I’m coming to the end of my second week of holiday cover for my supervisor. Such periods are very useful as times of juggling priorities and different tasks. It’s been a fairly busy couple of weeks, but not for the reasons I had anticipated.
For a start, I’ve only had one funeral come in (that’s the “shhh!!” bit – there’s still Friday, then the weekend). It’s funerals that cause most disruption, simply because of their unpredictability. And the preparation for them is also an indeterminate task.
But I’ve also discovered another activity that eats up time in unpredictable ways – visiting. A number of the visits I’ve tried to do these last two weeks have come to nothing. A half hour drive to the hospital can often end up with the information that the person has been transferred, or sent home, or is unable to receive visitors. Or, in a couple of instances, the person has been sound asleep. And whilst it is tempting to ‘accidentally’ make a noise to announce your presence, that’s more about your needs than their needs.
It’s not so much that they feel like a waste of time, because it’s just as likely that you’ll find them, awake, in the right place and keen to have a visitor. But they do mean that they throw off the planning and rhythm of a day. The half our or so that you didn’t get visiting can’t really be used. It’s too short a time to get into anything and often isn’t enough time to revise plans for alternative visits.
Or maybe that’s the secret that you eventually work out – how to make best use of these little fragments of time that get ‘left over’.
Whatever the answer, just don’t say anything about only having one funeral to do. I’ll have every other one that comes in for the next month assigned to me to make up for it.