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Juno's December Blog 2020


Sometimes I get asked what I do all day.

Actually no. Scrub that. One person once asked me what I do all day – and it was a member of my family.

They lived to tell the tale but they’re not in my bubble anymore. (That’s if we’re even allowed to have bubbles…….I am glued to BBC News as I type).

But then I thought – actually, what do I do. And might anyone else be interested?

So I have cobbled together a ‘day in the life of’ for your edification, and maybe also for your entertainment.

Let’s face it – if it were only for your edification I would suggest you pop onto Facebook and watch some of those lovely Dodo animal short films instead…..

Woken by large dog washing my face enthusiastically in the cold dark morning. It’s raining.

Belt out a few terse responses to emails received from social care managers over night – what are they DOING at 2am?? Go to SLEEP!

Send all staff my daily COVID ‘email to make you smile’ just to let everyone know that yes – I am up and working at this ungodly hour. I am hoping it makes them feel settled and reassured that someone is in charge. It probably just makes them cross.

Head out with dog, dog snacks, poo bags, two mobile phones (just in case) and a fetching head torch. In the woods a head torch foreshortens distance so I spend a lot of my time walking into trees and falling over in muddy holes.

This often happens in broad daylight as well as it happens. More so since, thanks to COVID, my ‘sleeping hours’ count tends towards zero.

Return, cold, muddy and chastened. Hose down dog. Dry dog. Feed dog.

0800 onwards….
I either shower ridiculously quickly and head into work or sit at my laptop for a day of home working. We are currently alternating SMT members in the office to keep footfall as low as possible but still have a presence, currently I home work on Tuesdays and Thursdays if possible.

Next I try and get the daily returns off to the NHS. We don’t get our Infection Control Fund money if we don’t do this.

Invariably I confuse my care home figures with my home care figures and have to start over.

Also invariably (does that make it not invariable I wonder?) someone pops me an email half way through to tell me that three more people have had their flu vaccine, two more have had negative COVID swab tests and there is a shortage of masks. I have to start over as we report on all of this on the daily returns.

I eventually hit ‘send’.

Email pops up – a positive test.

I re-write and re-send the return and convene an emergency COVID meeting of designated SMT members as we work our way through our Outbreak Management Plan.

I do this virtually if I am homeworking and have to hastily pull a jumper on over my dog-muddy top as I have yet to shower and clean my teeth.

As we meet I fend off calls from Public Health England – how many different pieces of advice they give us for the same question is directly proportional to the number of different staff they have on the helpline that day.

I then call the local COVID lead for help who tells us that we are right and PHE are wrong and to keep going as we are.

By this time it’s 11ish and I am late with my staff updates – I try and help interpret what the guidance means for them and their families, it’s in the interests of our Rose Road families for our staff to stay safe.

I get lots of questions about whether or not Grandpa Bert can visit and hug little Charlie on alternate Tuesdays if Aunt Elsie steps out of the room for a moment and Uncle Pete stops sneezing.

Later in the day I pop into our meeting room which is now a designated staff COVID testing station. Our wonderful trained volunteers are sticking swabs up peoples’ noses and joking about being able to see them come out of the back of their heads…….I discreetly exit and call our insurance broker….just to double check. This is the third time I have called her this week just to double check something COVID related.

Financial returns are next up and I have to sit down and work out how many masks/gloves/aprons/visors each department has used as we have to claim back the costs from different funding pots accordingly depending on commissioner and type of service. We don’t get refunded for masks worn with children but we do for adults….oh I could go on and on, the returns take forever. There are eight different reclaim pots.

Now I have to take a quick break from finances and try and persuade my dog to sit in a pose as though he is signing books. He ‘wrote’ a book as a last ditch attempt as a Rose Road fundraiser as all fundraising events have been cancelled. He’s proving popular, which is good for income, but trying to keep up with his social media appearances also takes time and energy. Ever tried to put specs on a retriever? Save yourself the hassle.

As we are on fundraising my next job is to road test the on-line carol service. I want to show the images of our staff in PPE moodily shot in black and white accompanied by a stunning rendition of Silent Night (in the traditional arrangement). If I get less than 50% tear-rate then we will have to go back to the drawing board. Fortunately we hit 100% (although Kev insisted that he had something in his eye) so we’re good to go.

Now onto a Teams online meeting – I endeavour to respond to 32 clarification emails around the two tenders that we need to get submitted this week at the same time as looking serious and interested and as though I have a clue what is going on. This is not helped by my dog removing my sock halfway through.

Near the end of the Teams meeting I receive a text from a member of my family – have I seen to the news? I covertly flick onto the BBC website - apparently pressure is mounting for a review of the Christmas bubbling arrangements. I mentally re-write 42 risk assessments and wonder if I can just say I am symptomatic and self-isolate from tomorrow. Everyone is doing that silly Teams/Zoom wave and logging off. I seem to have missed the end of the meeting which is a stroke of genius really as I was supposed to be chairing.

I have worked my way through 300-400 emails and I still have my day-to-day tasks yet to start but I will head home/take a break for breakfast and a shower. It’s about 6pm after all.

Not much point transitioning via day clothes so go straight to pyjamas and I am now perched on the sofa with the laptop and a sandwich for my tea balanced on my knee just out of reach of the dog.

Just in reach of the dog as it turns out.

BBC news is getting worse, apparently Michael Gove is talking to the heads of the four nations.

I address my day’s to-do list.

Where to start.

Ah yes.

Beth has asked for my blog entry for December……..

Merry Christmas everyone!