I was up at the hospital, visiting, yesterday, and a funny thing happened. I was talking to one woman and her friend, who were talking about her imminent relocation to some dedicated rehab facility. "That's really good", I said, "because you generally have to be prepared to fight for everything." I then went on to talk about how I received 1 hour of physiotherapy per month, for six months, then nothing. It's a while ago now, but I think I didn't even receive a visit Months #5 and #6 - I definitely remember that the woman who did come out to me was based in a neighbouring district, because my district didn't have anyone. So I was made to feel that the little attention I did get, somebody was doing me a favour.
The person who was with me quickly said, "oh, it's better now". Maybe it is? Maybe they just don't like people speaking out of turn?
It is entirely possible that things are, in fact, better now, as my knowledge isnow more than three years old. But the episode reminds me of something which happened just after my stroke. I'd just started taking the first steps outside the front door, I'd just started volunteering, and went to a Stroke Association training session. "When X happens, then the Health Service do Y" said the voice, with absolute confidence. And I'm sitting in the corner incredulous, thinking to myself "Er, no it doesn't". That particular course also had a "let's pretend we've had a stroke" section, where I just rolled my eyes. Suffice it to say, I'm very skeptical about the correlation (or not) between real-life and training courses. And that the inaccuracy has changed.
I'm thinking more and more that one of the most difficult things with my volunteering, with the Stroke charity in particular, is my own ability to be consistent with their message. I guess that's no different to any employee, who doesn't agree with how an employer does things, but who feels obliged to go along with it. As I used to run the company, I never really had that, although of course I would learn things about clients that they'd not thank me for repeating.
Not least in all of this, it hasn't escaped my notice that somebody with out-of-date knowledge is not very useful as a volunteer - it's all well and good being a cheery presence to help brighten up the day, but really, if I no onger know the details, how much use am I? There again, what do I do? Have another stroke to refresh my knowledge?
BEFORE YOU START: Please note that although I currently volunteer for both the Stroke Association and Age UK, the views expressed in this blog are strictly my own. I am not a spokesperson for either (or, indeed, for any) organisation. I am based in the UK and the blog therefore has a UK bias - I've tried to use the Glossary to explain any terms which might be ambiguous, but if you think there is anything I've missed, please message me. Lastly, you'll find typos here, although I do my best to correct them. There are reasons for this, which you'll discover as you read.