This time last year I was stretched to my limits, like a good many others, as the school I was working at prepared for an Ofsted inspection. For those of you who don't work in UK Education, these inspections are dropped on you at 48 hours' notice these days, and most teachers would agree that they are very stressful.

So there we all were, monitoring each others' teaching and marking and preparation; putting together portfolios of 'evidence' of progress; making seating plans and updating our mark books with the latest news from the SEN register and the EAL lists. We knew it would be some time in the Summer term, and so we had to be "on our toes" at all times, because you really can't do it all in 48 hours. It was a nightmare. By the time we reached the middle of May and still no sign of the hit squad, my body decided it needed a rest. I went to bed one night, and as I lay down I started to feel ill. I had no idea what was wrong, but I knew I had to get up at once and go downstairs. The dizziness persisted as I made my way through the kitchen and I lost the power in my legs twice before I reached the bathroom. I'm diabetic and I eventually decided I was having a 'hypo' as I pulled myself back to my feet having slid to the floor once more. I had no pain at all.

It's a darn good thing that I wasn't home alone, because I was convinced there was nothing serious going on. My husband's first attemps to call an ambulance were thwarted by my insistence that all I needed was a cup of tea and a biscuit to restore my sugar levels. Thank God he eventually ignored me and made the call. 

The pain came several hours later, like someone drilling through my chest. I tried to curl up to make it go away, but strong hands restrained me and kept me in position  as the voice without a face told me I had to lie still, I was being treated for a heart attack. I have never been so frightened. 

Anyway, long story short as they say, I'm OK. It's almost a year and I'm teaching again. A lot of paper's gone under the bridge since then, ha ha!  One of my arteries functions with help of four stents. Yesterday, I was working in a school that was being inspected. The inspectors didn't come into the lessons I was taking, but you know what? I wouldn't have cared if they had. In the grand scheme of things there are so many more important things in life. In the last 12 months, I've been present at the birth of my granddaughter, had my book published, reconnected with several old friends and former pupils. I've laughed, cried, read books, written stories. I've loved and thanked God for all of it, because it's wonderful to be alive.
4/30/2010 12:02:07 am

My father's heart-attack when I was a youngster created a bizarre phobia of men "of a certain age who looked like they might drop dead any minute.
It's a terrifying experience for all involved, not least the patient, and you are a beacon for us all - some people just consign themselves to the dustbin. Others move on, determined to have long, healthy and fruitful lives. Your response is the measure of who you are x


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