I finished with the lady in clinic. Her problem list included high blood pressure, thyroid disease, obesity, and medication exposures that can cause damage to a developing baby. Ugghh. High risk pregnancies are difficult to manage even in the developed world with fancy tests and monitoring. Here, “high risk” just brings a sigh and a sense of helplessness. Too weighty for limited resource settings. I headed off to the house to grab some lunch, glad to have closed her chart for the moment.
I was about 2/3 finished with my bowl of macaroni noodles when I heard the noise. Like a circus clown horn, with a high pitched honk-honk. I had heard rumors of such a horn, and was sad that I hadn’t ever heard it here. So, I jumped up from the table, leaving my fork in my lunch bowl, and ran for it. The only problem was that the hospital compound is on a circle. As I approached the road it hit me that if I went the wrong way, I may miss it all together. So, I just started yelling “Fan Milk? Fan Milk? Fan Milk?” There was no reply, sadly.
I saw one of the missionaries heading across the grass. “Mr Teusink! Have you seen the Fan Milk man?” To my delight, he directed me in the way. A few moments later, I rounded the corner of a house, and found him. There he was, looking glorious, the ice cream man. He rides his bicycle around tooting the little horn on the handlebar, selling ice cream in little sachets. I put in my order. “Five?”, he questioned. My reply “I’m hungry” as I smiled and rubbed my belly for emphasis. I smiled as I walked away, carrying my bag of goodies.
Finishing my bowl of room temperature noodles, I grasped one of the cold plastic bags, tore the corner off with my teeth, and squished all the ice cream up through the little hole. Delightful. A new, and wonderful addition to my life. The ice cream man might become one of the more important men in my life. He definitely brought joy to my day. In those few moments, I went from sigh of helplessness in the face of medical problems, to sigh of satisfaction and happiness. Ice cream makes my heart beat fast in delight.
Phone rings, it’s a retained placenta. So, I’m off. But I’ve been refreshed, ready for the next thing. Thank God for life’s small pleasures amidst normal needs and tasks of life.