Sunday, December 03, 2006


On we went to Warraber Island.

The first view you get shows the airstrip bisecting the island. After landing we aited to be collected. And waited. And waited more. We would have started walking then, but we had no idea which way or how far to go. So we went to a nearby house and asked. They were very helpful and gave us a lift to the "Warraber Guest House" where we were staying, next door to the clinic.

The guest house is where all official (ish) visitors stay when they're on the island. It's large with a kitchen, large living room, and 3 bedrooms. We were all in one together and borrowed linen from the clinic next door. Apparently they weren't expecting a whole family to turn up.

We'd been given an Esky of food for the trip by the hospital which consisted mainly of 2kg of frozen chicken! We discovered there was no way of lighting the gas hob. (I asked someone who stays regularly how they lit it: "Oh, I light the grill, then set fire to some paper and light the hob". "Ah," I said and bought some matches.) The whole island knew how naive I was when I asked if we could buy some beer, before being told it was a dry island.

The clinic next day was busy busy busy. They'd booked enough patients for both of us. They all needed seeing - I think it's the highest average HbA1cs I've ever come across.

(Note for non-medics - HbA1c is a measure of diabetes control - it gives a guide about the average blood sugars over the last 3 months. If you don't have diabetes it's under 6, if you're diabetes is well controlled you're around 7, if your poorly controlled you're over 8. These were all about 12)

So I developed my superquick "Tell me what you know about diabetes" consultation to get through all the patients without missing our plane. I was exhausted at the end. I didn't get to see much of the island. Jo and the girls did some more swimming, until seeing a stingray (not supposed to be dangerous, but that was what did for Steve Irwin, and was also in the news again that morning!) Here, again, the town looked well cared for, and, surprisingly, everyone was driving around in 4WDs. Maybe that's why the diabetes is so badly controlled...

We flew back that evening, and all fell asleep pretty quickly.


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