Saturday, 6 December 2014

I'd be nothing without my family...

One of the first questions most people ask me when they find out I’m going to help with the ebola crisis is “ What do your parents think? “ I am extremely fortunate to have a very supportive family who are behind me all the way. That doesn’t meant they are not nervous, obviously they are.  The two are not mutually exclusive. Actually, I think my mum’s doing remarkably well keeping her worries mainly to herself. The occasional bubbling thought, “have you got your malaria tablets yet?” or “will you be ok getting from the airport to the boat at 4am, when you arrive?” pops out somewhat accidentally.

My nephews on the other hand were a bit more blatant with their fears, little cries of “Auntie Claire, don’t die, don’t get ebola, come back!” accompanied by humongous hugs around the waist. This was the goodbye I got in the A&E reception of Nottingham Queens Medical Centre (where my littlest nephew had just been admitted with croup the day the family were all together at the end of November – he’s fully recovered now). I found myself fighting back the tears. I didn’t want the boys to see that “cool” Auntie Claire is actually quite nervous about getting ebola and does very much want to come back. Children really do have an uncanny way of saying exactly what’s on their mind, and yours, with no holding back. I love them to pieces.

I think one of the toughest things I’m going to find when I’m working in Connaught Hospital is looking after children with ebola. My nephews’ fear pale into insignificance in contrast to the reality of so many children who are fighting ebola themselves or are orphaned and vulnerable having witnessed their whole families torn apart by the disease. I read a wonderful light and cheerful blog by one of the volunteers at KSLP at the moment who is a paediatrician. I’m so looking forward to meeting all these amazing people that I am going to work with.

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