RSS Feed

Unto GOF a grandchild is born.

Posted on

There are occasions when even the most obstinate deeply-rooted cynic can be moved.

In more ways than one.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *


1. The Bucket is littered with my thankfulness for having been born in a developed, functional and democratic country.

2. From personal involvement at the time, and much retrospective evaluation since, I believe that Australia’s benevolent colonial administration of Papua New Guinea was exemplary.
It literally brought stone-age people into the modern jet age within just a few decades.

One legacy of this focussed development effort was the provision of world-class hospitals in all major provincial towns.

Papua New Guinea became an Independent Nation in 1975.
It was a vibrant functional country with the potential to become the jewel amongst South Pacific nations.

The ineptitude and corruption of politicians and administrative leaders since Independence has resulted in PNG being reduced to a dysfunctional lawless State in 2012.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *
The story;

Two weeks ago my daughter-in-law gave birth to little GOG (grandson of GOF) in PNG’s capital city, Port Moresby.

The public health system had failed to identify that the cause of her agonizing enduring pain was the 4 kg unborn child which was 4-weeks-post-term.  In desperation my son took her to a private doctor, who, just 45 minutes later performed an emergency caesarian to deliver GOG.

The distressed infant, having ingested amniotic fluid, was unable to breathe unassisted and had to be sent back to the crowded public hospital premature-baby ward for ‘care’.

During the following 5 days the hospital  ‘ran out’ of oxygen on several occasions leaving GOG blue and at potential risk of brain damage and death.

Fortunately my son’s employer, a large influential company, had health insurance for it’s management staff, and a medivac Lear Jet was dispatched on a 6-hour return flight from Brisbane to Port Moresby, complete with a doctor and 2 nurses.

Little GOG is now being pampered at one of Australia’s best children’s hospitals. He is in an isolation intensive-care room hooked up to all manner of machines and monitors and attended 24 hours each day by a nurse. Every minute of every day there is a nurse watching over him. In effect his own private nurse.

I have just returned from spending 3 days with the little bugger at his bedside along with his Mum and Dad.

This old cynic has been deeply moved by the experience.

I watched as GOG’s oxygen dependency gradually reduced from 80% machine-supplied to 27% at which point the intrusive and painful tubes were removed (along with morphine dosage) and within an hour he changed from purple to normal baby-colour.

One day later, he gurgled and smiled and began to chat about how lucky he was to be alive.  He should also be proud that at the age of 6 days he had his own passport, complete with photograph showing all of the tubes stuck down his nose and throat.

GOG is still not out of the woods and will require weeks of hospitalisation and further tests for brain functionality.

I am gobsmacked by the capabilities, efficiency and competence of Australia’s health-care system.

Never in my life have I witnessed the sort of selfless commitment, compassion and devotion shown by the nurses who patiently work 12-hour shifts just to ensure one little human’s chance at life is not extinguished.

I am in awe of my daughter-in-law who, just days after a major operation, waddled across the tarmac to get onto a commercial flight to join her baby in Brisbane, and never once complained (at least not to me) about her own pain and discomfort.
One day she might even forgive me for being a link in the GOF-family genetic chain which caused GOG to be born ‘hairy with gangly legs and long toes.”

I also have a son who will obviously be a much better Dad to his children than I ever was.

It is a time for counting blessings, and this week I have many.

But it is also appropriate for me to spare some thought for all the parents in PNG and around the world who will never have access to Lear Jets and medical care for their sick babies.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

P.S.  If the medical information and terminology above does not make any sense, it may well be because I haven’t the slightest clue what I am talking about.

About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

32 responses »

  1. GOF…..I’m SO glad the baby is OK & am happy to hear about the wonderful care the nurses provided! I hope all goes well for little GOG in the weeks to come!!

    • Thank you Elaine, and I’m sure you would have been so proud of these nurses. It is a tribute to educators like you that they are able to perform with such a high level of expertise and proficiency.

  2. Wow! congratulations and good luck to GOG and to the whole GOG-family! That all sounds terribly scary and emotional, GOF… and very encouraging even though he’s not out of the woods entirely. Thank goodness for the medivac, what a nightmare!

    I am now wondering about what went wrong with PNG, – and Madagascar and Greenland and just about every other colony, I know of, that was kitted out with a decent infrastructure by a colonial power, and then handed back over to the locals.
    There is no maintenance of anything.. things go missing – you may have the necessary equipment for something, but the roads were washed away last rainy season and somebody stole the thingy that makes electricity – and then all the good equipment and intentions just ends up rusting away instead of doing any good…
    Not to mention the whole political & administrative system turns terribly corrupt and evil… and the whole society ends up very close to where they started – just with added rusty useless infrastructure bits standing around getting reclaimed by the rainforest… and I wonder what bit it is that is missing for this whole thing to not ALWAYS follow that path and go belly-up…

    There should be some sort of intensive care unit for newborn nations. All these countries with toppled dictators need the same sort of intensive care as the former colonies to get themselves on a sensible track… a track that maybe wasn’t imposed by others but one they could grow to independence for themselves.. without needing constant aid-supply tubes down their throats.

    • Well, you said that so much better than I did. That’s what I was trying to say, Drude.
      Even India…I was there in 2007….it had only been 60 years since Britain left them independent and all you can see are crumbled piles of bricks or locked up decrepit brick buildings while people sleep in the streets in piles of rags.
      There has been a heck of a lot of progress there, though, so I wouldn’t put them in the category of “failed”. They are working hard to get on their feet and succeeding in very many places.

    • Thank you Drude. I’ve given your questions a lot of thought before attempting to answer them. These comments apply to PNG only…perhaps other conditions apply in other parts of the world.

      Firstly, Australia’s plan to gradually train PNG nationals into positions of administrative and management responsibility was cut short by around 10 years by a United Nations decision driven by African delegates. Things may have been different had this not been the case.

      Australia’s development effort was based on national unity and rural development in a country of diverse cultures and 700 language groups. Just before Independence, young Papua Niuginians were quickly trained to take over from expatriates without the experience or maturity to do so. The effective ‘Kiap’ system of law and order was dismantled and lawlessness took over. It was always going to be difficult for PNG to operate as a unified country and with traditional systems of obligation to kinfolk being very powerful, Government rapidly deteriorated into serving regional interests.

      And self-interest. Corruption and diversion of public funds for personal use is rife.

      It’s such a pity. Beautiful country, wonderful village people….they deserve better.

  3. Wow. I barely know what to say. Congratulations, definitely, and I sure hope the little guy does well now that he has the great care that all little humans deserve. Such a scary situation.

    And I do feel bad that PNG has fallen into disrepair. So much corruption, greed and the destruction of what could have been something great.

    I send healing thoughts and blessings to the entire family. Welcome, little GOG and I hope your difficult start in life is the only bad thing you have to deal with from now on!

    • Thanks Lauri……latest news today is that the little guy is breastfeeding with great enthusiasm and is wearing his own little clothes…..such a vast improvement from 7 days ago.

  4. Huge congratulations on the arrival of the newest member of the clan and may little Gog be home where he belongs very very soon.

  5. Congrats, GOF and thanks for sharing. GOG is in our thoughts. May he live long and prosper.

  6. Congrats.

    I do often think about the disparity in health care – not just in ‘developed’ countries as opposed to ‘undeveloped’ ones … but also in different areas of the same country.

    It’s a shame, though, that even with all that advanced doctoring and nursing they can’t do anything about those legs and toes …

    • Thanks GOM

      “It’s a shame, though, that even with all that advanced doctoring and nursing they can’t do anything about those legs and toes …”

      Transplant technology is progressing in leaps and bounds (how appropriate)….it’s only a matter of time before my deficiencies are expunged from the genetic landscape. 🙂

  7. Congrats on GOG, GOF! And how fortunate you all are to have those resources.

    My late sister was one of those neo-natal nurses, and a friend of mine is a physician who cares for babies like GOG. They are amazingly dedicated and literally snatch life from the jaws of …

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Elyse…..I now have an enormous appreciation for the neo-natal nurses of this world, and I didn’t mention the physician…..he is a wonderfully gentle guy from the UK who is so kind and encouraging to the parents on his daily visits.

  8. Wow, congrats, GOF! What an ordeal. Glad to hear the little bugger’s doing better now. (I didn’t even know you had a son.)

    • The little bugger’s doing even better today Kim….breastfeeding like it’s going out of fashion and wearing his own fashionable clothes as well.
      (I have a son and daughter from my first marriage….both live in PNG)

  9. Congratulations! The little GOG will be ok!

  10. Congratulations to GOG’s parents and GOF, who in spite of his crusty exterior will doubtless prove to be a doting grandpa. What a frightening ordeal for everyone, however. I hope the next time we hear from you, the baby will be out of the NICU and breathing and eating on his own.

    You have to wonder what the prenatal doctor or nurse was thinking when your daughter-in-law was overdue. I don’t know much about PNG, but this sort of thing also happens in the wealthy, supposedly functional US. Bad medical care occurs where state systems don’t care about the general health of their citizens.

    • Thank you HG…..the little guy now only requires small amounts of supplementary oxygen and is breastfeeding so we are all feeling much more confident about his future.

      You make a very valid point about medical bungles occurring even in ‘developed’ countries. They occur in Australia too, and those incidents quickly get reported in the media….the thousands of procedures which go according to plan and all the wonderful work done by medical staff does not attract media attention at all.

  11. Wow, GOF. Scary stuff. Congrats to all and fingers crossed the recovery continues.

  12. It is something we truly take for granted here until one day when we find ourselves without it. I am in awe of your DIL boarding a plane after that, although I know nothing, including surgery could stop a mother’s protecting her child. It sounds as though your son, daughter in law and grandson have inherited your strong spirit, GOF. Congrats and I truly hope you soon have a chance to experience many days free of worry and instead filled with joy.

    • Thank you for your thoughtfulness Amelie.
      I have great respect for my DIL….they already have 2 adopted children.

      We are all relieved that the worst appears to be over.

  13. I’ve been away for a few days, GOF, so am only now catching up. I’m so glad that your little grandson is doing well. Uncle Snowy congratulates him on choosing such a wise grandpop.

    • Thank you Snowy for your good wishes and extraordinary wise assessment of grandfathers.
      I’ve also been away for WEEKS…so I’ve got some catching up to do in the next couple of days.

  14. Congratulations on the grandbaby! I hope he will be 100% fine after all he’s been though (and his mama too!)!

  15. I didn’t know that you had a son, not that I needed to know! GOF I am so happy for you and your family, and I do sincerely hope and wish that the little guy grows and prospers, despite having you as a Grandfather. Congratulations to you, your son, and especially your daughter in law.

    • Thank you FD, the little guy is in good shape and expecting to return to PNG this week. Apologies for the delay in replying. Not my fault… usual.

  16. GOF wishes to pass on that he’s not ignoring your kind comments or blogs – they’ve had a wee spot of rain in the tropics recently and the carburetor in his modem has flooded, or something. So in addition to no marbles, he also has no internet at the moment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: