annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


Hospital, twice

I've had a fucker of a day, including the worst dizzy spell ever, when I lost the ability to speak more than a word at a time (Help! I said, in a tiny voice not my own. Scared!) and move my limbs - I knew I wanted to stand up and get out of the heat but had no idea where to start that action. It only lasted about 20 minutes but I was terrified. At the place where I do the mentoring. Ambulance, paramedics, hospital, blood tests, scans, all shades of fucking shit, all coming up clear and fine and dandy so a tentative query as to whether it could be stress related as there were weird features... They sent me home with orders to see my GP tomorrow to get some meds for my high blood pressure and further investigations into this dizzy shit to rule everything else out.

So, meh. How am I meant to reduce the stress in my life? Stop having a terminally ill daughter whose affairs need to be managed? Stop being skint as fuck? Stop having a car that's still being mended putting me more in debt? Stop living somewhere out of reach of all the people and places I need to keep me sane? Stop living with a bloke who is almost certainly on the autistic spectrum?

So I went for a walk on the hills with YD and Shirley and now I'm going to bed. Here's another bit I found that I like from the old blog. From 27/9/05 - quite a while ago, when I was working on the children's ward of the hospital - same hospital I was in today - finding school work for patients who were well enough between the ages of 5 to 19. I loved it, but the funding was withdrawn. There were two linked wards, for older and younger children.


"Had a busy day at work. There were about 6 school age kids in, but none of them could leave their beds and they were spread over both wards so I was on the go delivering and collecting bits of this and that all over the place. I tried to really fit in with their requirements, so for a year 3 boy wanting some maths, I got on the internet and tried to find some. Didn't actually succeed, but I gave it all a shot. The ratio of time spent on preparation and on learning goes bonkers when you have no idea who will be there when you walk through the door in the morning, but they're all expected to have done some schoolwork by midday.

I've got a great set of colouring pages that I got from the Guardian years ago. They invited modern artists to design a colouring page and printed the results, so I photocopied them pdq. Most of them are pretty crap - you can tell these guys were never given painting-by-numbers when they were young as they don't have a clue about the requirements of the task, but some are great and they're adult so the kids love them. This is my fallback for those that are really quite poorly but are bored and could do with something soothing to occupy them. I have a gut reaction against playstation-type games on the ward as they all seem to get you hyped up, which seems the very opposite of healing. But what do I know, I ain't a nurse.

The last couple of days there's been a girl on the ward who was in my last year 11 class, which has been great. We didn't get on at all at first, me and E, when I started teaching them. I picked the group up after Christmas in Year 10, after their teacher had left rather abruptly. It was considered a risk, as I was still demonstrably flaky, but my head of dept thought a good group would help me settle down and then I'd be fine. J, the previous guy, had done the creative writing coursework with them, but hadn't marked it, so I had to. E's was on top of the pile and it was fantastic, a beautiful description of a walk in the park - what she was feeling as she approached, first impressions via the senses, other people's activities in the park used as a metaphor for her state of mind and so on. Excellent, I wrote, and gave an A. Then I read the next one and it was exactly the same. So was the next and the next and indeed all of them. Differences in detail, sure, but quite clearly they had been told what to write as a class almost line by line. 'Paragraph One. You are walking to the park. Describe your feelings as you approach.' and so on. Well, bollocks, no one was getting an A like that. I gave the whole class C grades, told them exactly why and that we'd do another creative piece later.

Well, none of them were happy. I'd already marked E's work so had to cross out the 'excellent, A', but she could see what I'd done and was livid. Furious. Went on an awkward campaign - far too well-behaved and motivated to do anything terrible, but she was pissed off big-time, because if her work merited an A, then it did and no one else's work had any bearing on that. But she could sod off. That's not teaching; that's not learning. She got on my nerves with it in the end and I really didn't like her much at all - I hadn't known her at all before all this.

I don't know when she changed her mind about me, but I do remember when I changed towards her. An individual talk is part of the 'speaking and listening' element of English GCSE and for that they prepared whatever they wanted and we spent several lessons with the chairs arranged in a circle, listening to the most eclectic range of talks you could ever imagine. M, a previously silent lad, spoke for 5 minutes on 'Things that live in [his mate] P's hair,' and had us all crying with giggles. Others were more run of the mill, but then E spoke about domestic violence. She gave facts and figures, quietly, in her perfectly modulated middle class voice, sitting among a class full of oiks from the estate, quoting from other people's experience at times, or from the police, or newspaper reports, but her very quietness left us in no doubt that she spoke from experience. She phrased it in terms of survival. There was absolute, total silence from the class until she finished, and for a while afterwards, then a round of applause and then luckily the bell (she'd wanted to go last). I can't remember what I said to her, but I'd been very moved, perhaps especially so as a survivor of that old shit myself. I think I told her that and wished her and her mother well.

Anyway, she was one of my many favourites by the time I left and although it's sad to see her poorly, it's great having her on the ward. She's 17 now, doing brilliantly at college and out of my age range, but I took in 'How I Live Now' by Meg Rosoff for her today and she looked pretty pleased. Fantastic book - read it, you bastards, just read it. I've just started A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving which I found for 30p in a fund-raising book box at work. I've only read Garp of his before and I didn't enjoy it much - found it creepy and didn't appreciate his use/interpretation of feminism at all at all at all, but my friend M raves about this Owen Meany so I'm giving it a go. The Helen Dunmore [mentioned in last entry] was 'With Your Crooked Heart', quite disturbing. This is why I come back to crime fiction - it ties everything up and settles it all back down at the end. I know this is an uncertain world, I don't need reminding of it.

Makes me think of the time a few years back, when I was doing my damndest to get myself back together, filling my life with healing things. YD and I decided to go to the newly opened Tate Modern gallery in London - quite a big adventure for a fresh-out-of-the-nuthouse me and my I've-had-to-live-with-her daughter. But we were brave and made it all the way up to town and on the tube and into the gallery. Where almost everything we saw was designed to rock you out of your equilibrium, to disturb your complacency. But we didn't have any equilibrium or any complacency and after a couple of small rooms we looked at each other with 'do we have to do this' expressions and turned and fled. What about some art for the mentally unstable, eh? It's not always wrong to want to be soothed.

Night night, sweet dreams"


11:58 p.m. - 18.07.18


previous - next

latest entry

about me





random entry

Jan 21st - 22.01.20
Jan 20th - 20.01.20
Jan19th - 20.01.20
Jan 18th - 19.01.20
Jan 16th - 17.01.20

other diaries:


Site Meter