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Monday, 26 October 2009

The right place at the right time

I go back to work this afternoon after six days off, days which were very badly needed. Half the time was spent at home, with three days in Glastonbury from Tuesday to Friday last week. We enjoyed our time there, despite persistent rain, and in between the showers managed the usual round of shopping, sitting in the Chalice Well gardens (we have been members for years, and stayed at the Retreat House) and the climb up the Tor. To be out and about in the fresh air did me the power of good, and blew away all those persistent thoughts. Now though it is back to normality and the thoughts are coming back (it doesn't take long).

I have had a lot to think about of late with regard to my work. I have been in the job for almost six months and enjoy it more each time that I go. When I am not there I find that I miss the old people and the banter with different members of staff - the hustle and bustle of working in a busy kitchen. The only thing that I don't like is when one of the residents dies.

There have been three deaths since I started there in May, the most recent of which was two weeks ago yesterday. The lady concerned had been ill for some time, so it was not unexpected, but she was deeply loved by all the staff, and it affected most of us quite badly. Don't believe all those stories about nurses not being affected by death.

A few days after that, I was clearing the tables after lunch and talking to the residents like I do, when one of the carers said that I was wasted in my job, and should be a carer myself. I was slightly taken aback and not sure how to react. If I am honest though, the thought had occurred to me that it might be something I was interested in. The thought of all that responsibility though scares me, and there are also practical matters to be considered - am I fit and strong enough for all that lifting, I struggle to move wheelchairs as it is, so how would I manage to get them in and out of the bath? How would I also cope with the smells and the more unpleasant aspects of the job - and do I have the patience? If I was affected so badly by the last lady's death as a simple housekeeper, how would it be if I was her carer and more closely involved? Do I really want all of that?

On the other hand, this could be a new career for me (albeit with continuous training and heavy regulation). There is no denying that the extra money and hours would be useful and do much to improve my life - my boss tells me I am not the same person who started there six months ago. I mentioned the idea to her and she said that if I do decide that this is what I want, she will support me to achieve this, which I am naturally pleased about, but when I think about the practicalities I am not convinced that it is for me. I haven't really been there long enough to know. Once I have been there for a year then I may re-assess, but for the moment I believe that I am in exactly the right place. This way I can remain detached, while still making a difference - and I know from what my colleague said that I do.

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