Memories of old nursing days rekindled
— 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.