Archive for July, 2010

Private showing

Last weekend a lonely Red Arrow flew over my house.

Thursday a Spitfire and a Hurricane flew over (I only know one was a Hurricane because Hubby told me).

Today I’m hoping that a Tornado will give me a private display.

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Experienced midwife required

The BBC is looking for an experienced midwife to feature in a one-hour documentary.

The midwife selected will travel to Liberia to work alongside West African midwives. They will also be staying with their mentor’s family, to gain a picture of life outside the workplace.

The BBC are looking for midwives who are ‘good at expressing an opinion, who are up for a challenge and who aren’t afraid to open their eyes to some very different ways of living and working’.

If you are interested, please email: fiona.walmsley@bbc.co.uk or Tel: 020 8008 5794.

If only I were less of a homebody, and more of an adventurer, I would be on the phone now. Excuses, excuses but who would look after the grandchildren, and I bet that they would want me to have lots and lots of vaccinations and there are creepy, crawlies, but what an opportunity.

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Last night I escaped my confines and went to a colleagues retirement do, analgesia, padding to sit on, plus a couple of glasses of wine and I had an enjoyable couple of hours. Before I started writing I was musing on what to say about this colleague when I realised that I could find myself in trouble for not being PC in my description, she is from the Caribbean and has a much darker skin colour than myself. Do I say ‘black’, ‘brown’, ‘dark skinned’ or ‘of colour’? I really don’t know. Does it matter how I describe a person’s skin colour? When chatting to other ‘white’ people I don’t worry that I may offend by commenting that they are ‘fair’ skinned, ‘sallow’ or ‘olive’. If my darker skinned friends make a comment which involves something along the lines of ‘you white people’ I don’t take offense, this whole debate is really to do with context I suppose. An argument here may be that, as I’m white, I have never been subject to discrimination, but that’s not true as I’m female and apparently we are discriminated against. I’m also a Roman Catholic and we can be discriminated against, never experienced that but I have experienced abuse concerning my faith, inadvertently and by friends who hadn’t realised I am RC. Was I concerned? No. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and it hasn’t affected our friendship.

Dwelling on religion I suddenly remembered something that really wound me up during the week, the Pope’s latest edict  (yes, religion and sex discrimination in one). I  just erupted when his pronouncement regarding the ordination of women came on the news. I actually have no desire to be a priest, I can’t logically see why women can’t be priests but logic aside I assume that there is some tennant within the church’s canon law which preclude it, so live with it. Be a nun if you want to dedicate your life to God and remain a Catholic. No, my argument isn’t with the decision not to ordain women, it’s with the overkill, the real slap down to those women who had harboured a wish. All El Papa had to do was say ‘Look, we have discussed it but it’s a non-starter for these reasons, this, this and this. Sorry and all that but Roman Catholicism just doesn’t allow for women priests’. But no, Ratzinger and his conclave decided to –

  1. Discuss the heinous crime of women priests alongside paedophilia
  2. Rate female ordination as one of the worst crimes which can be committed within the Church.

Both crimes would be subject to investigation by ‘The Inquisition’, not called that anymore but still the same thing, and whilst sex crimes by priests would lead to de-frocking, but not automatic  referral to outside agencies, attempting to ordain a woman would result in ex-communication and de-frocking  for the ordainer and ex-communication for the would be priest and was a ‘ grave crime against the sacraments’ , which equates it to heresy and desecrating the sacrament. Talk about cracking a nut with a sledgehammer, a woman attempting to serve God is as foul as a priest, in a position of trust, sexually abusing a young child? Sorry Pope Benedict you are so wrong.

I bet that God’s representative on earth, if you’re a rat catcher (Ratzinger, hmm), is not at all happy about the Pope Joan issue being topical again. Crickey, if he can’t tolerate the idea of a woman being a priest he must go into apoplexy at the thought that there might once have been a female Pope.

 Pope Joan

Anyway. Lovely evening yesterday. Really sad to see this colleague leave as she was often a ray of sunshine in the frequently dark mood of  our office. When life would get the better of my happy, cheerful personality* she would always take the trouble to offer support and help me shrug off my woes. For the students and ‘new to community midwives’ she would be a strong advocate and a font of knowledge. She has promised that she will come back and do a few hours here and there for us, I truly hope that she does as her retirement has left a huge space which will be extremely difficult to fill.

*Happy, cheerful personality. Yesterday I received a card and pressies from the G.P’s surgery I work with and one of the messages used those words to describe me.  Lovely.

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Yes, that’s how much the reconfiguration of the NHS will cost THIS time. I heard it last night on Question Time and, if I hadn’t been sitting at the time, I would have fallen over. Hubby was not able to hear much more of the programme as I was well and truly ranting. For God’s sake STOP IT, stop fiddling about and wait for previous changes, initiatives to show a result.

Polly Toynbee in The Guardian was so right when she wrote that ‘polititians have an obsessive, compulsive disorder’ when it comes to reorganising the NHS, it is ‘reorganising virus’ ‘ Polititians are bored by the fiddly stuff – making existing systems work, ironing out the glitches, fixing frontline obstacles for patients. Instead they reach for the big ideological lever…’  I just hope that she has not hit the nail on the head when writing ‘ and this time it might just break the machine’.

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I’m in a sulk. I received an ‘invitation’ to register for a conference today, HSJ Maternity Services Conference 2010 , I clicked on the link and was really interested in the agenda, especially as there was much in there which pertained to community midwifery, both the practice and the funding. I checked the date, yes, I would be fit to attend, Tuesday, not ideal as it’s a clinic day but there is enough time for me to rearrange that clinic, so I clicked on the delegate rates. Now, much as I love conferences and know that I would get a great deal from this one, £399 ( £430 with travel etc) is way out of my price range and, for me, a mega amount of money to spend on a ONE day conference so I shall not be attending and I doubt that any other ‘grass roots’ midwives will either. I would hazard a guess that if I cared to attempt a chat with any midwifery managers that day they would be thin on the ground. They will all be there, in London, chummy, chummy, huddling together and nodding wisely as other managers powerpoint away telling them how to impose more paperwork on clinicians whilst reducing patient contact. Sorry, there is the ‘token’ speaker from a users group, the NCT, she will explain how women are unhappy with the care they receive and what the maternity services need to do to improve the situation. The women are unhappy, well I am as well but it ain’t going to get any better, ever. With reduced budgets, increased workloads and increased paperwork there is no way the service can do anything other than reduce and reduce. If you look at the programme it just about says it all, ‘collecting data; analyzing; compliance monitoring; monitoring improvements; engaging the workforce to gather and report timely information; measuring quality’ of yes, there’s a lot of information gathering going on here and who will do it? The midwives. First though there will have to be lots of nice meetings, brain-stormings and oodles of consultations, I should think a few management companies are rubbing their hands at this point anticipating the studies which will be initiated and the revenue these will generate.

I want to be there, I want to be able to hear rationales, I want to debate and comment on change and, more importantly, is it cost-effective and will it improve outcomes? Personally I’m fed-up with having initiatives  thrust upon us from some faceless echelon which magics up ideas and then expects the workforce to implement, audit and document ad nauseum. In a previous post I recorded a days work and compared the time spent on patient contact with other tasks, and now I find that The Nursing Times has discovered that community midwives spend 40% of their time on paperwork and travelling. and they had to conduct research (wonder how much that cost) to come up with that revelation. Well, now its official will someone please take notice and reduce the repetition and the gathering and recording we have to do. Yes, talk about it at the conference but not as to how midwives can record data but as to how systems can be introduced which will cut down on the repetition and free up midiwives to do the job they were trained for.

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In and out

That’s it then, my choose and book saga is over and so far, so good. Have no issues with my care whilst in hospital, from the consultant to the physio to the theatre porter, they were all lovely. Well, the anaesthetist could do with better people skills, but that does seem to be a fairly common element within that speciality, so I wouldn’t hold that against him. I was well looked after.

To date my recovery appears to be progressing well, certainly much better than last time. I’m taking things very easy, the physio advised me not to lift anything heavier than a full kettle so I had requested that none of the grandchildren come around for the first week, I wouldn’t be able not to pick them up. Someone decided to ignore me though, so Izzy came round yesterday with her Mummy who had offered to run the hoover round. All went well until I went for a lie down, Izzy came with me. I laid on the bed whilst Iz combed my hair, stuck the baby dolls bottle  my mouth and kept up a continuous stream of toddler chat but then she picked up the electric guitar and that’s when I protested, she ignored me so I called her Mummy to remove the aspiring Eric Clapton, not a happy bunny, she may never play the guitar for me again (fingers crossed).

This not picking anything up is causing Hubby to have to take on the plant watering and he is now regretting encouraging me to create quite so many hanging baskets and pots, with this hot weather he is having to be very diligent with the watering cans. Being resourceful he has managed to cut down the time spent filling watering cans from the butts by using the water from the family-sized paddling pool. It  hadn’t been’ emptied after the ‘Welcome Joshua to the family’ barbecue we had on Sunday. Good plan really as it’s not being wasteful with water and also the plants appreciate water which is warm rather than ice cold.

 One of my pots which I planted with ‘rejects’ from a DIY store. Really looking forward to the orange fushias flowering.

The lily in my pond hasn’t flowered for at least 5 years. The fish may have died but the lily is thriving.

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Tomorrow should be the culmination of my choose and book saga as I’m having my op, that’s if it’s not cancelled at the last minute. I’ve packed my bag, 3 books, nintendo DS and puzzle book being the most important elements, had my first chlorhexidine wash and will be starving from 7am.

Today we had a family meal to celebrate Joshua becoming part of our noisy pack, the grandchildren splashed around in the new paddling pool whilst Jack, son and Nanny stalked each other with water pistols. I started off with an unfair advantage in that I had a water blaster, unfortunately son wrestled it away from me and I ended up absolutely soaked and, as I was hiding in the utility room at the time, a great deal of mopping-up was required. The star of the day remained asleep for the majority of the time, good in that he allowed his Mummy to have her dinner uninterrupted, bad in that I wanted to have a photo of all the grandchildren together and we never achieved it.

If I blog over the next few days it will mean that my op was cancelled. I hope to be silent.

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