Tomorrow I will attempt to go to work again. Out of my first three weeks I've already missed most, and the fact that this company is being patient with me is... warming. "You're worth persevering with," my manager's told me, and I hope he's right.
Our GP has cleared us to join the society again (yay!) and though it may still be several weeks until The Girlie's ear infection clears or either of our lungs clear, we're feeling up for doing stuff. The Girlie, especially: from sleeping on the living room floor a week ago...
... to being up to mischief and giggles today, the difference is impressively memorable. It's called: health!
Which reminds me: since moving to Christchurch in 2012 I've had a... favorite pharmacist ;).
It's nothing big or fancy - the relationship we have is simply of a welcoming smile whenever I've come to pick up meds for myself or my children, and words spoken warmly and caringly. I don't ever remember discussing our private lives; in fact, I don't think I've ever known much about him apart from his name which is printed on a tag that is attached to his shirt's chest, but nevertheless he's been my favorite pharmacist.
To me, he comes across as the kind of a man who often functions as glue in a society. He is soft-spoken, meticulous and private. Narrow-shouldered and tall, I doubt he ever played much rugby - or cared for it much - and in the pharmacy setting he's always come across as a person who's cared, quietly and patiently. There's very little talk or fuss about him: he just patiently works at a job that needs a lot of attention, and he does it well. I've seen people step from foot to foot in his pharmacy, almost quivering in anticipation of their meds - maybe they're late someplace? - but I've never seen this pharmacist try to rush things; instead, he's always just finished his job, double-checked, and handed out the medicine with polite talk and making sure that the person across the counter knows how to use it well.
Which is why I was so surprised and even... flattered that he'd decided to share his news with me today.
I'd come to pick up meds for my daughter and as we'd done the usual hand-over out by the counter ("Has the doctor talked you through the instructions for using this medicine? Have they provided you with a spacer?"), he then walked me to the front door to help me exit with a pram (again, it is his usual way) and he then... told me that he'll be heading over to Africa soon. He and his wife will be working at an aid mission, and he'll be away for several years. He handed me a little card with his trip details and implored that if I wanted to know how he is doing, or wanted to share with him how we are doing, I write to him.
I don't know, it probably doesn't sound like a big deal to you, but for some reason it was a... big deal to me. For several years we've "known" each other with that pharmacist, and have become sort of warm acquaintances without ever actually interacting outside of that pharmacy, and yet I think I've made enough of an impression on him as he's done on me, for him to have shared that news with me, and asked me to write if I wanted to.
And another thing that stood out to me is that the aid mission he'll be part of in Africa, is Christian.
And it's the thing with Christians in New Zealand that... coming from a relatively non-religious country - Estonia - it has always struck me how openly involved in various religious fractions New Zealanders are, and how I've seemed to make many very good friends with people whose religious views are so different to my own. We've connected well as people and it's only later that we've gone, aye, we're quite different in what we think about this stuff, aren't we? Well, anyway... so what was it that we were talking about?
What I mean is, I've made some very good friends with people whose views would've been quite unfamiliar to me before coming to New Zealand, and how I seem to continue to marvel at how they fit their lives with their sense of belonging to... various churches, really, and how we seem to get along really well regardless.
I'm getting carried away, ain't I.
It's time to hunker down for the night. Without many reserves left from the weeks past, this week will be something to just got on with.
But before I go: I've written about euthanasia and what I think about end-of-life choices before - my views are pretty much the same since I last wrote about them, so I won't repeat them - and I have followed the story of Lecretia Seales with great interest, and will continue looking out for what happens next.
To me it is still a no-brainer that time of medically assisted suicides or euthanasia, regardless of what they're called, will come, and soon. It's a tidal wave of time - each year that passes is the year closer to when it becomes legal in New Zealand, and as much as I am aware of the potential problems that will follow - just as there are problems with everything humans do, taxes, immigration, conservation, you name it - I am looking forward to that time.
I am grateful to Lecretia for having once more opened the doors to public discussion of this phenomenon, and although I am sad that a woman of such brilliant mind - as I've heard - has come to such an early departure, her story is a legacy in waiting and one day when a bill gets passed before the parliament finally allowing for such measures at the end-of-life situations, I will say a silent thank you to her, and nod in respect.
Thank you, Lecretia. I'm proud of you.