Monday, November 27, 2006

Last Half of November

Well Manchester has continued to amaze and astound me. I have had an enlighten time of it in the month of November. The first thing that happened this month that will forever stay with me is the ceremony of Remembrance Day that was held in the city centre of Manchester. I had always either seen it on TV or watched from the side lines with all the other people who had come to pay their respects. This year was to be different, my sister was part of the ceremony and I got to attend as a guest. I was basically standing just behind the army, navy and police representatives who were to lay the reefs down in St Peter square. I got to observe the whole ritual from the inside. This ritual has such a history and meaning for so many people. It was really hard for me to stand with some of the people of Manchester and just observe without disintegrating into tears as the majority of those around me had.
If truth be told I was so proud of my little sister keeping it together and representing her family and community so well. In the end she and some of the other youths who had taken part were greeted by the Mayor of Manchester who gave them badges as a thank you. Their faces were a picture.

We ended up going home really happy and fulfilled, my father attended the ceremony and we had brunch at the town hall with the other guests. We went as a family to see what my sister’s tent was like. If you remember the tent was where the Experience Islam was taking place. My Father was rather impressed with the end result of the tend and the place was filled with people walking round, talking to each other, having health checks, reading the Quran, having mint tea on the floor(!) and generally enjoying the exhibition. . The tent had an exhibition of different national dress as worn by Muslim women. Most people seemed fascinated with this.

I have been working hard as usual. I mean it’s hard to give less than 100% to ill people. You can’t really pretend with them. They tend to see right through you if you put on an act of caring. Most of my patients and colleges are easy to get along with and easy to look after. But as with everything there are exceptions to the rule. I normally have ten patients to look after and NORMALLY all of them are lovely and easy to nurse and get on with. Last Friday things changed, something that had not happened for at least a year happened. I cried. Let me start at the beginning of this episode. This particular person had been my patient for a few weeks and I swear I used to dread visiting times. Although the patient was lovely, his family was the stuff of nightmares. Especially the daughter. She just has this thing where she just has to pick holes in everything. She was just a natural born complainer but also a female dog!!! Anyways the day dawned when this patient could go home. Only problem was that no-one thought to tell his nurse (ME!!). First I knew about it was when the family turned up at 1230pm. I guessed by the fact that they had come early (normal visiting times starts 2pm). I ran around like crazy, I literally bent over backwards trying to help my patient go home as early as possible. This is the conversation that followed:-

Female dog: Some one rang me to say come collect my father. WHY is he not ready?
Meek Nurse (me): I only found out at 1230. It’s gonna take me a while to sort out his discharge. I need to sort his meds, dressings, district nurse letter and appointment at clinic. Just bear with me.
Female Dog: I AM SICK of this HOSPITAL and it’s incompetent STAFF.
Meek Nurse: It wasn’t me who spoke to you and I am trying to get things done as fast as possible to make it easier for your father.
Female Dog: I AM SICK of your PATHETIC excuses.
Meek Nurse: I AM TRYING MY BEST (the ward went quite). I would appreciate it if you did not shout at me. I understand that you are angry but direct it at the right person.

At that point when I had made suitably shame faced and I had basically won. I felt something on my cheeks. Hot, wet tears were falling on my face and I wasn’t even aware of it till I felt the wetness. I turned on my heels and walked off. Straight pass the other nurses, docs and people around the ward and into the bathroom. I stayed there for a full 10 minutes till the stupid tears stopped.
I managed to sort all the problems out and was able to discharge my patient. Did she apologise? No she did not! Some people are like that and no matter what they will not admit they are wrong.

There are some other episodes that I would love to write about like the little Asian lady who insulted me just because I offered her help. I’ll save that and the bus Scarabs continuing story for another day InshaAllah.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Love of Manchester

I haven’t been on the net recently (a few weeks I guess). I have been working hard to keep the NHS afloat all by my lonesome! The truth is I have been working (hard and tirelessly) but main reason for not blogging or going on the net has been lack of a computer. My sister has been stressing about an exhibition which she had to design a poster and leaflets for and therefore she has been hogging it day and night. She did well with the designs MashaAllah.
Life, as per usual, has been an up and down affair. I must say that I love the people of Manchester. I can never have two same days either at work or with family and friends. Mainly fantastic days were the days I have been at work and I come home and collapse into bed and on my days off I see my family and friends. I am really enjoying the work area of my life at the moment. On a few shifts at work I have been the most senior person on duty and it didn’t scare me as much as I thought it might. My manager is finally taking a bit of notice of my career development and has put me forward for two training programs. Looking forward to been a part-time student again (although God knows what this will do to my midwifery plans as I can hardly up sticks and leave mid training). My hospital has finaly got me long sleeved tops after 3 years in employment with them. I mean it only took nearly hundreds of phone calls and letters from me and other Muslim nurses for anyone to take notice of our simple request. They do say good things come to those who wait...
I am enjoying not having to take up extra shifts, even though I am broke and in desperate need of money, so that I can see my friends and family much more. In the last month or so I have had two dinner parties at my flat and I have enjoyed them so much that I really do get upset when the guests have to head home!! Some of my friends have just in fact left me now and I felt so sad. They had been here from 530pm till 1030pm and I still couldn’t let them go merrily (I felt better marginally when they themselves showed reluctance to go!). I managed to make some food which they ate and seemed to like. We talked of world politics, niqabs, mosques, women and men’s relations, my water bill, electric bill and finally we had some semi-cooking lessons were we gave each other advice on how to improve our cooking (the advice seemed to come from all the guests to my direction?!). Although I could put the weather down as a down side to life at the moment, I won’t as I am truly enjoying the wet and windy weather as it means I get to wear layers and coats and heavy duty socks and scarves and so much more. I know I am a freak in this sense but I in actuality do enjoy this kind of weather especially when I see idiots who appear to have lived in this country wearing next to nothing in this weather and then I feel smug and that the Lord who gave me common sense.
I leafleted for my sister to day in the centre of Manchester. I got given a few (maybe a couple of hundred or so) leaflets and sent into the world on my own as my partner had not turned up. I was cold and miserable to begin with but cheered up and if truth be told enjoyed it by the end. A few people stopped to talk to me regarding the leaflets once they took it and read it but the majority appeared to do what I normally do when given leaflets in town – put it in my bag or the nearest bin depending on how I feel. I did get a couple weird people. One of them took the leaflet and less than a minute latter came back, threw the leaflet at me and said “absolutely not”, but she failed to elaborate more and stalked off. My reaction?? I laughed and laughed! The second incident was with another woman who snatched the leaflet off me and then read it and said “Islam? Don’t think so”. I should elaborate more and tell you that these leaflets said “Experience Islam” on them and were offering henna, food, tea and exhibitions. I did wonder why the people who seemed to have a problem with the leaflets or the idea of experiencing Islam so horrid were women?!

The down side to the last few weeks has been public transport. I have truly given up on the idea of resurrecting my car. I mean I could buy a new one but they are so expensive and take a lot of maintenance and just sheer EFFORT which I don’t have. So I came to the conclusion that since public transport is good enough for ¾ of population than its fine with me. Obviously this was before I actually started relying on the bus to get me to places other than the once a week leisurely ride into town. What a nightmare the transport system is. The buses have their own time-table not the one that’s printed at the stops. They can turn up 10-50minutes early or late depending on how they (buses and their drivers) feel. Forget the poor sods that have to get to work!!! This is not even the beginning of what’s wrong with the transport system. OH NO! The problem comes once you are on the actual bus. You get on and sit yourself down (if there is a seat available) and nearly 9 out of ten times some weirdo will park himself right next to you and try to start a conversation with you. My last encounter with the species that is known as the Bus Scarab happened Thursday morning. I was heading from work and boarded the bus and sat down and zoned out as per usual. Next stop people got on and off and a man came and sat next to me. He sat and turned to me and said “hello” I replied hi and went back to staring into space as is the decorum when sat next to a stranger (am I alone in thinking this?) on public transport. We sat quietly and next minute he says “how you doing?” I again looked at him and replied in my most monotone voice “fine”. Any normal person would have picked up on my facial expression and my voice that I don’t really want to speak to them and maybe I don’t actually want be sat next to them. But as I said previously said this man is what I like to call Bus Scarab. He them stayed silent for few minutes and then turned to me fully this time and said “so… how’s life going?”
At this I lost control and laughed in his face. It was a compulsion and could not be stopped but Alhamdullilah my stop was next and I made good my escape without any problems.
Really public transport is just irritating and entertaining at the same time. I look forward to meeting some more different species of people on the buses.