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Showing posts from September, 2013

The battles you know nothing about

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Yesterday was one of those days that really made me think. I was  hugely moved by an individual seeking me out at a dinner to say thank you to me as Chair of the Health and Social Care Alliance. It was for an award they have received from The Alliance to take forward crucial work that they believe will make a significant difference to some of the most vulnerable in our society. Now there are many to thank before me but as someone who got the charity of the ground and enabled all the work that its now responsible for I was delighted to see her reaction. The great team at the Alliance and the Scottish Government ministers past and present and Health and Social care directorate are those who have made this a reality and as we approach self-management week I would like you all to stand and take a bow.....in full knowledge the work you do changes lives. And yesterday was a day to make me aware of the need for this for other reasons. I met with someone I hadn't seen

An office with a view...

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A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened. Albert Camus As I write this I'm returning from a trip to our hill top house in Bulgaria. In recent years we have been less as I dealt with various episodes of surgery and treatment. But this year it felt like the time to finally ( fingers crossed!) heal from all life has thrown at me. I always leave with a heavy heart but once I'm home for a while, I wonder about the madness that made us buy a home there.But as soon as I arrive back again I know why we fell in love with the wee house with the giant view. The mountains seep in to your soul, just inviting you to relax but this year I wanted to see if I could do some work from this inspiring spot. So my office for a few days was under the sun shade, at the table, with the mountains as my backdrop and the shepherds dogs snoring peacefully.

Tamoxifen tales.....

It was August 1999 when I finished my five year course of tamoxifen. There were a few tablets left in the box so I smashed them up with relish much to my kids alarm. That's me reclaiming my life I thought. So in 2011 when it was offered to me again ,after a diagnosis again of early stage disease, I declined...politely. It may seem a paradox as perhaps one if the reasons I'm still here so many years later is because of tamoxifen. But also having taken it for 5 years I know the side effects. I gained weight, I felt overwhelming fatigue at times , I burned up when I least expected it, I felt flattened by it. I even had to have an ovary removed because of an ovarian cyst, another increased risk with tamoxifen. But I also knew the benefits of taking it having researched it thoroughly and what mattered to me was to be there to see my children grow up. So I   dutifully took it for five years. Last year when more research was published saying that there may be benefits in

Just dont call it pink and fluffy!

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Maybe its because I have most recently inhabited the breast cancer charity world ,when I hear the phrase pink and fluffy ,I come out in a rash-and not a pink and fluffy one either. Dressing any cancer diagnosis in pink does not mean it ’ s any less difficult to deal with and can hide the challenging reality. And so it is that when people talk about working with compassion, with integrity, with honesty and with respect as pink and fluffy,they seek to diminish its importance too. Somehow it ’ s not the real work, whereas spreadsheets, manifestos and business plans are seen as the tougher side of being in the real world of making things happen. But don't we all really know that what makes them stand or fall is based on relationships? It's the people stuff that is the factor that guarantees success or not, in business, in services, in life. Bring this into the field of health and social care and notice that where there are "failing" organisations, there are p