Veteran

I had to chuckle – the co-ordinator at the stroke charity told me the other day that I’d clocked up 100 hours of volunteering. My first thought was, how on earth did they calculate that?, because, it is all guesswork on their part! Most of the time I’ve done the drop-ins on my own, so nobody else would even have a clue.

But I can work it out. Approximately, anyhow. As regards the real numbers, I volunteer only once a fortnight, just going around the ward at the local hospital, the ward where I was once a patient. So that’s 26 visits per year. I’ve been volunteering 2-and-a-bit-years, so, maybe, 60 visits by now I’m somewhere between 1½ and 2 hours at the hospital itself.

So I suppose 100 hours is not a bad guess.

I’m governed by bus times, so I can estimate it more firmly by thinking about the buses that I catch. Each time, I’m out of the house for 4 hours. It has always been thus, so that’s maybe 240 hours total – time spent out of the house, that is. It’s just a shame that such a vast proportion of my time is spent either waiting for, or using, my transport.

Either way, my other thought is that 100 hours is not exactly a lot, is it? Somebody working full-time would do that in just a few weeks. But they’re not recovering from a stroke, so I cut myself some slack.

On the one hand it’d be nice if there was a bit more I could do, but no matter how much we do, we can always do more. Many people don’t do anything at all. I can buy that most people have no connection with stroke, so why should stroke be one of their pet projects? After all, there are around a quarter of a million charities in the UK, most of them are good causes, and they’re all competing against each other for people’s attention. But when somebody has actually been touched by stroke themselves, maybe had something go wrong themself, maybe even helped by that particular ward, and are left such that they can help … I know that’s a lot of people will be unable to help, but I can’t be the only one who’s had a stroke but can get around enough to talk to other people, surely?

But, people don’t. That’s just the society we live in, there’s no point crying about it. We spend our lives not really caring what happens to one another – certainly, not enough to help them. We pay our taxes and just think that it then becomes somebody else’s problem. The bad news is that the politicians already used our taxes to pay their salaries!

Anyway … my long service medal is in the post, I presume.