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Top End Doctor - 9. Dr Chapter 9

When Uncle James and Mrs Quinn appeared in the upper lounge at about 4 pm, they were smiling, “We managed to get all the work completed an hour early, so the team is relaxing until dinner time,” Uncle James said to us, just as Captain Angela entered holding a piece of paper which she handed to Uncle James, who looked at the paper and groaned.

Picking up the in house phone he pressed a button, “Now here this attention all hands, we a have a medical emergency, with a guest from the nearby Tiwi Island Resort, all medical staff please prepare for emergency surgery,” Uncle James announced over the intercom system.

“How is the patient getting to us?” we heard Uncle James ask, “Chopper, they have one at the resort, but they don’t have the fuel supplies to fly to Darwin, plus they think that it would be too dangerous to attempt to travel the forty minutes to Darwin, when we are only five minutes away, the resort manager thinks that it may be an appendix,” Angela replied, as she indicated to the two deck crew to follow her.

A few minutes later we heard a helicopter approaching, and landed on the beach instead of the helipad, and we saw the medical team help with offloading the patient, placing him on a stretcher and carrying him onto the yacht, and into one of the clinic rooms.

Since there is was nothing to do, we headed for the cinema room and began to watch a movie, but that was cut off, when Tim entered and said that the movie can be heard in the clinic room, and that they need some quiet, so we were forced to head up to the other lounge on the boat deck, were we watched a movie on the television.

When Uncle James appeared over two hours later, he looked a little tired. “How did it go?” I asked out of interest, “Surgery went well, we managed to catch it before the appendix burst, and the patient should recover well, but he will be with us for a few days,” Uncle James replied.

“Are we returning to Darwin?” Toby asked, “It all depends on the patient, we will ask him once he has woken up which will be about half an hour from now,” Uncle James replied. When Toby and I entered the dining room for dinner, all of the medical team was present, as well as Captain Angela, Tracy, Uncle James, Tim and three strangers.

“Boys, these people are Mrs Martha Andrews, the wife of our emergency patient, and their two personal staff, Alex and Sigrid, who will be remaining with us for the rest of the mission, while Mr Andrews recovers from his surgery,” Uncle James said introducing the lady and her two staff.

“We are just so thankful that your medical yacht was in the area, or goodness knows how the outcome would have been,” Mrs Andrews responded with a strong English accent. “It is our pleasure to be of service to such a distinguished theatre actress… yes I know who you are, I saw you perform much ado about nothing, at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London,” Uncle James replied.

“Well thankyou, it is nice to know that I have a fan this far away from civilisation,” Mrs Andrews responded, and Tim laughed. “Sorry, it is usually my husband who forgets names to faces, but that has happened to me now. I knew your face from somewhere, and I just couldn’t work it out, and I gave my husband a hard time the other day for an identical situation,” Tim announced, and Uncle James smiled broadly.

“Is Mr Andrews still writing novels?” Angela asked, “Do we have a fan of my husbands writing do we?” Mrs Andrews responded and blushing a little Angela nodded her head yes, “I must admit that I have five of his novels in my cabin upstairs,” Angela admitted.

After dinner, Toby and I headed up to our cabins to shower and head to bed, knowing that we would be spending another full morning of travelling to the next community, and we would be in our school room studying. Uncle James came to check on us, about half an hour later.

“Where are Mr and Mrs Andrews and their staff staying?” I asked, “Currently in the two suites, until Mr Andrews is recovered enough, and the two staff are in crew cabins on the boat deck. Now good night boys,” Uncle James replied to us from the passageway between our cabins.

The next morning, when the yacht started up I climbed out of bed and after washing and dressing, I headed up to the bridge, where Angela was at the helm, and Tim and Uncle James were seated on the lounge. “Good morning young man,” Tim said when he saw me enter, “Morning,” I replied before sitting down next to Tim.

“This is a bit unusual for you to be up this early?” Uncle James said to me, “I know, I always wake up when the engines start up, and this time I decided not to go back to sleep, as I wanted to watch as we leave the area,” I responded, “Well it is a nice surprise. We should arrive in Milikapiti in approximately 5 ½ hours, if this good weather holds up, but we know that may not be the case,” Angela said.

“How has the medical team been going so far, now that you have completed two of the four communities on this run?” Tim asked, “Good actually, we had a briefing last night before everyone retired for the night, and everyone was very happy with how everything is going, and we even discussed the emergency surgery, with everything looking good, I can’t say any more specifically about it, as there are patient confidentiality rules,” Uncle James replied.

“What are they going to do for the rest of the trip, while we are busy with medical clinics?” Angela asked, “Well I know that you have plans for the crew, and the boys have their schooling, so I have allowed our guests use of the main areas of the yacht, and with Mr Andrews hopefully getting out of bed for the first time this afternoon, I am sure they will want to use all of the facilities on board,” Uncle James replied.

After breakfast, Toby and I headed to our classroom, and we were surprised to find Mrs Andrews already in there, “Please sit boys, I will be giving you a lesson in Literature today, but first tell me who are your favourite authors or what are you favourite books,” Mrs Andrews asked as we sat down in our class chairs.

“Mine is Bea Potter, all of her books our…” Toby began to say, stopping short of mentioning our late mother, and he began to sob quietly, “What he was going to say, is that our mother used to read to us all of Beatrix Potter’s stories when it was time for bed, until Mum and Dad were killed last year,” I said bravely, trying to keep tears away as best as I could.

There was a long pause of silence, “I am so sorry that you lost your parents so early in life, it must be very difficult for you both, but you are lucky to have such a loving Uncle and step Uncle to take care of you both. Now Reid, who is your favourite author,” Mrs Andrew said to us softly.

“C.S Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles, and J.R.R Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings books come a close second, and J.K Rowling and the Harry Potter books come third,” I replied, as I smiled to try and cheer up a little. “Well that is an interesting mixture you have there young Reid, Toby do you have any other books that you like to read or listen too?’ Mrs Andrews asked.

“I like listening to Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn,” Toby replied and I chuckled at this, “He is always begging me to read them to him,” I said to Mrs Andrews who smiled broadly. “Yes Mark Twain is an excellent author, and that was his pen name, do you know what his real name was?” Mrs Andrews replied, “Sam Clements or something like that,” I replied.

“Yes, you were very close, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, an American author born in 1835 and died ion 1910 at the age of 74. He had another pen name, which is even sillier than his real name, which is Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass,” Mrs Andrews informed us, and both Toby and I started laughing at the silly name.

“Your uncle informed me that you liked Mark Twain, who is one of my favourite authors, so I will read some chapters from his book, the Prince and the Pauper,” Mrs Andrews announced, and she began to read us the story, stopping only when she announced that it was time for a short break, and we headed down to the galley to get a snack.

“How did the lesson go Mrs Andrews?” Tim asked when he saw us enter the galley, “Very well, I hope that the boys have learnt from the lesson, I indeed enjoyed giving it,” Mrs Andrews replied. “That is good to hear. Has Reid told you that he is interested in learning piano? I have heard him a couple times trying to learn some classical pieces,” Tim replied.

“No, he didn’t, well we now know what we are going to be doing for the second half of the morning class, and in the man time, Toby can do some art work,” Mrs Andrews announced. “Is Mr Andrews doing ok from the surgery?” Toby asked quite unexpectantly.

“Yes dear, he will make a full recovery, many thanks to the surgical team on this yacht, who I believe your uncle is one of them,” Mrs Andrews replied. Once morning tea was over, Mrs Andrews, Toby and I headed to the Upper saloon, where the piano is located, and as Toby did some drawing of pictures, I began to learn the basics of playing the piano, which was a little boring at first, but after half an hour, I was starting to get the hang of it and started to relax some more.

At lunch time, Mrs Andrews announced to Uncle James that both of us had done well, and deserve to have the afternoon off from studies, and she suggested that we ask a local to give us a walking tour of their community,” which uncle James agreed to. “We are just twenty minutes from arriving, at Milikapiti, so we better get eating before we arrive,” Tim announced as he walked into the dining room and sat down next to Uncle James, and gave him a peck on the cheek.

“Sorry, I haven’t seen my husband all morning,” Tim said to Mrs Andrews, “That is quite fine Timothy, it is nice to see that you are both happy,” Mrs Andrews responded. “How is our patient today?” Tim asked, “He is fine thankyou, I believe the doctor has ordered for him to get out of bed and take a short walk after lunch,” Mrs Andrews replied, and Uncle James just nodded his head, as Tracy and Declan arrived with plates and bowls of food.

“Wow, what a feast we have here,” Uncle James said, “I feel that you are being spoilt because we are here,” Mrs Andrews said, “Not really, our chef has always given us top class food, she just has a galley hand to help her now, so she can show of her talents a bit more,” Tim responded.

“Careful what you say Mr Hope, or I may have to put you on a special diet,” Tracy replied smiling as she walked out of the dining room, and this had Uncle James laughing. “They are always having ago at each other, I bet if Tracy wasn’t married to Angela and Tim married to me, then they would be husband and wife,” Uncle James said, which had Tim choking briefly on his fruit drink.

“How long will we be at this community?” Mrs Andrews asked as she changed the subject, “We have scheduled all of this afternoon and tomorrow morning, before we set of right away for our last clinic destination,” Uncle James replied, “Is it possible to explore more of these islands, while we are here?” Mrs Andrews asked.

“I will get Angela to look into that for you, I am fairly certain that there is an adventures tour group at Milikapiti, but I will leave it up to Angela to organise, as we have clinics to run this afternoon,” Uncle James replied.

We had just finished lunch when we felt the yacht slowing down, and turning around, as it prepared to anchor at the beach, and Toby and I headed up to the bridge to watch Angela move the yacht into place. Once the engines were off, we headed down to the Upper lounge, where we just relaxed and played some board games.

After just fifteen minutes, Angela entered the lounge, with a folded sheet of paper in her hand, “Boys, do me a favour and deliver this to your Uncle please, it is urgent that he sees it right away,” she said to us, and I accepted the paper and we dashed downstairs as requested.

We found Uncle James on the aft deck on the main level, “An urgent message from the Captain,” I said as I handed over the sheet of paper. “Excuse me, while I look at this message,” Uncle James said to his patient, before walking inside and opening up the sheet of paper. “Oh great, that is all we need,” Uncle James said before handing it back to me.

“You will find Mrs Quinn in the laboratory, can you show it to her, please, I will let the rest of the medical team know,” Uncle James said to me, and we headed downstairs to where the laboratory is located. “Urgent message from Dr James,” I announced after knocking on the door to the laboratory.

Mrs Quinn took a quick look at what was on the sheet of paper, before dashing upstairs, and we followed her as far as the main deck, while she continued further into the yacht. “What is this urgent message?” I asked Uncle James when we finally located him, standing on the beach talking to some of the locals.

“Tropical Cyclone watch has been issued, a tropical low system has developed just West-North-West of here,” Uncle James replied, “I have heard about them, is it bad?” Toby asked, “Yes, they can be very bad, if we are not prepared for them. They have very strong winds that can flatten towns, rip up trees and lots of other damage, thankfully most houses and buildings in the northern region of Australia are built to withstand cyclones these days,” Uncle James replied.

“I heard that Darwin was flattened by a cyclone once,” I said, “That is exactly right, Christmas Eve in 1974, Cyclone Tracy flattened most of the city of Darwin, killing about 70 people, and forcing everyone to evacuate south, until the city could begin to be rebuilt,” Uncle James replied, “Wow!” Toby exclaimed.

Mrs Quinn returned to the main deck and came up to us, “I have had messages sent to all Tiwi Island communities of the cyclone alert, and they are making preparations to bunker down, as each community has a cyclone shelter, what are we going to do about the clinic?” Mrs Quinn said to Uncle James.

Copyright © March 2020 Preston Wigglesworth. All Rights Reserved.
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Awesome chapter. The Medical Mission do there first emergency surgery, and are now now preparing for a cyclone.

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Excellent chapter, the first real natural emergency on the way I hope that all goes well

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Lovely that a famous actress would volunteer to give the children a lesson:  Her wish to share her love of literature speaks well of her own dedication to the arts.

With enough time, the ship could outrun a cyclone or storm; but what if there is no time? 

At best, the pending cyclone will throw the ship off schedule....

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hmm after that cyclone, there will be lot to do to rescue the injured people 🙊

excellent chapter 👍

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