I have written far less over the past few months than at any time in the last five years. In many ways I had run-out of things to say, not because I have stopped thinking, worrying or reflecting, more, because the monotony of everyday experience has at times become I suppose, uninspiring.
I would not call it a sea of tranquillity, more a day to day sameness interrupted by changes in the weather.
For weeks I have been searching for ideas that are not Covid-related, topics I could perhaps consider and discuss in this blog, yet it has been difficult.
In a way, the resurgence of the virus, with Rotherham – which is where I work and down the road from where I live moving onto the governments ‘watchlist’ for Covid, has made things easier; I can safely obsess about the virus and it is OK, as thinking, talking and working in this state is fair game when things aren’t going well.
Interestingly, as I have just mentioned I don’t live in Rotherham, I am in Doncaster which is stuck by geographical glue to the rest of South Yorkshire which is not on the watchlist and has a Covid transmission rate that is lower – something like 40 vs 100 cases per 100,000 people.
It all gets very confusing – if I live on this street, I should not visit the neighbour whereas here I am, well, isolating?
For many of the patients I either see, meet or talk with the Spring Pandemic restrictions never ended – sure there were exhortations for people to resume normal activity, yet, the first-wave of Covid was so overwhelming that many have lost the ability to go back to normal, least of all those who are frail – the physical deconditioning of lockdown has not allowed recovery, or, those with cognitive impairment or dementia for whom the psychological and associated social isolation have been devastating.
My family and I managed to get away for an (albeit wet) holiday in Scotland for a week in August; many of my patients haven’t left their houses since March.
Ironic when you consider one of the most recent news items suggesting that Vitamin D might protect from Covid – that is, exposure to limited sunlight to those who could do with it most. (I won’t go into all the good and bad of Vitamin D – if you research you will find it treating, curing or preventing everything from cancer and depression to multiple-sclerosis and hip fractures; suffice it to say, whatever it is it’s not a panacea).
Earlier this week I participated in an NHS England Covid update – online of course; it was filled with mostly upbeat ‘leaders’ discussing our success in tackling Covid.
I finished the call reassured that things are going in the right direction.
Then I remembered the conference I attended back in March where similar governmental bods announced that we would be OK for PPE as they had seen the supplies and there was more than we would ever need (I believe this was the so-called Flu Pandemic Stockpile) – which when ‘released’ (Images of Mr Burns ‘release the hounds’) everything would be OK.
I remember the supplies being released. I also remember hospitals and nursing homes that had so few masks and gloves that they resorted to rationing.
Another aspect of that first conference was a graph which showed the response to, I think it was to Swine-Flu where the numbers of cases plummeted in July when schools and universities broke-up and surged again in September when they went back to work.
Oh, that seems to have happened again.
I suppose it is easy to feel sorry in circumstances like this for the Government and their advisors – what do you do? We can’t keep kids and students at home indefinitely. Yet, it is odd, when you see the orderly Confucian schools running in China and the Far East that seem to be taking things seriously and the chaos in the UK, where I see school children in groups walking around as if nothing is happening; dumb to the reality that their future is being burned through the profligate nature of government spending on failed schemes for virus control or overall chaotic mismanagement of the crisis.
It is easy to become angry at the situation.
In the summer I could at least sit in the garden and read a book; now it is less straightforward.
Usually when I write my blogs I think of a title and use that as a theme for discussion; this has been rambling, I suppose reflecting the unstructured, uncharted course I and most people I meet are following.
We have Halloween then Christmas – both of which will surely be non-starters;
We are into a new phase of life.
Here is to tomorrow.