Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daphne starts work

I secretly took a snap of her while she was dispensing - I came early to pick her from work.

Lunch at Mr Ho's Fine Foods.
Dadi and I have become frequent visitors to Miri since early November cos Daphne has been posted to Miri General hospital. Dadi took two days off to send her and did house hunting. She finally found a place just minutes from the hospital and she is now sharing the house together with three other fellow pharmacists. We had to shop for her bed, wardrobe and she ransacked my store for things she could bring to enliven her bedroom. So out went the bean bags and their brand new, unused cream and brown batik appliqued covers I bought in Jogja; she took one of the rugs and curtains cos she said they match the floor tiles in her room; she took the study table, a chair, stand fan and I gave her a stand lamp and armchair for her reading corner; the rattan basket I used to put my potted plant has now become her laundry basket covered with, to my dismay, the white cotton and lace console cover I bought from Metrojaya many many years ago when it was still the fashion to put lace covers and doilies over furnitures. Aku manjung, apu Pi, sayau amat lace aku tu tak kena nuan nyelap bakul gari kamah...manah gamal bakanya deh mi ku iya. oo ku aku, enti pia ila ga aku ngiga ka nuan lace bukai kena nganti. Dadi sent one of the cars for her use. Mai pinggai mangkuk, sudu, periuk...apu Mi ku ia, nyu baka aku ke baru belajar ba IMU suba tua beringku baru mai utai..Ga ia ku aku...thank you Mi, I will treat you and dad to a nice meal when I get my first pay check, she said. Au meh ku aku, I look forward to makai utai ulih nuan anak.

So I thought after the first week she would be all settled and start to build new relationships with her co-workers. I thought wrong. She started her first day with a negative experience. She was posted to the specialist outpatient dept where she has to man the counter, dispense drugs, check and confirm prescriptions, counsel patients, search for relevant drugs from the many pigeon holes lining the walls and concoct drug syrups for kids - apparently some drugs have very short shelf life once they have been concocted into syrups so those drugs have to be concocted on the spot - that is a nerve raking task she said, she has to ensure she got the right components and that the components are measured accurately... nda alah anak mit tak mabuk ubat mi, tauka mati enti dose enda betul.. ku ia.

But those things aside, her trial came from very high expectations from her superior officer (the superior is called a preceptor who will evaluate her performance at the end of the year) who expected her to be already high on the learning curve. She was put to work on her very first day, there wasn't any briefing nor orientation, she was on her feet all day long and did not have time to take a bite. Biting, sharp words were thrown at her and it continued for two weeks.

Dadi and I were stumped. Oh, we are wizened executives with a quarter century of work experience to know that such trials are common in working life but we did not expect it to come so early in Daphne’s working life. After all she's a green horn, she needs to learn the ropes and be properly guided for the first month or so. Heck, isn't it what internship is supposed to be all about - mentoring, coaching, teaching? We did not prepare her to overcome such trials. As parents it is natural for us to be protective of our children. When they were small I would stay awake all night long when they had high fevers or asthma attacks. I feared that if I sleep I would not know when their temperatures rise and my scare was that they would get meningitis. Or that the asthma attack became bad that they couldn’t breath. I would watch their chests rise and fall with laboured breathing and rubbed vicks on them. I prayed for their healing, said many rosaries, sang hymns in my heart and would only sleep after their fevers had broken or the worse of their asthma attacks had passed. I recalled vividly when Daphne was ten months old we took her back to Nanga Luau, dadi's old longhouse, for Gawai. I brought bottles of fever syrup and ventolin just in case she became sick. En route to the long house we spent one night at my sister in law’s longhouse in Ulu Dijih to attend a wedding ceremony. We only set for Nanga Luau the next day. It was dry weather and the Dijih river turned shallow. What would had taken 45 minutes journey by boat during the rainy seasons took about 4 hours. At very shallow parts the men had to jump out and pulled the boat. Although thick canopies of trees along the river banks provided shed, the heat was very oppressive. Daphne developed fever when we reached the long house. While my in-laws were busy preparing for the Gawai eve reunion meal and celebration, I was busy tending to her. When the festivities went on into the night her fever turned worse and she cried incessantly. I carried her and walked from one end of the long house verandah to another, all the while fanning and soothing her. The medicines I gave did nothing to reduce her fever. Dadi and I felt so helpless. We were away from medical aid and going back to Bintulu during the night was not an option, it was too risky. We entreated God for mercy, for healing and dawn barely broke before we left to go back to Bintulu. To return the way we came would have meant another 4 hours boat ride. So we took the fastest route which had us trudging for 45 minutes through marshy swamps to reach the Mukah river and from there by boat for another 15 minutes and another 20 minutes by road to reach Selangau where we left our car. I was seven months pregnant with Erica but I refused to let Dadi carry her through the journey. We prayed for safety, we prayed for her healing. Dadi sped all the way to Bintulu and praise the Lord although it was a public holiday (1 June), we found a clinic that was opened. The doctor told me she had viral fever and prescribed antibiotics. After a day of antibiotics, she recovered. As we reflected on that day, we realised that was our scariest moment for her. What sustained us was the faith that God would see us through. And God did see us through, thank you Lord.

So this time around when she faced trials in her working life, we responded in the way we know best – to obey the teachings of our faith. The Bible calls it the “obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5). Our faith teaches us to overcome evil with good and leave vengeance to the Lord, our faith teaches us to love and pray for our enemies, our faith teaches us to forgive those who hurt us. In Mathew Chapter 5, Jesus teaches that God is a perfect God who loves perfectly. He made the rain and sun to shine on the good and the bad and thus we are exhorted to love as God loves (Mathew 5:48).While we are not inclined to take vengeance into our hands, we often grappled with obeying the last two edicts. Having been hurt, how is it humanly possible for us to love those who had hurt us and to forgive them? It is only the fear of God’s wrath that motivates us to put our relationship right with God. Yes, with God, for when we are not at peace with our neighbours, we are not at peace with God. If we don’t forgive others, God will not forgive us, not because his mercy is limited, but bcos in our hardheartedness, we refuse to repent. So if we are not sorry and seek God's forgiveness, how could God forgive us? Seeking to forgive others takes time, the deeper the cut, the longer the time to heal. It takes many agonizing prayers, asking God for the grace and strength to forgive.

So for two weeks there were countless calls and visits. We stormed heaven with prayers. I prayed that God be with her to guide her in discharging her duties, I prayed that God gives her a humble heart to be obedient to her superior, a steadfast heart to overcome the tribulations, a forgiving heart to forgive those who hurt her. I prayed for her superior, that she be kind and guide Daphne in her duties, that she is free from bias, that she is happy at her work and married life, that she will have a safe pregnancy. I prayed for Daphne's colleagues to give her the support and encouragement. She too, on her own, did many prayers and meditations. The writings of her patron saint, St Faustina did much to strengthen her and she passed to me one very important message of the Lord to the saint, which is not to allow "vain terrors" in our lives to affect us, to affect how we live our lives, how we behave, how we respond to others. What coincidence, cos at the time I was trying my very best to adhere to the teachings given in a sermon by Fr Dominic Charlie, our parish priest. Fr Dom said to guard our hearts, to restrain it from anger, bitterness, envy, pride, covetousness. So between mother and daughter there were much reflections on the rebuke of the Lord and the wisdom of Fr Dominic Charlie. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness and enduring love, the trials ceased after two weeks and she was able to do her job well. We are very grateful that for the first two weeks she stayed with Sebugey and family - they are family, Sebugey, apai Jill, Nico and Jill were there in the evenings to give her the care she needed. Sebugey fed her well, dani tumu manduk breakfast, uncle Dulles even ensured that there's a feet duster near her bed so that her feet did not touch the cold tiles. Jill and Nico were company for TV and snacking sessions. O Lord, thank you for those wonderful, caring relatives. May you bless them abundantly Lord.

Nico, Jill and Daphne, snacking at Secret Recipe.

Now that she's ok at work, we thought that's it, but no sirrah, now she is complaining she is lonely, cos she only has Van at work and her housemates who, including her would be too tired in the evening to be good for any R & R. We know she misses her friends at Strathclyde and IMU - Diana, Michelle, Sheena, Priscilla, Vasan, Jeremy, Paul I told her to build new relationships. She said yes, she intends to join the church choir but she doesn't like the one at Carmelite where we go for mass, she prefers the choir at Mater Dei. The only problem is that its in Lutong, rather a distance from her place. So, nya meh nyu ka tiap minggu, changguk-changguk tua apai iya ke Miri tauka Maie empu pulai ke Bintulu, merindang Maie. Akai indai. This problem, I leave it to her to sort out.

True to her words, she belanja dad, Igat and I to dinner at Lutong Cafe when she received her first pay check. Here's what we ate - scrumptuous, crispy pork legs and very tasty fish head curry - thanks Sebugey for introducing the eatery.

Last weekend she received her 2nd pay check. As we were eating lunch at Mr Ho's Fine Food, she sheepishly asked dadi and I whether she should give us money as her housemates had sent money to their parents. Dadi said no, mom and I are still working, but I don't mind a pair of socks or two, said dadi. Ahem.. ahem quipped yours sincerely, I don't mind a pot or two of beautiful plants from Kai Nguong nursery... Terima kasih anak, that you are now financially independent is reward enough for us. That with God's grace your feet are firmly planted on the ground of your faith is a blessing that we seek. Truly, as parents, dadi and I ever talked many years ago when the children were small how best to bring them up. We decided then that two things are very important for which we will leave as legacies - faith and education. Thank you Lord!