Hanging by a thread
I realise that this is different from what I usually write about, not the content most readers of this blog would expect to find. Not related to research or personal development and perhaps more personal and, at times, raw than my usual posts. However, there is something inside me wanting to give voice to this story and so I am honouring that calling.
Over the last 10 weeks much of my time and head space has been consumed by supporting an elderly family friend who fell, sustained a fracture and was admitted to hospital. I use the word consumed because that is how it has felt. Many hours of travelling up and down the M6, making phone calls, waiting for phone calls.
I know this story is nothing new or earth shattering. It is being played out day in, day out. But, this happened to me and I know, from discussions I’ve had with colleagues, there is something different when, as a health professional, you find yourself adrift and struggling in a system you have been a part of, you value greatly and want to champion with all your heart.
There is something different about navigating a course through the terrain of being a health professional and a carer. Putting different hats on when you need to and trying to judge which hat you should be wearing at which particular moment. Something different about trying to make sense of a system which you know is buckling at the knees. Trying to be understanding of the pressure that everyone is working under whilst keeping a lid on your exasperation with how you know things should be.
One of the ways in which I dealt with the situation I found myself in was to journal. I am a writer and it is my way of making sense of things. What I am offering here are excerpts from my journal, the things I wrote in moments of quiet to work through everything that was happening.
Over many years as a researcher I have collected other people’s stories. As a researcher I know that if I were to interview the other people involved there would be multiple narratives of what I describe, each offering a different perspective and interpretation. However this is my narrative, my perspective. It’s called, ‘Hanging by a thread’ because that is what we have both been doing in our own ways.
The picture on the header is by Igor Ovsyannykov via Unsplash
So what's the plan? After leaving your bay I ask to talk with one of the doctors. I need to get a sense of what the plan is. Q1. Your plaster cast has been taken off because you picked at it so much you took it off twice. So they have given up on that and replaced it...read more
The visit I catch sight of you from the corridor. A little lady swamped by a hospital chair, in a bay surrounded by unfamiliarity. Dressed again in a hospital nightie and, in every sense of the word, ‘lost’. You catch sight of me and I know from your look the...read more
The assessment I call in the morning to see how things are progressing and am told you’ve been assessed at last. Hurrah! But now there is disagreement within the team about whether or not you are OK to go home with an appropriate care package. You’re mobile, pretty...read more
Lost in a system you should know back to front A long drive home with so many things buzzing in my head. I phone the next day to see how you are. No decision has been made about whether or not you can go home. You are still having some periods of confusion. They are...read more
How it all started Monday night Pilates finished with relaxation, a few moments to slow down, ease off and be still. Into the car, check the phone, missed call from an unknown number. Your neighbour has been trying to contact me to let me know that you fell on your...read more