I’ve found that it’s worth paying attention to any blog from Mark Bickerton, on his website at https://markbickerton.com.
Mark blogs sparingly, making any new post stand out more clearly. His latest, on the death of his old friend and Coronation Street actor Neville Buswell, argued that if you live in Britain, January is the best month to turn your toes north.
Mark wrote: “It only feels right for death to be announced in January, when everybody already seems miserable. Much better is it not that if we’re to snuff it, we do so this month, when the streets are never quite aired and everything and everybody looks and feels like punctured mistletoe…..get the mourning out of the way and leave the rest of the year for kicks.”
Terrific writing that poetically nails a grim British reality. January is (generally) dull, cold, wet, shite, grey and anti-climactic. To be endured, mostly. If it wasn’t for the cluster of birthdays in the Godier family (11th, 13th, 22nd and 27th), I would willingly hibernate through the whole bleak month.
This time around the new care work has drained me. My back aches, as chunks of the work have involved bending over beds, pulling and pushing elderly bodies that require their continence pads changed. Mentally, it has been a challenge to accept being ‘carried’ by young, female partners that are energetic, can multi-task and have the experience to make quick decisions as I procrastinate.
I mentioned the neglect of one of the clients (I called him Keith) in a previous blog. It breaks me every time we leave him, alone, propped up on a settee, for four hours. It isn’t right. “Please don’t go,” he says, oxygen tube hanging from his nostrils. The girls tell me that you have little choice but to harden against these things, that others are in a worse condition, that our care “makes a difference”. But it doesn’t. Because he lacks company, or hope, and because his COPD and crumbling skeleton are irreversible, because the money for deeper care is unavailable, Keith wants to pass on. Our care keeps him in agony.
For sure is that the novelty has soon worn off. There was initially an adrenaline charge, driving from one client to the next. Now, because a choice had to be made, I’ve chosen to hand in my notice.
Every February/March I work for an insurance company in Belgium. They want me to start next week, and often need stuff at very short notice. Which means it could not be combined with the carefully scheduled care work.
I knew the choice was coming. Wasn’t sure which way I would swing. In the end, it was easy. I expressed my gratitude to the care company for the opportunity to learn and earn. Will look again at care options in April. Maybe personal assistant work.
The feeling of temporary freedom was palpable. I took a stroll late yesterday afternoon around the village. The light is seeping back. Buds are doing their thing. Gardening and cycling will beckon in a month or two. Lots of the darkness has been traversed.