Monthly Archives: July 2006

Leg Exercises

As many of my friends know, my knee is still not 100% from my accident down Pen y van, back in Feburary. It doesn’t bother me too much on a day to day basis, not compared how it was when I first did the injury, but it is often uncomfortable and aches when I use it too much. My physio gave me these exercises to do on it, and at the beginning I was really good about doing them regularly, but then when my leg improved a lot, I stopped. About the same time I started placement on a ward, and hence was using it a lot. Which probably wasn’t a good combination, and probably why it still isn’t 100%. And the worst thing is when you get out of the habit of doing them daily, then its really hard to remember again. Annoyingly Thankfully, I have friends who persistantly nag care about my leg, so I have been getting back into the routine recently.

But, I had realised that one of my exercises didn’t seem to be having any effect on my leg anymore. It wasn’t being effective – I needed to do something that would make it harder, and hence strengthen the muscle more. I spoke to my physio about it this morning and she suggested strapping a weight to my foot. I thought about this, and the best way to go about this. And with the help of a friend, I successfully made the contraption that you can see in the photo below. Basically an old sock, duck tape and a can of chopped tomatos. And the best bit is that it actually works! I can feel my leg working so much harder than before – the muscles are really working. Hopefully, if I keep up with these exercises, I can sort this knee out once and for all!

Sock / Tin Contraption for leg exercises

Cancer

I have just finished two whole days on cancer in children. To say it was emotive is an understatement. Yesterday we gained a basic understanding of the general area and the policy issues that surround it, and then this morning we looked in depth at the treatment for leukaemia, the most common cancer in children, and also looked into lots of other different kinds of cancer, and the early symptoms which we should be aware of. We got into some interesting ethical debates about the different intensities of the treatments. This afternoon we summed up the two days by watching Wit, a very powerful and harrowing film about a woman who dies of ovarian cancer. Most of the class were in tears by the end of it, including myself.

The thing which stands out the most from those two days though, was not something the lecturer said during the lecture. She came up to me during one of the breaks and asked if I was appreciating these sessions. I said yes, because although they have been emotive, they have been well delievered and interesting. She then said that she could sense that I would be really good in pallitive care. The area, along side cancer, that she specialises in.

This comment completely threw me. I wasn’t expecting it. Pallitive care isn’t something that I had seriously considered as a main career pathway. The idea of working with terminally ill children…. I don’t know, its just scary. I had however, thought I’d like to work with children with special needs, which does kind of link in with pallitive care. Slightly.

When I left the lecture I felt overwhelled with emotions from this incredibly powerful film, and completely taken a back with the lecturers comment – my head was spinning with it all. So I bought myself some icecream. Went into the chaplaincy and found our anglican chaplain, so had a chat to him about it. He said that i should take it as a emormous complement and just see where my career takes me and what opportunities arise. He also pointed out that this woman is a specialist in this field, and would be able to recognise the ‘right’ characteristics required for such an occupation and would not say such a comment unless she meant it. I know this is something I need to pray about, because I want to be working where He believes is best. Its just the whole concept is very scary.

Offloading burdens

As I said yesterday, I was down south this weekend and on Sunday morning I went to my Gran’s Methodist chapel. It was a family service, but I have to admit, I didn’t hold great expectations for its ‘family’ aspect. All my life, i have attended that chapel whenever we’ve been visiting my Grandparents. And there have never been more than a small handful of children. If that. The congregation has always been largely made up of my Grandparents age, and there were many a service when I was the only child. (Admittedly this could have been because we were always there during the school holidays, so hence the regular children could have been away.) But yesterday, I was completely amazed. There must have been about 20 children there, and most of them had come with their parents, which lowered the average age considerably. What stunned me even more, was when my gran commented over dinner that there weren’t as many children there, as they usually have! Apparently they have a new, younger minister, who has gone into the local primary school and set up a ‘fish club’ after school. This has proved very popular, and through it many of the children have begun to attend church.

The local preacher that took the service must have known about the vast quantity of children, because it meant the entire service was very much all age. There were numerous activities which the children took part in, and the preacher also ensured there was a clear message that would be of benefit to both adults and children. The theme was journeys and the baggage that we tend to carry around with us. She demonstrated this very nicely, by asking a couple of the children and an adult to carry a heavy bag across the front of the church. She made the point that it would be a lot easier to travel anywhere if the bag wasn’t so heavy. She then opened up the bag, and took out a number of books which had been wrapped up in brightly coloured paper and had a word on the front. They each represented ‘baggage’ which we often carry around on our jounrey with God. Anger. Worry. Fear. Stress. She said that He will take all our baggage off our shoulders, enabling us to enjoy life and effectively do His work.

I definately found it a very useful service. It reminded me of this which Sarah wrote. Its one of those things that you know, but often you need reminding of, or presented in a different way, before you actually lay your burdens down.

My weekend

I’ve just come back from down south, where I celebrated my cousin’s wedding. The service went very well, and the reception was held in the pub next door, which the groon’s Dad owns. During the service the minister told us a story: There was once a bride rehearsing for her wedding, and she was so nervous and stressed that she couldn’t take in what she had to do. The minister simplified it for the bride – you just have to walk up the aisle, stand at the alter and say the right words, and then we’ll sing a hymn. But she was still confused, she had too much stress on her mind. So the minister simplified it further, and as he did so her expression changed from anxious to joyful. He said ‘aisle….alter…..hymn.’

It was only a flying visit down south, but it was great to see my family. I usually spend a week or so down there every summer, and this year its been shorted to 2 days. When I left this afternoon I had a party of 8, all lined up at the station waving me off. I felt very privileged to have so many people wanting to be at the station to say goodbye!

The train journey, was amazingly for a Sunday evening, fine. In fact, it was early. Shock horror. I couldn’t believe it. I’m used to getting in 3 hours late on a Sunday evening, and I was 15 minutes early!!!! I had to catch 4 different trains, so I was anticipating missing my connections and getting in a mess. But the all of the first 3 trains were early by about 10 minutes each. And the last one was running late when I got on it – but that meant it was earlier than the planned train back to Swansea. Hence I got in 15 minutes early. 🙂

Argh – its too hot!!!!

I hate heat like this. Its just too much. I had lectures for most of the day today, which usually mean that its unbearable – today thankfully we had a lovely lecturer who kept supplies of cold water and fans for us! This at least meant the room wasn’t completely meltingly hot. I then walked into town, which was hot with the sun beating down on my back, but alright because i paddled my feet in the sea along the way, which was lovely and cold. I then had the slight problem of not being able to get the wet sand off my feet when I wanted sandals back on, but never mind! Walking round town was an absolute nightmare. It was just too hot. I wouldn’t have gone in, but I had to get presents and cards before I head down south at the weekend. Walking home was horrible too. I tried to stay in the shade, but its impossible to do so the whole time. Climbing the big hill at the end was the worst. When I got home I had to drink a stack of fluid and pour cold water all over me. And this evening hasn’t been any better. It just doesn’t seem to cool down at all in the evenings. The best thing about summer is the lovely cool evenings, but at the moment it just seems to stay warm. I figured out last night that I was much comfier in bed if I removed the duvet from the duvet cover, and just slept under the cover. But I think that might even be too much for tonight! Tomorrow its supposed to reach 35 degrees. I think I’m going to melt away.

Altered Regrets

It funny how life’s regrets can change. Some readers may remember a while ago I was questioning whether or not I regretted stuff. Well, I have recently realised that I definately don’t regret anything in that part of my life. I only recently realised I was deep down, still carrying a lot of that stuff round with me. It kinda just came out, from nowhere. I have spoken to some friends about it, who very rightly showed me just how wrong I was to have regrets about the situation.

It feels much better to have it out of my system. And although I know I still have things to work through with it all and the situation isn’t perfect, I’m feeling ok about it. I just have to be patient. One thing I struggle with, but I know that if I try to rush it, then it will simply take longer. I’ll get there, I know I will.

Theological Perceptions of a six year old

As many readers will know or will have gathered, I work with children. I love working with children and one of the things I love most about children is the way they naturally express their view of the world. They very often, just say what they are thinking, without any worries of what people might think. Some of the things they will say to you, are just classics! A few years ago I used to keep a quote book of funny things that children that i knew, had said to me. Unfortunately I’ve not kept up with it, but whenever I dig it out, I always have a good laugh! Quite often, although amusing, they can also have a very serious and deeper meaning, which is what makes children so magical and insightful.

One clear example I can think of, is something I said to my Dad when I was about 6. I toddled up to him, and said something along the lines of ‘Dad, in school I was told that the dinosaurs existed a long, long time ago, before humans were around. And in Sunday school, I was told that God made the earth in 7 days. So, where do the dinosaurs fit into the creation story?’ My dad smiled to himself, and said that I should ask X. X is a senior professor in old testement theology at a major university, and a good friend of the family. The next time I saw X, I went up to him and repeated the question. He did his best to explain to a naive 6 year old, that not everything is as simple as it might initially seem, and that lots of people believe lots of different things.

Looking back on that incident, I think it was a very insightful observation to make. I had no idea at the time that I had asked such a controversal question. I expected my Dad to give me a straight forward, black and white answer. Like, the dinosaurs were only on the earth for a few days before the humans came. Or they were on different parts of the earth, so they never actually met each other. I dunno, I had a creative mind.

Since then, obviously, I have established my own opinions about the creation story and evolution. But the purpose of this post was not to share them with you. I just wanted to demonstrate the inquistiveness of children’s naive minds. And how they, especially at that age, believe everything they are told. It really is something special, and it should be valued.

Greenbelt!!!!! :D :D :D

I haven’t done a really, really excited post for ages, but tonight when i was reading the Greenbelt postal advertisment, I got so excited I decided I had to!

Just the initial introduction on it, took me back to the whole Greenbelt atmosphere – The sheer variety, multiplicity, exuberance, provocation, depth, richness, chilled-outness, and welcome of the Festival’s programme is pretty much impossible to grasp.

And then I started reading the details in the programme. I had read some stuff on the website about the lineup, but reading it on paper seemed to get me even more excited. I love the way that each year I go, I seem to know more and more people who will be there. I think I’m jsut getting older and more knowledgable, but it is cool. 🙂

Wow!!!!!! I can’t wait!!! Only 47 days to go! 😀

Scribbled in Chalk

One of my birthday presents was Karine Polwart’s latest CD, Scribbled in Chalk. Since my birthday I’ve listened to it a couple of times, but today is the first time I’ve listened to it properly. As in listened to (and read at the same time) the words. There are several lines which I think are just fab, and I’d like to share them with you.

“…but there are some people in this world who don’t think like you do
They don’t think like you do, and some don’t think at all” (Daisy)

“All the men with enormous heads and tiny hearts
In the end they’re only playing incidential parts” (Where the Smoke Blows)

“Now you don’t move too fast, you make it all last
You encounter each moment before it is past
And you say ‘Walking slow in this world is no crime’
You just let it all hang out and take its own time
You just let it all hang out and take its own time”
(Take its Own Time)

So, so true.