Tales from the Bush: Dr. Joyce Cuff


Moving Day – May 4th – it really happened. At first it looked like we would have to wait for the furniture people to come and assemble the furniture. As an interim measure, I asked if I could pilfer some furniture from the shipment that had come the day before that was to be used in the various bungalows and the hospital. They said yes and we put an interior design scheme together that is unique in all the world. Eclectic doesn't begin to describe it. We have wicker stands that would probably be used to store bath towels and others that are probably flower pot stands. We have some stackable plastic bins that look like those things you put your cat in and others whose original function I can't begin to imagine. But of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it is sheer beauty to these eyes. The front two-thirds of the building were totally functional throughout the entire day of moving. We timed each move between patients so we didn't miss a beat with regard to patient service. The day after the big move the furniture assembly team came. When I came in on OD3 (Operational Day 3), the new furniture had been assembled. The lab guys had completely cleaned and organized the new lab. All of the boxes of miscellaneous stuff has been emptied and properly (or at least neatly) shelved. I spent all day either doing blood chemistries using the new machine coupled with some more old-fashioned tests or sitting at the lab bench next to the window that overlooks the cornfields with the mountains in the distance. The masked weavers are just outside that same window. It was better than I could ever have imagined. And when I look around the lab with its state of the art equipment and stainless steel counters juxtaposed with the wicker bookcase and the plastic cat bins, I think it is quite perfect. And when I further reflect on my impatience while waiting for a full year for the lab to be completed, I also think of the residents of this area who have been waiting for generations for this kind of access to quality health care. Somehow my vision seems pretty myopic. Yet another lesson learned.