There’s another scribbling nurse. And it comes up at the very top of a google search. Dang it. He is not me and I am not him. Good luck to him though; as both scribbling nurses, we might one day meet and play scrabble. And scribble. And hopefully not battle for the title of THE Scribbling Nurse but I’ll sharpen my thermometer just in case…
Last Friday I spent the morning with one of the Child Health Promotion Nurses who was happy for me to go with her to the local primary school and talk to the kids about the importance of washing their hands. We attended the ‘transition’ class which is in-between kindergarten and pre-school (?). I walked in and 3 little kids ran up and wrapped their arms around me, welcoming me into their classroom! They watched a DVD about germs then all had a goo put on their hands which they could only see under a blue light (the germ seeker!). They then had to wash their hands and come back to check under the germ seeker if they had left any of the goo on. It was a great way to not only tell them but show them how germs work and why keeping little busy hands clean was very important.
Last Sunday I went for a walk along Lake Mary-Ann. Crossing the bridge, I looked up to see enormous spider webs. Sitting proudly in the centre were enormous makers of the spider webs casting 8 protective eyes over their enormous spider eggs.
Since my last post it’s been a week and a week it has been. I have spent all week (including tomorrow) in the Alcohol and Other Drug sector with one of the coolest mental health / AOD nurses I’ve ever met. There’s no drug she hasn’t seen smoked, ingested, injected or inhaled. And no liquor that hasn’t seeped deep into a person’s cells and soul that even facing the loss of everything dear to them hasn’t stopped them from wetting their lips and feeling the burn.
Tennant Creek has a multitude of services dedicated to the provision of support, treatment and care for people facing an addiction of some sort. Ranging from frontline grass roots support such as the service I have spent time in including the ‘sober up shelters’ to the people behind the scenes researching and creating programs that are person-focussed and culturally sensitive. The need for experienced and dedicated staff, like many services around the nation, is chronic. However, the people who are here are present in body, mind and spirit and sticking around – for as long as they can – to support the community in their fight against substances which are breaking down family units and adding to the health burden of Australia.
Check out this list of all the Volatile Substances that people can use to get high. AOD and VSA (Volatile Substance Abuse) workers have tried to be one step ahead yet are often just one step behind because sadly, where there’s a will there’s a way.
This week I was shown around a facility called the Julalikari Youth Accommodation Centre. The Julalikari Youth Accommodation Centre provides individual accommodation on the property for Indigenous young people who have employment and need somewhere safe to live. This will open in the next 6-8 weeks.
I also had the enjoyment of meeting a guy called Fraser Tahau who is a musician and involved in Uncle Jimmy’s Thumbs Up program. Fraser is an amazing guitarist and singer and assisted many communities to write and create songs to educate young and old people about the importance of good health, good hygiene and good diet. The below video is one of my favourites. Trachoma is a bacterial eye infection that can lead to blindness. It can be easily prevented by good hygiene and not infecting eyes with grubby hands.
Last night, myself, my RN AOD buddy and Fraser went to watch Hillbilly Horror, a play with no props and an outstanding cast of actors and musicians. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. The Barkly Regional Arts Coordinator and other artists and facilitators gave the audience a run-down of future artistic plans for the Barkley region and I felt a swell of pride amongst the attending locals. Despite what has been happening in Tennant Creek and surrounding regions which has been broadcasted in the media, in the wise words of Chumbawamba, they get knocked down but they get up again, ain’t nothin’ gonna keep them down.
This was also in full show at a meeting I attended with my RN AOD buddy this morning. A room full of community minded people of police, council representatives, Territory families staff, AOD, Aboriginal health workers and more all brain stormed ways to make Tennant Creek a safer place for everyone. I provided some information on a program that used to be run in Albany where youth workers and peer workers would be on the streets talking to the youth, playing music with them and reaching out to people who may not reach out first. It was taken on board by the attendees and meeting facilitator. A lot of kids and adolescents are very anti-authority, not helped by American music and movies that make it seem cool to hate the police or aim for an anarchist society. Peer to peer support ie. someone who has walked the walk can be a positive mentor to other kids currently facing difficulties at home, school and with their friends and can have a huge impact on whether habits are developed or not. Or if habits are continued or recovered from.
Anyway, there is so much to learn and so many people to learn it from. For me, they haven’t just been my clinical instructors but people in the community, patients, clients and acquaintances. There are more people reading this blog which I’m thrilled about but I’ll always keep the content as real as I can because I am an observer and writer. And this world is my muse. Goodnight Tennant Creek, you are loved. And so are you.
Ciao for now! – Rachel