I saw in the New Year last night huddled up in bed with a hot water bottle and a bad case of flu, drenched in sweat while desperately to sleep. It is safe to say that for me, the year did not get off to a flying start. Flu is always the body's way of gaining attention, of telling you that you need to take time out to refind your balance, and considering all that has gone on since I last wrote on this blog, it is hardly surprising that my body feels the need to attract my attention in this altogether unpleasant way.
Christmas Day at work was marred by the sad but not unexpected death of one of our residents - a lady whom I was particularly fond of. She had been lingering for some time and had said on numerous occasions to not only myself but also other members of staff, that she wanted to die, so I was happy for her in some ways when the end finally came - just before 7am on Christmas Day. We tried not to let it affect the festivities for the rest of the residents and their families, but I would be lying if I said I was completely unaffected. It was hard to see her family - her daughter and son in law, whom I was very fond of and got to know very well, so upset when they came to see her later on in the morning, and there was a hairy moment when one of the other residents almost walked into her room just as the undertakers were taking her away. Not the nicest thing to have to see being wheeled in - a trolley with an empty body bag, but I suppose it goes with the job.
As with last year, Coran and I celebrated Christmas on Boxing Day, and then on Monday my sister came round ... Our relationship has been strained this year to say the least, not aided by her schizophrenia and her seeming need to ring us up at all hours of the day and night demanding that we fix her problems. Things came to a head while I was in Iceland and we were forced to have her number barred. She now has a new mobile and must have somehow got hold of our number again, and started ringing us again - that number too has been added to the barred list.
Her visit on Monday was though a disaster from start to finish - I turned up at the wrong house because she hadn't informed me that she was with her 'boyfriend', and when I finally did get there, had to wait for almost half an hour for her in his lounge in the company of a pile of over flowing ashtrays and a pile of beer cans - nice ! Once I got her home, it was obvious that she had no interest in us whatsoever, admitting openly (and these were her exact words) that she does not care whom she hurts as long as she gets what she needs. Schizophrenia or not, this girl knows exactly what she does and how to manipulate the system and other people to get what she wants. She spent more time sitting on our doorstep smoking than she did in the house, and both Coran and I found the experience really quite draining, so much so that we are re-evaluating whether we really want her in our lives at all. Coran had a long chat with her care worker after Christmas, but we are still no closer to finding a resolution.
And then the bombshell - on my return to work I discovered that finally one of the full time housekeepers is leaving - but she gave her notice in on December 17th and no one had told me ! My pain body went into overdrive imagining all sorts of scenarios and giving voice to them too - words that later came back to haunt me. I left the Manager a note asking if we could speak about it when we next saw each other and was horrified to discover that those words had been repeated back to her, which understandably made her very upset. Well, this started triggering all those feelings of rejection and isolation from my working past, and all the emotions came rushing right to the surface, raw and out there for everyone to see - and everyone did see them. It was not a pretty sight, but my application has now gone in, so for the moment, I have to wait.
When I saw the girl who is leaving on Friday, she informed me that she had asked the Manager outright whether she should let me know, but was told not to, as I would see it for myself on the rota soon enough. So much then for not deliberately hiding things from me and wanting to follow protocol, not that she would ever admit to that. The whole situation was as ever designed to get me to look once again at all that stuff which I thought was long forgotten, but with the events of Monday with my sister and the death on Christmas Day, has resulted in this severe form of overload and the need to rest and recharge my batteries.
So, today when I should been at work, most of the day was spent in bed, mulling over these various things in my mind. I wonder what the New Year will bring - the old one was not without its challenges and I suspect that 2011 will bring many more of the same, but the difference that this full time job will make and not just in terms of finances, is immeasurable. To many my reaction must have seemed over the top, but they do not understand how important this is to me and how demoralising it is for those who work part time but want to work full time. There are only so many books, television shows and computer games you can play before you start to get bored, but all of that will soon be at an end. The year may not have started on a high note, but my star is about to start rising high into the sky, and once it is up there, who knows what the year will bring.