Monthly Archives: February 2008

New bike and Yummy Treats

I collected my new bike this morning! Its fab! I can ride up hills without too much effort and everything works beautifully.

For my birthday last July and when I graduated, I was given some money to put towards a car for work. But parking anywhere is so impossible here, and I’m so central that I don’t need a car, so I decided to spend the money on a better bike. This one is much better quality, should last a lot longer and I had 25% off the retail price!

There was some debate over what I’m going to do with my old bike. I was tempted to give it to a local homeless charity which does old bikes up for homeless people. But my parents pointed out that my sister and I are often complaining that there isn’t a bike at home suitable for us to use, when we’re at home (on holiday) and wanting to cycle somewhere. So it’s going home. Given that I had some money spare with the sale in the shop, I decided to leave my v.old lock and lights with my old bike for home use, and buy myself some new ones. So earlier this afternoon I fitted the new fittings onto my new bike. And now it really is set to go!

After picking it up, I cycled over to the organic farmers market and bought local cheese, freshly baked bread and homegrown mushrooms. This afternoon I walked up the hill and went to my regular local fruit and veg shop, and stocked up with food that I didn’t buy this morning at the market. And I discovered Burnt Sugar, in the Oxfam up there. They claim to be set to do what Green and Blacks did to chocolate, to the sweet market. Its all fairly traded, carbon neutral and very yummy! I treated myself to a bar of their fudge, and have made subtle obvious hints in reference to their honeycomb and chocolate easter egg. 😀

Vegetarian

As of yesterday I am a vegetarian. Its been something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I don’t eat a huge amount of meat anyway, and I’d often thought that I should cut it out of my diet completely. I’ve been doing a fair amount of reading around climate change issues recently and the more I read, the more I felt I ought to being a vegetarian, mostly for environmental reasons, but also due to animal welfare. It was reading this book which I reviewed the other week, and attending the SCM conference which pushed me to finally decide definitely. On Sunday we had to make a promise to do an action which helped something, with / for someone else (tis hard to explain without the sheet). I promised to cut my carbon emissions by becoming vegetarian and it would help people that I don’t know, by making my small difference to climate change.

Coming back last night and eating lunch out today, showed me how difficult it often is to find vegetarian food when out and about. It was almost natural to pick up the ham salad sandwich, and I had to stop myself. I am still going to eat fish. I know its cheating slightly, but I love fish too much, and it makes it easier when eating out and things. And I am going to finish the meat in my freezer. Wish me luck!

IPrayer

Cheesy name, I know. It seemed better at 1am last night when I was testing it out. You may or may not remember Tractor Girl posting a while ago about using your Ipod to pray – finding key songs which move you spiritually, making a playlist of them and listening to them through your ipod and let them guide you through prayer. I tried to find the post to link it but I couldn’t – it must have been longer ago than I thought it was.

At the time of reading it, I decided it sounded like a good idea – I’ve been going to an alternative worship community church who regularly use Ipods, powerpoint, poetry, art and silence to worship, so the idea of praying with an ipod didn’t seem bizarre. So that very day I made up a list of songs from my itunes – a mixture of quiet comtemptative songs, angrier songs with a message and anything that does tends to make me think deeply. But since making the list, I’d forgotten about it, and it hadn’t made its way onto my Ipod. This week however, with being off work sick, I’ve had more time to do odd jobs around my flat, and sorting out my Ipod was one of them.

Last night I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking about something, which was constantly buzzing around my head. I was thinking about every possible option and circumstance, and no matter how hard I tried to relax and stop thinking about it, I couldn’t. So I fished my Ipod out of my drawer and started my ‘Prayer Time’ playlist playing quietly in one ear.

It was amazing. When previously I hadn’t been able to concentrate on anything except my problem, through the music relaxing me and concentrating my thoughts, I felt more able to connect with Him. I calmed myself down completely. Put my problem in perspective. Prayed and relaxed. I was asleep almost instantly when it finished.

And this morning my problem got sorted. 🙂

Wobbly Rainbow Girl

My sense of balance has completely gone. If I walk a couple of metres, it feels like I’m on a boat. If I stand for a few seconds, I need to hold onto something. If I lie down on my side, then I feel disorientated after a minute or two and I definitely can’t roll around much in bed. I feel mostly ok when I’m sat down or when I’m lying on my front or back. But that doesn’t leave me with many things I can do without wobbling.

I don’t feel secure when washing up, showering, walking around my flat, cooking, anything really. Its very disconcerting. Last night when I was cleaning my teeth, the floor started wobbling, and I started wobbling against it – convinced in my head that I needed to do this in order to stay balanced. I then consciously thought ‘Jen – the bathroom floor *isn’t* moving, if you stand still you’ll be ok’. I managed it for about 2 seconds.

It all started on Friday. But then it was only v.occasional wobbliness. I was working on Friday night, and I thought I’d be ok to go to work. But unsurprising, when my body isn’t feeling 100%, it wasn’t happy about not going to bed my normal time. I lasted in work till 3am, when I told the nurse in charge I had to go home. She organised a taxi (on the NHS) to get me home. Since I woke up on Saturday morning, I have been constantly wobbly. I’ve phoned in sick for my other two nights this weekend.

Its odd because I’m not in a huge amount of pain. My sinuses feel blocked and today my glands are a bit sore. I’ve diagnosed myself with an infection in my ears / glands / sinuses area. Will try to get a doctors appointment tomorrow, especially if I’m still wobbling. Am hoping it doesn’t last too long – its horrible! I feel sea sick after walking to the kitchen. I dread to think what I’d be like in a car, considering I can get travel sick normally. Fingers crossed its better before Friday, when I have to travel Up North in a car.

Pretty Rose

Pretty Rose

Pretty? It was a valentine’s day present… from my boss! He kindly came round with one for every single staff member in work on valentines day. There were, of course, the cynics who said he only did it because the trust have cut back on our breaks and it was his conscious speaking, but I don’t care why he did it – it’s lovely! And I was also quite impressed with the detail in this photo I took of it.

I was going to tell you an amusing story about flowers, but I’ve decided not to at the moment. Its very definitely a ‘laughing at me’ story, so I think I might wait to see if anyone else tells it. Although I was laughing at me too…

Calling???

I recently had the experience of caring for a baby on their last night on this world. We knew it was likely that she would die the following day, and considering everything, it was the best thing that could happen. For obvious reasons I’m not going to discuss any of the specific details, but instead my personal reaction.

Privileged. Deeply privileged to have the opportunity to care for someone on their very last night. Which is a feeling that struck me by surprise. Obviously it was also very sad, but for most of the night the overwhelming feeling of being incredibly privileged was apparent. I personally had the responsibility of making sure that she was comfortable, peaceful and pain free. A task that I took seriously, more seriously than I would do normally (which raised an ethical question in my head).

When I was a student we had a lecturer who had been a specialist in children’s palliative care. She taught me most of what I know about the subject, and was an excellent lecturer who I have remained in contact with since finishing university. She once managed to scare the living daylights out of me when she told me she thought I had the potential to be a palliative care nurse one day. She said I had v.good listening skills and she sensed I would be good at it. As a friend put it once, its like being told you’ll make a good minister. Its scary. Incredibly scary.

Who knows what the future holds. I don’t have any definite career plans, only vague ideas and I’ll have to see what comes up when I feel ready to move on (which probably won’t happen for a while). But I do know one thing – I will never forget the emotions I felt and the memory of that night.

No Names

Take my hand my dear
We know that the time it is near
Be strong and be brave, my dear
Let me go now,let me go

How it came to this
It’s not clear
Long and lonely nights
Now I fear
Though I need your hand to hold,
My dear
Let me go now, let me go
Let me go now, let me go

Take my hand my dear
We were drifting year after year
When we tried our best to fly, my dear
Let me go now, let me go

How it came to this
It’s not clear
Long and lonely night
Now i fear
Be strong and be brave
My dear
Let me go now,let me go
Let me go now,let me go

Take my hand my dear
Love takes us far away from here
Tell me once again so I hear
Let me go now, let me go
Let me go now, let me go

Let me go now, let me go
Let me go now, let me go

Kate Rusby.

Ethics

There’s a lot of talk at the moment about ethics. There are numerous ethical lent ‘fasts’, like the Methodist’s Buy Less Live More campaign and the Carbon Fast. I’m currently reading A Life Stripped Bare: My Life Trying to Live Ethically, which a friend lent me, and it is very good. Its about a normal man, who (with a deal with The Guardian) had ‘ethical auditors’ into his home who broke down his lifestyle and described how it was damaging the environment and other people around the world. Him and his wife then take on the challenging task of making their lifestyle ethical. And he wrote about it on the Guardian website before publishing this book.

The auditors really scrutinised everything. Going through his house with a fine tooth comb, criticising practically everything. And most of the time it wasn’t as simple as ‘you need to turn A into B’. The three auditors would have contrasting opinions about different standards of organics, fairtrade products which have air miles, and vegetarianism. Its complicated, and often controversial. There is one chapter in the book which discusses the ethics of having children. There were a number of public letters featured which states how unethical it is to have children. Putting an extra mouth to feed in this world. Putting an extra stress on the already-delicate eco-systems in this world. They stated it was much more ethical to adopt or foster. So far, that is the only section I’ve really had a strong disagreement with. Recycling , buying organic, locally produced food, composting waste, using washable nappies and cutting down on supermarket shops, I can perfectly agree with and accept. Not having children, simply because you don’t want to stretch the world’s resources any further, is a tad extreme. Maybe its just because I work with children, I see how precious their lives are, and outside of work, I get utter joy from spending time with them. It just seems completely obscure to even suggest their should be some sort of licencing system to have children, as the book mentioned. Surely we should make laws to encourage people to cut down on their waste and to minimise the amount of natural resources the average person uses, before we start doing as China has done, and restrict the number of children!

Another subject that this book has made me think about more, is waste disposal. The writer asks his local authority, if he can accompany his rubbish to his final resting place. He is utterly horrified at his experience, and after reading about it, I think it is a trip that most people should take. It makes you consciously think about what you’re throwing out and how it is contributing to the massive landfill sites. In particular, it made me think about the amount of waste I create in work. In my working area there are two bins, one of domestic waste and one for clinical waste. They both get emptied twice during every shift. And most of the time, especially the clinical one, they’re fairly full. That is four bags per shift, per patient. The clinical ones get burnt, and I’m not sure how that compares ethics wise to dumping the domestic waste in the landfill sites. But still, its a heck of a lot of waste. A lot of plastic. But due to infection control and patient safety, I can’t see any easy solution. I have to wear gloves and an apron most of the time when dealing with patients. And I do try to recycle the aprons – if I’ve not used it for much and then I need to walk away from the area (and you can’t walk around with your apron on), then I take it off and save it for when I come back, instead of throwing it away. But if you’ve been changing a babies nappy (or worse), then you really *can’t* use the same apron to do IVs. Its just one of the many examples where in terms of the environment, I seem to be acting unjustly, but I know I must do the best for my patient.

Anyway, for lent this year I’ve signed up for the daily Buy Less Live More emails. And I’m also generally trying to make a conscious effort to cut back on my supermarket spenditure and plastic bag culmination. I’ve found a local fruit and veg shop which is closer to and better than, my local supermarket. And today I got v.excited when I found an organic market in town, and was able to sample and buy local cheese, apples and cider. 🙂