The time in the UK and return to Thailand

Those of you who follow our work consistently will have seen a lapse in our content on this page over the last nine months. This was due to my being home from Thailand in Lancaster UK to assist my mum in her fight with cancer. She lived those months with assurance of God’s love and experienced peace because she knew heaven was calling. To the end she had that comfort and passed away in early September.

During September to January, I gave myself time to grieve and sort through Mum’s estate. In this last nine months, I found it too hard to consider the needs of the children back in Thailand, because I was acutely aware that I could do nothing for them while in England. I did manage a few tasks via internet contact for the orphanage, but not much.

I knew there was a TB scare and a spell in isolation for Mr. B, a repeat surgery on the hips for Miss K and a long stay in the sick ward for Mr C. I was blessed to hear that Miss A and Miss K were taken on by orphanage physios while I was away. It was a big relief  to know they were being seen.

After nine months in the UK, I returned to Thailand just last week and have been finding my feet in the life I knew so well before. I was met with some major challenges in my house here. A furry family had made their way in after eating through a wire mosquito net on the window and had set up residency. They ruined the furniture and stank the place up. I was also without internet or phone connection as I arrived late Friday night. The water in the house was not running too. My bike’s tires were flat, so I walked down to the market and 7 11 to get some food and stayed in denial of it till the morning.

On waking early due to jetlag, I got ready to go to the mall as soon as it opened to get the internet and phone sorted, then worked on finding help to get the water problems sorted. This was harder than expected because once we got the water on, the pressure and lack of sealing tape around the shower tap (because the furry creatures had eaten it) forced the tap off making water gush out with no way to turn it off apart from at the pump. So I showered in the gush, then turned off the pump putting the whole house back to no water again. My sweet cleaner and her adult daughter helped sort the mess the creatures had made and moved out the ruined furniture. It was so much better and the smell reduced. Even though the situation is not perfect, it’s better. That was my crazy weekend back in Thailand and it was followed by a week of work.

On arrival back into Thailand I was told that my two oldest boys of Bann Fueng Fah would be moving to the older boys’ home down the road on my first day back. I prepared my heart for this and went to work that first day ready to be strong for them and focused on preparing them as well as I could. After about 30 minutes into the day, I get the news that it’s Wednesday, not Monday, they are going.

On that news, I worked with all the children giving them a bit of one to one time and a bit of overlap with a friend and stayed all day. This was the same on the Tuesday. All the children were pleased to see me and smiled or giggled. Miss A understandably was a bit cross with me for not being there for her in the painful season after her hip surgery. Some of the group were very weak and thinner than before. It was hard and lovely to see them so changed, but good to be with them, my little buddies again. I could tell I’d been away, not only because of the differences in them, but also in the differences in my physical abilities. I’ve never in all these years struggled with the bike riding, the getting up and down from the floor or sitting crossed legged, but this year I feel it. Nine months away is different to two for sure. I hope over these three months I will regain that strength in the muscles I don’t seem to use so much in England.

Anyway Wednesday came round and I started early to get my two boys as well prepared as I could. The bus came to get us and the staff and the two others who were moving. Mr B found the journey overwhelming as always, so it was good that Mr C sat well and calm in his horseshoe cushion next to me, so I could focus on calming Mr B. When we got there, I got Mr C out and in the stroller to go in looking strong and well. He was placed in the bed next to the one that used to be Mr S’s. I coped with the sight of him not being there, because I knew he was in heaven in comfort and peace now. Mr C was comfy on his cushion and smiley and vocal, which made him seem an easy case which was my hope. Mr B waited with the ward mum while I sorted Mr C and then came to me. He stood on the weighing scales, sat on the treatment bed and stood holding my hands as we waited for them to work out which ward he should go to. He showed all his skills such as Thai greetings, wiping his mouth and following directions as well as giving hugs and kisses. The carer came to meet him from the ward they had chosen for him and with his walker we walked round. He is downstairs and there was talk of his going for physiotherapy. He walked around the ward for a while and then it was time for him to try out the bed and take off his shoes, because this was where he was staying. This didn’t get his approval, but he still followed directions. When I moved away, he was miffed and hit his head in protest and they asked about his behaviour. We talked about his outbursts and they understood. I said my good-bye and gave him a last hug before leaving. They told him he was staying and he squawked and grumbled about it. I returned to get the stroller and walk back round to Bann Fueng Fah, saying good-bye to Mr C before I left. He was OK and as I walked past Mr B’s ward, he was already quiet too.

Now that I have only four remaining children in my care group, I am going to keep it that way and not add in new children. I will work with all four in the mornings and then head home for the afternoons and spend that time preparing the holiday and my house. This will keep my work-life balance healthy and help to not increase the children’s dependency on me up to the level it was before. I can work on getting them well and strong enough for the holiday in April but not make it hard for them when I leave again. I know they will not gain major skills that they will retain for the future in these short spells, so I’m trying to invest my efforts into the aspects of the work that will have a lasting impact.

On the Thursday after working with the little four, I popped in to see Mr C and we called his Dad to let them talk. Mr C was so very vocal and Dad was reassured that his son was OK and that he can visit him if he himself is well enough for the journey. The nurse said Mr C was a sweet young man and easy to do suction for. It was noted that he had the ability to suck up and swallow his saliva more than most could and it reminded me of the early years when he was always wet t-shirted and with dribble in his hair. I guess I’d not noticed the improvement with being there so much.

I looked in on Mr B where he could not see me, so as not to rattle him or get him hopeful to leave. He was sat up at the end of the bed with his legs through the railing watching the door. He didn’t have any new wounds from self-harming in stress and he seems calm which was a big relief. I will visit him Monday afternoon.

Nicola Anderson







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