task. And I’ve only begun to try to see it from her point of view. 

She once told me that she would ‘be no happier without him’ than she is now. It was a statement that broke my heart as I watched her shuffle her feet, bluntly accepting a future where happiness may never truely become the steer. 

I have thrown myself both sides of the invisible friendship line, having offered advice in both support of the relationship, and in protest. 

I have spoken many times with her about deserving far more than he can give, and played devils advocate on many occasions in the hope she would question what her future looks like. 

And in situations like these, I’m really not sure what a good friend should do anymore. 

I guess she will figure it out. And I have already made the decision that I will be there for her in all capacity, be it with or without him. 

While it may frustrate me to see her hurt, I think it would be far worse for me to turn my back just because I don’t think he deserves the love she gives. 

There will be plenty more tears, and plenty more sugar-coated-cream-filled donuts. But this year I have made the promise to not give up on her. Because I think that’s what being a good friend means. 

It isn’t always easy, but I don’t think it was ever meant to be. And if each day I can help her find a little more of what makes her shine brighter again, then it will have been always worth it. 

d x

Sleepless and clueless. 

Over the years, I have come to really question how it seems to be my special ability for attracting the worst luck when it comes to cars. Or anything with wheels for that matter. 

However, despite all the things that have happened to my little cars, none of them compare to the events that unfolded last Wednesday morning…

Last week, on a cloudy Wednesday morning, I made my way out of the hospital after a very long and gruelling 10 hour shift. We had spent the last three hours of the shift run off our feet, trying desperately to keep certain death-willing patients alive and delirium-encumbered patients in the confines of their own beds. 

When the morning staff started to trundle in, we were starting to see the end of the tunnel. When we realised that somehow we were three staff short for the morning shift, that light started to fade quickly. 

With one casual nurse calling in late, one sick leave not replaced and one new baby grad who mixed up his shifts and performed the worlds most unfortunately timed ‘no-show’ – it was shaping up to look somewhat close to a nightmare. 

There were buzzers going off everywhere, and all sorts of bodily fluids not being caught in time as we desperately called everyone we could think of to rescue us from the craziness threatening to envelope us. 

It was an hour past my home time and I vividly  remember thinking of all the things I would happily give just to lay down horizontally, rather than shower the man in bed 3.1 who inappropriately thought I was everything else but a nurse. 

In the end, I think I stumbled down the stairs out the front of the hospital about an hour and half after my roster promised I would be in bed, and by this time I was entirely questioning whether it would be deemed appropriate to sleep all day in my car right there in the carpark. 

Suffice to say, I never got the chance. 

Hoping to brave it home with windows down and cold water to splash on my face, I made a beeline for the drivers door and clambered inside. Turning on the car, I sighed as I placed the gear stick into first. Levelling the accelerator, the car lurched forward… and that’s when I heard the almighty ‘clunk‘. 

The whole car fell to the left on a slant. I had barely made it half a meter, but the noise was enough to make me realise something had already gone very wrong. 

I grumbled ‘What now!?’ under my breath and launched myself out of the car. It’d been a long night, but I had no idea just how much longer it was going to get. 

Venturing around to the back of the car on the right side, I found my culprit. There in the middle of the car park I stood, sleepy-eyed and in utter disbelief as I looked at a wheel hub now blantently bare without a wheel. 

Someone had stole my back wheel. The whole wheel. Nuts and tyre too boot. Gone without a trace. Poof, into oblivion. Abracadabra. This is not a drill. 

I must have stood by that wheel hub for at least the next ten minutes in a state of fatigued-confusion, not really knowing who to even call in such a situation. Police? Insurance? Dad?… Ghost Busters? 

After all, who in tarnation steals someone else’s wheel!? 

I was absolutely wordless as I crouched down next to the back of my car now noticing a referdex jammed tightly under the brake, which I can only assume was used to prop the car up before I attempted to drive off. The disc that I assumed usually housed a wheel had been dragged along the bitumen along with my suspension. 

If having my wheel stolen hadn’t been unfortunate enough, skull-dragging the rear end of my car along the ground definitely hadn’t helped. 

I decided on calling my mechanic. The boys there have looked after me since I was 16, and knowing my unparalleled history in car misfortune, they were quick to come to my rescue. 

A long 15 hours since first arriving to work the night before, I finally watched my car hoist aboard a large tow truck. Half-asleep in the passenger seat of my Mr.’s car, we followed the tow truck back to my mechanic’s. 

My poor little car (‘Rocket’ as I’ve belovingly named him) needed four new alloys, a new tyre, a new set of brakes and some repairing to the wheel disc. I was sent home to sleep while they fitted Rocket out with the new adjustments. 

I snuck in two hours sleep before my phone woke me from my slumber, and the rough husky voice of my mechanic let me know my little car was ready to pick up. 

Four-hundred and ten dollars later (because my mechanic boys are just way too good to me!), I hopped in the drivers seat for the second time that day and shook my head one last time in disbelief at the way my day had turned out. 

And then out of nowhere I began to simply laugh at the ridiculousness of it. How these things happen to me, I’ll never quite know! But I’ll tell you something for nothing, they sure make for a good story in the tea room. 

I guess in this ever-maddening world, these things happen. They don’t have reason, nor logic. And they most certainly aren’t concerned with bad timing or whether you’ve been awake for a close 24 hours. They just happen. 

So you have to take what comes, and deal with it the best you can. Besides, the world has a funny way of making it up to you when the bad things cuddle a little too close. My newly won four-course dinner next Tuesday night at a fancy restaurant will entirely vouch for that! 

So count on the better things finding their way to you, it’ll never stay all bad forever. 

As for now, I have taken to checking all four wheels before leaving any car park, and parking a little too close to the gutters because if you’re planning on taking up another wheel for your collection, I’m sure not making it easy!

Happy Sunday everyone. Here’s hoping you always have four wheels to drive you home, and the strength to know that no matter how your day has started, the better will eventually fall together!

d x