As many of you will know, my husband Alex is an Infectious Disease Doctor and Researcher in Oxford UK. The is the forth instalment of his diary of a doctor on the frontline. If you would like to read the full story please click here.
Tuesday to Friday (14th -17th April)
Alex confirms that the Easter Weekend wasn’t the hell hole that was expected. Our self-isolation is helping to flatten the curve and reduce the burden on the NHS.
Keep up the good work people!
It is still terribly busy on the wards, and staff are continually having to take time off when they’re sick, but it’s manageable. The overwhelming surge of patient hospital admissions that was expected never arrived.
And in other parts of the hospital it’s deadly quiet. Those that would have normally been doing planned surgery for example, are twiddling their thumbs. Daily clinics are all cancelled until further notice, and A&E is barren as people avoid coming in. With foreign travel ceased until further notice, even the Infectious Disease wards aren’t dealing with any of the strange and wonderful infections they usually see.
What a weird environment it is to work in.
Monday 19th – 22nd April – In the research world
On the other hand, in the research world there is a hub of activity. So many Scientists are submitting papers for publication.
Alex is faced with a new problem.
His research has proven extremely successful, but now it needs to be done on a larger scale. However, no one yet knows whether the coronavirus blood samples that are being handled in the lab are live and infectious or not.
If they are live, and 10’s of thousands are expected to be tested, it’s practically and financially impossible to do this in a ‘high safety’ environment. Without this category 3 standard of protection, the risk to the lab staff is too great.
Even with protective equipment including gloves, suits and hoods, technicians, rightly so, would be reluctant to work in these conditions. With this in mind, more safety tests need to be done before this large-scale research can take place.
This insiders knowledge frustrates me. It’s all good and well for the government and public to request and expect ‘more testing’ and definitive answers, but sometimes the pure logistics of it all aren’t taken into consideration.
There seems to be a blame culture going on in the media right now and it is all very unhelpful. They swing from one subject to another. Firstly, it’s do more testing, then get more PPE, yet most people commenting don’t understand the complexities of it all.
I think there needs be more compassion, faith and understanding that hospital workers are doing the BEST THAT THEY CAN given the unusual and unpredictable circumstances.
We need less criticism and more unity and hope at this difficult time.
At home things are a little strained too
The few occasions we do get to see Alex, he looks tired. He’s definitely burning the candle at both ends. Continually doing 16-hour days, does have a huge impact on his health and our family life.
Although I can reason that this is not forever, our four-year-old son is really missing daddy.
He’s bored at home and needs friends to play with. He’s at that difficult age where he can’t read on his own. He might manage to colour for a few minutes or do a simple jigsaw, but he wants companionship, comrades to act out his imaginary play.
As home schooling starts, my daughter and I have to get to grips with all the online learning, my work also picks up and I struggle to give our son enough quality time.
Alex is very good, he does what he can, he’ll play with our son for twenty minutes in the morning before going to work, but as you can imagine, it’s never enough to satisfy a young person’s craving for attention.
He seems to have an endless amount of energy. I wonder who he gets that from????
Wednesday 22nd April – Fortunately, help is at hand
As research begins to get published in the conventional medicine world, theories on how to support the people through the virus are unfolding in the holistic world.
It has now become well recognised that whilst drug treatments and hospital care may be able to keep an extremely sick person from dying, they can’t build resilience.
In other words, they won’t make a weak body strong.
What is resilience?
Resilience is the person’s ability to withstand challenges, maintain stamina and strength despite rising demands on their body and mind.
Resilience is what is needed on the frontline right now, so that staff can continue to work without becoming severely ill from the virus or from the emotional and physical stress of the job.
But everyone is flagging. It’s already been a long hard month.
Working twelve days in a row is unsustainable without some sort of support. But apart from clapping on our doorsteps in appreciation every Thursday evening at 8pm….
What support can we offer?
Although a lot of progress has been made, the vaccine trail is still in it’s primitive stages.
The tools we have left to build resilience are the same tools that build good health...
They are nutritious food, adequate sleep, appropriate exercise and ways to help reduce stress and anxiety.
I’m certainly doing my best at home to make sure that Alex receives as much emotional support as I can offer.
I cook balanced meals for him to take to work. I dose him with vitamins. I give him time to do his yoga every morning. I also try and inject some fun into our weekends. But is this enough?
Fortunately, help is at hand.
You may not know, but behind the scenes there is a team of complementary therapists aiding those fighting on the Frontline.
Scientific research and reviews are taking place and specialised vitamins and herbs are being offered to support these workers.
Frontline immune support team (more on them here), have already sent Alex some amazing supplements in the post.
They include vitamins and herbs that we would have struggled to source, firstly because they are so popular right now (yes YOU the public realise the importance of this too), and secondly, they are too expensive to afford for a prolonged length of time.
We are really grateful
At times, it’s frightening being a family on the frontline.
You get to hear about some of the heart-breaking tragedies that are occurring right on your door step. And sometimes when lying in bed late at night, you worry that it could be you next.
So, WE want to say a big thank you to the Frontline Immune Support Team – for giving some peace of mind.
If you want to read the research on these supplements, or support this initiative, you can do so by clicking the above link.
It’s nice to know we’re not alone, that someone is looking out for us too.
Together we can get through this. Stay well.