I have found myself with the joy of 2 weeks of quality time with the kids, as Andy has been travelling. On the rare occasions I am left to single parent, I am overwhelmed with how blessed we are with community and friendship.
Day 1 – After a day of meetings and troubleshooting at the hospital, time to pick up the kids from soccer practice and make dinner at our house for my friend Catherine, whose husband is also away for a week – laughter, joy, comfort and enough leftovers for a chicken pot pie that goes into the freezer for later in the week.
Day 2 – Drop the kids at school then the car to the mechanic for oil change, tyre rotation, new wiper blades and brake light before a full day covering the pediatric ward and high dependency unit. Finished in time to pick up the car and kids and head for dinner at Catherine’s – a quid pro quo except she’s a better cook and BRINGS IT with Korean food. Yes. Winning. Avery the cat gets beaten up by a stray mega-tomcat and we find her bleeding upstairs when we get home – google “how to prevent your cat dying from a cat bite with antibiotics you might find in your bathroom” and make kids give the cat antibiotics.
Day 3 – Strategic satellite clinic & infrastructure planning meetings, but space to break away from the hospital to see my kids in their element during the school open day – teachers whose sacrifice of this life makes our ministry possible, and friends who fill in some of the holes of not living near family. A family evening with fire, cuddles and games.
Day 4 – Saturday – Titchie Field Day! 8am egg mcmuffins at the school cafeteria before setting up my station at the school sports morning with a pirate theme – craziness, games, fun.
Day 5 – Donuts for breakfast, and a day in Nairobi – including essential shopping for “Liam turns 8” birthday extravaganza in a couple of weeks.
Day 6 – Drop the kids at school and as drive away realise that today is school photo day and I have no idea if the kids’ clothes and hair are remotely presentable. 8am senior staff prayer meeting followed by a day of handover meetings as Rich prepares to take the helm of medical director. Kids school pickup and subsequent dinner thanks to the kindness of David Shirk’s gourmet throw-it-in-a-pan-ery (how does he do it??), Arianna’s laughter and love and their girls’ giggling friendship with our kids.
Day 7 – Spend all day renewing my Australian passport in Nairobi, as neither my photos nor credit card are acceptable when I show up at 10am and I am NOT coming in to do this another day – so run around replacing a photo smile with a mugshot and cobble together the $400 cash needed for overseas renewal before the Australian High Commission passport counter closes at noon. Do grocery shop and celebrate successful submission and safe return to Kijabe with Taco Tuesday dinner.
Day 8 – Run kids to school in time to start work at 8am with hospital chapel service followed by a full day of annual budgeting, strategic nursery planning and clinical head mentorship. A twilight drive home from school after soccer, then make dinner for a visiting pathologist from Nashville who shares chili around our fireplace with me and my “incredibly sweet children”.
Day 9 – Wonderful Shirks take the kids at 7:20am so that I can start my day with a 7:30am subdivisional head meeting before covering the pediatrics ICU, with enough space between sick kids in the afternoon to decorate the pediatric high dependency unit with the remaining decals with Arianna – trees, leaves, birds, happiness. Burgers at the lovely Chens’ house, followed by coming home to tidy and set up the house for the grandparents arriving tomorrow!
Day 10 – a crazy half day at the hospital, complete with inter-institutional conflict resolution meetings, impromptu neurosurgeon interview, nutrition strategy meeting and subdivisional head review, running home to pack 3 overnight bags so that the kids and I can meet my parents arriving in Nairobi this evening!
Day 11 – Saturday – breathing time, shopping and family time with grandparents in tow, with new clothes and treats from Australia. A fireside game of Clue / Cluedo, with none of us guessing the murderer but all of us having fun.
Day 12 – A day of sabbath rest, family, and visiting the hospital for the annual “Johnses bring Australian toys for sick kids” visit, except this time in a bright, new peds wing.
Day 13 – A Monday of tying up loose ends in my last week as medical director, with an unexpected farewell from the hospital senior management during our biweekly 4 hour afternoon meeting – gifts and kind words for 3 years of leading the medical team. Followed by dessert night at our house to welcome short term visitors, the oil in the hospital’s engine that keeps us going.
Day 14 – new passport has already arrived from Australia! Into Nairobi to pick it up, plus an opportunity to spend time with my parents – good coffee, mummy-daughter clothing shopping time, and a treat of takeaway KFC for dinner with Aussie chocolate for dessert.
Andy gets back in 2 days, for which I am grateful. But in a busy two weeks, I have much to be thankful for.