Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Dr Tabubil Files: The Grey Nomads

My sister, the estimable Dr Tabubil, is spending ten weeks on a rural clinical rotation in Cloncurry, a small pastoral town in the Queensland Outback.  It's a fantastic place, and together we have collaborated on a series of guest posts  all about living and working in the Red Centre.  Enjoy!

Hey Tabubilgirl -

So i had some patients in with me (gray nomads) that i needed by boss to review for me.  As they left they made some comment that i didn't catch.
            Anyway, later on i called my boss about another patient, and he goes, "you've got fans in Port Maquarie.  They think you're sh**t hot!"
            I have fans in port Macquarie.

The Gray Nomads are the retired men and women who close up their houses and spend months out of every year on the road in caravans and camper-vans, exploring Australia.  As the baby boomers age, the pastime is becoming increasingly popular, and brings with it into the outback the ailments and illnesses of the elderly, at a scale that really hasn’t been appreciated out here before.  Most grey nomads usually present with the influenza and want some antibiotics, but occasionally we do get one with cardiac failure - such as the dear old soul who, when she thought about it, “was supposed to get that echocardiogram before setting off on this 4 month journey across the outback.”
Oh dear.
            There was also the elderly gentleman who arrived at the clinic delirious with the flu: so incoherent and muzzy that he managed to drive his car and caravan right into the back parking lot (reserved for the clinic staff), ignoring the multiple signs marked “Do Not Enter.”  Our car park has a long, narrow entrance, leading to a very small lot at the back.  It's big enough for about seven cars, if they’re very friendly with each other, but it is definitely not large enough for a trailer.  We noticed his arrival when we heard a loud bang.  The building shook.  I, of course, thought that the nearest mine was blasting that day, but they don't blast that close, do they?! Turns out not -  the gentleman had backed into a supporting post for the building. 
            It was a close call, and once everyone had panicked and moved their cars out of his way in a real big hurry, he managed to find his way out. I thought that I had done a few10-point turns in my day! He topped my record by far.

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