Okay, that was somewhat of a misleading header. I am not actually single. (Yet; there is still time for everything to go horribly wrong). However, with my boyfriend spending the next two weeks in ‘Hell’ (known to everyone else in the whole world as, Nice) I am free to carry on exactly as if I was single, and that is what I spent this week doing.
Okay, that was somewhat of a misleading statement too. Once I had gotten through the current rigmarole at work, I spent the week living the life of a single chick.
Since the story of my life – as told through weekly updates designed to showcase me in the role of a female Arnold Rimmer whose eternal struggle for success is periodically interrupted by having to stop and swallow the bitter pill of failure – is now suffering from an overabundance of plotlines, time for a recap of last week’s cliffhangers.
- My job description is about to be radically enlarged,
- My flat is falling down around my ears,
- My attempts to reorganise and gut out the flat – like one of those puzzles where you have to move the gap around until the tiles form a pretty picture, only these tiles are four times my size – keep being scotched by having to do twelve-hour shifts. So it is still in the middle of being an unsightly tip I don’t have time to sort out, which is depressing as hell,
- I’m feeling the pinch from the lack of income from lodgers,
- It will not be feasible, either physically or psychologically, to replace this with income from flogging artwork while the flat is still an unsightly tip,
- I’m sleeping in the spare bed at the moment – the carpets are drying, and everything in the flat is on top of my bed,
- The documentation for changing my name and thus drawing a line in the sand between the shambles of my upbringing and the shambles of my own attempts at success has definitely been lost in the post (dammit, I really should have paid extra for that ‘the post office has to pay all over again, not me’, receipt, but when does anything get lost in the post? The bills certainly don’t! -unless, of course, I have been scammed, the shame.)
- I have yet to actually reveal this name change to my family, who will probably not take it very well; and most of them are Up To Something themselves, oh yes,
- And for an encore, I may or may not have completely scotched my relationship – the one thing that seemed to be going reasonably smoothly – by picking a fight at the worst possible moment.
I’m starting to think longingly of just running away, but that would mean so much more upheaval, so never mind, eh. Once more, I will play it where it lies and hope that these are merely teething troubles related to trying to upgrade absolutely everything at once. Besides, into each life a little rain must fall.
In my particular case, this took the form of being repeatedly bitten by a mosquito that had gotten into my flat while I was away over the weekend (my fault for leaving the window open. But, a mosquito! Seriously! Not even a midgie – I heard it whining past my ear, and later I saw it and everything, lounging up against the wall like a stick-drawing of a gorilla, all front-legs akimbo and massive syringe-like proboscis lolling out.) I smashed it flat with a ruler, but the damage was done – it had bitten me several times on each foot, and would you believe it, my feet swelled to a third again of their former size and started developing alarming red lines up my ankles from the impact sites. Within twelve hours; and I had put on hydrocortizone and everything. And not even scratched them once (being far too alarmed to go anywhere near them).
So, in addition to having meetings every second day about this workload change, more time was wasted – hanging out at Minor Injuries. And then even more time was wasted, for I met the One Hospital Porter down there – also hanging out at Minor Injuries, for he had tripped over a kerb and done his back. So I felt slightly less stupid about my own embarrassing injury; but then I had to go and cart all my department’s records around in his trolley instead, because he got sent home sick. I got… ibuprofen.
However, by the middle of the week, my feet were looking like normal feet and would fit into shoes, and I had put in a powerful amount of work and was even feeling up to dealing with the brand new waiting-list duties, which will fall on my head like an olde-schoole Tonne of bricks first thing Monday. Despite the utter lack of training I have been given.* Despite everyone saying, ‘don’t worry, there is no way we would throw you in there without adequate training’. Not that I believed this, but now the crunch is here and suddenly it’s a lot less funny.
*(Okay, this too is not quite true. I have, for instance:
- spent a couple of hours watching someone using one of the new software packages we will need to use;
- and thirty seconds watching someone not be able to show us another one, because if she does anything for real, it will be logged and there will be Trouble, even if she undoes it.
- She also couldn’t tell us anything about who to contact for various problems, because she is in a different department and contacts completely different people.
- And I had to schlep over to the rival hospital, wasting half a day, to watch several people who allegedly all hate each other’s guts sit playing hot-potato with the waiting list, while I scribbled down what I hoped would be useful tips; ‘Lugol’s iodine, deliver five days before op. Okay who do I ask about- oh okay, we’ve moved on. Crap. I will bring this up at the handover, then.’
- Alas, the ‘handover’ turned out to consist of me… being handed over a diary. Boom boom. No, really. And though I furtively scanned the whiteboard of contact numbers, there was no time to memorise anything useful.
- And I have still to receive the last of the software packages I will have to use.
- Oh GOD.)
The problem is, to make this change, the waiting list schedulers are being redeployed – possibly, to a hospital at the other end of Strathclyde, nobody knows yet – after a decade of faithful service and through no fault of their own. Naturally, they are not terribly impressed at being asked to train up their replacements, i.e. us. and I have to admit, that is akin to being asked to dig one’s own grave. The bosses, too, have decided it would be unethical to demand they do so. So they will not be giving us training. Therefore the bosses have said they will give us training instead, but since the bosses don’t really know what the schedulers do either… It’s really not anybody’s fault that I’m in this position, is what I’m trying to say. Only that I am the first one to be in this position, out of our entire department.
Although they did say that the waiting list is a terrible shambles at the moment and I wouldn’t be getting it until it wasn’t, but it is, and it’s here. So… I’m just going to muddle through as best I can. Did I mention people’s very lives are hanging in the balance, though? (Oh, how melodramatic that sounds. Until it actually happens).
To my great surprise, I have to admit that there is a small and totally unexpected part of me blossoming in light of this fiasco, (like the sort of flower that only rears its head at some kind of eclipse – assuming anything is that daft), saying, ‘bring it on, since this is a genuine case of novel adversity, rather than the same old same old, I am totally up for it.’
Besides, there is a certain cachet to being the department’s first guinea pig. Already, people from other departments are lining up to ask anxiously what it’s like – turns out, we are not ‘the only department not to do our own waiting lists’, not at all, since they are all terrified of having to do the waiting lists too. And we are going first! And I am going first out of us! It’s like being the first woman to carry the can to the moon! I can absolutely come back and reassure everyone that it is nothing to worry about!
This small spirit of enterprise was squished flat as early as Hellday afternoon, however, when Dr Hurricane handed me a piece of paper for an urgent patient and said, ‘Here’s a good start, clear the boards for this one and gt him pre-assessed, he needs blah and blah and blah and blah. And blah. Go.’ And I had to reply, ‘Okay.
…So how do I get him pre-assessed then?’
Turns out, even switchboard don’t have a phone number for our pre-assessment. Nor do the other pre-assessment clinics. So that one died on its arse instantly, Dr Hurricane hit the roof, and I had to send my first email to my boss informing her that I’m stuck. Already.
And finally the title is relevant, although it took a lot to get here, eh. That’s how I feel about this week, that is.
So I spent the weekend stolidly ignoring the impending doom of Monday, and celebrating my pseudo-single status in style. First I turned down invitations to go out and party, and resolutely sat in the flat entirely by myself, finally getting out that blockage in the washing machine and working up a series of celtic knotworks transformed into ivy and honeysuckle.
Then I got up at the crack of dawn on Saturday, stripped down the corner of wallpaper I found mould behind, scrubbed it, put on anti-damp paint, went out for more paint and attempted a colour-match with the rest of the wall, and then hauled out more furniture and washed down the carpets under it.
I took a break only long enough to get some sleep, and then went up the allotment at the crack of dawn on Sunday with my own bodyweight in paraphenalia. Yup, definitely should have spent more time at the gym this week. Or, eaten dinner more often, one of the two. Also, it was raining. Once again, the BBC tells me lies in return for my licence fee – they had a big yellow sun against today.
Still, having got that far, I tore all the old plants out of the greenhouse and scrubbed it down with vinegar and a mop. I had high hopes that the rain would wash down the greenhouse roof for me, but right when it would actually be useful, it stopped of course. But it started again as I cut a swathe through the old raspberry canes, planted out the winter beetroots, and trudged home to shower before the places where my skin had been touched by vegetation came up like the bubonic plague. I am not sure at what point I became this allergic to nature, but if civilisation ever falls, I am so very screwed.
I was, of course, during all this, eaten alive by the more traditional type of Scottish predator; namely, the midgie.
Then I attempted to colour-match the corner of the bedroom again, not aided by the way this paint actually gets darker as it dries – but I’m a couple of shades closer already, and I reckon the next one might do it – washed pretty much every fabric in the flat that would fit into the washing machine, and fixed the dining chairs with the aid of a mallet.
I rounded off in true decadent fashion with a single glass of wine, some more work on the ivy leaves, and a bunch of science documentaries.
And although everyone else on the entire planet would hate it with a passion, it was the best weekend ever.
Mainly because next weekend, I actually have to go forth and make conversation, it being the Bossman’s birthday and all. Assuming, of course, he doesn’t come back from Abroad having done some stewing of his own, and I find myself actually single.
In which case, all my weekends will be free to be just like this weekend; except I won’t enjoy them anywhere near as much.