Loose ends

16 Mar

I realise that I have left a few issues hanging, without ever responding to them, or explaining them properly. (Thanks to Jon, who pointed this out ever-so-nicely)
Local Council job

I spoke to the woman at my local council, and they are not paying enough for me to be interested, even after I factor in the nearness of the work (I have spoken to other people and they agree that the council is under-paying). She was very nice, though, and there may potentially be some outsourced components of their project, so she asked me to send something through to her.

I put together a bit of a prospectus about my skills & the clients I have had (more detail & more overt sales pitch than just a CV) and sent it to her. We shall see what happens – at least I have the prospectus together now 🙂

Work stuff

Other job hunting is mostly on hold at the moment, due to my mother’s health (see below). I’m just wrapping up two projects but I have a few things to go on with:

  • Content Management System training – design a training/user manual for a content management system, incorporating not only what the users have to do in the system but also best practice-type information about how to make the CMS work for them. Approximately 8 days’ work to go on this, will put a lot of time in next week.
  • Online teaching system – last year, I redesigned their training manual and also developed an implementation workshop package to expedite the process of – well, of implementing 🙂 The workshop means that, instead of a flurry of emails and missed deadlines, the initial planning session elicits all the information that the implementers need. They have just moved to a new version of the base software so I need to refresh what I did last year. 5 days’ work.
  • Information portal development – we developed a strategy for a client to implement an information portal for collecting relevant research  & sharing it with an online community. The client wants us to manage the implementation. Unclear how many days’ work or what my exact role will be.
  • Implementation & process manual development – a client has a new product that revolutionises the way that fast food restaurants deal with their reporting. They retained me to write a user manual (delivered) and now they need me to write their implementation manual. This will be interesting because I will be going on site with the techs to see what they do and then describe it.

I also have a bid in for 100 hours’ work rewriting a system manual for a government department. They apparently only had 2 bids so I hold out some hope, although the company has had no work through this department for about 3 years and something like 17 unsuccessful bids.
It’s weird that I am getting all this writing work, when I think my strength is more in analysis. It’s good, because writing work can be done in chunks and even on-site, so I don’t lose all the down-time. The concern is that it doesn’t look great on my projects record – I need to do some more analytical and strategic work so that I don’t start to look like a tech writer with ambitions above her station 🙂

I am also doing two voluntary projects:

  • Design a new IA (Information Architecture) for Biggie’s school – this will be as big or as small as the principal wants it to be. I want it to be reasonably big as there are a lot of interesting things schools can do with their websites if they want to – and our school’s families are typically highly educated and internet-savvy.
  • Design an IA (including content templates) for a volunteer group. This is about 70% done (needs refinement). It’s a good project, because the content is interesting and because most groups in this area have really lousy site architectures. Really lousy sites, even. I expect I will end up building the site, too, so I am trying to learn more about Joomla and other free CMS tools.

My mother

The full story here, because I have only touched on it peripherally.

In late December, she noticed a swelling and associated soreness on the right side of her face. She ignored it, because she thought she had toothache and she hates dentists.

She finally saw a dentist in mid January, and was referred (the same day!) to a cranio-facial surgeon who sent her for MRI scans. They found that her entire right sinus was blocked by  “a mass”. (It was amazing to see on the scans, actually – there was no hole at all where the sinus should show up as a hole). She was referred for a biopsy.

The biopsy showed that she has a quite aggressive “diffuse large B-cell lymphoma”. She was referred to another specialist, who admitted her to hospital the following morning.

The lymphoma is quite advanced, and it’s very close to her brain, possibly already starting to establish itself (not entirely clear). This type of lymphoma grows very quickly, so it is a risk to her, although the fast growing-ness makes it easier to treat.

She’s having to go through 6 months of chemotherapy, which has (her doctor estimates) a 50-60% chance of curing this lymphoma. They administer it through a lumbar puncture, so it will get straight into her central nervous system.

Even if that works, her doctor told me there’s a high chance that it will recur, and it’s likely to recur in her brain or central nervous system.

A website I read suggested that people over 65 who have recovered from normal lymphomas have a 56% survival rate at 5 years. I gather that my mother’s chances are much, much lower than that. She’s 70 and has diabetes, and there’s the complication that it may get into her brain.

It’s extra complicated because she is the primary carer for my father, so we are having to arrange care for him at the same time as making arrangements for her. Knowing what I do about her prognosis, I also need to think about longer-term plans for dad (One nurse said to me, quite bluntly, “you need to understand that your dad is, barring accidents, going to live considerably longer than your mum”)

I feel I can hardly look for work when I’m having to take time off to go to her medical appointments with her, etc.

And the really important question

Did I get to bed by 10pm on Wednesday 7th March?

Well, no. But I was in bed before 11.30, which is a start.

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Posted by on March 16, 2007 in parents, sleep, work


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