I won’t be posting a weekly update this week, and maybe not for some time. I will continue to post when I can, but I think at present I need to convey some thoughts that are rumbling around in my head like waves. I have a lot of thoughts and huge number of emotions too. My return to work after three weeks of being absent due to COVID-19 has led to me having a perspective on the current pandemic that I’d like to share.
Three weeks have passed and I cannot believe the difference. While the general feeling in the UK was that Boris had ruined Christmas for everyone, people I care about deeply were working ruthlessly hard in mortuaries to ensure the deceased had a refrigerated space. Those I work with are exhausted, overwhelmed by emotion or are unwell with Coronavirus. I have returned to a formerly familiar setting, we are back to focusing on capacity once again and maintaining the high standard of care that we want for every single deceased person which they are deserving of.
My hospital trust sends out daily updates, they started originally as covid focused but now reflect any news or information we might need and we all read them. I am heartbroken to see how many staff members have died over the three weeks I have been away. People who I did not know personally but I shared a building with, who I may well have crossed paths with at some point. People who have worked on the frontline to face this pandemic are dying, and the trust I work for is not unique in that.
That brings me to those who deny covid. I’ve seen videos of people outside other hospitals, stood in groups with no protection stating that the pandemic is a hoax. When I go to the supermarket I still see and hear people with masks under their chin, or declaring they forgot it and they won’t be wearing one. Each act that helps coronavirus spread is a slap in the face to those who have died, and it’s a punch in the gut to those who have had loved ones die or are simply exhausted from trying to do their jobs in the midst of it all.
The lockdown is not here to restrict you unfairly. It is not something to find loopholes in, to ignore if it doesn’t fit in with your plans. These rules exist to protect everyone. I may not have necessarily agreed with all of the restrictions set in the past, but we cannot complain that they do not work when there is a proportion of people ignoring them. London went into an emergency state in the last week, this means that they estimate 1 in 30 people are infected with covid and that hospitals could be unable to cope with the number of admissions within two weeks. Without causing unnecessary fear, this means that even the non-covid related admissions could possibly not be seen and would be at a greater risk of dying. It is an unthinkable situation but devastatingly not beyond the realms of possibility anymore.
On a slightly lighter note, it’s very nice to have all the people who helped us in the last wave back working in the mortuary. We knew that the only circumstances where we would work together again would be awful in terms of the infection rates and deaths. However, they are back and in some ways it feels like they never left. There are also some new people who have been enlisted to help, and everyone is working brilliantly together. Even though we witness some awful things, we work together to care for the deceased with the upmost dignity and respect continuing from less unprecedented times. Oddly even to us, there’s a remarkably cheery atmosphere sometimes, and you get used to hearing ‘if I don’t laugh I’ll cry’ from those around you.
As I mentioned at the start, I don’t know how often or when I will post but I will when I can. Keep safe everyone, and thank you for reading.