Wed 18th March 2020:
I hear from a doctor friend of ours that the drug hydroxychloroquine is being said to be beneficial in covid patients although it is too early for solid evidence to support this. I feel as though I need to have something in my hands for our loved ones as I really don't know or understand fully what this virus is doing to people. He orders some for his family and for ours. I feel that just having something, anything, to help in an emergency, is the least I can obtain for our loved ones, like an epipen of adrenaline, or an antidote to a poison. Except that this is so far the most tenuous of solutions. And anyway I hope the boxes don't ever get needed. I feel a pang of guilt that it is my professional opportunity which has privided me with the chance to get something which others may need. But am I not allowed to provide protection to my family first? My desire to do so overcomes my guilt, as I know that anyone else would do the same for the people they love.
I also order boxes of disposable gloves which I want to hand out to all the family. I can see now where this is going, and if toilet paper and pasta are out of stock, then it won't be long before all the things we need to actually protect ourselves are also unobtainable. We can’t be too careful and I still want to be ahead of the curve of advice. Finding hand soap or hand sanitising gel is nigh on impossible already. I warn my family that we may soon lockdown like France just has. I had planned to see my parents on Mother’s Day, but I'm worried that this is a bad idea-I still work in a hospital and wouldn’t forgive myself if I transferred anything without knowing. I’m still thinking about it. if we lock down before that then I’ve lost my chance anyway. Thank goodness for Facetime. I wish we had had it for all the years my dad was living away in Nigeria through the 80's and 90's. In this now high tech world, noone is ever very far away, but for us it meant months and months without seeing each others' faces.
I get an email from work asking if I have any ITU or anaesthetics experience. I haven’t. But now I’m worried at what is going on as we aren’t being told a thing at my hospital. At bedtime by husband tells me he doesn’t want me to go on the wards or ITU because of my cancer history which affected my chest. I’ve not for one moment considered what I can’t do after cancer, not now, not ever. But he may have a point. I will run it past my boss tomorrow. More out of duty to my husband's concerns, and not because I have concerns of my own. I'm sure that with the right protection any of us can be on hand to help in dire straits, that's my job, and the reason I went into this profession.
By Dr Sam Anthony
Survivor of a career in medicine, a career break from medicine, cancer, and blogging..join me in my quest to make us happier healthier individuals and doctors