Sometimes I dream and it is surprising the odd things which pass through our imaginations when dreaming. I had a dream…
As someone who doesn’t like war I dreamed what gimmick I could popularize to make it so that we can still have a holiday on ANZAC day but not have the soldiers all marching around dressed up as if they idolize the concept of fighting, and the old ones reliving those times of past wars with the terrible loss of life and destruction of property. Supposedly the wars won peace and now we have a world with no more fear of further such horrible world events as WWs I & II. In my dream when I sit and think it seems to all be glorifying a falsehood, for there are new wars beginning somewhere around the world every day.
I think that I might choose a Koala. They are not particularly aggressive, they look so cuddly. I’m sure that we could teach them how to have tasty cupcakes, instead of normal koala babies. Their babies could have all sorts of flavours and toppings. And possible I could get big businesses to get involved and make chocolate koalas and surely with their inventiveness to make profit and to take away the horrible thoughts of war. They maybe could make little ‘ANZAC cakes’ with a machine gun included into the icing.
Then I, in my dream, ponder. Quietly an angelic little beastie sits on my left shoulder and whispers in my ear – for a minute I hear the point of the celebration and its significance for our nation. ‘Don’t be stupid’, the figure says ‘and ruin something not perfect but basically good and very significant.’
And no sooner they speak I feel the hooves of a caricature dressed in red tights and with horns on their head and a pitch fork on my other shoulder. ‘Go on do it, try it! You’ll probably make yourself a fortune! Look at Easter – they have rabbits, delivering painted eggs! The chocolate factories are on the bandwagon and make a fortune in ridiculously priced chocolate shells covered with brightly coloured foil. Remember they have made little cakes and drawn a couple of lines across it and call it a cross. People wouldn’t buy it if they didn’t put the real meaning of Easter into it somewhere! Go to, boy! I think you’re on a winner!’ ‘Think back on past Easter days, you will see the kids hunting the bushes for chocolate eggs and the nearby churches nearly empty! Go on, you can do it.’
And I wake up. I have choices to make in the real world. What will I do this Easter season and on Anzac Day in a few weeks? But don’t forget it is your life; you are only responsible for yourself. Happy Easter.
Do you ever watch ‘Morse’ on Television? Have you noticed that the main actor Morse (John Thaw) has a ‘dropped foot’ on the right? As a doctor you tend to spot diseases. And one day I saw this guy standing on the road side.
The gum trees came from Australia.
You can deduce that we are driving on a high plain and in the distance, after a valley unseen for the cloud that fills it, is another mountain range. Going to Jimma from Addis you pass through several mountain range.
The ground looks fertile.
The old man isn’t standing up very straight. His knees are bent and his crutches don’t go up to fit nicely under his arms.
He’s obviously thumbing a ride. I can’t see a house anywhere near, and he is not at a designated bus stop. So I wonder how long he’s waited and to where does he want to go. It’s a long hard walk to any clinic in the area.
Either he’s got a bad medical practitioner who doesn’t know how to set up his crutches correctly or he’s got some nasty orthopaedic problem. His knees are bent; his back is bent over, but if they both were straightened out his crutches would be long way too short. I am most unlikely to know his language as this is a different tribal area. He looks a bit scruffy – see that patch on his knee? He probably has a different scent but most likely BO. I think we could make room for him but the kids would have to be squashed up. We’re in a bit of a hurry, and someone says ‘we’re running late already’. Look carefully – he is human. Wife says ‘well, are you going to give him a ride?’ Should I have?
You can wander through your photos and think different things…..
Why did I take that?
I can’t remember what that was!
Weren’t we stupid to do that.
I wonder where they are now? etc
This photo takes me back over a lifetime of medical practice.
The past…As a first year intern in Adelaide, in the days when specialists were not as plentiful, I was sidelined into being a temporary anaesthetic registrar for six months to cover a shortage. It would be not even an option in this day of many more available people. But it gave me the opportunity to have a hands on experience which has served me well throughout my years of practice as a surgeon. Almost all of my time in Ethiopia I had to give/supervise all of my anaesthetics when I was the surgeon. So for chests and abdomens, orthopaedic and urological procedures the responsibility for the anaesthetic lay with me. Sometimes I even had to unscrub and deal with a problem before getting back to the operation. And tiny babies are a special problem; this boy was vomiting and needed to have his abdomen opened. I was, once the child (everyone knew that he was a boy, in spite of the troubles which politicians seem to have these days!) was properly anaesthetised going to leave the management at the head end to a cleaner. The length of the trachea in which the tube had to stay was only a couple of centimetres long – if it moved up he couldn’t be breathed for; if it went in too far, one of his lungs and maybe even one and a half of his lung capacity would be blocked off! I can remember my years of specialist surgical training; I can remember leaving my parents and siblings for a life in a land with, to me, a variety of unknown languages and a totally different culture.
The present….Here was the first born son a young family whom they had watched for a couple of weeks as he vomited everything they fed him and they were afraid that he would die. They were unsure if they could trust this young foreign white man, in their eyes an infidel. But they came and all their hopes were hanging on this moment.
The future…He survived and they were very, very happy. But here I have to let my mind float away into the ether. What sort of education did he get; is he married; did he become a good boy and make wise choices; is he a blessing or a curse to those around him. But that is the future of every patient you treat – some you get to follow and know, others are just passing in the night. Do you wonder why I like looking at the photos on my computer?
I spent the last years of my working life in the University at Arba Minch. The city has a population of more than 200,000. The University has more than 40,000 enrolled students. I went there as the medical students were about to enter their clinical years. They were not ready to receive students in the hospital but we had to do so!