Thursday 19th March

I started an hour late today, the FY2 called to tell me to come in a bit late because I had stayed on late last night. The surgeons are bringing in extra cases to clear their surgical lists before all elective surgeries are cancelled in Scotland. Last night, I stayed late to see these extra patients so that my colleagues did not have to deal with the mass migration of patients to our ward in the morning. My colleagues repaid the favour and blessed me with an hour to have lunch at home instead of at my desk in the doctors room.

The day started with an acutely unwell patient. An hour blitz of securing IV access, calling the vascular surgeons and promptly whisking a patient away for a CT and then to theatre. Followed by a hit of 5 quiet minutes and a cup of tea to reflect on the frenzy.

From then on a steady stream on jobs for our dwindling number of patients. Slowly our ward was being filled up by Respiratory patients boarding from other wards, most colloquially known as ‘boarders’. Everything from exacerbations of COPD to pneumonias. The first sign of the mass migration of patients away from the dedicated ‘COVID’ wards. These wards housed a variety of patients with the commonality of having a positive COVID-19 test and were quickly filling up.

Away for dinner around 7pm- lamb tagine and rice. Normally I’d make my own dinners but there was no food in the stores this week so lunches and dinners at hospital canteen. The cost is starting to add up- around £8 a day and unsubsidized.

A few more jobs after dinner and a quick check on our emergency patient from this afternoon. He’s out of surgery and on ITU. Happy days. I let the rest of the team know who are impressed by the patient’s unwillingness to die.

A quick chat to the nurses about how eerily quiet the hospital is at the moment. From the occasional stalk of A&E and AMU, I can see they are running at about 20% capacity. The nurses inform me that three lucky nursing staff have been let home at 4am from their night shifts each day this week; their names picked out of a hat. We joke about the lack of the usual worried well in A&E. It seems many do not wish to be in hospital at the moment. We worry about the elderly who may appear to be self isolating but may instead be just struggling with the new stark reality of life. A moment of silence breaks our laughter as we think about the vulnerable for a moment. A moment of quiet before the storm.

I run to changing rooms and a quick dash for the bus. Home time.

One thought on “Quiet before the storm

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