Evening clouds

Evening clouds
Sunshine and Clouds

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Running in awe

As some may know I tried to be healthier by taking up running again (modest distances) towards the end of last year. What followed in terms of life changes led to real interruption of progress. We’re nearly halfway through 2018 and it’s time to update. I’d begun to run again though that had not felt as positive as it did before. For me it was actually getting outside the house that became an issue. A sense of panic would rise up and I’d not venture into my kit. Isolation seemed to be part of the reason though I wasn’t ready to explore what exactly was behind this.
Meanwhile lots of social media contacts are making many strides (intended pun) in their running. Their obvious achievements are a delight and I remain impressed by what they’ve done.

Another life change has been taking up the new role in an acute trust in the last few weeks; a change of culture and pace that’s been exhilarating. A sense of purpose and excitement pervades the organisation and this is (in a positive non-clinical sense) infectious.
During a recent induction session we were asked ‘what gives us awe?’. Spirituality was the context and I found myself noting the question and day dreaming…
What gives each of us awe, what’s awesome will vary. I expect however aspects of the natural world will feature large. This last week has seen awesome lightning, thunder and rain. Other examples abound, too many to mention here.
Yet I’ve also come across people who give me a sense of awe; they inspire, through their enthusiasm, their willingness to share something of themselves with others, and by their generosity of spirit.

What drove me to write today? Making a promise to run this morning, that I’ve kept. As I ran the note I’d made myself to blog about what gave me awe came into my head. I also had a moment to think about my pre-run panics and what’s been behind them. My conclusion is that it’s been a kind of death fear; my mum has been unwell for some while and whilst making some improvement now I have not acknowledged how close we came to losing her last year. It’s also affected how I’ve viewed my own mortality; getting a little older and perhaps because retirement is higher on the agenda. That feels a plausible conclusion after a 20 min run and getting home felt good. I think too I’ll feel happier going out running again.

And Awe? Those I know who share - in blogs, direct messages, tweet chats, phone calls, letters, and face to face - I’ve decided not to name them as they may be embarrassed; in addition are the many I don’t know in the NHS (and broader UK care systems) who day by day embrace their work, paid and unpaid. In particular my colleagues in our hospital who have been engaged in an enormous change over the last couple of weeks as we moved to electronic patient records. There have been other challenges too that have had the potential to disrupt their work in a big way. That this has not happened is a tribute to them and the team spirit they have. That’s what’s left me running in awe today.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Watch out! - for the little things

I’m into week three of my induction period after joining an NHS acute trust. These days we’re all in a uniform of some kind or mufti; a big change since I was last working in such an environment is being bare below the elbows. Brought in as we became more conscious of infection risks ties have largely gone too.
So after several decades of wearing a wrist watch that habit has had to change too. “You can get the time from your phone” I hear you exclaim; but I’ve worn a wrist watch for much longer that digital timepieces were available, when analogue meant winding up the watch or clock yourself. And to get time from the phone meant dialling the speaking clock.

Why is this worthy of mention? The watch I’ve worn for some years now belonged to my late dad, and it was given to him after many years work as a teacher and head teacher in inner London. It’s served as a reminder of his commitment to education and those in his care; whose learning and development were so important.

It’s also reminded me of him as a person and father and of his love of public service and doing good things through that service. It’s been a little disconcerting not to have it handy to refer to. It’s meant I’ve had to develop a new ‘check my phone for the time’ thing though I still go to my wrist and wonder why there’s a gap. It’s made me reflect on loss and grief; another step away from him. It’s chipped at the inspiration the watch has provided as well as a sense of time. I always like to be just a little early and a watch is a quick way to check times progress. Now I have to rely on my phone, or the occasional wall clock, to be sure I’m timely.

Not having the watch has been a distinct loss that I wanted to mark through speaking up about it; it’s about the difference little things can mean to people. This was emphasised to me again this week listening to Chris Pointon speak about Dr Kate Granger and the build up and progress of the #HelloMyNameIs campaign. Do look the campaign up if you’ve not heard of it; even if you know about it, remember little things when left out or ignored can have an impact much bigger than we can ever realise.