It’s been fascinating and exciting reading through the proof file of ‘The Things You Think You Cannot Do’ prior to its forthcoming publication. As any of you who write will recognise, as a work nears completion you’re repeatedly checking and editing each section rather than reading the whole work again (well, at least I was!) So to read the text from cover to cover having laid it aside for two months was revelatory.
The book is set in current times and focuses on three individuals; having explored their back stories to see what events shaped them and how, we see them plunged into the coronavirus pandemic trying, as we all are, to make a way through it. Much has changed and continues to change since I completed the book and one of the main impressions I got was how much more of their stories remains to be told. These are incredible times and marked by huge uncertainties, which for many of us provide considerable challenges. I’m already writing the follow up stories to the lives in ‘The Things You Think You Cannot Do’ even though I have no way of knowing the landscape in which these stories will unfold and end. But I’ve always been one to focus on processes rather than outcomes so the words are still flowing!
The main change in my life since this lockdown began has been returning to work part time as a GP working in a COVID assessment unit. Thankfully, we deal with patients who are, on the whole, not seriously ill – most of them do not turn out, on testing, to have COVID. But what stands out is the fear of becoming unwell, what it’s like to develop a cough or a fever, have to be directed away from your normal health care provider and be examined by staff clad in protective equipment. This fear is something I bring out in the book and I believe a key part of successfully managing our current situation is balancing this fear with informed reassurance and, of course, appropriate and decisive action.
Certainly the most rewarding part of returning to work has been being part of an amazing team, pulled together from different disciplines, who learn as we go and support each other with wisdom, compassion and a degree of humour. I’ve met some amazing doctors, nurses, health care assistants and reception staff who have supported me back into work and looked after me. The likelihood is that we will remain in the situation in which we find ourselves, with low levels of infection and sporadic local clusters and outbreaks, for the foreseeable future. The question I’m most asked about my work, by far, is ‘will we get a second wave?’ Of course, I don’t know any more than you do, but it really does come down to how well we adhere to the advice we are given.
Rest assured, at least where I work, preparations are in place. The unit will remain open and ready to be scaled up if that is what is required. I’m certain that each area will have the same contingency plans. So, my humble advice is live the best life you can right now, listen to and follow the advice we all hear every day but don’t be scared; there are a lot of good people who will have your back if needed.
Stay safe! ☺️