I woke up this morning to a news report about a programme for preventing mental ill health among NHS health professionals. It's based on 15 years of research to examine what predicts PTSD and depression in frontline workers. Unsurprisingly, given what's been happening in the NHS for the last 20 months, a large percentage of those referred to the programme were well past the prevention stage and were already suffering from PTSD and depression.
An hour later I dropped into the bike shop for help with my seized lock and was warmly greeted from behind a mask. I recognised the voice as an old mate who was in the same writing group as me 20 odd years ago. We've waved at each other in passing since then and have sometimes stopped for a chat but have not had a chance for a long while to share news. Turned out he gave up his work as a blacksmith and trained as a nurse nine years ago. Turned out working during covid did him in. Turned out he works in the bike shop now.
In any culture that knew what it was about he'd never have needed to train as a nurse - his poems are forged and wrought from lumps of iron and he should have been paid just to write. Not that there is anything wrong at all with being a nurse.
Any culture that was quarter-way awake would never have created circumstances where a nurse would seek work in a bike shop. Not that there is anything wrong at all with working in a bike shop.
I gained a smoothly-working bike lock this morning.
An oncology ward was missing a nurse.
There are lumps of iron in the old boatyard.
At least he still writes poetry.
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