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My summer job has started. I am now the Substitute Medical Transcriptionist of the Neurology Ward and Attached Stroke Unit.

I get an office. Fear me.

Over the following weeks, I'll witness hard-bought victories, acts of utter futility, and unbearable fragility, none of which will appear here. Patient confidentiality is a powerful thing.

Let me tell you about the person I'm subbing for, instead. She's an energetic woman in her forties with a streak of purple in her hair. She'd shown me around the previous week, and it had turned out that she had no partner: I'd be responsible for an entire ward (and stroke unit) for the first time. I took the news just like any other new posting, which is to say that I started work caffeine-addled and terrified.

As I arrived, a bag of nerves, I found that she'd posted my name and job outside my door. The gesture managed to be calming through being unnecessary - all the regular staff already knew where to find me. There was a thank-you on the calendar next to her vacation days. She'd also fetched a pocket protector that would fit my white coat, and equipped it with the pens I'd need. Since temps seldom get ID badges, she'd put my name on the front, and decorated it with

        \\  ~ ~  //
         (  @ @  )
ridiculous ASCII art.
    oooO      (   )
    (   )      ) /
     \ (      (_/

(The paper was too flimsy and curled quickly, so I took photocopies.)

I'm writing this down so I won't forget the impact everyday kindness can have.

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