I decided to blog an update about everything that’s happening at the moment.

But I’m not sure where to start and I sure as hell don’t know where it will finish. So, here goes.

December has already proved an interesting month, not least because for the second time in 3 months I was laid low by a rather nasty virus.

As a result we experienced yet another role reversal at home. This is nothing new for us, but this latest role reversal was a little more serious. As the virus hit me, my ability to continue the caring role I’ve been doing for Rachel for the last 5 years or so was severely impaired.

It got to the point that for at least 24 hours, I was the one being cared for by Rachel.

This wasn’t an easy or comfortable situation for either of us. For me, the grotty symptoms I was suffering were combined with a massive feeling of guilt that I was effectively forced to put my feet up and do nothing whilst Rachel took care of me and the house.

As much as I wanted to carry on regardless, however, the simple truth was I couldn’t. The feelings of helplessness and dependency on someone else were not easy to accept.

Thankfully, the virus has subsided. More importantly, apart from a brief bout of nausea, Rachel largely escaped infection.

It does worry me that I can be put out of action so quickly and easily. We were able to cope and thanks to Rachel’s brother and his wife we had provisions delivered – as well as further offers of help from our fantastic neighbours.

I caught my virus from a work colleague (I think). It is unusual for me to be hit in such rapid succession by bouts of illness, so maybe there is something in the new NHS survey which suggests half of carers in England have health problems as a result of their duties.

Certainly the cases of tiredness and irritability identified in the survey are familiar to me, although I’ll admit I’ve always been a grumpy old fart.

Abdicating my carer role, no matter how ill I felt, wasn’t easy. Despite being unable to lift my head upright at one point, I had to stop myself from shuffling out to the kitchen to make Rachel another cup of tea.

It is an example of the bloody-mindedness and maybe even the siege mentality a few of us who took part in the recent Christmas tweetup, organised by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers on Twitter, identified during various online discussions about caring.

The tweetup was a success, for me and hopefully for all those who took part, as it proved yet another example of how social networking plays an increasingly significant and positive role for communities like carers who previously would have carried on in isolation.

Obviously, not every carer is on Twitter or even online. But a growing number are and so are the organisations that work for us and with us.

For two hours on Monday afternoon I made new contacts, shared experiences and hopefully took on board some useful advice (I can’t guarantee that last point, I’m bloody-minded after all!).

Throw job hunting into the mix and the small matter of Christmas and it is safe to say there’s a lot going on in December.

The job hunting is not an urgent consideration, although the sooner I find something the sooner I can strike it from the ever-expanding “to-do” list.

I initially took a 12-month contract as PR & Marketing Manager with fdf, and two-and-a-half years later I’m afraid our funding has been cut and the organisation will close at the end of July 2011.

It is a frustrating decision as we have hit and indeed exceeded all targets that were set for us and can show how necessary our work continues to be. But we don’t fit into the new political landscape, so we must wave goodbye.

I could say an awful lot more about the current political landscape and the decisions our government is taking. I’m concerned that we’re in danger of becoming a nasty little country again, but perhaps I should continue to bite my tongue until August 1?

My impending redundancy is a familiar story in the public sector at the moment, but at least I know my contract runs until the summer and I have time to find a new role.

I’m casting my net a little wider than previously too, having developed some new skills and experiences in the last couple of years I’m considering different roles as well as the usual PR and communications jobs.

So it will be a time of change in 2011 and I’m happy to say I’m looking forward to whatever new challenges come my way.

There, I warned you this was going to be a rambling blog post.

Oh, there is one other thing.

I’ve grown a beard, which might last into 2011 or might not.


3 responses »

  1. Jaz Binning says:

    Beards rule! Hope you are feeling better now. Good luck with the job hunt. Being a carer in itself gives you a skill set that most employers could benefit from.

  2. Philip John says:

    Beard? I demand proof!

  3. Paul Groves says:

    So I write from my heart about all these things and the first two comments are about my beard?!?

    Thanks Jaz. Good to chat with you yesterday.

    Phil, I’ll get MsCreative to take my photo.

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