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Today started off looking like a bit of a doddle, the other nurse and the doctor were to fly over to Marpurru on the mainland to assess and bring back 2 people that were to be sent to Darwin for further treatment. While they were doing this I was going to spend the day engaging with some of the males at a couple of the closer outstations that not often get a male nurse visiting. "Engaging" may have taken the form of taking a few handlines with me and trying our luck along the beach. Just as I was about to head down the store to procure some bait for the "engagement" there was a change of plans. We now were all to fly over to Marpurru and while the other nurse escorted the two people back to Elcho the doctor and I were to run a clinic at the community for the day.
Oh well, I'm really not that much into fishing anyway but the prospect of spending the day by the beach yacking with some of the locals was quite attractive. The flight is only about 20 minutes to Marpurru and on landing at the strip we have to walk up to the community and pick up a vehicle that is left there for our use in order to transport all our gear that we use to run a clinic. It's only about a 10 minute walk but by this time it was really hot and humid. The doctor and I had a pretty good turn out for our clinic and managed to see a good number of people for various complaints. The clinic we use is very small, just 2 rooms with a toilet connecting them. A ceiling fan creaks away unsuccessfully trying to move the hot, thick air in an attempt to render some sort of relief from the oppressive conditions. The people we are treating remark how hot it is inside the clinic and that it would be better setting up under the large mango tree outside which is an excellent idea but too late to move now. Dressings won't stick to sweaty skin and while trying to take blood your own sweat gets in your eyes and people fidget hoping to get it over with so they can escape the hot box. By mid afternoon the presentation of people dries up, they have either retired for an afternoon under a shady tree and have taken the wise choice of avoiding our walk-in oven.
We pack up, load up the vehicle and drive back to the strip to await the plane which is due at 2:00 PM. After unloading the gear next to the strip I then have to take the vehicle back to the community and walk back again in the heat. Luckily there is a small shade structure at the strip because for some reason the plane is late and we sit for another half an hour before hearing the drone of it's engine approaching. Bundle everything into the plane, fly back to Elcho, bundle everything out of the plane, into another vehicle, out again back at our main clinic and restock the bags for the next visit. Then it's a matter of finishing off the notes from the day and processing any pathology I collected to be sent to Darwin for testing the next day.
Meanwhile 2 of the people that were to be sent to Darwin had been unable to travel on the commercial flight that had departed that afternoon. A Careflight plane had been arranged to pick them up around 8:00 PM but that meant someone would have to take them to the plane when it arrived. Plan "A" was that the other nurse and I would take it in shifts so that we were able to get a break each around meal time so that was arranged and I set off for home for a half hour break. I was just walking out the front door to return to the clinic when plan "B" was brought into play. Now the people were cleared to wait with some family that had a house right next to our clinic and the other nurse would pick them up when contacted by Careflight on arriving at Elcho. Sounds good to me! So a pretty full day particularly with the weather conditions at this time of the year and I'm hoping for a bit of male "engagement" tomorrow.