Mem­o­ries of old nurs­ing days rekin­dled

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— Cather­ine Likup, one of the ear­li­est batch of mid­wives and nurses

and an­te­na­tal mothers. We made vis­its to mothers at their homes to give post­na­tal and an­te­na­tal care. The job took us to out­sta­tions on long jour­neys through rugged ter­rain. I was prone to nau­sea be­cause of the pun­ish­ing ride,” she said. When she was not vis­it­ing, she de­liv­ered ba­bies. “Peo­ple just kept giv­ing birth,” she says in amuse­ment. Af­ter she mar­ried, she re­signed from her job and moved to Miri to fol­low her hus­band Flo­rian Gun­dodog (a Kadazan from Sabah) who was then a po­lice con­sta­ble on a trans­fer to the oil town. Soon, she was work­ing with the Miri Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal af­ter be­ing of­fered the same post. A few years later, when her hus­band was trans­ferred to Be­tong, she con­tin­ued to serve as a health vis­i­tor cum mid­wife at the lo­cal hos­pi­tal. Rem­i­nisc­ing those days, she rec­ol­lected some old wives’ tales that she found to be ‘true’: “On one oc­ca­sion, the Res­i­dent of Be­tong came knock­ing on our door in the mid­dle of the night telling me that his wife was in labour. I has­tened to their house and found that the lat­ter was hav­ing dif­fi­culty in de­liv­er­ing her baby. “Hours later, the hus­band re­alised that he had in­flated a ball and tied the tip of it to keep the air from flow­ing out. When he un­tied the knot his wife im­me­di­ately gave birth. So never shut things when you’re preg­nant!” In line with its theme, Women and Well­ness, this year’s Women’s Day cel­e­bra­tion saw the re­union of the early batch of mid­wives and nurses as they turned up to re­ceive their spe­cial recog­ni­tion awards from the Chief Min­is­ter of Sarawak, Datuk Pat­inggi Abang Jo­hari Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg. The ladies, now in their late 70s and early 80s, were over­joyed to meet their old col­leagues, most of them for the first time in decades, much more than the spe­cial recog­ni­tion.

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