Sunday, 25 October 2015

Two busy weeks

Skyscrapers and blue sky
View of Chicago, June 2015
Remind me - what day is it? What am I supposed to be doing? Where should I be?

I like it when my days are full and it's busy, lots to do, people to see. A long afternoon stretching out with nothing scheduled and I get a little twitchy. But I have made a rod for my own back and overdone it a bit recently.

Of course, part of the problem is the extra-curriculars. If I hadn't agreed to be part of both Ladies and Mixed badminton teams, and continued to attend two different clubs, there would be a bit less badminton in the evenings. If I hadn't volunteered to do this 10k + obstacle course run in November, I wouldn't be doing so much running (although I haven't had time or strength to run for about two weeks). I've joined the work choir again this year, and we're having weekly rehearsals again. The basics of the choir practice haven't changed - a lovely leader with much more enthusiasm than musical knowledge who has again chosen carols that are pitched a bit too high for any of us to sing comfortably. I've admitted that I can play the piano in the hope that she will let me at least pick out the notes to help those singing the harmonies, but she hasn't yet called on me for assistance so I sing along with the rest.

So that's Monday to Thursday evenings fully committed most weeks - when I'm not playing or singing I'm too tired to run or even cook. At the weekends I sometimes run (I am very excited that I've now managed to do Parkrun 5k in under 30 minutes for the first time!), and plan and prepare meals for the whole week, assisted by the fact that I don't eat much on badminton nights and we've managed to get sponsorship for our structured education so that some Thursday lunches are provided. Which brings me on to work - there's quite a lot happening there too. The main thing is that we've been Windows Sevened. Is Windows 7 a verb? Yes, it is.

Apparently a few key people were aware this was in the pipeline but I was notified by email one afternoon that it was happening that night, so the next morning the Windows 7 tech team turned up to make sure everything was running as it should. Of course it wasn't. The basics were in place so we could use email, MS Office and most of the systems used everywhere in the Trust, but the specific diabetes systems were all over the place. The Windows 7 team asserted that they hadn't been told about any of those systems, while our team claimed that everything had been fully declared in advance.

Most of it has now been sorted out, the one remaining issue being an application that is used to download the data from a certain type of blood glucose meter and insulin pump, which is needed on six computers but is only working on one - mine. So every time a download is needed, my computer has to be used - actually that's not quite true, some of the meters can be downloaded onto a laptop, but only some of them and then we can't print anything. Chasing the Windows 7 team about this has been entirely fruitless - they are refusing to fix anything until the manufacturers of the software have sorted out how to download the data to a secure networked drive. It's very frustrating.

Would you like an update on progress towards having a ceiling-mounted data projector connected to a net-enabled computer? This is something that I asked about shortly after I started working in the Centre nearly two years ago. I started to make more of a fuss about it a year ago, and those holding the reins of power finally caved in and we started to apply for funding in December last year. The funds we targeted are in a specific charitable account that is managed entirely within the Diabetes service, which contained enough money to pay for the equipment, and our application met all the necessary criteria. Despite all this, we were up against a particular 'Jobsworth' character in hospital management - during the ten months that has elapsed one episode that stands out was when this person sent all the forms back to us by post because one box had not been ticked.

We were told, finally, that the whole scheme could go ahead about a month ago, but nothing has happened yet. Up to this point I have managed to resist becoming involved, mainly because I have no status with this charitable fund so could play no part in the application, but also because I knew the whole thing would wind me up - and it certainly has done that. I could hold off no longer, so now I am phoning our IT department and the equipment supplier at least twice a week until the ruddy thing is installed. I'm aiming to get it done before the first anniversary of the application starting. I am not confident that this is possible, not least because the quote is nearly a year old and I expect prices may have changed.

Meanwhile, my weighing scales have broken. I got in touch with people in the relevant department who arrived commendably promptly but were unable to fix the problem, so the scales have gone away with them. They were incredibly pessimistic about them ever coming back, and told me not to expect anything for a number of weeks. The scales were also provided by the Friends of the Hospital's charitable funds. It is sad to think that a department in a teaching hospital uses charitable funds for weighing scales and data projectors, but there are far worse troubles in the NHS than these minor issues. The NHS is pretty much broke, as far as I can tell from media reports.

My joy at having Tuesdays off has abated, but again it's my own fault. The DESMOND education that I am now qualified to deliver is also delivered by a different team, and I have long wanted to sit in on one of their courses to see how they do it and steal any good ideas. The disadvantage to this plan is that they deliver their courses on Tuesday mornings, so my lovely free Tuesdays have disappeared for the last two weeks while I watched them perform. I did get a few good ideas, but I'm still looking forward to a lie-in on a Tuesday. This coming Tuesday I've arranged for the boiler to be serviced at 9 o'clock. I should have asked for an afternoon appointment...

Alongside all of this bureaucratic mayhem I am still seeing patients, and our group education continues. Some of the patients on the very low carb diet are doing really well, everyone else is struggling as people will struggle when they try to changes habits of a lifetime. I'm getting a bit more proficient with insulin pumps, and was edged out of my comfort zone when I was asked to stand in for a nurse with one patient - this means advising on changing insulin dosage based on results of blood glucose monitoring, and is a bit scary. Luckily a nurse was around - in fact she was in the room using the software that only works on my PC - and helpfully chipped in now and again to agree with the advice I was giving, so that helped my confidence a lot.

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