Thursday, November 18, 2010

Still hectic and busy

I feel like I am always making excuses about why I haven't done x or y at the moment. I'm sure people must be getting fed up with me. But it does feel as if life has been a little non-stop for the past 6 months+, mostly all my own fault, I think!

As well as a few months where many workday evenings and weekends were spent doign DIY at Greg's house, I have also done a couple of small tidy up DIY jobs at my house (i.e. paint the kitchen ceiling, only 2 years after the wall between the kitchen and dining room was removed!!, and fill and paint the holes in the wall where a curtain rail used to be). So the working day often hasn't finished until 8pm or later due to that, and food has been take aways or 'quick' meals rather than relaxed and nutritious.

I was also determined to implement more teaching at work. It was something I had wanted to do last year, but treatment meant it would be foolish and unfair on the rest of my team to implement it. This year, I have been present and so could do my share, so we did it. I also needed to have reasonably high teaching hours, as I am doing a course called the "Mini Academic Development Programme" which supports academic (teaching) staff to become better teachers. The 2 modules of the course could count towards a PGCE (post-graduate certificate in education), if I wanted to continue it on. I need to log 45 hours of teaching.... I haven't counted them up yet, but don't think I'm quite there yet...

At work we are also one member of staff down compared to last year, and although no-one is dropping any balls - everything is getting done, customers are getting served - we have had to reduce the opening hours of the library and the remaining team are much more customer facing than ever before, which can be exhausting. Saying the same things to students (be quiet, turn your phone off, take that drink/food/attitude outside etc) day in, day out is very tiring.

We're also preparing for me to leave the team in January. I'm trying to get some things done before I go so that I can leave everyone as prepared as possible, and they are fretting about what is going to happen when I have gone. It's not going to be ideal: I won't be replaced by a new manager, as it is probable that the whole team will be transferred to the College's management at the end of July 2011, so there is little chance of getting someone in at the right level to manage the team for just 7 months. Instead, my current boss will look after the team and I'll keep a hand in to support her as much as I can. We'll get someone else in to take on the day to day subject support work that I do, and to relieve some of the remaining team so that they can concentrate on any work that needs doing in preparation for the transfer.

It's not ideal. I am still torn about leaving. I will miss everyone so very much, and will probably always feel guilty for leaving them - but I was given an opportunity to stay with my current employers and it was (and is) the right decision for me to take it. The team I am going to are also great, and will be a pleasure to work with - and I suspect it won't be quite as stressful a job.... but only time will tell!!

Oh, and buying a house while selling two others. That's why I feel a little busy at the moment. If I don't return your call or email instantly, it's not personal. xxx

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Another item nearly ticked off the 'to do' list

Well, we have been working very hard to get Greg's house ready for sale, and now it is (all bar putting in some carpet, which will be done this weekend). Mine is now up for sale too.

We have located a house to buy already.... and in fact, have made an offer and had it accepted. With the amazingly kind support of my parents, we are able to purchase a house before we have actually sold our existing homes.

The new house is a little bigger than my current house, but is based on the side of a hill with fantastic views (and a deck from which to admire them), no overlooking neighbours - in fact, only a handful of houses on the no-through road, all to one side of our new property, wood burner, Rayburn, and much to Greg's delight, an enormous workshop AND a garage! It is a 100 year old cottage that has been beautifully extended and renovated. After all of the DIY that we have done at Greg's house, not having to do anything at the new place is such a huge relief!

The only downside is that it is a little further away from Bristol than Monmouth is, so my commute from January is going to be a little longer. Even from Monmouth today, it took me 1hr 20 minutes to get to the University's Glenside campus. 50 minutes of this time is sitting in traffic on the M4 and the ring road. I will be getting the train from Gloucester some of the time, methinks....

We could be moved in by Christmas, if all goes to plan. Watch this space!

The kindness of strangers

A lovely lady from the online cancer forum that I chat on has arranged for me to have free tickets to see Faithless in Manchester! How amazing is that?

She had read the blog, seen that they were on my list of things I'd like to do, and as she works for the venue is able to get staff complimentaries.

I have the tickets in my sticky mitts, and am so very grateful for her kindness in arranging this.

The power of the internet, and the kindness of strangers is a wonderful thing.

Herceptin at home

I had my first "Herceptin at home" experience yesterday. After being told that this would happen, I hadn't actually been contacted by anyone to find out what was going on. Coincidentally, while I was playing telephone tag with the contact at Velindre hospital, the Bupa coordinator left a message on my phone about it. She had apparently been phoning me regularly but not getting an answer (indeed: I work, and am not waiting by my mobile phone 24 hours a day) - and not leaving a message!!! Funnily enough, I had no idea that it was her or I would have called her back. Apparently, she doesn't like to leave a message because of patient confidentiality. She could have said something like "This is Cathy from Bupa, please call me back on xxxx" couldn't she? Sigh.

Anyway, it was all arranged, and I received two calls from a more local coordinator and the actual nurse on Monday evening (they were brave enough to leave messages, thank goodness!) to confirm it was all set. The drugs will be arriving at 8am, and the nurse will arrive at 8.30am to get cracking. Great.

You can probably tell from my tone that it didn't go quite to plan! Sonia the nurse did indeed arrive on time, but the drugs did not. In fact they didn't arrive until gone 11am, so it was past 1pm before it was all done. Sonia was not happy - she had not been informed there was a delay, and the delay to my treatment also caused a delay to her next appointment and a couple of wasted hours. I had to call into work, as I was now not going to be able to go in and cover my sessions on the Enquiry Desk. Luckily they were able to arrange cover, and I worked before and after the treatment from home. Sonia was able to do paperwork while we waited, as well as make numerous calls to people to see what had gone wrong with the delivery. We never did quite get to the bottom of it, but she said she would put in a formal complaint.

Apart from that, having the treatment at home was absolutely fine. She had forgotten to bring her drip stand so we improvised with a coat hanger over the kitchen door, and didn't bother with the pump. Apparently, it was unusual to adminster it in kitchen/diner as most people do it in front of the telly - but I wanted to do some work as it was done, so the kitchen was better for that!!

Sonia was really lovely and easy to talk to, and she has arranged for my next treatment to be on a Wednesday, which is much better from a work point of view. Let's just hope the drugs arrive on time next time!!!

Delayed results

Apologies again for having neglected my blog. I am sure everyone will have stopped checking for updates now!!!

Anyway, I was supposed to have seen the surgeon, Mr Ghosh, on 5th November but received a letter cancelling that appointment. I had to call to make another. And the next date they can do? 3rd December! This is rubbish - I don't get the results of my mammogram until then, thats a full SEVEN weeks of waiting!! I know that I should call and see if I can get the results over the phone, but I admit that I am burying my head in the sand a little and working on the assumption that if there was anything to worry about, they would not leave it for 7 weeks before telling me. I'm pretty sure they would call me back sooner if there was anything to worry about.... wouldn't they?