I’m well aware that I live on a very remote island with no easy access to medical care. Luckily, I’m not someone who worries quickly. I tend to believe that everything will be fine somehow – a good quality, I guess, for the kind of life I’m living at the moment. And I’m also lucky that – apart from a twisted knee last September, which took rather long to heal – I haven’t had any major health problems. Of course, I intend to continue like that, but you just never know…
Almost two weeks ago, one of my work colleagues woke up at night because she was having problems breathing and some of her extremities felt numb. She got very worried and woke up her next-door neighbor and someone from management. They decided to bring her to the hospital in Sorong by transfer boat as quickly as possible. Once in the care of doctors and with the right medication, she quickly felt better and the tests they did on her showed nothing seriously wrong, except for low iron levels and fatigue. She was very relieved to hear this and will hopefully follow some of my nutrition advice that I’m planning on giving her, as I noted she was not eating properly lately. This may have caused some of her symptoms.
I’m glad this incident turned out well, but it still leaves me thinking about what would happen if one of us had an emergency. We have two transfer boats that could leave day or night, as one of them did for my colleague, but they still take 3 hours to get to the nearest doctor. On the other hand, if you live in the Swiss mountains in a remote cabin with no connection to the rest of the world, you’re just as far away from medical help as in Raja Ampat – and I never considered that to be too risky.
It’s probably just a matter of attitude. If you worry all the time and constantly imagine the worst possible scenarios, you’re bound to freak out and panic easily here. But if you try to be precautious and don’t take any unnecessary risks, you should be ok. Considering the risks I take back home by driving a car or taking a train every day and crossing the street in heavy city traffic, I’m probably a lot safer on the island with no streets nor traffic and only sand and jetties to walk on.
I wouldn’t choose Pulau Pef as my first destination if I had a condition or any type of health problems. But as long as I’m healthy and feel fit, I will not worry too much and try to keep a more or less healthy lifestyle. Which would be a good advice for anyone in any place on the planet, by the way...
I never even dreamt of working on a remote island in Indonesia, but life has a way of taking care of itself…