Evening clouds

Evening clouds
Sunshine and Clouds

Saturday, 31 August 2019

A week of 3 ‘peaks’

A few days ago I saw a link on Twitter to a Guardian article by @CharlotteChurch about the death of her grandma, and the care her Nana was given. Charlotte ends by making a plea for Palliative Care to be available for all, after extolling the experience Charlotte, her grandma and the wider family were given.
What struck me was Charlotte’s comment on the words “syringe driver”, that apparently caused her grandad distress in that he thought it would be used to speed the death of his wife. This is not uncommon in my professional experience so I thought I’d ask Twitter contacts if they had any ideas for an alternative name.

This generated 19 direct responses, and various likes and shares, the number of which was a surprise and in a busy week at home and at work I didn’t get to respond until now. 
I want to thank all those who joined in with ideas and comments. If it helps change practice and alter perceptions of syringe drivers then that’s a high I happily take.

To summarise -
  • Clarity of the words we use was a main theme
  • Taking time to demonstrate the syringe driver, tubing and drugs and the way they come together makes so much sense
  • Creating ownership and portability through colourful hand-made bags is well known 
  • Using a stretchy men’s sock is a delightful spin on covering them
  • That syringe drivers are useful beyond End of Life Care is an important point; they can give symptom relief during treatments such as chemo and radio therapies and can then be stopped
  • And at the end of life, used with sensitivity and clinical caution they will not hasten a death
As for a useful alternative name we didn’t get to that; not to worry as we were able to have conversations that spanned a variety of locations, backgrounds and viewpoints. That in itself has been a valuable demonstration of the usefulness of social media.

What of the other two highs? One of our fab team, @H2Gail has reached the summit of Kilimanjaro in the last day or so, a wonderful personal achievement.
The third high? The team I’m part of; yesterday I found myself reflecting on all they’ve been through personally of late, and how professionally they’ve been caring for patients and each other; that has been a moment of intense pride and an emotional high.
 Gail is in green here -


Saturday, 29 June 2019

Doing things badly can be a good thing?

I have had an interesting week; work has been busy with the team doing good things for patients and each other. All very supportive and a joy that they can be trusted to get on with things.
I’ve had two task this week that needed delivering. One was a business case and the other an opportunity to deliver a 6 minute talk as part of a conference day on human rights in end of Life Care.
The business case would seem straightforward however getting the style right for the (NHS) organisation can be a challenge. Fortunately my boss has plenty of experience in our place of work and whilst I started it not very well I’ve submitted what’s been agreed is a much better version. Anxiety about how it might look and be received is lessened; taking the first step is the worst bit for me.
And that, I’ve just realised, is why blog writing regularly hasn’t been easy either.
So I was interested in reading the article by Olivia Remes that points to the science behind beating anxiety, and why doing something badly is a good idea.
This struck a chord with me; getting started is an act that I can successfully sabotage by myself. So reaching a finishing point (sending the business case for consultation, or posting a blog piece) becomes a cause for internal celebration.

The second task has been longer in development as I’d been invited to contribute to a quick fire afternoon session at the Sue Ryder hosted “Human Rights in End of Life Care” on 27th June. A 6 minute slot was mine, along with three others who are trainers like me. The slides were easy, the content came pretty easily too. It was the prospect of delivery that became a matter of anxiety. There was some rehearsal and having the slides safely loaded in advance were helpful strategies.
The night before was not good in terms of sleep and all that could have gone wrong in terms of travel added an extra layer of worry.
On the day the trip was fine and the venue was easy to find and had a nice auditorium. Even so there were nerves; I’m conscious that a poor presentation does no one any favours. As it happened my little contribution was kindly recorded on my iPad by another speaker. I can see I “immediately” a lot to begin with, and then had some trouble with the slides. I did get a hoped for laugh or two, as well as some serious points made. I could have done better (I believe) though I was told I’d done well.

Olivia is helpful in that she points out that doing something badly (or at least not very well) is a way to combat anxiety. So I’m reminded to be kind to myself; to trust the praise of others and to ignore the internal doubts that will lead to further anxiety.
And maybe there’ll be an increase in the frequency of my blogging?