Facebook profiles are normally filled with the latest quiz’s people have taken, or birthday wishes. Shaun’s currently has messages from dozens of friends of comisseration, thanks and RIPs. I somehow wasn’t expect that, and it moved me to tears. Oh, and his wife posted on there too, with the date of his thanksgiving service – next Thursday, my birthday. The day that Shaun so carefully made sure that I still had off, when he was changing my shifts around the other week.
This man was my boss. My team leader, the person I talked to about work stuff, the person who always made me smile, the proud father of 2 small boys and a dedicated husband. He should have come to work yesterday, but didn’t turn up. They assumed he was late, until a phonecall told the bad news – that he was critically ill. A man who had spent his life caring for critically ill people was now being cared for.
The doctors covered for the nurses as they were all taken off to be told the news. They prayed together, but soon afterwards the news came through that they’d had to turn off all the machines. Everyone was shocked, devastated, but somehow had to regain enough composure to go back to work.
I’ve just finished two night shifts. At the end of the first one I could tell something wasn’t right. The sister who was taking over for the day shift looked too flustered and stressed, given we weren’t very busy. But I didn’t think anything else of it, and went home to bed. I was woken at one point by a phone call, but was too half-asleep to realise what it was in time, so went back to sleep. Then, as I was cooking dinner, a friend from work phoned to ‘see if I was ok’. Yeah… I said. She asked if work had phoned me. No, I’m going in tonight, I replied, although I recalled the previous missed call. And so she told me. I stood in the kitchen with my jaw hung open for a minute or two, unable to believe what I was hearing. I ate my dinner, but didn’t have the same appetite as before. Mr B dropped me off at work and the atmosphere immediately dropped, compared to elsewhere. Nobody could believe it.
Overnight everyone was very supportive of each other. We were encouraged to take extra breaks and a couple of free staff went out to buy food and (non-alcoholic) drink for everyone. I’d been holding it together, until the sister who was in charge, asked me if I was ok. I cried all over her, which I immediately felt bad about, but she insisted it was ok. I was supposed to be in a cubicle by myself all night, but she said I should prop the door open and join the others outside. At 2am I went to the prayer room, which was another good chance to let out some of my emotions. At the end of the shift, not feeling like sleeping yet, I went over the road and had a hot chocolate and cookie.
I just can’t imagine how his wife and children must be feeling. Or the people who have worked beside him for over 10 years. His children are old enough to have known him, to have enjoyed him, to have loved him. Old enough to know that he’s not there anymore. But not old enough to know what to do with all these messed up feelings.
It feels, in a way, like day ja vue from two and a half years ago. Only a different group of people. Someone I knew well enough to miss, has gone. And it has affected everyone in work. The senior staff on yesterday had to phone over 100 people to tell them the news. I think it’s going to be a while before things return to normal in work.
For every breath that leaves me now
Another comes to fill me
And for every death that grieves me now
The next will surely kill me
For those borders crumble every day
The faultlines are showing
And all I thought was here to stay
Slowly is going.
Faultlines, Karine Polwart
So it was my turn to lead our alternative evening worship, again. Well no, it was my service partner’s turn to lead (and mine to be a helper), but she was away and nobody else was free to lead it, so I offered. At the time I offered I had a v.free week. This was before my shifts got changed around, and with one thing and another, I suddenly had a v.busy week. When Mr B was looking in my diary last Wednesday and pointed out that I was leading the service on Sunday, it came as a surprise as I didn’t have any time left to plan it!
Given that this week is bike week, our town held a Biggest Bike Ride, and I’ve just finished reading a book about The Man Who Cycled Around the World, I decided to have a bike theme. I’d seen a bike blessing service via Richard a few weeks ago and was inspired, but logistics meant that it wouldn’t be possible to carry out a replica. So I took a different angle – I realised that I connect to God more on a bike than I do in most other places. So I decided to speak about these feelings, through a reflection, and encourage people to think about where they feel they best connect to God. Then people were asked to write this, or something connected to the bike theme, down on a peice of material and tie it onto a bike tyre. Aside from a introductory bike presentation and song, I didn’t really have the time to sort out anything else for the service. So I stuck our candle lighting ‘tradition’ and the Lord’s prayer at the end, and hoped it would be ok.
Everything went wrong. The people with the keys to the church turned up 20 minutes later than expected, giving me 20 minutes less to set up the laptop, projector, music system, chairs, candles, etc. I’d kindly borrowed a friend’s laptop, as Mr B’s is elsewhere and mine can’t cope with ‘high pressure’ situations. This friend was setting up the laptop and projector for me, when it decided it didn’t want to turn on. It would come on, get half way through loading up, and then decide it couldn’t do it, and try again. Not what you want 10 minutes before you need it. Thankfully some bright spark fixed it. Then, at the time the service was supposed to be starting, I realised I didn’t have my copy of the order of service, which I’d typed up and printed before coming out. And then left it on the printer. Doh. I could remember what happens when in the service. The only problem was the reflection I’d written was on that paper, and I couldn’t remember it word for word. I didn’t really have any choice – I just did a short talky bit during which I summarised the reflection. Put that together with the fact that I’d prepared the presentation in Open Office and my friend’s computer only had Microsoft Office, which decided it didn’t like some of the photos and slide timings, then I wasn’t in the most positive frame of mind.
Anyway. I scraped around the problems, and it was kind of ok in the end. The silence during the candle lighting turned out to be surprisingly deep. I’d put it in to add a bit more length the service, but it worked really well. Everyone seemed to be so deeply envolved in the silence, that I didn’t want to interupt it with the Lord’s Prayer. I left it a few more minutes before quietly announcing it, and the well known prayer was said quietly throughout the circle, without a leader or particular version being used, which was nice.
Whilst clearing up I was feeling a bit low about the service – I hadn’t had enough time to prepare, it felt like everything had gone wrong and that it was all a bit too fluffy and vague. Ok, so the silence was deep but that could have been because people were glad that I wasn’t wittering on anymore! But then a friend came up and told me how much it had touched her. She’d been recently talking about how our services should have more space in them, rather than being too busy, and she said she could completely relate to the whole bike thing. I thanked her, and immediately felt better about it. I know it’s a cliche, but the fact that it touched one person made all the last minute stress worthwhile. And next time I’ll try to be more organised…
So over our two week holiday, which included a trek across Hadrian’s Wall, my ankle calmed down. Probably more during the week after, but still. Then last Tuesday I went back to work, did a 12 hour shift, and it was back to being really swollen and sore again. Sigh. After another shift and more pain, I got a bit upset about it all, and ended up re-visiting the GP, phoning work to change my shifts to short shifts again and getting an occupational health referral. At the moment I’m still doing 12 hour night shifts, because we don’t do short nights and I can’t stop doing nights without occupational health’s recommendation.
Last Monday, before it all flarred up again, I saw the physio. After an hour and a half meeting, she didn’t know what was definitely wrong, just that it was an inflamatory process which had affected the nerve, but this was likely to be secondary to the initial swelling which was probably from the tendon. She said I had v.good movement in the ankle, and the joint itself was fine. I am though, balancing more on one side of my foot than the other. So she made an heel thing to go inside my shoes, which makes my foot go towards the outside, where it seems to be reluctant to go naturally. She also recommended an exercise which stretches the tendon this way too.
I also complained that my leg, coming up from the sore area, was often stiff, so she recommended gently massaging it to get out any knots. Mr B was massaging it earlier, as he had done several times, and he noticed there was a ridge on the tendon, as it rose above my ankle. It was v.sore when he rubbed it, and having established that this wasn’t normal, we decided to stop massaging it, until I’ve met with the physio again.
It’s been 6 weeks since it initially flared up. And I’m fed up with it. I’m fed up with having to limit the amount that I can stand / walk each day. I’m fed up with having to kick up a fuss at work in order to get the shifts that mean it only swells up a little, instead of lots. I’m fed up with the fact that with short shifts, my days off are rare. I’m fed up with knowing that the more I rest it, the quicker it will get better, but that I simply can’t stop working and stop my life.
Does anyone have Windows Pisca and get an annoying ‘Resolution Notice’ on their screen every 30 seconds?! It’s driving me insane! It’s telling me that I can get a better resolution, which I’ve tried and it’s too small – it might be better for pictures but it makes the text too small. It says to press 1 to clear the notice and 2 to disable the message, but neither work! Any helpful comments appreciated!