These are unprecedented and in fact extreme times. Everyone is feeling the impact, either from illness related to the coronavirus in oneself or in family and friends, to the impact of the lockdown and disruption of what we recall as normal and then to the far end of the spectrum: the loss of lives around us.
Nothing could have prepared us for this, but yet we are going to have to cope and contain it all; and so will we. It has been a long and tiring journey for everyone I believe, it is certainly for me. Life has suddenly changed. It is no more business as usual. People all over are worried about their families, friends, businesses, finances, their livelihood and sustenance. All these can have a profound impact on people’s mental health (Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Loneliness and Isolation and worsening of other more severe underlying mental health disorders like Bipolar disorder, Anorexia and Schizophrenia ) and worsening of physical health ( Hypertension, Migraines, Obesity and Heart disease amongst orders).
Despite the focus on Covid-19 infections, it is important for us to know that all other illnesses are still ongoing in the community and we should remember to seek help as normal. Doctors are open as normal and though we may have changed the way we work, practices, clinics and hospital are still open to see and treat clients that need urgent medical help for other illnesses and infections. We are still managing chronic health conditions eg Hypertension, Diabetes, Chronic heart disease, Chronic lung disease, Chronic kidney disease, Chronic neurological diseases and other long term health conditions in the young and old. There have been reports of people being unwell from other causes choosing to remain at home or not seek help due to the Covid-19 crisis. Most people now are seeking health care late such that it is too late to help.
We feel there is a lot of stress in caring for people with covid-19 infections but now another wave of stress and risk to the community is building up with people who are severely ill due to other conditions but who have not sought help early enough. My message here is for people to feel confident to seek help when unwell or when they have health concerns. Continue to seek help through your regular means, all health services are open even though with modifications and with some being diverted mainly to support the Covid crisis.
There has been some positives to the situation. Families are bonding more, people are looking out for each other and new ways of working and doing things are developing. We have learnt so fast that nothing external is indispensable. We thank the services and charities that are keeping up with supporting the vulnerable in our communities. Many thanks to the community for cheering the frontliners on, it encourages them to know their efforts are worthwhile.
I would like to share my own journey (and my husband’s) during this crisis. We are having to work in different capacities during this crisis. Life at home has been affected, our children had a job adjusting to the idea they can’t jump on to us and hug us at the door as usual on our return from work. They learnt to wait while we undress and clean up thoroughly. They ask us endless questions. They want reassurance we won’t bring the infection home to them. They want to us to reassure them we will be okay. They scream out ‘keep safe daddy’, ‘keep safe mummy’ as we head out to work.
We both return from work and reel out to ourselves demoralising summaries of the day’s work. Nothing in medical school prepares one for this scale of mortality. We now hold out hope for every unwell client praying that we see them again after trying our best. We also need to debrief ourselves emotionally, psychologically and mentally. We now need more than ever before to hold on to our faith for inner strength. We are grateful we are able to contribute our bit. When it is all over, we will all need God’s grace to neutralise the effects of these experiences.
For all those suffering at this time due to one reason all the other, I wish you strength to pull through.
For those who have lost their lives, my thoughts are with their families and friends, God will comfort them all.
For the frontline workers who have lost their lives in the fight, we won’t let the struggle for which you paid the supreme price be in vain.
For the frontliners who continue to face the challenge head on, I stand in solidarity.
For us all, we will win the fight against this pandemic and we will come out strong, but with a new way of life armed with lessons learnt.
Just thought I check in, stay safe, stay well.