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Top End Doctor - 2. Dr Chapter 2

“What is it that you do for work?” Toby asked, “I am a marine engineer, and I lecture part time at the university, plus I am studying part - time to be a paramedic,” Timothy replied. “What is it you specialise in again?” Toby asked Uncle James.

“Well I have a Masters in Medical and Surgery, which is known by the initials MBBS, plus I have a Fellowship degree in Rural Medicine, specialising in Environmental and Tropical Diseases, which has the initials of FRACRRM,” Uncle James replied, “How long does it take you to train to get all of that?” Toby asked, “Well it is five years for the MBBS training, then a year as an intern at a government hospital, followed by two years as a Medical Registrar, and finally two years to do the Fellowship training as a specialist, so ten years in total,” Uncle James replied.

“Wow, I didn’t realise that it takes that long?” I responded, “Yes, and even longer if you want to specialise in some areas,” Uncle James said, as we arrived at the luggage bay, and after ten minutes of waiting, we finally managed to collect all of our luggage, while Timothy had gone to collect the car.

“How far is it from the airport to your home?” Toby asked, “It is your home now too boys, and it will just take us about ten minutes and we will be there,” Uncle James replied, as we headed out of the terminal, where it was quite hot and humid, which caught us by surprise a little.

“I forgot how hot it gets up here,” I commented, as a dark blue Volvo Caddy van stopped in front of us, and Uncle James opened the rear door and started to load up all the luggage, which is a large suitcase each and a medium bag, which we had carried with us on the plane.

“Jump in Reid, and I will lift Toby into his seat after you, then I can put his chair in the back, Uncle James instructed me, and I did as he said, and moments later, Toby was sitting in the seat closest to the side door.

As Uncle James had said, just over ten minutes later, we turned left into a driveway, with the ocean on the other side of the road, “Wow, what a view you get from here,” Toby commented, as the front gates automatically opened, as did one of the garage doors, and Timothy stopped the van just before entering the garage.

Reid, here is the house keys, for the back door, the alarm code is 190902, with the keypad just on your right as you enter the back door, you have only twenty seconds to enter the code, 190902, got it?” Uncle James said to me, as he climbed out of the van and opened the side door, before handing me the keys, while Timothy retrieved the wheel chair and placed it beside Uncle James, so he could put Toby in it, and I could then climb out.

“Got it, 190902. Right bro, lets go and do some exploring,” I replied smiling, taking off along the wide path towards the back of the house. We entered through a short back hallway, and right away the alarm gave a soft beeping to warn us that the alarm was set, so I flicked open the cover and pressed the six code numbers and the button enter, which stopped the beeping sound.

Leaving the back door open, I wheeled Toby in, and on our right was a door to a large laundry room, followed by the toilet, and we entered the large rumpus or games room, which has a full-size billiards table in the centre. I pushed Toby towards the two doors that are close together, presuming that they were our bedrooms, and I guessed correctly, with each bedroom being very large, with walk in robes each and a shared bathroom between the two bedrooms.

Leaving Toby in the first room, I walked through the bathroom to the other bedroom, and it was identical to the first one, “They are exactly the same, so you choose which room you want,” I said to my brother. “This one is fine, and I think you will find that this one has a lower bed and desk than yours,” Toby replied, and I walked back into his room, and smiled.

“Very well spotted, I had missed that, and look even the bathroom cabinet and toilet are a little lower to accommodate your needs, and you even have a shower chair too,” I said to Toby, who wheeled himself into the bathroom, and over my feet. “Ouch… Will you please stop doing that,” I complained, and Toby just smiled looking innocently at me!

“Boys, you have only just arrived, now no fighting please,” Uncle James called out, “It’s ok, Uncle, he just keeps running over my feet with this damn contraption,” I replied, just as Uncle James arrived with his arms full of luggage, “Who has which room?” he asked, “I have this room Uncle James, Toby replied, and his luggage was deposited onto his bed, before doing the same in my room.

“Let’s try out the lift,” Toby said to me, as he spun the wheelchair around, narrowly missing my feet, and he raced out of his room, and around the billiards table, through the doorway into the foyer and stopped at the lift near the stairs. I had stopped to check out the theatre room, which has eight huge leather chairs, each one with its own cup holder, and the big screen took up nearly the whole front wall.

By the time I reached the foyer the lift was already going up, so I took the stairs to the upper level, were the kitchen is in the middle of the house, with the formal dining room having the best views of the ocean, while the living room has the views of the back garden, and for the first time I could see the pool and the shade sails, and Toby was tearing along the length of the back veranda, narrowly missing my feet, as he raced past, and nearly collided with the solid wood outdoor furniture.

I found the study, where Uncle James was talking to someone on the house phone, so I left him to his call and looked at the guest bedroom which was bigger than our rooms.

Once I had seen all of the upper level except for the master suite, I sat down on the lounge in the main living area, and looked out to the back yard, which is quite impressive, with wide winding paths going through the garden and the fenced pool area.

A few hours later, we sat down to dinner. Since it is now early November, and there are only five weeks remaining of the school year, we will let you off from attending school, but I will be making sure that you both keep up with your studies with a bit of part time home schooling,” Uncle James announced to us both.

“I guess we can cope with that,” I responded, and Toby nodded his head in agreement, “That is the first bit of news, the second is that the three of us will not be in Darwin for the following school year, as I have been sent to a remote mining town called Nhulunbuy, which is also known as Gove, located in East Arnhem, 645 kilometres east of Darwin.

We will be there from the beginning of the second week in January to the end of the second week of December next year, but we will spend the school holidays in Darwin, which is one week in mid-April, three weeks in late June, and two weeks in late September. I have enrolled you both into Nhulunbuy Christian College, where you will be attending school with the majority of the students being Aboriginal.

Tim will be staying here in Darwin because of his work commitments, and while we will come back to Darwin for all the holidays, Tim will travel over to Nhulunbuy to be with us when he can,” Uncle James said to us. Is it as hot and humid there as it is here?” Toby asked, “Yes, it is, and Nhulunbuy is on the West coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria, so it has a more likely chance of having cyclones than Darwin does,” Tim replied when he appeared.

“A marine engineer is a mechanic for boats isn’t it?” Toby asked, “Yes, that pretty well sums it up exactly, although there is a lot more to it these days, as it involves building and maintaining offshore oil rigs too,” Tim replied. “Do you have to go out to oil rigs?” I asked, “Yes, I go out at least three times a year, to do a maintenance review, and we usually fly out to the rigs by helicopter,” Tim replied.

For the next six weeks, Toby was able to make big improvements with his walking, now able to climb the stairs at home with the assistance of the stair rails, and he was using the wheelchair a lot less now, although some days he would get tired from the humid weather and just use the wheelchair to get around.

Uncle James had hired a tutor to keep us up to date with our school studies, with Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday being our study days. Nine days before Christmas, after breakfast we all headed to the airport, as we would be spending two nights in Nhulunbuy looking around, and seeing our temporary home for a year.

Taking about 1 ½ hours to fly the distance East to the remote town, I was amazed at how red the soil is when looking out the window, as we began to descend to our destination. Uncle James had booked us into the Walkabout Lodge, where Toby and I would share a twin room, and we would have adjoining room to Uncle James and Tim.

Once settled in, Toby and I changed and headed for the pool, to cool off, while the adults, relaxed in the shade watching us. After our swim we showered and changed, before heading to the restaurant for some lunch, and retiring to our rooms, where the air-conditioner kept us nice and cool, and we just relaxed for the rest of the day.

The following morning after breakfast, we set off in a taxi to the Gove District Hospital, where there is housing allocated to the doctors that work there. “Good morning, I am Doctor James Shaw, I will be commencing work here in a few weeks’ time, can I speak to the DON - Director of Nursing please,” Uncle James asked at the reception desk.

“Certainly Doctor, just a moment and I will call her over the PA,” the receptionist replied. A few minutes later a large lady arrived at the counter, “Can I help you sir?” she asked. “I am James Shaw,” Uncle James replied, “Ah, Dr Shaw, it is I nice to meet you, have you arrived early or are you just visiting?” the DON asked.

“Just visiting for two nights, we arrived late yesterday, as we wanted to have a look around, this is my partner, Timothy Hope, who will be staying over some weekends, and my two nephews, who I am their guardian, who are moving here with me,” Uncle James said making the introductions. “I see, nice to meet you all, and welcome to Nhulunbuy, give me a moment, and I will show you your allocated house which is vacant and should have been cleaned,” the DON said in reply.

A few minutes later, we were walking over to the group of houses that are near the hospital, and we walked to the one closest to the main road, and as we approached the front gate, we saw that the front door was wide open, “Oh, this should not be right, just a moment while I go and check inside,” the DON said to us, and she returned a short moments later looking not too happy.

“It appears that we have had a break in, and it is a mess, so we will have to arrange other accommodation,” she said to us, “I will take the boys back to the motel, while you go and take a tour of the hospital,” Tim suggested to Uncle James, who agreed.

Copyright © March 2020 Preston Wigglesworth. All Rights Reserved.
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I love that James makes clear to Toby the amount of time (and obvious dedication) that it takes to make a doctor.  ❤

What a house (in Darwin)! As always, @quokka does a superlative job of giving us a tour!

A doctor's life is not his own:  If James is needed in Gove, then that is where he'll go. 

The kids are in for a unique experience, attending school where the majority of students are Aboriginal. I hope they find it eye-opening and enjoyable.

And Toby is getting better. Yay!

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Drama yet again I wonder if they are thinking that they need a break, another awesome chapter

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Fascinating characters, Preston.  By chance, might any characters from some of your other stories show up?  You have produced many interesting people in your stories over the years.

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Well the house in Darwin is nice, but the accommodations in the remote area seem suspect. Also I wonder about this "Christian" school attended mostly by aboriginals.....

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