It’s Been A Strange Kind of Year…

I’ve always been a planner. Every year, I set up a list of writing objectives to be completed over the coming twelve months. From this, I produce monthly plans, which are updated frequently throughout the year, when things slip, as they inevitably do. And I use my large desk diary to prepare a daily todo list each morning. It’s been suggested I might achieve more if I spent less time planning, but I can’t possibly agree.

But the events of recent months show how fragile plans can be.

I have a knee which needs replacement. Back in 2011, I was told it was in a bad state, but I was too young for a new one. Having reached the stage in life where it’s rare to be told I’m too young for anything, I didn’t argue. But in the past eighteen months, I’ve given up my gym classes due to the pain and we had to buy an automatic car when I found I could no longer operate the clutch.

Last August, I returned to the hospital, determined to convince the medics I needed the operation. One look at the new x-ray and it was game over. No cartilage left and bone spurs all over the place. I was in the system.

With an expected nine to twelve months’ wait, I front-loaded this year with conferences and speaking engagements. We booked our traditional three weeks in the sun for June; and I cancelled everything from July onward.

Then in November, I heard my operation was booked for 26th March. “But I don’t want it then; can’t we push it back to July or August?” I whined ungratefully. Sorry, not possible. So we cancelled everything from March onward – and I made plans for the back end of the year.

Then along came Covid-19! I had my pre-op assessment on 16th March; and my final meeting with the surgeon on the morning of 20th March. He was non-committal when I asked whether it would go ahead. At 4pm that afternoon, I heard it was off.

After a four month hiatus, I now have a new operation date: 6th August, next week in fact. More or less when I’d originally anticipated having it. It’s definitely been a strange kind of year. And I have a suspicion, it could get a lot stranger before we’re done with it. Time to take a deep breath and go with the flow?

[This is the introduction to a week of scripts on Lockdown Lessons written for Pause for Thought on Breakfast on BBC Radio Devon, and broadcast between Monday 27th and Friday 31st July. The broadcast goes out at 6.20am each weekday and at 7.20am at the weekend.]

By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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