Reflections and Resilience

Resilience is a good thing to develop. Not stubbornness, or inflexibility and a reluctance to change. Not even an overdeveloped sense of determination. No, I’m thinking here about standing up in a gale and still moving forward, albeit slowly. Or finding another way to get to the destination on time when the road is blocked, or rather constantly adapting, without panic, as every alternative route is blocked in turn. Someone does not want you to get home but rather than despair and give up, or panic and be paralysed you just keep chipping at the problem until it gives.

Sometimes it just seems as though everything that can go wrong is going wrong. The reality is that it is often not the case, it just seems that way as the things that are not going well (or slapping you in the face like a wet fish) are the things you are focusing on at the time or particularly important to you, and you therefore do not see the things that are bubbling along nicely according to plan in the background.

Anyway, this is on my heart at the moment as the family is having a more complicated Christmas than expected due to unforeseen hospital related activities. That’s all that needs to be said on the negative side because I would rather think about the positives in the situations. The resilience and forthrightness of a dear relative who hardly has paused since a fall to get back up on their feet and the strength of a family I have had the pleasure of marrying into yet again rallying around to do what needs to be done at a time of year where busyness is already endemic. From a moment last week where things were not looking good for the festive season, with a little jigging we are getting back on a slightly changed plan that might go down as a more memorable Christmas celebration than perhaps anyone expected.

It has also reminded me, and finally I am getting to the point, of the people working at this time of year, and working long and hard hours. After many hours spent waiting with our relative and the Lovely Wife in A & E it was impossible not to see just how busy both the hospital and ambulance staff were, and this was not the busiest time of the year – that is yet to come. I was impressed in particular by the ambulance staffs who were the most organised and practical people I have had the pleasure to meet in some time. They have to stay with the people they have brought in until they can formally hand them over to the hospital staff, a process that for non-life threatening cases at least seems to take considerable time. What I did see was some impatience – but it was fuelled by wanting to get back on the road, and an urge to be out there helping people rather than stuck in a hotel corridor waiting for someone from the over stretched hospital staff to take over responsibility for the patient. I’m not knocking the hospital staff either. My grandad used to work in A&E in Newcastle after he left the navy and he was always clear about how difficult it was trying to manage everyone, especially on the Friday and Saturday evening with the drink related injuries (and sometimes having to stop the fights that caused those injuries continuing in the hospital – my grandad was a hard man when he needed to be). Being able to professionally deal with people in pain or anguish and/or their relatives and friends who have brought them in and might be even more of a problem, knowing that most people will have the frustration of waiting hours before being seen properly – because you just cannot rush this kind of thing and you are always going to have less resources than you would like – it is not a job I would have the backbone for I fear. So I when we are enjoying our makeshift Christmas this year I will try and take some time to think and pray for those in the emergency services – all of them – for whom this time of the year can be so busy and testing.  Plus the GPs, vets, clergy, truck drivers, pub and restaurant workers and shop staff and all the rest that still have to work and/or be on call. I salute their resilience and hope they can catch up with some festive cheer when eventually they can get the time off to do so.