Sunday, 19 October 2014

Seen in A&E

We do three or four twelve hour shifts a week, and we see EVERYTHING.
  • A nurse covered in white splashes of plaster of paris.
  • A patient being kept nil-by-mouth before going to theatre for emergency surgery, trying to sneak a swig of beer from a can in his bag.
  • A bike helmet, crushed like an eggshell.
  • A floor awash with urine.
  • Doctors and paramedics in bright orange helicopter jumpsuits.
  • Relatives crying and hugging each other.
  • A passport drenched in blood.
  • Porters pushing trolleys around with incredible skill.  How do they never hit anything?
  • Nurses and doctors crowded around the radiographer, who is looking at a patient's brain scan.
  • Nervous looking medical students.
  • People practising walking down the corridors with crutches.
  • A linen skip full of discarded red ambulance blankets.
  • A nurse talking to a patient about cupcake recipes as she puts a needle in his vein to take blood.
  • A man handcuffed to a trolley, escorted everywhere by two tall policemen with crackling radios. 
  • Many, many people whose problems will be solved by going home, taking a paracetamol, and seeing their GP next week.
The new (blue) hospital behind the  old (now a listed building) #london #londonlove #rlh #whitechapel #nofilter
The new, blue, hospital behind the old one

Friday, 17 October 2014

Run Report - motivation

Motivational messages for runners in the Olympic Park

A friend sent me an email last week, asking if I would write about how I became a runner.  I thought about her request a great deal - mainly while I was out running - and decided that the starting to run story was quite ordinary, but the more interesting issue has become how and why I continued to run.  I feel very strongly that to call yourself 'A Runner' you don't have to be fast, or even improving, you just have to go running regularly.

I started running because Olivia announced that she wanted to do a Race for Life and raise some money for Cancer Research.  We did the very popular NHS Couch to 5K programme and at the end of the 9 weeks, we did our Race for Life in Cambridge in July 2013.

At this point Olivia stopped running regularly, but I carried on.  The reason that I am still running fifteen months later is quite simply that I enjoy it.  However, enjoying running is in itself a complex business - I enjoy running for so many, varied reasons.  
  • I have made some wonderful friends through running - at my local parkrun, and now at my running club
  • I relish being fit enough to run up the escalators on the tube.
  • I love how all I need to do to stay fit is go out for a run for about 30 minutes three times a week.  It doesn't require a great deal of time commitment.
  • I like having bare legs and wearing shorts.
  • I love my post-run oat and banana milkshake.
  • I love being outside.
  • I adore the euphoria that comes from running faster or further than I thought was possible.  It doesn't happen very often, but it's all the sweeter for that.
  • I appreciate the time to myself.
  • I like how I can just run straight from my front door if I want to.  Sometimes I drive out to the more remote parts of Epping Forest, or cycle over to the Olympic Park to run, but if I can't be bothered I can still run from my front door and enjoy being outside in the local parks.
  • I relish the rituals that come with running: setting the playlist on my iPod if I am running by myself, making sure my shoes are laced tightly, tying up my hair, walking to warm up, stretching afterwards (sometimes I forget to do this, I am so eager for a sit down and then a nice long bath).
  • I love the energy it gives me.
  • I love how easy it is.  It is not easy to run fast, or run efficiently, but just changing into running kit, pulling on my shoes, and going for a run is easy.  
The fact that I continue to go running even when I'm tired or not in the mood is why I feel happy calling myself a runner.  Running has become a part of what I do now - like cooking, sewing or reading - and it became a part of what I do because I just went outside and ran. I enjoyed it, and so I kept on running.

Just ran my fastest 5k ever (27:36). Channeling my inner Jo Pavey. Yeehah! #running #pb #qeop
The euphoria (and astonishment) after finishing a 5k run with a new pb this week
My race number at a club event in September
Back home after a run - where's my milkshake?

Friday, 3 October 2014

Seen on the bus

Number W15 - Leyton to Hackney
  • A extremely portly man, snoring so loudly that even the people wearing headphones could hear him.
  • A teenage girl, taking her little brother to primary school, quietly reading out loud to him as he sits on her lap. 
  • A tall man, with a rakish cut over one eyebrow, carrying a spade.
  • An elegant lady with a bright pink scarf knotted jauntily around her throat, who sits very still with her eyes shut.
  • A mother with five swarming children all in primary school uniform who like to jump off the seats and swing from the poles.
  • A man with a pair of women's opaque black tights on his head.
  • A boy and his Dad trying to do maths homework together.
  • A rainbow of chattering teenagers, in the various brightly coloured blazers of Hackney's high schools and academies.  At least two local schools require their pupils to wear vivid purple blazers and ties.

Homework on the bus
Two heads are better than one - maths homework on the bus

The man in the seat in front of me was wearing a pair of women's opaque tights on his head #onlyinhackney #bus #London
Tights on head

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The new normal

I am back at work; charging so very fast towards mid-December when I will qualify.

It is good to be working again, and to feel useful and skilled, but I'd forgotten how busy and chaotic everything can seem when I am working.  I am trying to remember to use my commute as a way of easing in and out of the working day. 

These past three weeks, I've been working in Hackney - very close to home.  I commute by bus, which is far more frustrating and unreliable than taking the tube, but has more interesting views.

Reflections. It was cold this morning. #london #reflections #window #hackney

Welcome to Leyton #london #leyton #home #sky

7:20am - walking to the bus stop. A perfect crisp, sunny autumn morning. #london #nofilter #sky

Seen from the bus: lovely houses along the canal at Hackney Marshes #hackney #london #sky

The bin man has lost his gloves #hackney #london #lost

A very elegant woman in a magnificent green pashmina, with the velodrome in the background. #onthebus #london #joysofcommuting

Oh bus, where art thou? #joysofcommuting #london #leyton #bus #sky

Despite a ban on bikes on the buses, the kind bus driver picked up a cyclist who'd had an accident. She's okay - just a nasty gash to her leg - but the bike has a broken chain. Luckily Hackney has plenty of bike repair shops as well as a hospital. #joysof  

I'm tired, energised, busy, constantly carrying around a heavy bag of books and clothes, losing track of which day it is, spritzing hairspray on my up do, texting the children to remind them to do their chores, feeling full of purpose...and also starting to feel a little bit as though this is the new normal.  And this is A Good Thing.