Thursday, 2 September 2010

If You're a Moaner, Cheer Up and Stop Whinging - That's An Order.

It's the second day of The Boss' impromptu holiday, and being without him feels just as good as it did yesterday. I do hope he's really taking some time off, though - and isn't just doing what he usually does when he has a break, which is to get bored and then phone up the local media and offer them comments on any of the day's issues. Often things he knows nothing whatsoever about.

I'm determined to enjoy his absence to the full so, as a precautionary measure, I am not going to read the local paper or watch the local news until next Monday - when I can refer any cock-ups to The Boss' Westminster office. It's about time Carlotta and Marie-Louise did some work.

Despite my attempts to prolong it, my good mood doesn't last for long, as two of today's cases bring me down to earth very quickly. Both young women, both recently diagnosed with cancer. One has just got married and has a five week-old baby. She has a brain tumour. The other - also under twenty-five years old - has breast cancer and has to have a full mastectomy tomorrow. There's a family history of the disease, so the hospital isn't wasting any time.

Both girls live in completely unsuitable accommodation, and their families want to know if there is anything we can do to get them moved, quickly. Imagine trying to cope with the effects of chemotherapy when you live in one room and have to share a bathroom, for example. Or trying to keep your wound clean when your flat is covered in black mould.

I get really fired up, and tell Greg that these cases are my priorities for this morning - so he has to take all the phone calls from now on, until I've finished working on them. This is sensible, because, after hearing such awful stories, I think I'd snap if I had to listen to Miss Chambers going on about one of her stupid conspiracy theories. I might just scream something abusive back at her - for once.

I just want to get my head down, and get on with it. That's the only way to cope with the stuff you hear in this job - don't waste time on mouthing sympathetic platitudes, just try to do whatever you can, as fast as you can, to try to make a small difference. If you allowed yourself to dwell on the full horror of what happens to some people, I think you'd go bonkers yourself.

Stuff like this really does make you intolerant of all the bloody whingers out there, though. It's odd, but true - as far as I can tell - that those who are faced with the worst problems often seem to perceive themselves less as victims than do those who simply have over-active imaginations and too much time on their hands.

It's a shame we can't put some of the former in touch with the latter - a bit like those schemes where offenders are brought face to face with those whom they have injured. Mind you, I reckon Miss Chambers and Mr Beales would still think that their imaginary problems were the worst, no matter what they were told about the lives of others.

I certainly feel lucky today. I just wish that feeling would last - but I know that I'll be back to moaning about my lot, as soon as I forget that things could be much, much worse. Maybe I need to set myself a reminder on my phone, just to keep a sense of proportion.

Perhaps that's an idea the Government should look into, actually. Daily texts or emails to all of us who don't have major problems saying, "Don't forget - things could be a whole lot worse." Trouble is, the Government doesn't exactly have a good record on its use of large-scale technology. Someone would probably programme the damn system to send cheer-up messages to those with terminal illnesses.


  1. Hope you can sort something out for the young women with cancer. They are facing a crisis in awful conditions. Maybe you will feel that you are doing a worthwhile job if you can make a difference.

  2. The govt are way too busy sending out 'you're not entitled to benefits' letters to such people. Don't let them see this Molly or they'll jump upon the idea of notifiying people their benefits have been refused by a non contactable text message ;)
    I'm sure you know this, but the changes to Housing Benefit due to start (is it April next year?) allow for funding for an extra room for a carer which might help these under 25's top up the rate enough to get them somewhere better to live. That an a community care grant application for the basics like new bed, washing machine etc, so long as it's on the basis of 'normal need' as I learnt to my cost trying to apply for a CCG for the additional disability/medical specific stuff.
    Hope The Boss stays away! BG Xx

  3. Ha - yes you're probably right! And thanks for the info too - someone should definitely be paying you a consultancy fee ;-)