21st April 2020:
Having felt so underused recently as a qualified doctor in this pandemic, as I work through my patient list, the new skin cancers list, and make calls to my patients, meet about ongoing developments in managing remote working with our team, not only for now, but to future proof some of these new ways of working after covid, I finally come to realise that what I'm doing as a doctor behind the scenes still matters, even if I'm not now on the frontline and seeing volumes of patients. It's taken a while to come to terms with being held back from helping outside of my department, but I'm busy, and I'm useful, and even writing this makes me see how much I have been trying to justify myself!
I had the best therapy this morning at work-a few of us slowly gathered in the empty patient waiting room as more of the team arrived to work, and whilst maintaining our distances we sipped tea and had a good old natter, an offload, and a sharing of recent experieces. And best of all my two besties, whom I feel I have been separated from for so long, and who heroically trained and worked on itu one day last week, walked through the door and it was like a waiting room tea party! It was so nourishing for all of us, and confirmed how important it is to see people face to face.
In fact they had been appreciatively turned away from ITU after the morning ward round as there were half the number of patients there, having previously been double that before now. So this seemed a positive thing-that perhaps numbers of infections and deaths reported in the media in the past few days was now actually visible in our hospital. We had seen numbers escalating to a daily death toll of 980 at its peak on 10th April we saw some temperary daily drops and up they went again. But after 888, then 596, then 449 daily deaths reported between 17th and 20th April, this has looked really encouraging. But I came home today and 828 were reported again. This is another dismal number, and I looked back to see if the peaks were 14 days after the Mothers Day weekend and the Easter weekend, both streaming in sunshine, and both filled with crowds of people venturing out to enjoy it. A crude observational assumption, but one I couldn't ignore.
Positive suggestions of a vaccine being developed in a matter of months, as opposed to years, at Oxford University sounds promising, with the hope that the small differences in the covid strains can all be destroyed by the vaccine. Meanwhile debates continue over the sensitvity of the covid antigen and antibody tests, and we are being encouraged to all wear face masks in public to prevent our own droplets spreading to others-sounds effective if we all do this, and for prevention of spread of all droplet-spread viruses. I order some online and order some directly to our parents.
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