One of the most amazing things in our country is our health service. We have been incredibly fortunate – so far – to have needed to call on it fairly few times but both Davies and Scarlett were born with NHS midwives in attendance, Ady obviously had his emergency operation and both he and I have had routine or non-emergency appointments over the past few years.
It can be tough to give back, outside of national insurance and income tax contributions and not using up precious resources unless necessary. On Rum we participated in a long running survey being interviewed 3 times over several years about the service the islands received. We ensured we attended any first aid and first responder training sessions and engaged as fully as possible with consultations about ways to improve the service and to take responsibility for community-led services.
When we lived down in Sussex Ady and I gave blood and we are all on the organ donation lists with Ady and I both also registered for living donor lists too. On Rum giving blood was a logistical impossibility but as soon as we were settled back here we registered for the next session in Fort William and in June we donated, along with Davies who was now old enough too. Last week we donated again and this time Scarlett was also able to donate, just 12 days after she was eligible. It was a super smooth first time for her and she loved all of the information the nurse was able to give her about the process including having a hold of the bag once it was full ‘It’s so warm. And heavy!’ So close to Christmas there were giveaways of tree baubles for donors too.
Poor Davies had a slightly less smooth experience for his second time as he stood up off the bed and promptly fainted and fell back to the floor. He managed a fairly spectacular drop with a cut to his lip and a big bump to his chin but after a lie down and something to eat and drink other than a couple of extra bruises to go with the one on his arm where the needle goes in he was none the worse for wear. It’s always good to have a heroic tale to go with a bruise I think. I’m really proud of them both for donating and hope it’s the start of a years-long habit.
We also volunteer in health service supporting services – Ady in the local hospital transport project, which offers lifts to people attending hospital appointments in our very rural community. Davies and I volunteer for a mental health helpline service and are also trained ambassadors for the local Women’s Aid charity. These services are so very important in remote areas and on Boxing Day I took a call to the helpline – a stark reminder of how difficult this time of year can be in the middle of feasting, lights and making merry.
For some few years Ady has felt that if the opportunity arose he would be interested in working in a caring type role. He really enjoys working with people, is passionate about empowering people to live independently and supported rather than ‘looked after’ and particularly likes getting to know and being around older people. He put some feelers out when we first moved here but found that not having previous experience or qualifications could prove something of a barrier. He then found work at the tearoom over the summer along with our various housekeeping contracts and so nothing more came of it.
Recently though, with no real work (both of the above roles are very seasonal) his thoughts turned again to that type of work and with a bit of research and a very well written application demonstrating how cross transferable his many varied skills could be he was offered an interview for a post a few days before Christmas. Competition was fierce and he was the only unqualified applicant granted an interview. His first interview in well over a decade, his first ever panel interview with five people on the opposite side of the table. He came out having learned more about the job and even more keen to do it. Later that afternoon he took a phonecall offering him the job!
So yet another new chapter of life is upon us with yet another new role. Loads of new skills to acquire, lots to learn, to understand and to embrace. It’s a perfect fit of a part time role which allows us to continue with our flexible housekeeping posts between the four of us and my part time jobs too, while still ensuring that time together as a family remains our top priority and that which gets most of our focus.
We are so proud of Ady, ready and willing to start anew in something completely different, something that he will love. We think he will be brilliant at it, a perfect match for his caring nature, unflappable approach, skills in getting to know and helping people.
Ady is proud to be joining and becoming part of a team of people we have long been in awe of and thankful for – our NHS.