This means a week of unpredictable fluctuations between being rigid as a plank or bouncing off the walls with dyskinesia (uncontrollable movements). These two symptoms have something in common with the sector. Stereotypically, larger charities attract people who are often risk-averse and rooted in tradition. Grass-roots organisations spring up like mushrooms and often chase funding rather than create a strategic vision.
Tuesday: As I lie rigid looking at the ceiling, the reality of the mind-body disconnection hits me. I want my arm to move but no amount of thinking will make it happen. Often, non-profit organisations do not take time to differentiate their daily activities from their vision of the future. There's liberation and frustration in this.
Wednesday: I'm diaried to attend a reception about climate change at Claridges, but the meds are still not working. I had invited interested people from the voluntary sector. The reception offered networking opportunities for people who don't usually meet. Who knows what might happen? What cheered me, as my medications began to kick in at 3am (what good is that to anyone?), was that the event showed the sector is changing and I can still make things work - albeit remotely.
Thursday: As I plan my keynote speech for the conference of terminally ill children's charity the Rainbow Trust, I realise it's in Manchester and I'm not meant to travel. Technology will save the day: you can be in two places at once with a video link. This makes me think how Rainbow, a small charity, is working with the large Richard House Children's Hospice to make savings on infrastructure and ensure equality of access nationwide.
Still rigid. It feels like a life sentence, which of course it is. The upside is that it doesn't kill you; it liberates you to be more daring. What is there to lose?
Friday: My mobility is beginning to return. I have no idea why. The best piece of advice given to me is that every invalid is a physician. Dare I say the same for the sector?
Saturday: I am cheered to hear that the glass top has been successfully installed over the shaft of the lift that will be invaluable to me as my mobility decreases. This means the end of the refurb chaos is in sight.
Later in the day, however, the lorry bringing the lift overturns on a roundabout, smashing it all. A big setback? Only if you let it be. The opportunity is there to learn from your mistakes. We should have planned better and allowed time for things to go wrong. It's the same in the sector: a Plan B is essential.
- Geraldine Peacock serves on several trustee boards and is an adviser to the Commission on Unclaimed Assets.