Don’t listen to what people say, watch what they do
Hello and welcome to issue 30. Who’d have thought it? We’ve done this whole thing 30 times. It’s taught me a lot about people and the differences between what they say and what they do. I’ve learnt to love the people who do what they say they’ll do. “Yes, I’ll have that over to you before the end of the day on Friday!” And then they do. Makes my life so much easier. Bless ’em!
I love reaching out to all the contributors, getting to know them and gathering their stories, but then there’s the whole slog of assembling everything together and getting it looking as I want it to. And I’m quite picky, on the whole, unless I’ve been up editing into the wee small hours and then my eyes start to boggle and it all goes to pot.
I’m really sorry, I’m editing
The downside is that as I’m putting everything together I turn into this Frankenstein figure and I lock myself in the house. Do I want to come to the pub for a quick drink? No, I’m really sorry, I’m editing. Do I want to come away somewhere nice for the weekend? No, I’m really sorry, I’m editing.
Fortunately my friends and family are used to this now and I’m getting a bit better at planning around my free weekends in between editions. One day I will have a team of people to help and I’ll be the first person to the pub on a weekend mini-break.
Creating something that makes you proud – the best feeling in the world
However, I always love it when the new content is uploaded and ready to go live. Even as I sit in the middle of the night getting everything ready and I’m finished and it’s some ridiculous o’clock, I still always, without fail, spend a good 10-15 minutes flipping through the content and gazing lovingly at my contributors’ words and images. It’s the best feeling in the world to create something that makes you proud.
Last week I took a day out from work as I had to have a minor operation and it got me thinking about trust. As I’m a medical marvel (so I’ve been told) and there’s only one person in the country who can treat me, I had to travel to a hospital just over an hour away from where I live. The thing that put me slightly on edge and knocked my trust in humanity was the £80 (£80!) train fair I had to shell out as I’d chosen the train that was three minutes before off-peak fares kicked in. Fantastic…
I arrived at the hospital, a little in awe of the amazing facilities. It was like something out of Star Trek. There were touch screens so I could check myself in and volunteers in polo shirts waiting to help me and direct me to the right department. There were signs that were easy to follow and took me to the right place. All the staff were smiley and welcoming. I could seriously have contemplated checking in for a mini-break. It reminded me a bit of Center Parcs, but with less trees.
Dignity hanging out
Everything ran like clockwork. I go there at the right time and I was admitted at the right time. Sadly my hospital gown did still have the annoying fastening up the back that left my dignity hanging out, but hey, they’d pre-warned me about this, so I’d brought a robe to cover this back up, so it was all fine again.
Like a large glass of rosé delivered intravenously without the hassle of sipping
They put me on the trolley to be wheeled off for my procedure and I was having a great time. “You’re much happier than most people to be here,” my porter said. “I’ve had this procedure privately before so I know what it would usually cost,” I replied. A bit of mild sedation later and I was ready for my procedure. (It had the same effect as a large glass of rosé but delivered intravenously without the hassle of any sipping.)
A bit woozy: Time to talk politics
As I was a bit woozy this was the point I decided to chat to the staff about the general election and who to vote for if I wanted to preserve the NHS. It turned out that no-one could actually recommend the ‘best’ party. Voting is a massive act of trust and I was amazed that none of the parties has the staff convinced. Oh dear. The hospital was a PFI (private finance initiative) hospital, so private capital had been used, which has proved very controversial in the UK. So you get beautiful facilities, but they come at a price.
The house key test
When you’re lying on a hospital trolley and you’ve signed a consent form it also makes you think about trust. I was chatting to some friends about trust this week and we came up with a scale of trust.
My favourite test of trust is whether I would leave my house keys with someone (maybe whilst I’m away on one the mini-breaks I’ll be taking in the future when Womanthology has made me my fortune…) It works on so many levels. Would they need to use the keys and judge me on my housekeeping abilities? Would they remember to feed the fish? Would they throw a wild party and upset the neighbours?
About to nearly be poked in the eye with a big needle
So as I’m voting, I’ll be using the house key test. Would I want to leave my keys with David Cameron, Ed Miliband or Nick Clegg? Who would let the side down and trash the place, I wonder? As I was on the trolley in the hospital I used the house key test. (I was about to nearly be poked in the eye with a big needle – so trust was a biggie here.) The intravenous sedation made the decision a little easier.
No pirouetting nurses – maybe Danny Boyle had it wrong
I could not have been taken care of by a kinder, more dedicated and skilled bunch of people. It makes me incredibly proud of the NHS. (Remember Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony for London 2012 with all the nurses twirling round on wheelie beds? That was a fitting tribute.) To be fair, I didn’t see any of the nurses doing any pirouetting so Danny may have got things slightly wrong here.
What I did see was my lovely nurse, Anna, running round to make everyone feel welcome and relaxed on the ward. She was smiley and friendly, and after my procedure when I wasn’t nil by mouth any more she made one fantastic hot chocolate. We seriously need to take care of all the amazing people who care for us when we’re ill. I was so moved by how lovely Anna has been that I threw my arms around her and gave her a massive hug as I was leaving.
It was a gorgeous sunny day, so as by this time my treatment had made me look like I’d been punched in the face, I put on my shades in the style of Jackie Onassis and I made my way outside to be picked up by my friend Alison, looking glam in her convertible Golf GTI. There are worse ways to leave hospital, although sadly the tipsy rosé sensation had worn off, darn it.
You know the truth by the way it feels
Above all, my instinct tells me that we all need to pay close attention to the people we entrust our country to on 7th May. If like me you’re undecided about who the nation should trust its house keys with, we’ve teamed up with the fantastic Ella Fallows, co-founder of Women in Public Affairs, who has come up with a list of issues pertinent to women to question your parliamentary candidates on. Please do use and share this. Information is power. Voting matters.
Maya Angelou said, “You know the truth by the way it feels.” So – over to you. Who do you trust? If in doubt I’d say trust your instinct – it’s almost never wrong.