Medical emergencies and good neighbours in the outback # 2

“Mummy is in that truck nanny.”

Well, on Saturday the 11th of August 2012, another “out of left field” event occurred.

My husband and I had been to Brisbane to visit our son, I arrived home on the Friday the 10th of August to a very sick daughter (daughter number 2) and granddaughter whom where looking after the station in our absence.

While the flu is not something that discriminates city or country, what does discriminate at times, is being able to seek medical opinion quickly. On that Friday night, our granddaughter (– who is 3), fever raged, relief came in the next morning, it “broke”.

But her mother was becoming worse with the break of day on the Saturday. Things started to go seriously wrong and become complicated as she is a migraine sufferer as well. The pain of this, coupled with flu and now being physically ill at the same time was not something to be dismissed.

The ambulance at Charleville was called – and immediately dispatched. Within minutes, the Doctor from the Royal Flying Doctor Service – “Dr John” was on the phone. We needed to source a Royal Flying Doctor Medical Chest immediately.

Whilst on the phone to Dr John, I called for help over the UHF from our nearest neighbour who is approx 15ks up the road. Within minutes the response came from them. “Roby, have the Dr on the phone, need your RFD kit here now – we need pain relief now – at the homestead” reply back “What’s happened? I’m on my way!”   At the same time, daughter number 2 needed me, so i was unable to reply to our neighbour, though that didn’t matter…I knew that the neighbour was on the way – and that, is the beauty of a solid community in the bush! J

Once the neighbour arrived, I met her at the gate, we carried in the RFD (Royal Flying Doctor) chest – then immediately rang Dr John back for instructions. Morphine was required immediately.

While I stayed with our daughter, Roby spoke to the Dr, who precisely and patiently guided her through the preparation of the pain relief and how to administer it. An injection into the leg muscle was the only area where it was safe to administer.

The reason for this is like all people on the land “we” are used to inoculating our livestock as part of good animal husbandry, and we all know where to do this so it is safe for them. But a human being, well – now that is a totally different story!

“Human beings” look at you, talk to you, and are in pain that you can relate to yourself as the same species, and well, many humans have phobias of needles – and daughter number 2 is one of those!

Dr John not only talked Roby through the actual administering of the morphine injection, he also on speaker phone talked to and reassured our daughter that everything was going to be alright, but the only way to relief was to have this injection in the leg now.

Ice was then required to numb the area, with Dr John, Roby and myself all timing the amount of time that the ice was put on the area – exactly 2 minutes – then the injection immediately. Mission accomplished!

The phone rang again, this time the ambulance from Charleville – asking for me to call the dispatched ambulance up on the UHF as they had come to a locked gate….they had taken the wrong turn, and were one property short of our station.

I left Roby with daughter number 2 and granddaughter and jumped in my vehicle on a mission to find the missing ambulance calling on the vehicle UHF on the way – finally, in the distance dust, and an ambulance emerging still not on our station, but nevertheless on the way – they made it!

When we both arrived back at the Station, Roby told the ambulance officers what she had administered at Dr Johns instructions, and they diligently recorded it. Roby was then able to leave and head home again.

After another 20 minutes or so, daughter number 2 was very carefully put onto the gurney and then carefully taken and put into the ambulance. Still in a tremendous amount of pain, and very ill.

As I stood there, with my granddaughter in my arms, we were watching the ambulance ever so slowly drive down the driveway; she turned to me and said, “Mummy is in that truck nanny.” With that I knew that if I did not run in and get the camera so that Linda could see the “truck that took mummy away in..” that there would be one increasingly upset little girl who has rarely been separated from her mother since her birth.

Later that night, when our granddaughter asked about her mummy and the “truck” I was able to show her and this was of comfort to her as I explained those are “good trucks” and her mum would be home in a few days, which she happily accepted.

So with that all written down, it gives a glimpse into the real life, the distance for ambulances, the fantastic support systems in place from neighbours, medical professionals and the improvising after an event has happened to be able to carry on with coping strategies from the youngest member in a household, to the oldest. To be part of a community such as this is privilege and that must be preserved throughout time, in all our communities across rural Australia.

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