Day 20 – COVID-19

I’ve tried to avoid writing about the new pandemic which is half a world away for us. Here in our own little bubble it’s hard to come to grips with it’s reality back in Europe. I was waiting to see if the UK would close it’s borders just to add a little more interest to the story but the fact that the pubs have closed means you can’t have a ‘nice cold pint and wait for all this to blow over’. And for a Briton, that hits hard.

The reality here is that there are 21 confirmed cases with 2 deaths but also a suspected 3,000 undiagnosed. Bangladesh, in full knowledge that their healthcare system isn’t wholly functional, have closed their borders as far as I am aware. Whereas from our outside perspective, our mindful Boris PM decides that our borders can stay open. The NHS can cope, right? We have unpaid, slave-labour students who can stay on placement or we can bring back retired healthcare professionals no problem! Shoutout to all my placement classmates back home.

Things are starting to get wary around here. When the first news came through, everyone put on a mask and wore gloves but by the end of the day pretty much, things had gone back to normal. But now, one week later, I am constantly being asked where my mask is and why wasn’t I wearing gloves. I argued that I am happy to wear gloves if we change them after every patient and I’ll wear a mask if I can change it every four hours. Naturally, the gloves are in short supply so they were washing them after every patient and I’m afraid for me, that’s the same difference, and without gloves, I can feel where the dirt is. I’m trying to prolong the freedom of my face for as long as possible using different excuses every time: I don’t have the flu, they don’t do much difference and no one can understand me. As pathetic as the latter sounds, you display so much emotion and expression around the mouth and cheekbones that even when people can’t understand what I’m saying, at least they can see if I am smiling, or talking at all.

Irisa went back to America a week early leaving Aaliyah and I the whole flat which can hold 7 people. It was sad to see her go as she was our confirmation that these things that we were experiencing concerning the workplace methods and values were not confined to our own learning. She’d also been here 12 weeks and was comfortable with travel so had much to provide for us. Furthermore, the people who were supposed to be coming next are no longer, for obvious reasons. Even when we came back to the flat, Aaliyah and I, after saying goodbye to Irisa, it already felt lonely.

I think I will have to conform to everyone’s rules of a mask and gloves for the time being, most people are saying it’s only for two weeks and I only handle patients in the morning, I can also change my gloves after every two patients.

The main thing is, the uni are letting us stay here and so are the CRP and inshallah, we need not worry about COVID-19.

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