Hazard Perception

I am by no means stupid – I’ve got a degree,
Excel academically and professionally,
A bit of a geek – for achievement I strive,
But that doesn’t help when you’re learning to drive…

And I’m not only talking about being out on the road,
But also the theory test trying to decode,
The written section has caused me zero stress,
But the same can’t be said for the hazard test…

For those who don’t know this – a clarification,
It’s made up of 14 clips each of 2 minute duration,
Each contains a “hazard”, and just one will have two,
And you mouse click when it becomes apparent to you…

It’s not quite as simple as it might sounds though,
Well, at least not on your first – and only – go,
And to pass overall, well, this section is crucial,
But some of these clips are quite honestly brutal!

It’s not one hazard per clip – in fact more like three,
And what constitutes a “hazard” at all, actually…??
Is it the cyclist, pedestrian or the van pulling out?
End up second guessing – in constant state of doubt…

And woe betide you if you click the mouse too soon,
Or a second too late – equally as inopportune,
For appropriate caution you’ll be penalized,
And yet, in real life that’s just how you should drive!!

For in real life you’d react in each and every case,
Note the potential hazard and press on the brakes,
It’s just a computer game with no real relevance,
Once again seems the DVLA has no road sense…

In real life I spot hazards – instructor tells me so,
At zebra crossings and T-junctions go slow,
The test’s no reflection of real-life road safety,
And all just a waste of time – if you ask me!!

So in the end, I did pass my theory this week,
But my performance on this section was pretty bleak,
Just three mere points over the failure line!!!
Think this silly test needs to be redesigned…

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Swim Therapy

I feel so relaxed after a swim,
Like a massage with more effort in,
Muscles untensed and not uptight,
Going to sleep damn well tonight…

I need to get to the pool more,
But the early starts are such a chore,
God knows though – I have to say,
How I ever did 2 hours each day…?!?

I view the wake-ups with trepidation,
But it’s mental and physical meditation,
Too exhausted afterwards for stress,
Endorphines keep me not depressed…

My pool is calm with space aplenty,
No kiddies there – it’s almost empty,
Plus near my work – it does the trick,
Design is Greco-Romaic…

I feel so relaxed after a swim,
Like a massage with more effort in,
Muscles untensed and not uptight,
Going to sleep damn well tonight…

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Back on Duty

Going to visit mum-in-law tonight,
And you know what? I feel alright!
Recent break must have done me good,
Don’t dread it like normally would…

First time I’ve seen her for a while,
I do usually find it a trial,
But today I’m in an upbeat mood,
About taking her out for some food…

Tonight I’ll walk the usual walk,
Smile and nod and make small talk,
And not let dementia get to me,
A dutiful daughter-in-law be.

Hope she doesn’t burst my bubble,
Kick off, quibble or cause trouble,
Hope she’ll have her “nice” hat on today,
That her dark side won’t come out to play…

So wish me luck – I’m back on shift!
But a break’s given my mood a lift,
Am hoping for a peaceful repast,
As guarantee this mood will not last!

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In Flanders fields the poppies grow,
How many people these days know,
The suffering, the sacrifice,
The monumental loss of life?
All just a mere century ago…?

Between the crosses, row on row,
Tourists round the Ypres graveyards go,
But how many have true insight?
It all occurred in black and white,
Who recalls the debt that we still owe?

Trench warfare is but a memory,
Just pages on the book of history,
Who knows the horrors you went through?
That harsh duty that you had to do?
So people like me could be free…?

Some wear their poppies, most do not,
We’re the generation that forgot,
Who did not live through total war,
Who don’t remember anymore,
A collective memory blind spot…

Age will not weary, nor the years condemn,
This lost generation of fallen young men,
They won’t grow old, as we grow old,
And yet their tale must still be told.
I – for one – will remember them.

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I’m not afraid of ghosts and ghoulies,
Or things that go bump in the night,
And it takes more than a Frankenstein,
To cause me any fear or fright…

No, I’m not wimpy about witches,
Of Dracula I have no dread,
No worries about werewolves,
I’ve my own monster under my bed…

One who at times is a true demon,
Face twisted, bitter, angry, mean,
From nice Jekyll into evil Hyde,
She’ll out of the blue switch between…

On day soon she’ll be a zombie,
And I don’t mean that to be unkind,
All shuffling, mumbling, unaware,
Body still there but little mind…

I fear not just her but for her,
All the confusion and conflicts,
What trouble she may get herself into,
She has no treats but many tricks…

Caring can be a living nightmare,
But the true terror I endure,
Is that one day in my own old age,
I might just end up like her

No, my mum-in-law’s no monster,
But this disease does make me scream,
It strikes true fear into my heart,
And not only just on Halloween…

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My mind is racing, pacing, chasing,
With all the futures I am facing,
With all the things I need to do,
My mind just won’t stop running through…

My brain is whirling, twirling, swirling,
Knees are weak and stomach’s curling,
Too much pressure bearing down on me,
I feel so trapped – yearn to be free…

My soul is chained and drained and pained,
My body strained, worry ingrained,
Feeling in fight or flight mode,
In true sensory overload…

My heart is beating, leaping, overheating,
Life can sometimes feel so defeating,
All just seems bleak and bare and black,
In the midst of a panic attack…

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Twilight Zone

There is a fifth dimension beyond that known to man.
Imagine a dimension vast as space, if you can,
Timeless as infinity – we can’t grasp and can’t know,
It is the middle ground between light and shadow…

This dimension lies between superstition and science,
In the pit of man’s fears and the summit of our minds,
You unlock this door with the key of imagination,
Of sound, sight and mind a whole other dimension…

You’re moving into a land of shadow and substance,
Where reality as we know it appears all askance,
Alzheimers – a journey into the complete unknown,
You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone…

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Too Much

Too much on my plate right now,
Much more than I can get through,
I’m feeling overwhelmed right now,
So much to think about and do…

Work and care and care and work,
Plus driving lessons in between,
Theory test tomorrow too,
An overload in my daily routine…

Mum-in-law’s being difficult,
And work’s gone mad this week,
Husband has just crashed my car,
I’m feeling rather bleak…

Daily commute keeps going wrong,
Eating up to five hours in my day,
List of things to do keeps mounting,
House to clean and bills to pay…

Not had a single free weekend,
In months now – that’s my hunch,
All booked up with driving lessons,
And hosting family Sunday lunch…

Going through the days exhausted,
Almost as if I’m in a coma,
And just to top all of that off,
Seems I might have a melanoma!

Feeling overloaded, overwhelmed,
Balls to catch, deadlines to meet,
With so much on my plate right now,
Small wonder I don’t want to eat…

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Three Strikes

The last three years, seems the “Big C”,
Has hovered ever closer over me,
Dodged two close bullets already,
Hope to dodge this one – number 3.

Three years ago was pretty hell,
Pre-cancerous cervical cells,
All removed – though not much fun,
That was cancer strike number 1….

Two years back, harsh as it might seem,
Mother diagnosed with BRCA gene,
I did not inherit – thank God, phew!
That was my strike number 2….

Today GP informed that I’m the owner,
Of a mole that might be melanoma,
Appointment this week with dermatology,
This might just be strike number three…

Three strikes? You’re out! So the game goes,
This match for me is full of lows,
Don’t want skin cancer – no, not at all,
Just hope third time to bat this ball!

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Life Lessons

They say don’t curse the darkness, but just light a candle,
And that life can’t throw at you more than you can handle,
They say it’s through hardship that character’s earned,
What life lessons through dementia have I really learned?

I’ve learned I can keep my gob shut in the face of abuse,
Learned compassionate communication conflict to diffuse,
Learned humility in the face of others’ much worse struggles,
I’ve learned it’s not easy both work and caring to juggle!

I’ve learned that I’m not quite the good person I thought,
That I don’t always think or act as a decent person ought,
I’ve learned I don’t want to pick up all of dementia’s slack,
I’ve learned I need a life outside of mum-in-law back…

I’ve learned there’s such thing as compassion fatigue,
I’ve learned you can’t always give what someone might need,
I’ve learned that you have to put your own self first,
I’ve learned that all of the diseases, dementia’s the worst…

I’ve learned a new appreciation of all the little things,
Such as husband’s and my wine, TV and sofa nights in,
With no mum-in-law in sight – just my husband and me,
This – I have learned – is my true sanctuary…

So yes, when one’s confronted by failing mental health,
You do learn some lessons about life and your own self,
So not like I’ve learned nothing – that I hope I am showing,
But wonder are any of these worth the trouble of knowing…??

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