Let me introduce you to Brigitta”, that whatsapp text read; “She is young and energetic, and have a heart as big as you are”
“And she also lives in Bandung, I think you will be great friends”
I haven’t really started to reply, because I was standing under bus shelter with the whole bags of minced meat for the cats.
Anyway, the contact number was sent in the next few seconds.
I left it as it was. I have guest coming in the next two weeks and my house looks more like a hoarder’s den than a house. It’s not arrogance, it’s urgency.
The same evening, that SJ dropout I came to know while helping our suffering tribes wrote again “She will have her back surgery tomorrow. I am sure she will appreciate if someone send well wishes”
We don’t know each other at all. Maybe he will be happy about it, but everyone is different. I, for one, won’t be all so happy if any stranger pop their smiley face on mine even though it’s just for well wishing. They will have my gratitude, but further step needs time.
The next day, another whatsapp message “Josie. please be sure to message Brigitta. She needs a lift”
Oh jeez, I am a blogger, not socialite, but if it will really make someone’s day, fine.
I sent a message to the supplied number, tell Brigitta who I am, and how I come to get her number, wish her well, and go on flushing cat craps down the drain.
The minute I myself got flushed down by the storm and ran to the next available lodging, I got a phone call from unknown number.
Not quite; it’s Brigitta.
She said she was having an issue with her private nurse, and that the nurse ran away, and that she will have surgery the next day and she has no one. She lives alone and her family members are all far away.
She was embarrassed to call just anyone she knows asking for help, but she desperately need to have a new nurse by the time she is strolled out of the surgery room.
That’s why I was up the whole night trying to help this stranger, otherwise I won’t hear the mama cat crying for shelter in the middle of the storm, nor would I had that chance to climb the roof and blew my adrenaline off to the moon to help a little kitten whose both eyes glued shut by pus.
Through the night she just called me over and over, apparently because no one else responded to her mayday. Throughout the night she tried to give me a crash course on how to be her nurse, although I told her over and over to just leave it to me, concentrate on getting herself some rest and be fit enough for surgery. I don’t feel like bragging about who I am, but I did send her in one of our chats that I am a psychologist and a paramedic (hence please know that I know what I am doing)
Instead of just going on with my heaps of things and bad weather and cats getting sick and need to be fed, I took some time to come to the hospital and meet her. I thought it will be a small gesture to make her feel better.
She asked me to do this and that, each one with an apology because we just knew each other and she already treat me like her nurse.
I told her it’s OK.
Then somewhere around afternoon she told me I can go home for about 3 hours, and then come back to the hospital to help her.
I told her I have work to do and that I will do my best.
I went home, which took about 2 hours drive (traffic), get myself something to eat, and take care of the cats. I went to the colony, and straight back home because the little kitten is getting worse and I want to be by his side.
The next day she whatsapp me, but I was scrubbing litter boxes and left my cellphone on the table.
I found gazillion of miss calls when I picked it up.
I called Brigitta and asked her what she needs.
She asked about the nurse and I told her I already made an appointment with several providers to meet at the hospital in the afternoon when I can spend a little time there but she can choose one that suit her needs herself.
She asked if I am going to go there in the morning and I told her I have jobs and chores and if she needs anything, she can just call for hospital nurse.
She insisted that I would stay by her side because she cannot move so much and it hurts et cetera and that she needs someone to help her.
I said I would when I am done and hung up.
I need to go to the other side of town to pick up medicine and supplies before the rain fall so I did just that.
I showed up in designated time for her nurse interview and she was not so happy about it.
I know that back surgery (lumbar) not suppose to move that much but that doesn’t mean she has to stay still like a mannequin. That’s OK though, I understand. It must be excruciating to be all of a sudden tied to the bed, with pain, and no one around and all the people you can call is just teen nurses who are more busy with their own cellphone than attending to the patients who pays their salary.
She interviewed a bit and rejected everyone.
And then with a soft warning tone, “Josie, all the nurses you call were professional with experience. That’s good, but I don’t want too professional nurse because professional nurse means they will be boss. No, I hire them, the algorithm is with me and what I want them to do or not do is up to me”
I start to have a feeling that she really needs a maid, not nurse. I shrugged.
She told me to do this and that for a bit, then I noticed it’s 5 pm, so I’d better go home and prepare dinner for the cats.
She told me not to because she wants me to call several more people, but I smiled, apologized, and walked out.
She sent me messages about this provider and that provider while I was on my way home, with motorcycle, under the rain.
When I unlocked my front door she called. I picked up.
“Can’t you hear my message? Can’t you reply? Answer me when I call!”
“I don’t have car, lady. I took motorcycle, it’s raining, and I will reply to your message when I am free to do so. What do you want?”
“There are these providers I sent you messages, and I already called, but I want you to call them again and re-confirm because I want them to come tomorrow and they all said they will work on it but most likely Monday. I want them to come tomorrow”
Of course not.
“Tomorrow is Sunday, Brigitta”
But I just keep stretching my patience and run two rescues at one time. One at home, the others are at hospital.
Every single time she is stressing about “The algorithm is with me”
Why don’t she go and ask Facebook already then? Or Google? They are expert in algorithm.
The next Wednesday I stood by her bed, watching her rejecting all other dozen of candidates, and when she looked at me I said “You need a maid, not nurse. You don’t talk to nurses like that, they have degrees like you and I, they have education, they have profession, and they have oath to stand by”
Her face changed. She opened her mouth, but mine was faster.
“I have spent half week with you and nothing is done. It is apparent to me that you just want to run people around despite me telling you that I have schedules, jobs, chores, and businesses that I want to attend. I allow you to intrude to the middle of it all, and cause me stress, and I have been stretching my patience with you because I am trying to be kind”
“We are strangers, technically and practically, and despite your thank yous and apologizes you just come right back again two minutes later with your orders and I have been kind enough to be your maid free of charge just because I happen to understand perfectly what you want and what you need and give it to you before you ask for it. I want to end it before I gained confidence that you are actually trying to just keep me by your side because you can command me around without pay”
“I am not saying this because I want money, I say this so you understand that it is inappropriate and impudent to abuse the kindness and generosity of others”
“I have life to keep running, Brigitta; MY life.The “algorithm” of that life is not and will never be yours under any circumstances”
If she does not have that pride she’d cry. I know it from the look on her face.
“I have time for one more interview, and then I will hands off”
She interviewed three more and pick one.
She still messaged me wanting to change my transport and my food and whatever bread and diapers and vitamins she asked me to buy, but I never replied. She called me but I never picked it up. I have sick kittens, the weather is getting worse, my house needs to be done, and I only have literally 5 days 17 hours to do so.
For a moment I was a celebrity. Everyone was fighting to have Josie including Josie.
I know it then why celebrities, despite the fame, and all the money, and the glitter, and all, still hang themselves out of depression.
And I haven’t been posting for days because I just keep running and trying to get everything done before that plane landed Monday afternoon and my life would probably never be the same.
Nellie slipped into the bathroom when I was doing a little business and sat beside me.
She used to have my shoulder. She used to have my hi-s and pats. She used to tap my arms and get a lift. For a few days she has been trying to do just that but I just run past her with apologies with food, or whiskas, or garbage, or mop, or working bag, or talking on the phone.
When she followed me out of that bathroom she has my shoulder and I was never happier. When I scooped that litter box Sam keeps bumping on me and I was never more glad.
When I lift those little snorting and coughing babies and when they peed or diarrhea at me I have never felt more at home.
I fit in that hospital, by the bed, understanding, listening, helping.
But here is where I belong: around the litter boxes, hauling smelly poos, and runny noses, and hungry meows.
We don’t need algorithm.
We have each other.