I haven't blogged in over a month? Really?
It's strange really back in the day I could write three or four posts a day, saving them for later, and yet during this month I've only occasionally thought of blogging.
There are, to be honest, a couple of reasons why I've not been blogging.
My new job. I'm enjoying myself. Well… 'enjoy' is perhaps too strong a word, after all I am still working in the NHS. However it seems that a fair chunk of the reasons for my writing (in the past year or so at least) was anger. Anger at the system, anger at inconsiderate patients, anger at watching the ambulance service circling the drain. With my new job I'm a lot less angry. For one, I'm not swearing as much – which is good because I don't think that the ambulance messroom language would go down too well with some of my new colleagues. But with that lack of rage I've been less likely to have a burning need to write something. I've noticed that I've been avoiding watching any TV news because it would get me angry and I would not have constructive output from it – I'm not a politically intelligent blogger, and I certainly didn't want to turn this site into a constant outflowing of 'Dave Cameron is a oily ****rag who if he wanted to make the world a better place would shoot himself. Slowly' or 'Nick Clegg is a lying **** who has killed the Lib Dem party and should be forced to live out his life in student digs, begging for charity'. It'd get boring incredibly quickly, and my computer would break from all the anger flecked spittle I'd be spraying at it. So, I've been a lot less angry – and that means a fair bit of my muse has packed her bags and buggered off to sunnier climes. Damn that 'happiness' and 'job satisfaction' – it's ruined me.
- The return of my depression. Which is perhaps an illogical thing to say after admitting that I am happier and less anger filled. But it's a weird thing depression, in my case more about a lack of energy, a desire to withdraw from the world and a slight, but nagging, suspicion that I would be better off dead* rather than sitting around crying**. Everything in my world can be going wonderfully (and at the moment, both personally and professionally, it is), but when those brain chemicals decide to slosh around my skull in one way rather than the other it can really bugger you up. Thankfully my depression is, I suspect, what most people would call 'pitifully minor'. So I can often just muddle through the day with just general feelings of shittiness.
Interestingly, when I'm at work, although I'm watching the clock tick down to the end of my shift, while I'm there I'm often in a fairly good and energy filled mood. Perhaps it's the uniform.
I've been rather busy – trying to get my brain up to firing on all three and a half cylinders and pointed back into the general direction of being a nurse. It's quite a thing to blow the dust out of the crevices of my mind and see what sorts of knowledge and skills are still tucked away up there in a cardboard box marked 'Misc. odds & sods'. Skills like steristripping wounds are still there as if I had been using it every day, which is strange as I was expressly forbidden from doing such things in my time in the ambulance service. The risk of course is that while my mind and memory muscle may still recall these skills – medical practice may have moved on. I don't want to be seen as the sort of practitioner who thinks that bleeding patients is still acceptable practice. So I've been reading up and reading around, and asking questions and generally trying to cram as much into my brain as possible. Having come from a job where on the job training was often being given a sheet of A4 to read, this has been taking up a reasonable amount of my daily energy quota.
Along with the mental settling into my new job, I've not felt confident enough to write about it (although my new boss has asked me if I'm writing nice things). Mostly because it takes a certain amount of time before you can get your feet under the table and understand most of the driving forces that mean something is done one way rather than the other. I'm still of the mind that when you are new in a job you should 'keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut'. So what great insights am I going to bring to this little corner of the NHS when I'm still learning what boundaries are already in place, what I can push, and whether I have the completely wrong end of the stick about a situation?
Confidentiality has always been incredibly important, personally as well as professionally. But now I'm sitting in one place it is a lot harder to obscure some of the identifying attributes of my patients and the stories that they tell me. And it is the stories that I am told which are often the most interesting thing about my job, but as these stories are, by definition, very individual you can perhaps see my problem in trying to relate them. Over the last month I've been collecting stories in enough numbers that I can now start to mix and match and mash together some stories to remove all identifying marks.
I'm not sure that people are that interested in Urgent Care. For the large part I'm seeing patients for a very short period of time, and for illnesses that are normally self-limiting and are almost certainly not life-threatening. Writing about it this while keeping it at least vaguely interesting is fairly tricky – that's why 'Doctors' has to throw in the occasional kidnapping or explosion to keep the viewers engrossed in the lives of the GPs. There are no explosions at my workplace – although we did have a leaking water pipe last week.
So those are the excuses.
I do, however, have a plan – and it's one that involves me writing a lot more. I'm going to do the best I can to write every day that I'm not at work (so that's three or four times a week as a minimum) – partly to keep my brain active, partly because it's a therapy to be able to let off steam, and partly because I enjoy it.
The plan also involves me writing every day for at least this week – and then… well… there will be a bit of a change…
*No, I'm not actually suicidal – too far too sensible for that.
**Although that does sometimes happen – it's why I'm steering clear of alcohol for the foreseeable future.