Health Diary Week 95: Bittersweet

Image: Beautiful but menacing sunset, Bolivia, 2008

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Hi, welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate: health updates and smile-provoking experiences. This is a late post I’m afraid – I’m a week behind (again) – I’ll will get caught up…

Staff Wellbeing Hub Admin: Week Two

My second week at work disappeared too quickly to learn everything I wanted to learn. I was only onsite one day, so I still need to complete my understanding of the different Counselling referral processes. On my other day, I completed loads of online training from home – I passed all the assessments (phew):

Image: Online training modules completed on Thursday

Histamine Reaction – Elbow Rash

I’ll be working from home for the admin job, so Dad kindly helped me increase my desk space. We’d purchased a wooden top from Ikea, which Dad secured neatly onto my current desk (there’s a photo in my What Made Watson Smile section). Within an hour of sitting at my desk, I noticed my elbow was itching – the skin reacted to whatever chemical was on the wood even after a good clean with soapy water. I’m annoyingly sensitive to what feels like everything at the moment. Thankfully, the rash cleared when I stopped leaning my elbow on the desk (a bad habit anyway):

Image: My itchy, sore, rash-covered elbow (it doesn’t usually look like that!)

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

And, of course, here’s a few smiles for you – the last one somewhat unexpected…

My new working from home desk:

I used to spend a lot of time studying from home – the lack of desk space was always a nuisance. Dad suggested securing a top to my current desk, making it longer and wider – a simple £15 fix. We had an amusing visit to Ikea: Dad drove around the car park for ages looking for a space, refusing to go up a level, I took us on an unnecessary walk around the shop trying to find the lifts and we got stuck in the car park, creating a queue of cars when we were trying to leave – we did chuckle afterwards though. Dad attached the desktop while I was at work and as a bonus, fixed my filing cabinet drawer so that I no longer need to use a doorstop to keep the drawer shut:  

Image: Top: My new desk set up (before I tidied it up nicely). Bottom right: The doorstop I used to keep the cabinet drawer from sliding open. Bottom left: The simple hinge solution now keeping the drawer closed – why didn’t we do this before?

A lovely leaving card:

I had my last day of work at the Covid vaccine centre – I will miss that buzzing atmosphere. The amazing Admin Shift Leads pulled together a lovely leaving card for me, despite only finding out that morning that it was my last day. I’m eternally grateful for my job at the vaccine centre – it was the doorway into my new dream job as an NHS Health and Wellbeing Coach:

Image: My leaving card from the Covid vaccine centre

The 100 club:

I received a WordPress notification informing me that I’d reached 100 posts – it took me a while (21 months of blogging), but I got there eventually – go me:

Image: 100 posts on WordPress notification

A family get together (under sad circumstances):

We went to my cousin’s funeral. Understandably, you might ask why a funeral made me smile. The situation and funeral itself didn’t make me happy at all, but it was nice to see family I hadn’t seen since before the pandemic started. The Wake was in the countryside, in my cousin’s garden. We were fortunate it was a gorgeous warm and sunny day, making outside socialising particularly pleasant. Also, this was the furthest I’d travelled since before the pandemic started – it was lovely to see all the pretty countryside whizzing by on our journey there and back again. A bittersweet day, one might say:  

Image: People in silhouette against a sunset (kholisrevenge, Pixabay)

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Please feel free to follow my bite-sized updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next week for another catch up.

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Health Diary Week 94: Believe in Yourself

Image: “Believe in yourself” butterfly and crystal necklace, a leaving present from my lovely former university work colleagues

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Hi, welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate: health updates, meal creations and smile-provoking experiences.

My Dream Job

Okay, so I’ve been keeping this one quiet for a while (since June), because I couldn’t quite believe it was real until I’d received the contract…

… While I was working at the Covid Vaccine Centre there was a mini careers event on site, but its focus was recruitment into phase three of the vaccine programme. I very nearly didn’t visit it but remembered my promise to myself to take every opportunity to network. Recently I’ve learnt to believe in myself more (something I’d previously struggled with), so assertively I explained I was looking for a career in wellbeing and proceeded to inform the person I was talking to (I had no idea who they were) about my nutrition and health qualifications and advisory experience. Somehow, I impressed and was told about my dream job’s imminent release and offered a meeting with the specific Primary Care Network (PCN) and GP Leads to discuss further. The meeting went well, and I applied for the job…

…So, I’m now a Health and Wellbeing Coach for the PCN, with doctors referring patients to me (wow!). My specialism is Nutrition, although I’ll be covering a wider health area. It is a completely new post, recruiting nationwide, and I should be able to influence how my role develops – amazing! I’m so excited! Admittedly I’m also rather scared.

I think my two new part-time jobs will complement each other well. Linking me nicely into my other exciting new job that I’ve just started…

Image: Dream Job (Gerd Altmann, Pixabay)

Another Great Job: Week One

…I’m also a Staff Wellbeing Hub Administrator for a group of hospitals – I love the idea of supporting hospital staff with their wellbeing. It was an overwhelming and exhausting first couple of days – a pre-first day disrupted sleep, nervousness about travelling on the train for the first time since covid, and new systems and processes to learn. But I reminded myself these overwhelmed feelings are normal when I start anything new – they always ease with familiarity. And everyone seemed so nice, including my lovely job-share.

New Glasses: Varifocals

For some time now, I’ve been aware that I’m at that stage where I’ll be needing varifocals to accommodate my middle-aged eyes. Now that I have a regular income and I’m double-vaccinated, I decided it was time to get this sorted (I really should have done it sooner). I collected my new glasses this week and was surprised that I easily adapted to the three different prescriptions (distance, computer work and reading) in the one pair of glasses.

Now I can see properly again (with glasses), I’m happy to start on the sodium cromoglicate allergy eye drops for the required 28 days, to reduce my eyelid inflammation (due to excess histamine), before I trial my new varifocal contact lenses:

Image: My new varifocal glasses, and eye drops to control my inflamed eyelids

Histamine Food Risk – Excessive Hummus?:

I know I’ve said it before, but I love hummus! After discovering I could eat chickpeas again, I became over-zealous, eating hummus pretty much every day. I even discovered that it is great as a creamy pasta sauce. But I started experiencing indigestion (extremely rare for me since becoming wholly plant based) and I wondered whether my excessive hummus consumption could be the cause, as histamine overload can result in gut issues for some. I also wondered whether feeling stressed may have exacerbated things. Regardless, I’m trying to reduce my hummus intake, but it is ever so hard:

Simple pasta (sweet white onion and sweetcorn) with a hummus, mixed herbs, turmeric and sweet paprika sauce – okay, it isn’t pretty, but tasted delicious nonetheless

Low Histamine Meal – Vegetable Risotto:

I love a risotto, so I was happy when Mum offered to make one for dinner. Nowadays, Mum makes a low histamine risotto – omitting peas, mushrooms, chilli, stock cubes, and lemon juice used in our former version. Instead we keep to courgette, asparagus and sweet white onion, with garlic, mixed herbs, oat milk and vegan butter (a small histamine risk). I add chia seeds to mine (for omega 3 goodness) and when my symptoms are well controlled, B12 vitamin yeast flakes which provide a cheesy, nutty taste. This time Mum included some roasted butternut squash too – a delicious addition:

Image: Mum’s yummy risotto (roasted butternut squash, asparagus and courgette)

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

And let me happily share with you some of this week’s little smile provokers …

Kind freebies – pass on the smiles:

Carrying on with the food theme, I received my order from the Vegan Kind Supermarket and was pleased to receive a couple of freebies again – peanut caramel and mint chocolate bars. I passed them on to Mum who seemed pleased – it feels good to pass on the smiles:

Image: Chocolate bars gifted by the Vegan Kind Supermarket

The magpie tapper:

Now, I’m not particularly keen on magpies. But my heart warmed a little towards the one outside our office window where my job share and I were temporarily working. We’d been told to look out for the friendly magpie who likes to interact with people by tapping on the window – we were pleased to have a visit and tried not to be distracted by its tapping while we were in an online meeting:

Image: Magpie perched above the pond, Week 32

Hidden room:

At work, we received a tour of the hospital buildings where we were based for our Induction, including the impressive former chapel. We were guided down a distant corridor and through a plain door that gave no hint of the treasures behind it. We found ourselves in a little museum (a tribute to the chapel) and extraordinary function room. The stained-glass windows and ceiling were particularly impressive:

Image: The preserved hospital former chapel’s stained-glass windows

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Please feel free to follow my bite-sized updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next week for another catch up.

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