Nearly a month on from my last post, when it seemed like I had almost hit rock bottom, I am pleased to report that I am settling well into my new job, and things are well and truly looking up. The first few days were slightly hairy when my anger began to resurface, but once I worked out where it was coming from - namely a reaction to my previous job and my feeling that history may be repeating itself, I was able to let it all go and start afresh. Since then, it has got better and better.
The job itself, although similar in nature as much as the job title is concerned, is vastly different to the previous one. The set up for one, as this home is purpose built. It is amazing what a difference this makes - corridors that are wide enough for other staff (and even residents in wheelchairs) to safely pass without you having to duck into a room to get out of their way. It also means that bathrooms are not used as storage areas for wheelchairs, which makes it so much easier to clean. Neither do I have to stand on a stool in order to reach the tumble dryer, as some idiot deigned to place it on top of the washing machine in order to save space, in fact I rarely have to do any laundry at all. The size of the area I am expected to clean is roughly the same as what I used to have, but because I no longer have to do the laundry, I have the twice the time in which to do it, which means that it is properly done without the need to cut corners.
As for the staff, well they couldn't be more different. While it is not perfect (what place is) and not without its problems, those problems are not hoisted on to us, for here if a carer makes a mess after an area has been cleaned, it is them that is expected to clear it up and not us. This seems only fair. Neither do they dump cardboard and rubbish everywhere expecting someone else to get rid of it when this is clearly a fire hazard - here everyone takes responsbility for their own behaviour and their own actions. The management (and this was made very clear to me from day one) would not allow it to be any other way.
My sleep pattern is still somewhat erratic, but that will change in time as I start to relax, while the workload is a fraction of what it used to be. All the housekeepers do here is clean, occasionally helping with breakfast and laundry, which is a doddle compared to what I used to do. In fact when I think back on everything that happened in my previous job and how it started to affect my health, it is a miracle that I was able to function for as long as I did. It is clearer now than it ever was that I made absolutely the right choice to leave. If I had not then I really feel that I would have sooner or later (and probably sooner at that) gone stark raving mad.
I have pondered on why the home seemed to affect me in the way that it did since I left, and am still no closer to a resolution. The one thing I do know though is that it was almost as if it acted as a magnet whereby everything - all my feelings, all my emotions and all of my own darkness was magnified, bringing it all up to the surface in the most painful way possible for me to look at. I am not sure why that was - it may be something to do with the fact that the residents were for the most part very frail, and in need of that much more help. Seeing that naturally tends to magnify things, for all of us. The same was therefore true, I believe, for the other staff too, and will remain so for as long as they continue to resist. The fact that I chose to and was able to leave when my time came relatively easily indicates that I no longer have to look at that stuff, for I have dealt with it all. Perhaps not all ot it, for there is always more, but the bits that really matter and the bits that needed to be dealt with the most.
As for whether things will change, that is no longer my concern, but down to those that choose to remain. I would be lying if I said that I hadn't given that old job a second thought, but that is all it has been - thoughts. I am old enough and wise enough to know that thoughts are transient and that in time all of them will pass. One day no doubt, I shall wake up and realise that I have not thought about it in a long, long time.
In the meantime, Lundy is once again beckoning - it is now just one week until my 33rd visit. I have been gradually buying up proper winter walking gear over the past few months, which will stand me in a good stead. The helicopter has been booked, as has a room at the Premier Inn at either end of the visit (Barnstaple on the way down and Taunton on the way back). All that now remains is to fill up the car, buy some wheat free food and hit the road.