Today is my last day in Broome. This week has been bittersweet. I finished work at Broome Hospital on Monday. It was my very last shift in the High Dependancy Unit (HDU) where I have worked 99% of my time here, often on my own looking after very unwell patients. It has been challenging but I thrive on challenges. I have learnt about Indigenous health issues and the complexity involved in their care. Working in a regional hospital that services an area the size of New South Wales is only functional due to its staff. The doctors and nurses I work with are so passionate to create change and have taught me so much that I am very grateful for.
We use daily videoconferencing with our Perth ICU Intensivists to review our HDU patients and emergency doctors are available in Perth 24/7 to help us navigate a difficult resuscitation and emergency situation. The physicians can remotely view our patient, staff and monitors and direct us on how to stabilise our patients for transfer to Perth with the Royal Flying doctors. It is easy to take for granted the services you have in a big metro hospital. These 3 years in Broome have certainly given me a new perspective on country medicine.
I celebrated my birthday on Friday with my wonderful friends and colleagues. I am usually in Tanzania with Open Heart International at this time of year and I had planned to climb Mt Kilimanjaro this week. I was gifted a beautiful Broome pearl pendant from my colleagues and was absolutely speechless to receive such a precious gift. Broome is a pearling town and has the biggest pearl industry in Australia, heavily influenced by Japanese, Malaysian and Chinese cultures. It was heartwarming reading all my beautiful messages of appreciation for my service to Broome Hospital. I leave here with immense gratitude.
The question I keep getting asked is, 'Sandra, how will you continue your project if you are not here?'. There are plans in place to keep it going, share my project and provide schools with a roadmap of the project workshops. I also have applied for a grant with the Shire of Broome to enable me to return here for a very special school roadtrip in 2021. This year has allowed me to refine the project by listening and learning from the teachers, school psychologists and students. This trip is so important and regardless if funding comes through or not, I will be returning here for another roadtrip. It will be unlike anything I have done this year and I am thankful for the input from those that share my passion to make this happen. The Kimberley certainly has a lot of mental health issues here but I want to help youths that experience similar hardships on the East Coast.
I am spending the holidays in Perth with my family, friends and my very loyal dog Charlie. It is some much needed down time after a hectic year. I cannot express enough gratitude to everyone who has been involved in the project this year, especially all the schools and students I have worked with. A special thankyou to my sponsors Harvey Norman and Country Women's Association. I would also like to say thankyou to Sarah M, Sarah B, Helen, Carolina, Ally and Emma, my beautiful friends who have supported me all the way and have been there during the challenging times. To Jenny, your generosity has gifted me with funds that have allowed me to help more children. I look forward to finally meeting you! To Agi, who shared her story with me, a brave mother who endured losses no-one could ever comprehend. To Neville, a special Indigenous friend who taught me what LIYAN (inner spirit) means and so much more.
The photo above is of the most photographed Boab tree in Broome at Town Beach. My next and last blog post for 2020 will be a gallery of the students photos from this year.
With a grateful heart, thankyou Broome. See you next year!