While many of those following this blog already know who we are, Emily had a great idea (she has lots of those) of using a couple of entries to tell a little about the Isham family. This would help people get a picture of our situation and context and maybe even draw people more into our journey with Ned.
I must take a small tangent at this point, just to say 'Isham' is pronounced 'EYE-sham' for any that thought it was 'ISH-am', worth mentioning because I internally cringe every time a nurse or doctor mispronounces the surname in our stays here at the hospital. Poor Em has suffered being called 'Dr Islam' on occasion too, but that's another story.
Okay, feel better now that I've got that off my chest. I suggested to Emily, building on her great idea, that we write about each other as an intro to our readership. She has thankfully agreed to this, but I am on strict instructions not to be corny. So while I am immensely in love with my wife I am not allowed to gush about it. :)
Emily grew up in the DRC, the first daughter of CMS missionaries to the then Zaire. Schooled in the Belgium education system, playing with African children, growing up next door to the Rwandan Genocide and for a few years attending a boarding school in a remote part of Congo. Among other things this gave her a unique skill set, fluency in two languages (other then English) and a deeply imbedded passion to serve God overseas. Returning home as a young teenager and having to adjust to life as a 'third culture kid' presented some challenge for her. She struggled with 1st world luxury and opportunity while her 3rd world friends back in DRC had very little. But this struggle became a strong driver that helped motive her through high school, Med school and beyond (and even led to her creating The Mafunzo Project- you can read about it here.
Naturally I don't sit in on Emily's appointments as a GP, and patient/doctor confidence prevents me knowing much about her day to day life at the practice. But I learn from colleagues, friends and others that pass on their experiences, that she is excellent in her work. She is thorough, gentle and works hard to solve each problem that arises with her patients. She is very observant and considers everything very carefully. I think it was her skill as doctor that spotted something amiss with Ned very early on. She's a realist, but her increasing worry for what she suspected might be going on drove us to the point that you can read about it the first entry. Her optimistic, idealist husband (me) kept thinking 'he'll come right', but my deep thinking, observant and skilful doctor wife knew something was amiss and I am so grateful that she took the steps to work it out.
But for Ned now, Emily is first and foremost his mum (as the nurses keep reminding her). And mum to our Lucy and baby number three. As a mum Emily is equally as skilful. Before and during our time as parents she diligently read all the books (and helpfully bookmarked the relevant pages for me to read), researched all the gear and made sure we talked to all the people we knew and respected as parents. Like everything in life Emily wanted to do parenting well and still does. She is aware of all that our children eat, monitoring their daily intake of veggies, fruit, protein and dairy. She nourishes their minds too, making sure books are read (almost daily) and that craft, drawing and play are encouraged. She puts out their clothes for the next day, so that her poor husband isn't confounded by choices for them when he dresses them. I could go on...
I'm immensely proud of my wife, she has achieved a lot (have only given the brief account here). With her compassion, care and love for others, coupled with her intelligence and insight, she makes a great companion for this journey that we are on. This isn't going to be easy, I'm already over hospital visits, but I am so glad that I get to travel with Emily on this road. Plus she helpful explains all the medical language that often escapes me, and politely corrects me when I accidentally (and sometimes deliberately) mispronounce the names of all Ned's medications.