Wednesday, 18 May 2016

The usual complaining about being busy

Badminton match
Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham, May 2016

Well, it's been a busy time. If it hadn't been for some blog posts I drafted a while ago there would have been a whole lot of nothing new in this space. So I thought I'd just make a quick list of the few things that I might write about that have taken up my time in the last fortnight. Within a minute I had this:


Cover for colleague: group education  and clinic
Type 1 education in new location
DESMOND Type 2 education
Meeting about insulin pump service

Not work

Badminton AGM
Shoulder: nurse/physio
Sports: running, badminton, Fitbit™
Water meter
Blood donation
Sunday lunch in the pub
Police and Crime Commissioner election
Clarinet choir
National Badminton League final
St Albans
Disc golf

I should just leave it there and lie down in a darkened room. But I suppose I could expand a little on some of them.


I was asked nicely to cover for a colleague who is off sick, and so far I have said yes to each request, although it means I have not had any period in the last two weeks within which I can catch up e.g. read or respond to emails and telephone messages, write letters etc. It has been made worse by delivering our Type 1 education in a new venue where we don't have access to computers, internets etc. This whole situation is unsustainable. The coming week will be no better, but I am going to use the extra hours I have accrued to take a day off and help mum with some Philatelic Business, of which more may be revealed after it has happened.

The meeting about the insulin pump service was quite interesting. We have been precipitated into a minor crisis by one of our nurses being on long term sick leave. Having coped for rather a long time we are now reviewing what we do a bit more seriously than usual, and it has become clear that the service we provide to people who use insulin pumps is particularly stretched. It was set up in 2006 on the basis of anticipating four new patients a year, and now we support more than a hundred people on pumps with at least one new one every month, not to mention the children and young people that we inherit from the paediatric service. From one consultant clinic once a month we now have two consultant clinics twice a month with no additional funding for nurses or dietitians.

It looked for a while as though a business case was going to be formulated for more nurses but with no reference to dietitians, and my manager has now retired (with a new one recruited but not yet started). So I pitched up at the meeting with the nurses, doctors, managers and finance people, and carried out my self-appointed role which was to add the words "and dietitians" every time the word "nurses" was uttered in the context of needing to fund more of them. Clearly this was irritating enough for them to start nodding in my direction and saying "and dietitians" for themselves. So that worked rather well.

The outcome of the meeting is slightly unnerving because rather than just scope the increased requirement for the pump service, they have decided to scope the requirements of the whole diabetes service at the site where I work. It would have taken an incredibly long time to look at just the pump service, so now we'll have to wait until quite close to the end of time before we get any new money. Not that there is any new money; the finance person revealed that the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) who pay for health services is pretty much broke.

Not work

Badminton club #2 has an AGM and stops for the summer. Club #1 is more disorganised in terms of administration - we had AGMs when I was club secretary, but not before or since, and hardly anyone turned up - but at least we play on over the summer. Club #2's AGM is held with a fish and chip supper and then a game of skittles, and was great fun. I sometimes think I can do this socialising thing; I used to be good at it long ago.

My left shoulder is still painful and has hardly improved in the six weeks since my injury, so I finally made an appointment to see a Nurse Practitioner at the surgery, who gave me a form to allow me to self-refer to a physiotherapist. She also advised me to take paracetamol instead of ibuprofen. I look forward to the physio appointment not least for its blog potential. I am not optimistic that the shoulder situation will be improved by physio, but what do I know?

Running and badminton continue, and I have bought a Fitbit™ with my TV watching points (and what do points mean?) but am struggling to operate the software that makes it worth having, which I take to be another sign of the inevitable march towards senility. For those not aware of the latest in fitness technology, a Fitbit is a device, in my case a wristband, which monitors the wearer's activity. I let it count my steps. If you enter the food and drink you consume it will advise on calories in and out; it should monitor your sleep but I can't make that bit work. It has exposed the limitations of my mobile phone, but my contract is about to expire and I'll see if an upgrade will help the situation.

Culture news: I went to see Cymbeline at the RSC in Stratford. I haven't been there since they remodelled the theatre, which is a long time. We had seats in the gods, which in the new theatre entails raised seats a bit like stools with footrests. It was OK to start with, but as the play entered its fourth hour I definitely started to feel a bit fidgety. A little way into the second half one of the friends I came with very suddenly left the auditorium. It turned out that he remembered he'd left the oven on, and had quite a time of it trying to contact various people to check that his flat wasn't on fire. I'd given him a lift so he couldn't just nip back home.

I meant to look up the plot before going but didn't get round to it, but another of the friends I was with had looked on Wikipedia and gave us a quick outline. Unfortunately for us in this production they'd decided to change the sex of some of the key characters, so the Wikipedia description of the king made no sense until we worked out he was now a queen. Also, the white queen and her white consort had managed to produce a black son, which was also rather confusing. Which just demonstrates our ignorance of our literary inheritance. But the play was good, and I'm always surprised at being able to follow the plot despite understanding only about one line in four.

I have a whole blog post about the Buddhism and meditation thing waiting in the wings, so I'll say no more about that. I also had a water meter installed which took no more than fifteen minutes and has reduced my (albeit estimated) water bill to a shadow of its former self. Blood donation went without incident, Sunday pub lunch was enormous and delicious, and the PCC election was pointless. I looked up the candidates the day before but I haven't bothered to find out who won. I take part in elections because I believe everyone must, but I have to admit finding it more difficult to justify this stance with each successive bunch of useless self-serving politicians.

The clarinet choir is good fun, although this time our leader has chosen pieces that stray much too far into the upper registers, to the extent that a much more enthusiastic and committed first clarinettist has invested the thousands of pounds required to buy an E flat clarinet, and I am envious. I am having to look up fingerings for top F's and G's that I haven't used since I was at school.

More badminton: the NBL competition was invented very recently to fill the gap between National teams and ordinary club leagues (the two league teams I play with were both relegated, so I am delighted that we may avoid being beaten into the ground every time I step onto the court next year). Four of these NBL teams battled it out for the top spot on the warmest sunniest day of the year so far, meaning that I spent the majority of the day indoors. It wasn't as good as the International competition in the same venue, but a nice day out. Birmingham Lions beat Loughborough University in the final.

The day in St Albans came about at short notice when Lola II phoned to say she was going there with some overseas visitors on a Tuesday when I wasn't working, so I avoided many of the jobs I was supposed to be doing by joining her there. We went around the Verulamium museum, a Roman theatre and the cathedral with interludes of tea, lunch, more tea and cake.

On Sunday I organised a badminton (club #1) social event to play disc golf, which uses baskets instead of holes and small frisbees in place of golf balls. After a full round of 18 baskets in sunny weather with only one frisbee lost in the river, I was tired out. Not that we're at all competitive (except we really are), I came second last.

And to bring us bang up to date, I have Ilf working in Lola Towers today and within the first hour he changed two door handles, cut another door to allow it to close, finished the unfinished laminate flooring and is now working on the external lights and the kitchen electrics that he condemned last time he was here. I've chased Olf the garage man for the last two jobs, but still haven't looked for an architect to advise on remodelling the ground floor. Mowing the lawn yesterday I was even considering more ambitious plans for the garden!

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