So, Dr Campbell lately has a catchy phrase he’s employing for use during these times of The Virus. That phrase is:
Two meters distance determines our existence.
Pithy wouldn’t you say. Just the sort of mantra you can rhythmically repeat to yourself as you head to the supermarket in terror, disposable gloved-up, DIY mask in place, sporting an ancient pair of sunglasses you found in a drawer, and a dodgy woolly hat so the virus doesn’t get on your hair. If I did go out, which I’m not, I think I’d fashion some sort of pole, two meters long, to keep potentially virus-infested human hosts away from me. Actually, a two-meter pole would’ve come in handy during my pre-The Virus days, being I’m no lover of humans en masse. Meanwhile, seriously ill people can’t go out at all. Seriously ill people have to spend what time they have left isolated from their loved ones, whilst celebs and non-celebs lark about on YouTube, so you won’t be bored in your isolation. Lucky us, if boredom is our biggest worry.
The energetic Joe Wicks is donating all proceeds from his new YouTube channel to the NHS. He’s already given £85,000 in just a few days. I know this because Russell Brand interviewed him on Russell’s YouTube channel. It was eerily like watching two Russell Brands conversing with each other, or more like father Brand and son. Ryan Reynolds just donated $1,400,000 to virus related causes. The Virus is, if nothing else, a reminder of what really matters in life. This is where rich celebrity-dom does have some value, although I doubt the famous who are currently donating would count themselves as ‘celebrities.’
I forgot to clap for the NHS last night Blog. I remembered last week and clapped alone in my bedroom where, from outside the window, I heard a solitary firework go off. One witty medic, writing in The Guardian (or some such) said under normal circumstances he wouldn’t want to be given the clap, but was grateful just the same.
I’m currently playing Animal Crossing. A game the sons bought me for Mother’s Day. It’s where I got the pole idea. My character has a handy arsenal of tools at her fingertips, including a pole. I’ve only to press button X on the Switch for each one to appear (this is my first time on the Switch.) They range from the pole, to an axe, to a spade, to a catapult. All handy items for warding off the infected methinks, in this real-life game I call The Virus.
The friend’s mother died yesterday in a care home. The friend was not allowed to see her because we’re all objects of fear now, lest we unknowingly carry the virus, or unknowingly touch a virus-laden surface, or live with someone who has The Virus. The friend wanted to be with her mother, but the government has decreed that people shall henceforth die alone; that families, in their hours of need, will be ripped asunder. Not to worry, you can go watch that Von Trapp style family from Kent doing Les Miserables on YouTube. That’s guaranteed to make you feel better.
Blog. I used to record my life/world events in handwritten diaries. In those diaries I have entries on Ebola, Mers, Sars, Swine Flu. It’s useful sometimes, to go back to a record of similarly scary times where you can gain a perspective not possible at the time. I did this early on in the present virus scare, hoping for evidence that The Virus would prove to be ‘not that bad.’ Unfortunately, this just worsened the situation. Ebola had proved to be difficult to catch, as are Sars and Mers. Swine Flu was heralded as apocalyptic by the media in June 2009, but my diary entries on the subject peter out just two months later. Swine flu proved to be non-lethal because most of the older population had some existing immunity. None of the diary entries approach the current situation, so no solace to be found there.
There is much talk that the medics will ‘elect’ who lives and who dies, when the ICUs become seriously overwhelmed. This process is nothing new.
Many moons ago, my three-day old son died. He was born with half a heart. Shortly after his death, I read about two procedures that would possibly have given him a few years of life. One, an operation which would allow the bit of the heart that was there to function on its own, so the child could grow big enough for a heart transplant. The other was an immediate heart transplant.
We had a follow-up appointment with the consultant we’d seen during our son’s diagnosis and death. I mentioned these two options, whilst the consultant sat behind what I recall as a large, imposing desk. I asked him why the options had not been mentioned before my son died. This is what he (roughly) said:
‘The operation you’re talking about never works (it now does in several cases.) If you’ve read about it in the papers (this was pre-internet) then you can’t believe everything you read. Regarding a heart transplant. If we were discussing a 40-year old man, with a wife and children to support, who needed a heart transplant, then yes, I’d go with the heart transplant. His life would clearly be valuable in terms of the family who depended on him, and the success rate of the operation would possible be higher, so the risk is worth taking. Your son was tiny and damaged by his defect. The defect was not picked up at birth, giving less time. It would be almost impossible to find an infant heart, let alone in the time frame required for your son. Even if he’d had a heart transplant his quality of life would have been extremely poor, probably resulting in death a few years down the line. And you can always have another child.’
Stung into anger I’d retorted with, ‘that’s easy for you to say, you’ve never lost a child.’ ‘My 3 year old son has cystic fibrosis and will probably die,’ he’d replied, followed by, ‘I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have told you that. I’ve never told anyone before.’ Not great when the medic and the patient are equally filled with anger and sadness.
But there you have it. A consultant choosing who lives and who dies. Strange the things that come back to you when the world is imploding. Not that that implosion seems ‘real’ to me. Our lives are carrying on almost as normal, it’s just that we never go out of the house. And there are family members we cannot see. All thanks to China The Virus. Although, I now can’t get my hair cut next week, and my routine eye appointment is cancelled (hurray). So, life has changed. Both choirs are cancelled, as are my singing lessons. But I’m quite enjoying the break.
The husband refers to The Virus as ‘the little buggers.’ This, however, lends a sort of endearing quality to those microscopic bits of deadly genetic material, which isn’t warranted. For example, when learning that The Virus sticks to surfaces, the husband exclaimed ‘the little buggers!’ He now feverishly (appropriately) washes down any packages that arrive ‘to get rid of the little buggers.’ He then leaves ‘the buggers’ out in the garden to ‘decontaminate and die.’ There is debate as to whether viruses are alive enough to die, but they’re certainly adept when it comes to death in every other life form.