7th April 2020:
Today was the first day of the "emergency" rota in our dept. It was hauntingly quiet, like coming in on a Sunday given that our outpatient department is only open Monday to Friday. 2 doctors (one was me), 3 nurses doing leg ulcer dressings, and 3 secretaries. It was the most opportune moment and productive day that I have had in weeks/years to sit down all day behind a closed door with just my computer for company, and catch up with my admin. After the hands on busy long days leading up to this, all my follow up patients have been cancelled, including skin cancer patients, I have had a pile of results to look through and patients to contact with these, and I need to plan for my patients who have been put on hold. I also have to familiarise myself with our whole skin cancer database in my new role which I have taken over from our cancer nurse specialist for the time being.
Two of my consultant team came down after their morning on the ward-they still had marks on their faces from the masks. They said it was ok, that the respiratory consultant discharged two patients, that they were learning a lot, but that while the wards are still well stocked with the medical teams both senior and junior, they were a little surplus to requirements, so came down to catch up on other work like I was. Worryingly they said that many patients aren't adhering to the advice of covering thier mouths when coughing, and wearing their masks as neck or mouth warmers, which is entirely inadequate. There is just so little control of what are essential details, which could change the face of this crisis so easily, one way or the other. I cycled home and freed myself of the day's thoughts, home to my caring husband, and threw myself into cooking home made burgers of epic proportions-cooking (and eating..) new recipes have become my relaxation it seems. As is watching daily episodes of Modern Family-escapism with humour, it's the antidote to these times of otherwise pensive contemplation.
Glad to also hear that Boris remains unintubated and breathing consiciously. St Thomas' hospital will be deservedly praised for their supreme care of our Premier, as should all our hospitals continue to be.
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