The week I fainted (Sun 25 – Sat 31 Oct)

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Who would have predicted the main bit of news for last week would be me fainting? Weird because it has never happened before. I was at the hospital on Monday for my six monthly HIV bloods. The nurse stuck the needle in one arm and dug around – no luck. So she got a colleague who came and did the same in my other arm. Then the same nurse went back to my first arm and got blood but I suddently felt dizzy and nauseous. Next thing I knew was waking up thinking it was morning and wondering who all the people were around me? I was then forced to lie down and drink lucozade which I think is vile. All very strange as I have loads of bloods taken very often, and embarrassing as well. The only good thing I can take from it is that If dying is like that then there is nothing to worry about as you just go and don’t know anything going on around you.

Health and efficiency

Mondays are rapidly becoming my medical day – HIV bloods & renewal of meds last week, next Monday booked for my INR check on my blood clotting levels (I have had a letter after missed 3 appointments threatening I will be removed from their lists) and the ear clearing clinic.

Gym on the previous Sunday and on Saturday – rowing machine or exercise bike and the weights including exercises to build up my calves and repair my achilles. Thwarted in going to the gym during the week because of work commitments but long walks wherever possible such as on Sunday Victoria to Oxford Circus and back then on Monday from Holland Park to Olympia.

CSoqRxGWsAEDdG0Good news last Tuesday that both me and mum managed to lose a pound, so I’m at 13-8. I was knackered on Friday night after lots of travelling (flying back from Belfast and then getting from Heathrow to east London) so I slobbed out on the sofa but was inspried by¬†watching the men’s gymnastics at the World Championships in Glasgow – cue gratuitous ‘inspirational’ picture.

Digital

Lots of remote working to keep on top of stuff including the obligatory dealing with emails at weekends. Two grant assessments last week Рon Monday and Friday afternoon. First one was for a traditional face to face project. The latter was for an e-learning service. Expensive and my main concentration was on ensuring that the organisation has enough experience to successfully deliver and whether there were any cost savings. There is a real need to make sure money on tech is well-spent otherwise we feed the arguments of those who fear it is too expensive and wasteful of resources as has happened in large part within the NHS.

1384159_752220751461896_844050376_nOn Wednesday we had another digital exploration day bringing together service delivery projects and tech people. The previous one had been about financial inclusion and led to two projects being funded with small grants. Last week’s one was about better use of digital to support people in abstinence-based recovery. Well facilitated by my colleague Dan and a great buzz throughout the day from the teams working together. Be nice to see what small grant applications arise from it and whether those projects can be the start of something bigger.

Interesting that I got told at work today I spend too much time ‘on my blackberry’ during meetings such that people think I am disengaged. My comment was that I would not be seen dead with something as crap as a blackberry. I do wonder if I am dealing with people who don’t understand technology and can’t appreciate that it is quite normal for people to be on their phone / computer and still engage with something else at the same time like a meeting or the television.

Belfast

download (65)Back to my travels last week and off to Belfast for a work meeting on Thursday. Off early and slight problem that signal failure on the tube meant trains were only going to Hatton Cross and then we were expected to get a local bus. Can you imagine the pandemonium of all the tourists with luggage trying to get to and from the UK’s main airport on local buses? My heart sank and thankfully the service was reinstated by the time I arrived at Hatton Cross but with long delays.

Flight to George Best Belfast City Airport and short bus ride into the city. Straight to my meeting which went well. All about the new mental health anti-stigma and discrimination work starting – Change Your Mind. So the rest of the afternoon to chill around the Victorian grandeur and urban starkness of Belfast. There were lots of young people about and many dressed up for Halloween which was very amusing. I was staying near Botanic Avenue near to Queen’s University so lots of nice coffee and charity shops.

Evening and I met up with my old friend Laurence who lectures at Queen’s. We met over 25 years ago via London Lighthouse which was a big thing in my 20s as was AIDS generally – a time of absolute horror but amazing resilience by the lesbian and gay community. Nice to chew the cud over some tasty Italian food. A late night coffee (a city with decent coffee shops that stay open till 11pm is definitely a proper city – a failing of so many trendy cities) before bed and my early start the next morning getting back to London to do an assessment. .

Dave and mum

He’s been very busy at work spending several late nights and weekend days in the office ‘to keep on top of things’; he didn’t get home from work on Friday till 9.30. We did lunch together both weekends and managed to find something he could eat both times even though he is the world’s most fussiest eater. Pizza catch up on Wednesday though Dave doesn’t eat pizza so he ate a Caesar’s Salad without anchoives or dressing. No big nights out not even for Halloween, indeed on the previous Sunday we were both in bed and asleep by 10 even though the night before I had gone to bed at 10 so actually 9 with the clocks back and thus got ten and a half hours of sleep.

Over to do the laundry with mum on Monday morning, and we had Monday and Tuesday nights together particularly watching the soaps. She saw the physio about her knee and has exercises to do so I can now nag her about whether she is doing her exercises three times each day as well as keeping to her diet.

Languages and books

Big failure on language learning again last week. Managed mere couple of duolingo sessions at beginning and end of week. Problem that weekdays filled with (good and bad) work stuff.

Two books read last week:

‘Ten-Second Staircase’ by Christopher Fowler Similar to last week’s Ben Aaronovitch novel. About police in London dealing with magic and the supernatural. Though in this one the police themselves are not dabblers in magic and the actual crimes though seemingly supernatural end up being more practically explicable. Bryant and May are a great crime duo – an old school pairing fighting against the crap stuff churned up by modernity. I hope the book hasn’t been written with the idea of a TV series as I think Christopher Fowler is a better author than that.

CSY4OE2W0AAg_7nFollowed up by going back to Christopher Isherwood, one of the great twentieth century authors – the film Cabaret is based on his novels about his true life stay in early thirties Berlin. ‘Lions and Shadows’ was written in 1937 and is one of his first books. It is the memoir of his life between leaving school and going to Berlin thus covering the twenties. Greatness can be glimpsed though bits of the writing feel disjointed and almost like a fantasy novel. A large part of it reflects that phase we all go through in trying to find out what we should do with our lives especially in terms of finding work we can enjoy. There are also details of his meetings with significant people – their names are disguised in the autobiography but all can be found out on Wikipedia.

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