A Missionary Doctor's Autobiography
Our move to Hong Kong in June 1981 involved working on a new continent and adaptation to a different culture. Lilian was soon recruited to work in the outpatients department and then became the medical secretary for the hospital. This involved typing medical reports for more than ten doctors from five different countries.
I took over the OB/Gyn practice and enjoyed the work and also the six years we spent there. The popular conception of Hong Kong as "a pile of human filing cabinets" is far from accurate. It is true that there are many blocks of high-rise flats and that only the ultra-rich live in houses, but it is not generally appreciated how much open space there is around the reservoirs and on the hills or the network of paths and trails available to the hiker or jogger.
Lilian and I were part of the team involved in health education. We ran Five-Day Plans, healthy cooking classes and stress control courses. We also got involved in the Running Clinic, which was started by the hospital doctors as part of the rehabilitation of those who had undergone heart bypass operations or were recovering from heart attacks. There were also competitive races sponsored by local businesses, with various categories for the different age groups. Lilian won two trophies in her class. We still have the clipping from a Chinese paper, with a picture of two elderly "gwailos" ("foreign devils") running in a sports stadium.
While working in Hong Kong, I had Wednesday off every week and Sunday was one of our busiest days. Many of our patients appreciated the chance for the husband to accompany his wife to the clinic on a Sunday; and we enjoyed being able to go shopping or visiting one of the reservoirs or nature reserves during the week, when things were less crowded.
About a year into our term, I went back to East Grinstead and had a second corneal graft, which was successful. However, the prolonged use of steroid drops to prevent rejection of the graft caused a cataract to develop in that eye and shortly before leaving that post the hospital administration arranged for me to have a lens implant done at Loma Linda. This was done in the Day Surgery Clinic.
Two events occurred during this time that increased our faith in a God who watches over His own. The first involved the collapse of the Deak Pererra Company, in which several of the old-time workers had invested their savings. Even the hospital church had put its savings in this financial institution, which had a good reputation. We had been able to build up a modest savings account and we transferred to Deak Pererra as they offered a higher rate of interest.
I canít remember the reason I did it, but one day I transferred most of our savings from Deak Pererra to our bank in UK and just a few days later the news was that Deak had closed trading. We lost the balance that was left, but the larger part was saved. Then we knew "why"!There were many who were not so fortunate.
The other "blessing" was that Lilian and I were invited to a seminar in the City, put on by a developer from England, advertising houses for sale in Suffolk, which is the county that Lilian comes from. After watching their promotional videos and discussing the various problems and possibilities, we felt impressed to buy a house in Needham Market, for our retirement. The well-organised team arranged all the legal paperwork and obtained a mortgage loan for us from our bank. Our savings were sufficient to cover the deposit. The team even found a tenant to live in the house and pay the mortgage. Some friends thought we were crazy to buy a house, "sight unseen" but we felt that the Lord was leading and so it has proved. When we retired in 1994, we were able to move into our own fully-paid-for house and are still living here as of May 2005.
It was in Hong Kong that I caught the "computer bug." Intrigued by this scientific advance, but unable to afford a "proper" computer, I bought a cloned Apple, which was as temperamental as a mule! There were no IT classes, so a group of us doctors formed a "Computer Club" and met once a week to share our problems and help each other understand the solutions that we had worked out by trial and error.
Now, some 6 or 7 PCs later, I enjoy my laptop, with Windows XP.