New Life

I had spent the three days following the interview last week convinced that it would be another ‘no’.

I was too old, I reasoned (despite the legal knowledge that that would not be an appropriate ground for rejection).

I had come across as know-it-all and arrogant at the interview, I had concluded – based on my fear that that’s how I could appear to others when they know what I’ve done up to now (and we’d had to ‘introduce ourselves’).

I had spent waking hours following the interview checking and rechecking my phone.

Notification eventually arrived when I was en route from Aviemore to home – a work thing. Only I didn’t know.

It wasn’t until I was unpacked and readying myself for bed that it occurred to me to check my emails again.

And there it was: notification that I had a UCAS application ‘update’.

For the 10 minutes it took for me to follow the link and log into the system, I had bleakly convinced myself that it was hopeless – that I was most definitely a ‘no-no’.

But it was a ‘yes’. I was a ‘yes’!

Yes, Yvonne, you will be able to retrain. Yes Yvonne, you do have the chance to become a midwife.


So, there it is. An entirely new life just waiting to unfold.

Simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating. Up-ending all expectations and throwing my friends and family into a confusion that is amusing and a bit bewildering to watch. Did they really not know me at all, I ask myself? All this time? 

For the most part, barring a few excited and positive souls, they think I have taken leave of whatever senses they credited me with.

Maybe I have.


But,for now I need to get my arse in gear. Get my head around how to take my leave of my current employment – and the fact that I’ll go from big boss to consummate rookie in the blink of an eye. Get myself mentally and physically prepared for the more physical demands of this new adventure. And get my financial house in order for the long cash drought ahead. 😉




I have a plan

I have a plan.

It’s a plan for a big change. A total bit of a leftfielder.

It’s been long in the realisation – having been aborted following an early rejection way back, about 16 years ago (I was a piss poor interviewee – one who impressed no one, not even me).

But having phoned the high heid Admissions wummin yesterday it looks as though I have a fighting chance of admission this time around… or I will if and when my academic referee gets my reference in place…

I applied for midwifery just shortly after baby no 4 was born.

I failed to prepare.

I am sure I came across poorly – and as arrogant.

Anyway, I failed. Just failed.

And when I discovered I was pregnant again with no 5 I decided it was a no-go. So immersed myself in the law again.

I’ve a chance now – at my mature age – to study for the Masters degree in midwifery. That will get me a high level academic qualification together with registration as a midwife.

I get to be useful. I get to do something purposeful. I get to help. I get to immerse myself in the world of women and pregnancy and childbirth and antenatal do-das.

Or I do if I pass the final hurdle of interview…

Wish me luck.




Should I stay or should I go now?*

There are times when I can barely look at old photos. The faces of now-dead folk shining from happy pasts. Innocent and forward-looking, full of the not-knowing-ness of living in that moment.

I hate that I know how it ended. That in some I see their last breath – that painfully familiar stranger’s face that sleeps in the cold bare undertaker’s room. And feel the old grief  – that fell like ash and blotted out the sun.

It strikes me when I look at my own face in a photograph. That awareness: there she is smiling – ahhhh she just doesn’t know how it ends.

It is all so temporary.

You would think that would be sufficient reminder: of the ‘be mindful, live in and for today, for tomorrow you may die’ type stuff we all surely need to be reminded of.

But no.

Instead I fret over tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. Crippled by this dread fear.

I’ve made up my mind – so don’t understand why I am still anxious. You’d think – I. Actually. Thought. – that once the decision was made the anxiety would go. But no.

You’d think that once I’d decided to leave – and oh my god I really have to leave if I’m to be left with peace of mind or self-respect – I’d feel nothing but relief.

But no. I listened to the pitch for me to stay – and succumbed to this weight of obligation and doubt.

Maybe I should just water the grass I’m standing on.

Maybe it’s a test and by leaving, I fail.

Maybe it’s not them. Maybe it’s all me. Maybe this ‘objective assessment’ I’m convinced I’ve made is just so much cowardice and running-away.

Nah, the truth is I hate it. I am a fish out of water. Surrounded by chaos and a whole lot of intensity that I don’t feel comfortable with.

And that is something I never thought I’d be privy to me thinking because I have always been the most uncomfortably intense person I know. (At least I now know just how uncomfortable I must’ve been making other folk feel.)

I’m not much of a Rally-er and campaigner and March-joiner-in-er.  Maybe before. But I am just too fucking cynical and tired with all that stuff to want to be doing it now. (and yes, I know it needs to be done – in a rally-the-troops type of way, mostly).

I can’t stand the way that it’s a game to ‘them’ (the folk I’d thought would know better). These people I’d always looked up to – the ones I depended upon actually knowing what they were doing and having strategies for protecting the workers and all that shit. And then I find out they’re human and fallible and all just as bad as me when it’s said and done. And all gaming and machinating themselves as much as anyone else.

And then I am angry with myself for thinking it would be different (because aren’t we all just human, after all) because I am fucking 50 and not a child and really should know better.

And then some of the time I am just overwhelmed by the quantity and level of stuff I am expected to do – and that I know needs to be done, because the place has no systems to speak of and no procedures (that anyone pays attention to) – just this strange, internal perpetual motion, built of reflexive habit, like they are all Pavlov’s dugs jumping to the stimulus of dates and routines and ‘the way it’s aye been done’.

I am the newbie. And newbie’s have a lithic eye – when they’re not being fucking scared out of their fucking wits by demands and expectations and the sheer stinking weight of being appointed as a one-wummin fix. Yes, newbie’s have a lithic vision – cutting through the bullshit and cutting to the chase.

I see too much. Always have. That’s my curse. Including – by the way – my own faults, all too clearly.

So your genius and your glibness and your lies and excuses and your deliberate obfuscation and verbosity – you are not hiding from me. I see you.

And you – yes, you – every word a hostage; every stare hostile and defensive; every conversation seeded with word mines that blow up unexpectedly and result in stand-offs.

And you. You who is burdened with the weight of it all – your brilliance and the mess of it all. You got lost. Buried under the weight of keeping it all going.

All life is surely here.

The good and the bad. The mediocre and the truly glorious. Quiet and reserved. Out there – all screaming, extroverted noise and look-at-me-ness.

And for the moment, all I want to do is run away.


*Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go, there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know

This indecision’s bugging me (esta indecision me molesta)
If you don’t want me, set me free (si no me quieres, librame)
Exactly whom I’m supposed to be (digame que tengo ser)
Don’t you…* (thanks to The Clash)



Bit of a pish beginning

Well. That was a pish start to a job.

The first return to work was abandoned after 2 weeks.

I just went steadily downhill after that. A whole other 7 weeks. A whole other story – one that shows little sign of ending.

I am back again now.

Feeling like I was the prize catch that turned into an albatross. Or maybe not. Maybe I am just too sensitive. Reading too much into little nothings from people who are frantic with an excess of work – people I hardly know – people who don’t know me.

Anyway. It hasn’t been the best beginning. And I am still not entirely myself – though I hesitate to say that I am still recovering. I suspect this lower energy, old-feeling me is my new normal. And I just need to get used to her.

I also suspect that the physical illness has gifted me a mental depression. Like it wasn’t enough to scorch and excoriate my lungs and inflame every organ. It has left burnt earth inside my head. A dead zone.

And maybe that’s all just a natural response – as it should be.

I reason. Tentatively. I am just tired. My confidence has been crushed. And to top it all – I am the new girl – one who hasn’t time to be ‘new’ or to acclimatise – one who has to take decisions; organise; strategize; just know what the answer to the problem/s is/are.

I don’t much feel up to it. I don’t much feel like I’ve the energy ‘it’ requires. Nor the inclination to do anything other than sleep.

Yes, sleep.


I dream of sleep.

I dream of simply folding into myself and my bed. Into that velvety darkness of deep dreamless sleep.

Ah feck.

But there’s the rub.

Plenty of time for that when I am dead, says my sensible practical work-ethic wired head.

I will get there. I suppose. All things pass.




Well. I’ve survived so far :-D

I returned to work on Tuesday (past) after a (challenging) discussion with my General Practitioner.

I’ve spent all of today sleeping.

Recovery (I use the term loosely…) is taking longer than I thought. Turns out that GP’s sometimes know a thing or two…

thought that once I was breathing, more like a normal person, I’d be ‘my old self’ (the self who didn’t know about the other crap and was just blithely sailing on into the future).

I’m not.


look like my old self. I talk and laugh and joke and think (mostly) like my old self. I am just not anywhere near as energetic. Or enthusiastic. Or as resilient.

I am finding that I want to cry – quite a lot. And I spend considerable energy every day just suppressing that urge. My lungs still feel odd. Sensitive. Like they’ve been burned – and I am breathing through smoke. I am breathless and my legs ache when I climb stairs. I am not yet fit enough to do the moderate Walkway circuit – though I have tried.

Then there’s the too-fast-heart thing – not constantly too-fast, but just there. Occasional. Reminding me.

Of frailty. Vulnerability. Limitation. Mortality.

My very own glitch in the system. My on-board shit-faced irritant.


As for the work?

In the main, it was a typical new-start’s week: information coming at you in a tsunami of words and people and tasks.

Differentiation’s always difficult when it’s like that.

But I am starting now, to assemble the mental ‘filing baskets’ that will help me categorise and then perform the tasks that will be required of me.

There is much to be done. I don’t think I will be bored or unoccupied.

I’ll just leave it at that.

Some little punk in a rocket…

I was on top of the world
it was right in my pocket
I was living the life
things were just the way they should be
When from out of the sky like a bomb comes some little punk in a rocket
now all of a sudden some strange things are happening to me….
Looks like it wasn’t a virus.
Or it might have been – and that might have been the precipitate. That, or some lousy manky allergen.
Anyway. The asthma I have only ever paid lip service to, decided to roar – or wheeze and cough and nearly kill me.
I have had too many folk – who should know better – telling me that I should be thankful to it.
Because I now also have louping arrythmias and tachycardia and a thickened heart muscle (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) at least identified (and just waiting for sufficient lung recovery to be tested into a certain diagnosis or a specific degree of hellish-ness).
It could be (and this makes perfect sense to me in terms of diagnosis given every other condition or illness I currently have – and have ever had) Churg Strauss Syndrome (the very nasty vasculitis both respiratory and cardiology are considering it might be).
It could be (and this is what I am hoping for) bog standard heart disease and bog standard asthma.
Anyway. Forgive me for not feeling the glowing warmth of gratefulness just quite yet…
In fact, I don’t feel remotely thankful.
I feel fucking furious.
And I feel afraid.

A bit battered

I’m in hospital. An inpatient. Still full of this virus that I am now 100% certain is just wanting to take me down and out. Waiting on tests that will explain the abnormal ECG. And pain. And deranged bloods. And enlarged liver.

Being treated for a heart attack that the blood tests tell them hasn’t happened (it’s routine). Holding onto a GTN spray to deal with ‘angina’.

What a spectacular coup d’etat my ill health troll has pulled. From pole position squatting in my lungs it has engineered a fucking blinder.

I am sanguine. I am alive. I am not as bad as the old man in the room next door. I’ll be ok I think. Bit reduced. Bit battered. Someone who will have a box of pills they take to keep them going – together with some pills to counteract the effects of the pills that keep me going.

It’s funny though – what knowledge that there is a union wummin in the ward can do. 

So far I’ve conducted a conventicle of domestics from my side room this morning. Getting them organised for a fight with management.

Never miss an opportunity. 

That’s always been my motto.

Nae point changing now.