Yen’s blog |Month 5 | Nov 2018.
Slow yourself down.
This month, I have been relegated to doing two things I am not a fan of – not doing things myself and asking for help. You see, a simple freak accident involving new slippers and an uneven tree root caused me to fracture my right collarbone one sunny morning here in tropical paradise that is Kavieng. I ended up at the emergency department of the local hospital (and paying 5 Kina for x-ray which is a bargain if you ask me!), thanking my lucky stars it wasn’t a long wait and that the x-ray technician and electricity supply were both available at the same time.
Handing over my patrol responsibilities was not easy for me, and neither was not taking charge at the pre-patrol meeting and waving the team goodbye as they set off. The loss of independence and ability to do things for myself (and others) was palpable. But I am learning to see the sun behind the clouds and appreciate all the kindness shown to me.
The Kavieng community, both local and expat, have shown such generosity and patience to me, from simple gestures of help by smiling strangers to more intimate ones by closer friends (thanks Tytti for that hair wash!). And nothing beats the surprise of dinner deliveries by local legends Brendan and Diana who are seriously putting me at risk of gaining weight in Kavieng. Anyway, slowing yourself down allows you to take stock of where you are and how you’re doing, something I am trying to get into the habit of asking myself more regularly instead of the default go-go-go mode I so often revert to. So I am checking in with myself and enjoying those couple of books I had planned on reading but previously got distracted. No therapy, yoga camps or existential midlife crisis required – just one painful collarbone for the next few weeks. C’est la vie.
Taking healthiness for granted.
In amongst my collarbone injury, the ADI rescue puppy got sick. Muggy has been the joy of our lives at the ADI house since her arrival. The first day we met, she growled at me when I tried to remove her from the chicken feed leftovers she was desperately gulping down her throat. She did not trust easily and had food insecurities. After a month or so, we were chuffed that she had gained confidence, weight and healthy fur, and we had in turn gained her trust. Then one fine Friday afternoon, she stopped trying to play chew my fingers and came to cuddle and sleep on my lap instead. This continued for some 4 days where she stopped eating and drinking and suffered from lethargy and vomiting. Muggy’s mum, our health coordinator Tytti looked after her as a mum would and nursed her back to health. We are now very pleased to see her tail wagging once more and her belly swollen with food after dinner. I even caught myself smiling when she stole my socks and loofa to hide away in the garden. Not long after that, I suffered my collarbone injury and am now reminiscing about how good it felt to be healthy and able.
Just the other day, I was hopping around playing volleyball with the local hospital staff, though my skills were hardly anything to be sought after. Hopefully, I will bounce back like little Muggy and have my happy waggely tail back on soon enough.