Friday, 1 November 2013

An account of the past week or two

Pink flower
National Botanic Garden of Wales, May 2013
Let's start with some good news. Here are some bad things that haven't happened: the boiler hasn't broken down. The car hasn't needed any attention for nearly a week. There have been no work-related disasters.

My list of everyday tasks expands and contracts but never goes away. There has been progress of sorts - we have a date for installation of a new boiler, I have a certificate to prove I am not a criminal, and I have even managed to get proof of previous employment in the NHS back in the 1990's. This is useful because the amount of annual leave that one is entitled to depends on duration of employment, and it doesn't matter when that employment took place, so I should get a few more days holiday as a result.

On the down side, I haven't had any firm offer of employment so I haven't been able to give my notice in, and it is now looking as though I will therefore have to work through Christmas; I am nowhere near dealing with the Will or the Power of Attorney that I have been determined to set up for several years now, and there are some other jobs that look like they will be pushed further and further into the future. Income tax self-assessment form? Forget it.

The employment situation becomes ever more complicated. Why is it never straightforward? I got a call last thing on Friday as I was driving home last week, saying that there were more hours available to add to the 20 hours in one of the prospective new jobs, and then the voicemail message was cut off. An exciting prospect - perhaps this would be enough to make up a full time job together with the one day I've been offered by the other employer?

I had to wait until Monday to get more details. It took nearly a whole day of phoning and leaving a message, followed by not being able to answer the phone when it rang, then leaving another message, then being with a patient again when the return call came through, and so on throughout the day. Eventually we managed to find a time when both of us could speak, and of course the extra hours turned out to be on the same day as I had been offered for the one-day job.

Pros: four days with one employer is better than three with one and one with another, and it would cut out all the travel. Cons: the one day job would be doing education for people with Type 2 diabetes which is something a bit different that I'd actually like to do; I've said I'll take the one day job and don't like to mess people around; the extra hours tacked on to the 20-hour job would have to be taken on trust because that offer can't be put in writing. Watch this space.

I have been given the extension to the deadline for my Masters module that I asked for, and spent the whole of last weekend working on it. Really and truly, the whole weekend, except for a couple of hours watching La Vie En Rose, a biopic of the life of Edith Piaf, and a trip to the shops for provisions. I was able to do this due to the absence of Mr A, who is on a Bulgarian Biking Bonanza for a week. He returns very soon, and I await the thrilling tales of excitement and adventure. As far as I know, he hasn't broken anything, but I doubt that he would mention it if he had - he would just return home in plaster as a lovely surprise.

There is more to do for the stupid Masters module, which is taking up a disproportionate amount of leisure time, to the extent that I have decided to use work time to do it as well. Studying as a full time student was wonderful; combining it with a full time job is not so much fun. Just a couple more weeks of pain and it will be over - I do wonder whether I can be bothered to put myself through this for all the other modules necessary for the degree, but I imagine when the memory of this module has faded I shall miss the learning experience.

I am doing a fair bit of learning through everyday work, because I always want to make sure I'm on top of the game. A chance remark by one of the nurses set me thinking about the effect of caffeine on control of blood sugars in diabetes, and I chanced upon a recent paper which investigated just that. In case you're interested, it concludes that caffeine is bad for blood glucose control in Type 2 diabetes, and probably also in Type 1 and gestational diabetes. I'm not sure whether the paper is freely available because I accessed it through my university account, but if you're interested then look for "Whitehead N. & White H. (2013) Systematic review of randomised controlled trials of the effects of caffeine or caffeinated drinks on blood glucose concentrations and insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes mellitus. J Hum Nutr Diet." Or ask me, and I'll email it to you.

Speaking of gestational diabetes, those ladies keep on coming. I have had to deal with a glut of interpreters recently, some of whom have been truly awful, along with some very difficult patients who have been struggling both to understand what is being asked of them and to put it into practice. But some good news to finish with: at the end of today's clinic there was a lovely smiley lady whose interpreter hadn't arrived, but whose blood sugar record was near perfect and who indicated (with the help of family present) that she actually felt much better having made the recommended changes to her diet. That hardly ever happens, but so nice when it does!

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