The clocks have gone forward, the sun is out, the daffodils are withering and the cherry blossoms are shedding their confetti. Spring is officially here, the air cool and we are allowed to go out and stretch our legs once a day for an hour. I keep my head down as I follow my route unlike last week when I tried to smile at fellow passers. Some took it kindly especially mums trying to navigate their prams and those taking their kids out for a walk. Others walked on with grim faces especially the elderly. A young lady with enhanced lips, meant only for pouting, used it to glower at me.
Nowadays everyone is abiding by the 2 metre rule. I feel like a leper as they give me a wide berth. This is not the time for niceties when people are worried about even the breath you exhale. In my younger days I used to be the first person to start running for cardiac arrest calls and the last person to get to the patient. I guess I still would be the last person to get to a cardiac arrest situation if I were to do it now. With the new work arrangements set in motion from Monday, my colleagues on the general anaesthetic side are now rostered to cover the arrests but I have been spared. I am covering the more innocuous elective Caesarean section lists.
The number of confirmed and suspected Covid-19 cases in our hospital is increasing day by day and so are the ventilated patients. The capacity for the intensive care has been hugely increased and the senior doctors from other specialities are now helping to take care of these patients. When a urology consultant asks me what PEEP is and when the general consultants ask for ventilator advice you can see that things are getting serious. Ben, our pain consultant and the Tyson Fury of the department, gives them a quick hilarious recap explaining the workings of the blood vessels, the lungs and the three syringes. The white one, he explains contains milk of amnesia, don’t use it all at once, he quips. “If the surgeons are busy doing anaesthetic jobs, and the anaesthetist are deployed elsewhere, who is adjusting the theatre lights for them”, he wondered.
I read a brief overview of pandemics over the centuries. The Great Plague, the Spanish flu, the third plague etc etc, pandemics that have caused widespread destruction, death and have changed the course of the world and not all of them for the worse. Surely if our ancestors have endured these afflictions over the centuries and have survived them, we can too.
I was planning to retire later on this year and was dithering about whether to carry on working after that. Even if I did, maternity cases was something I was going to give up completely. Now I am holed up in the labour ward for the foreseeable future. Life certainly is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans. I try to find out who coined this phrase. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that it is coming true. Everything is changing and it is time to embrace the changes and support each other, be it colleagues, family, friends, strangers, neighbours, in fact every single person around the globe. We are all in this together.