Friday, September 11, 2015
A tale of two valleys.
Today I had the pleasure of travelling quite a distance from home, across a valley or two to a beautiful town at the very foot of the snow mountains, with the apt name of Mount Beauty.
I have worked so far at the Bright And Myrtleford Hospitals and enjoyed every shift. Staff have been very welcoming and receptive fortunately for me and when I accepted an orientation shift at Mount Beauty Hospital I thought I might have mozzed myself and run out of good fortune.
I knew Mount Beauty was quite a drive, around an hour from home, and one must always be on the lookout for kangaroos, deer (yes deer), bunnies and foxes up here and there are many winds to the roads as you traverse up and down mountains so, as I was unused to this drive, I set my alarm last night for 4:45 this morning.
When I awoke and gazed outside as I ate my cereal and drank my cup of tea I saw a low slung crescent moon with Venus shining just above it. There was a glimmer on the hills opposite our place to let me know it wouldn't be long before the sun arose and as I made my way down the drive as I left home the moon disappeared from view leaving Venus Star to shine for just a little longer as the dawn broke and the birds awoke.
All along our road until I got into Myrtleford there was fog cover more dense in some parts than others and try as I might to see local fauna, they must have all been sleeping steadfastedly as there were none to be seen.
I turned left when I got to Ovens to travel along Pretty Valley and there were patches of breathtaking beauty as I drove along the lonely road winding along the valley until I then traversed the top of a mountain range over into the Kiewa Valley. There was such abundant bird life as I listened to the radio and I could faintly hear Red Simons chortling away from time to time and it kept me distracted enough as I was a little stressed about how my day would go in yet another new environment.
What really made me gasp with pleasure was the sight of Mount Bogong to my left as I drove along, its top covered in snow and Falls Creek in front with its snow capped mountain beckoning also. To be surrounded by such beauty really made me take stock of these life changes we have made and how grateful I am to be living in such a spectacular environment now.
I got to Mount Beauty with five minutes to spare, so all up it had taken me 55 minutes to get to the hospital which was right on the main roundabout as you drive into the town. All very easy to find.
I walked into the main reception and was greeted warmly by a staff member and was then invited into the nurses station where I ran into a nurse I had worked with many years ago when I was a student!
You can guess dear reader, that this started my day off with a big smile on my face and dear reader the day just got better and better.
I worked the day with Paul, a diehard Hawks fan who was very excited for his football team tonight, a British nurse Jacqui who looks about 16 (but can't be) as she is the Mum of four with her eldest aged 24, Heather who is the acting NUM and an overseas student Maricelle. I have not laughed at work so much for such a long time. Work was all about having fun for a change, joking with the various patients as we showered them, dishing out their medications, moving beds, cleaning beds ( nurses get to strip beds, clean beds and make the beds up here) taking patients outside into the warm sun, going across the road to the local pharmacy to drop scripts off, having morning tea and lunch and walking out at the end of the shift with a smile on my face.
I might not be birthing babies at the moment as birthing numbers are certainly reduced in these small rural hospitals, but I am gradually merging into a team of midwives who practise case-loading with those few women who elect to birth with minimal intervention as possible.
Next week I will be doing my second lot of 24 hour on-call for a woman who is due to birth shortly. Once these women advance to 2 weeks prior to their due date, midwives are offered on call in anticipation of their labour so it will be exciting to finally participate in a birth or two if it so happens on my watch.
Birthing numbers are reduced up here now, as these rural towns are embracing older generations more and more as people like myself and my husband appreciate the advantages of living in a calmer, cleaner atmosphere as we retire and try to age gracefully. The death rate out of the major towns is far greater than the birth rate I am told, but whilst this must sound morbid one must realise it's a fact of life and part of the evolution of such places.
I left Mount Beauty this afternoon just on 4 pm. as I had to purchase a couple of things before winding my way back home.