Monday, September 25, 2006

Work, Rest and Play

Well, it's been a long time, hasn't it? Too long. Again. So I'll apologise [again] and just plod on with my latest chapter of my life here in Melbourne [again] head slung low.

Work

I'm still waiting to start my job in the community. Yes, stiiilll waiting. Political stuff, leaving the ward short of staff etc., as a result of 3 of us getting new jobs at the same time. But I now have my contract, it's been signed, and I start on the 9th October. Just two more weeks, and I really can't wait to start. The ward has been soooo ridiculously busy again, with little respite from the high intensity and stress that accompanies this role.

I also keep finding that I'm unexpectedly in charge, but this seems to happen only when I've been off for a few days. So I don't know a number of the patients, drop straight into a huge workload to organise, often encumbered with bank or agency staff who don't know the patients or the ward procedures [or sometimes their arse from their elbow but that's another matter].

And you know what? I'm still struggling to get my head round some of the procedures too. There's no time to breathe, no time to learn something inside out, so I've become really really adept at just "winging it" half the time, hoping nobody notices... which they rarely do, cos they're too busy to lift their head up to see it themselves.

I'm not sure if that's a good skill to have [or to admit to], but it's become one of my strengths. My new role will at least give me some time to stop and consider what I'm doing, and why. I don't cope well with having to make quick decisions without having a solid rationale for doing so [yes, yes, it's partly the confidence thing again, but it's also an undoubtedly realistic concern], and get pretty [read extremely] stressed out as a result. I hang on to things, doing "the duck thing", apparently serenely gliding along the water... whilst under the surface my feet [brain] are going like the absolute clappers...

When I stop, I find that I'm so tense, usually holding it all in my neck and shoulders, that I am grumpy and irritable, struggling to communicate as my brain struggles to catch up with my actions over the last 9 hours or so, and in [unconscious] physical pain to boot. The worst day was a couple of weeks ago, when I couldn't even cover the following shift [another of the "in charge" nurse's responsibilities], so ended up working the night as well as the late shift. That's 18 hours straight. Not good for your mental health.

Thankfully, there's a local shopping centre where you can have a nice Chinese man stick his elbows into your shoulders for 20 minutes to take out some of the knots. I am developing an unusually unhealthy and close relationship with him - don't tell Claud.

2 more weeks to go. Sigh. Enough.

Adelaide

I've always had a soft spot for Adelaide, despite um... never actually having been there. I've seen stuff on holiday shows, of course, and it looks lovely, green and leafy, with sunshine to boot. And the food is apparently amazing, and a central part of the daily routine there. And it has what must be the loveliest ground to watch cricket in the whole world, the Adelaide Oval. No gasometers overshadowing you, just church spires, sunshine, trees and a soothing semi-pastoral scene.

So I'm taking a 5-day break to take it all in. It's a solo mission, as Claud doesn't have any accrued holidays, and I sooooo need a break before I start my job, especially given that it's unrealistic to expect that I'll be able to take any holidays in the first few months of my new role. I got a cheap flight, a cheap [but nice... hopefully] hotel, and a week off work.

So that means I get to relax for 9 days without the pressures of work [and the forecast is pretty sunny!], and when I return I'll have just 5 more days of ward-based work to go. I'll report back on my hols in a week or so. I know, I know you've read similar promises before though, eh? Trust me I'll get back on track. Probably.

Football

As Melbourne mourns the dearth of Melburnian talent in Aussie Rules [all 4 semi-finalists were interstate - i.e. not from Victoria], the new kids on the block are Rugby League and proper Football [or "soccer", if you're in the media here and don't have English or Mediterranean heritage]. Rugby League means little to me, but Melbourne Storm are sweeping all before them; and Melbourne Victory, the football team now in their second season in the newly-formed A-League, have now won their first five games on the bounce.

When I refer to the team as "they", I should probably say "we", as I've now become a season ticket holder as I desperately seek a fix of proper footy [although... here teams are regarded as single entities, in the American way, so the correct way of terming it should be "Melbourne Victory HAS now won five games straight". A small point but an important one for a pedant like me].

Anyway, it does rather feel like I'm cheating on my wife or something, supporting a team that isn't QPR. Talking of whom, thank God that we've now got a proper manager after a dreadful start to the season - John Gregory, ex-QPR legend [well hopefully, we've got the right one], pleeeeease don't let me down. Anyway, I'm persisting despite my feelings of infidelity... as if it wasn't already hard enough having to cheer on MV captain and hard-man yard-dog Kevin Muscat [whom my brother-in-law used to bully at school, incidentally].

Post the World Cup excitement, the team's marketing men had a brainwave and decided to switch their second game of the season against Sydney [Melbourne are, of course, destined to be deadly rivals with Sydney in whatever sport they compete] from the 18,500 capacity Olympic Park to 56,000 capacity Telstra Dome. And it worked, as just short of 40,000 fans enjoyed an exciting 3-2 victory, including a sending-off and an elbowing incident. Nothing like a bit of gore and controversy to seal a memorable night.

We went en familia, with in-laws Stephen [also a season-ticket holder and inaugural member, as he wishes to be referred] and Lisa, Stevie J and son [our nephew] Dante, and Claud, of course [i.e. having failed to locate any other shopping opportunities come kick-off time].

The next game at Olympic Park completely sold out, although oddly 900 below absolute capacity [Kev, Our Friend In The North, could only get in by purchasing a full membership package], so they've gone for it big time and have switched 6 more games to the Dome in the hope of building a larger fan base.

They've already got 10,000 season ticket holders [and at about seventy quid for 11 games, why wouldn't you?], and if they continue to win, and entertain like they currently are [with 3 Brazilians recruited in the close season, who are undertaking the required mix of theatrics, ball-tricks and ineptitude], who knows how it may take off?

It doesn't feel like home when I watch the footy, I must say, and the experience varies between venues. The Telstra Dome is more sanitised and family-friendly overall [the retractable roof being closed makes it slightly surreal], but more spectacular, and with a real sense of occasion. Olympic Park feels a bit more "English" or European, with terracing and more unruly behaviour [flares, anyone?] but is stymied by the lack of cover [and consequent loss of noise/atmosphere] and the infernal running track that separates the crowd from the pitch.

It'll be interesting to see what sort of crowd figures "we" get for the next few home games, and what happens when there's a slump in form but there are good signs... we'll see: first game is next Sunday.

Enough for now... hopefully I'll blog again soon...

...and apologies for any bad punctuation - my "comma" key keeps failing to work, so there may be an interminable sentence or two that my proof-reading has missed. Don't think there are any , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , moments though, despite the RSI it's causing me...

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