Sunday, 12 December 2010

I would like to stress....

....actually, no, I wouldn't. Stress, that is. But I do. I am.

I'm normally fairly relaxed, chilled and stuff kind of washes over me. But in the last few weeks, that hasn't been the case.

My poor 89-year-old granddad is in a bad way and at the mercy of the NHS and Social Services. He had to be moved out of his care home due to a severe chest infection and cellulitis - once he was in hospital, the care home decided that he couldn't go back there because he required too much supervised care. He has advanced dementia but is (or was) fairly mobile. The problem was that he was still able to get out of bed and once he'd done that, was in danger of falling or collapsing. So the search had to start for a nursing home which would actually take him. The problem with elderly care in the UK seems to be that if you're just old but physically and mentally fit, there are plenty of places you can go, if you're physically impaired (confined to bed etc) then again you have a lot of choices. But as soon as you add dementia into the mix, it becomes a nightmare. Initially, it was going to be down to the family to find him somewhere to go but in the end the hospital care team found him a place in a proper nursing home. He's now there, but I found out today that he is now pretty much completely unresponsive, recognises no-one, is almost bedridden and is being spoonfed by staff. To have gone from an incredibly intelligent, erudite, entertaining man who spoke about a dozen languages to what is left is really sad and frankly, isn't a life.

My cat's also ill - she has eosinophilic granuloma - she's been to the vet three times now, been on two lots of antibiotics, been anaesthetised, had biopsies taken and got stitches, and is now on anti-inflammatories for at least three weeks. So far, it's cost me £250 and she may well have to keep having repeat prescriptions for the next few months. The drugs she's on are also quite likely to mess with her respiratory system, which is already weakened.

As per my recent blog, my washer/dryer decided to pack up (with a little help from the guy who was meant to be repairing it when only half of it wasn't working) - very stressful and cost £400 for a new one.

Cathy and I are frantically trying to finish two murder mystery bookings, which need to be ready for New Year's Eve and early January (well, that's when the parties are, they actually need to be ready in about six days). Normally, we don't have a problem getting them done in good time, but I think it's the fact that we're doing two at a time that's causing the issues. We're very aware that we need to be sure we don't get the plots, characters, guests and paperwork mixed up. We've also, for some inexplicable reason, made the plots far more complicated than usual - great for the people doing the plot as they'll have to think more in order to solve it, but makes life much more difficult for us.

In the meantime, of course, Christmas is sneaking up on me. Whilst, as in recent years, I'm not doing Xmas per se, there are still online cards to be emailed, mini pressies to organise, the odd real card to send to those rare people who aren't on the net, and various other things.

And then there's my crappy job. I can't pretend otherwise - I hate it. Crap money, crap conditions and I spend the day annoying people at home and being shouted at. It's turned out to be pretty much exactly what I thought an outbound call centre would be like.

However, trying to get into something else is proving almost impossible. I'm registered with every recruitment agency in Brighton and Hove but the daily emails they send me are full of rubbish. Despite supposedly being fitted to my criteria, they send details of Chartered Surveyors, primary school teachers, Web Developers, plumbers and who knows what else. Less than 5% of the jobs they send me would actually be relevant. And I do apply for those 5% - every one that's remotely suitable get my covering letter and CV. So far, not even an acknowledgement. The same goes for the multiple Gumtree ads I've replied to. I know it's probably more than they can be bothered with given the number of applicants, but I do think it's pretty appalling that you get nothing back from companies any more - no acknowledgements, nothing to tell you specficially that you haven't been successful in even getting an interview, and certainly no feedback.  I've advertised my services on Gumtree as a proofreader and also to give conversational English classes but no responses. The audio typing I'd been doing for a freelance company has dried up completely too. I'm desperately trying to avoid contemplating going back to the Civil Service in any capacity but it is becoming like fending off a lion with a blade of grass.

Oh and, of course, I'm broke. Properly. For the first time in my life. I've borrowed an embarrassing amount of money from both my parents over the last year, for which I'm very, very grateful but it can't keep happening. I'm living off my credit card and keeping my fingers tightly crossed that they finally get my tax code sorted out at the end of this month so I don't pay a stupid amount in emergency tax, and that they refund my overpaid tax. That will help a little.

I'm very aware that I've been self-absorbed and wrapped up in all of this recently, have totally neglected my mates (both here and in Madrid) and my family, and I've been stressing my poor flatmate out to the point that he thinks I want him to move out. I DON'T! For all those things though, I'm really, really sorry - I promise I'll get my act together in 2011.

For now, I'm off for a chamomile tea and a lie-down in a darkened room.