Dazed and Confused.


As might be apparent from todays picture, this post will not be along my usual lines.


Up there in the “About” bit was a little something I wrote a few years ago now.  I should perhaps clarify the situation before I go much further…

Outside of this blog, and when not snapping away with my trusty 7d (or not chasing down a slightly deranged but lovely Springer Spaniel) I spend my actual working life in a very busy hospital in the heart of England.  By night, I am a walker of dogs…taker of photos, husband, cook and sci-fi loving nerd of a young 40.  By day I am a pharmacy technician.  We are something of an unsung profession within healthcare, often confused for pharmacists.

I can perhaps (and no doubt somewhat crudely) sum up my job as follows. A nurse is employed to (at the most basic level) wipe the backside of patients.  This is a horrible oversimplification, but it allows me to follow on with the claim that we (as in Pharmacists and Pharmacy technicians) are there to wipe the metaphorical arses of the Doctors and Consultants (and indeed, nurses). We provide an essential safety net for you. Each and every person reading these words would be amazed at how many potentially deadly mistakes Doctors make…and we are there to intervene.  Another metaphor might be one of football.

If healthcare as a whole is a game of football with two teams of potential idiots (Dr’s and Nurses) kicking about errors, it is us in Pharmacy that are the goalkeepers. The last line of defense between overworked and overtired Doctors and understaffed and put-upon nurses.

I can personally claim, not with necessarily any showy operations or Heimlich Maneuvers, that there are people alive today because of me. I have asked the simple question of “are you allergic to Penicillin” to a patient who was in fact fatally allergic to that antibiotic. The Dr didn’t…the Nurse never thought to. But I did, and thus the Penicillin that had been prescribed by the Dr was changed to something else. Not that is not a showy thing, it is a routine question and nothing special. Any Pharmacy Tech/Pharmacist would know to ask that.

But that is my point, we routinely deal these issues.


But all that is beside the point, and as I write this it seems self-indulgent.

Today I was told that after 18 years of working for the Trust, that my job is potentially going. And going soon, maybe in a month or two.  I am not naive, I know that David Cameron and the Conservative party in the UK are determined to do away with the NHS. And after these 18 years I am not going to claim that the NHS is a shining example of a well-run organization.  But even before today I have seen the services being cut one by one in this Hospital.

We have offices in areas that were once functioning wards. Can anything else sum up the problems in the NHS like that? Patient beds being removed to facilitate bureaucracy. And all this has happened under the watch of the Tories.  So much funding has been cut from the NHS in general that we are having to reduce the care given to patients.

And of course when the standards inevitably fall the press and Cameron’s Cronies love it, and thus the NHS is screwed further.

But back to me! 18 years and my job is under severe threat. Now, again, I am not naive. I know that jobs are threatened across the UK. But our trust is currently having its staffing levels brutalized. If I heroically remove myself from the equation, I am genuinely worried for the patients. I do not know what level of care they are going to receive.

The powers-that-be would (if they saw it) no doubt respond to my claim by saying something along the lines of “job cuts are carefully considered and managed as to ensure that patients safety is not compromised”.

I will take the liberty of responding to my theoretical conversant by saying “Bullshit”.

And I can even say that today I saw how this “patients safety is not compromised” is a lie.  An unfortunate individual had been explosively ill in the gents toilets. Brown excrement was everywhere.  This is a hospital, people are ill. Such things happen. But, in this case we did not have enough cleaning staff to deal with it. Because they have “let some staff go”.


But this situation is a bit worse for me than for many facing redundancy, I work with my partner.  Not necessarily in the same space, but in the same department. And she too is in the “potentially at risk” club.  Meaning it is a possibility that we might both lose our jobs, and actually be in competition for the jobs that are available.  Imagine what it feels like to (potentially) be in competition with your own spouse for a job which you both need.

Frankly, if it comes to it I will resign before that happens.


If this entry is rambling and unfocused, that is because I am somewhat overwhelmed (in a bad way) by todays events.


And I am a bit drunk.  It seemed like if any night was a wine night, then tonight is such a night!


I feel like I have more to say, but I am in a somewhat paranoid frame of mind.  This blog (and photography in general) for me has always been an escape, I post under a pseudonym and very very few people whom I know personally are aware I do this.  I like it that way, it is separate. I have sold some work through my Redbubble, but I have never promoted it once amongst anyone I actually know. Again, it is separate. Also, for me my photography is a strangely private and personal thing.  My photo’s are how I see the world, they are (perhaps) a little private glimpse into my soul. To share that with people who actually know me seems too much of an invasion.

Also, while (until now) I have never made any real posts regarding my place of employment, I was uncertain when I started this blog where I was going with it. As a Pharmacy Technician I am registered to a society, I did not want to risk any possible negative effects on my standing with the society and place of work with my blistering social commentary.  Which never happened, but the anonymous identity stuck.

So I post under an assumed name and, deliberately, cut myself off from any actual paid work that my photography might bring. There have been a few offers for me to photograph a few celebratory parties and a wedding.  But I have declined from such things for many reasons.

But if my actual job goes away then I may be forced to actually put my camera to some paid work, which brings with it many fears and concerns.

But also, and I won’t lie, a certain excitement.


So we get to the crux of the matter.


I am 40, I am a pharmacy technician of nearly 20 years standing.

And I don’t know If I will have a job at Christmas.

I am terrified, saddened and genuinely excited!


I have gone on for far to long, so as a reward for the one person who got this far…


The deranged doggy!

Springer Spaniel





6 thoughts on “Dazed and Confused.

  1. From across the pond in another Tory-run country and in a province where the Tories have literally reigned, unchallenged (for all intents and purposes) for over 40 years, I am genuinely saddened to hear this. Our provincial health care system is in a similar state and no one here except those who will benefit privately are happy with it but the Old Boys’ Club has been in power for too long – two generations have never known another government.
    I applaud the work and the years you have devoted to your “first” profession and I truly hope Christmas doesn’t find you and your little family hopeless as far as employment goes.
    I do hope you are seriously thinking of going professional with your photography! Your work is amazing and you have a truly fine portfolio! You are young yet (I can say that, having a few years on you – I have children not much younger than you are) and as weird as it may seem under the circumstances, this is a good age for you to be thinking about how to make a living from your art (easier said than done I know). Your talent, your drive and your passion for photography will sustain you.
    Good luck!

  2. It is said that we reinvent ourselves at least twice and possibly three times during a life time. I was restructured from my marketing job several years ago. It was an incredibly scary period of my life, however with the support of my husband I have been reinventing myself as a writer and equine experiential learning facilitator. You have such a marvelous talent for photography that I’m sure if you put your heart behind it you will find a new and fulfilling direction in your life. It won’t come without sacrifice or some uncomfortable feelings, but it will be worth it. I wish you well …

  3. Bloody hell. I came to say thanks for following Shaking the Tree, and have just read your post in genuine fear. I’m on the other side of the world watching what is left of our public health service being privatized, but I have family in the UK, including an elderly mother, and a brother so damaged by NHS surgery that he’s in constant pain. The anecdotal stuff I hear from them is scary; what you are saying is terrifying. I hope that whatever happens in your professional life in the coming weeks you and your wife stay strong together. I also hope that if you find yourself a new-born freelance that you embrace the opportunity, nay grab it with both hands and wave it around shouting yippee. Looking at your photos, I’m sure you could “go pro” — and that’s a good start. The real trick though is just to have confidence that whatever you do, you will do it well. That’s what clients buy. Good luck and kia kaha from Aotearoa NZ. Cheers, Su.

    • Thanks for raking the time to respond.

      Its a worrying time, and the fact that my wife is in the same boat just compounds it all and makes it a 1000 times worse.

      You are correct of course, I need to get that confidence thing going, and turn this little nightmare to my advantage.

      Thanks again for the reply:)

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