The speed at which I work

Recent events have been a painful reminder to me that I’m not being entirely honest when I say that “I’m fine, I can manage.” It appears to me now, that the speed at which I work is not what others – nor what I – suppose it to be.

Yes, I can manage, and I do. But the effort of managing takes its toll, as does the effort to maintain the appearance of being able to do what others do, at their speed, and with the insouciance that seems almost universally expected: just because they understand what they are talking about and always work at the run, does not mean that I do, or can.

Recently my mother was discharged from hospital – again. Only this time it seems to have been done in a hurry. Perhaps that is down to my mother’s own very clearly expressed misery at once again being in hospital, and her doubtless acute desire to get home as soon as possible. But the end result has been, that when the physio, the staff nurse, the OT, the carers or the GP surgery manage to contact me, I’m expected to leap up, agree with their requests and do what I’m told immediately. “Go here, fetch that, yes, now.”

And I have no objection, in principle, to this. I’m glad to know what I can, or need to do, to help matters to settle satisfactorily. But whereas a walk round to my mother’s would, for an Anita or a Bob be a matter of cheerful moments to be leapt into and thereafter instantly forgotten on the way to the next thing, for me it requires at least a half hour of thought and action, the interruption of my hastily cobbled together sandwich, and a traipse through the complex morass of my emotions to achieve a fresh accommodation with my other priorities.

Does having to meet the taxi driver who is bringing my mother’s medications from the hospital mean I won’t get any lunch? Will yet another trip to my mother’s front door – the third in a busy morning – mean that I can’t go with my daughter to do what we had previously planned? After well-nigh four years of leaping and sorting and late-night emergency dashes in the car, what’s the best way to do this next thing quickly?

(to be continued)

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