Sunday, 20 January 2013

Playing with Numbers, Children and in the Snow


Today I am feeling every single one of the 21070 days I have been alive. I was born on a Sunday, as was my youngest grandson, although he is just 462 days old today. Children and numbers featured largely in my world last week. The numbers (and calculations) started this time last week. Over the past week I have been busy developing a School Operational Plan. This looks at where the School wants to be in 5 years time and what we need to do to get there. The work involves not only harnessing the creativity of colleagues in generating ideas, but having these tested through market research and then the resultant plans being risk assessed and costed out.

Spreadsheet work is not my thing, but I am very fortunate to have a colleague who revels in such activity. I think of him as a kind of George Soros meets Gandalf – but in any event he is the absolute king of the spreadsheet and calculator and has helped me beyond measure this past week. And he has done so with great patience. Many thanks Mark.

And last Monday I was involved in a different set of calculations which looked at my state of health. My body mass index, BP, heart rate, Peak flow rate, number of units of alcohol consumed in a week (its very low Mother), types of illness experienced over my lifetime, and those of my parents, and siblings were all tested. As I had declared myself as a non-smoker I had to have a test to check this. A few drops of urine, a special chemical impregnated pad, and 20 seconds later I was proved to be a non-smoker. Apparently the test is so sensitive that had I chosen to have an after Christmas day meal cigar, and smoked nothing since, the test would have shown positive.

These tests were for a life insurance policy and were performed by a nurse (I guess because that would be cheaper than a doctor). The history taking and results of the tests were all recorded using a digital pen. The nurse had a confirmatory email that the company had received the information even before he packed his bag. The nurse had a day job working at the local hospital, although he said they didn't use digital technology in quite the same way there.

That the nurse worked at the local hospital was quite a coincidence, as my youngest grandson had been admitted there earlier in the day . He had a chest infection and was very poorly. In the UK, the estimated incidence of lower respiratory tract infection requiring hospitalisation is about 30 per 1000 children per year. 34 per 10000 children aged less than 5 years of age are seen at hospital with pneumonia each year. Boys are more often affected than girls.

I am not going to comment here about my grandsons experience, other than to say, he was constantly mistaken for a girl (in all his 462 days of life he hasn't had his hair cut and now boast lovely flowing ginger locks), the doctor always knew best, the nurses appeared thin on the ground and incredibly busy, the unit was like Bedlam on a quiet day, and we waited 3 hours to get his discharge medication delivered before he could leave the ward.

He and his Mother (who was also poorly in the same hospital) are now back home and receiving the kind of care that I am sure the Francis Report will demand of nurses in the future. Our local Community Nurses rang yesterday to say they will visit today – should be interesting unless they have a 4x4 as the road to the house is still covered in about 5 inches of snow.

As regular readers of this blog will know, Cello adores the snow. Unfortunately due to the way these things happen, he had his wonderfully curly, thick and warming coat cut off a couple of days before the snow came. It didn't stop him wanting to enjoy the snow though. He has either been sitting at the window watching the snow fall, or waiting at the door to be taken out. And when he’s out he is like a new born Spring lamb jumping and running about with gay abandon despite the fact that he is 1273 days old (or 10770 when calculated so as to equate to human days). Unlike me, Cello doesnt need to use Yaktrax to keep upright on his feet. Its all about perfect balance I guess.