I sometimes do believe and sometimes do not:
As those that fear they hope, and know they fear. (Twelfth Night)
Title page of the original edition in 1722 Daniel Defoe
I have had to fit my diary compulsion in early today which meant getting up even earlier to write. I have just now – as I’m about to edit – come off from a Skype to someone with whom I have been having a therapeutic conversation extending over many years. Now he is in isolation in the country and instead of flying around the world and himself he is concentrating on making wild nettle and spinach soup. Spending time with his dog. At the end of the conversation we both came to a definition of what therapy means to us which I like a lot.
Our form of therapy is about being able to accept who you are and then graduating to enjoying being inside of your skin. It works in parallel between therapist and ‘patient’ but as I keep repeating we are all patients now. from hupomenó. Definition a remaining behind, a patient enduring. NASB Translationendurance (7), patient enduring (1), perseverance (21), steadfastness (3).
Tonight is Bridge night. I was looking forward to it all last week but then at the last minute Zen the cat, soon to have a diary day to himself, swiped something of value that John had inadvertently left on the kitchen table into permanent obscurity. As it did not belong to me I am not permitted to be more precise but we spent several unfruitful hours searching into the night … My bridge partner Cornelia who is as non-competitive as me and in spite of speaking four languages fluently, ( I should have added that to my list of what I am no good at) also struggles with Bridge. A couple of days ago Cornelia reported that after eleven days of isolation in her bedroom, and most of the adolescents find that a welcome treat, her fourteen year old daughter has lost her sense of smell and taste. That sent my daughter in law and son into a something of a flurry. They are almost experts in infection control as T used to be one of London’s most senior infection control nurses in a former professional incarnation and my son has also worked, in another incarnation, both as an ambulance driver and later a senior executive in the health service also in the areas of Risk and Security.
To being with… When/where do we begin … They were not particularly concerned about the virus and decided not to remove baby Zac from nursery until the end of March. Beware the Ides of March. The only person who was worried in our family was my daughter Tanya who started to the follow the reports from Wuhan from early January. Inevitably, when you have experienced serious traumatic bereavement you become hyper- vigilant. It infuriated her that I took the matter so lightly. She felt slighted. As I have described it wasn’t until March 5th. when one of my patients who is a consultant at UCH reported what he was seeing in ICU and recommended that we shut down our offices. We did that night. To skip to the end of this shaggy story, it took T and A sometime to become concerned enough to decide that the children could not leave the house. House security increased so that ‘we’ were instructed not to answer the door bell. All deliveries were to be left in the front hall over night.
By last weekend we had done two weeks in lock down and the only way the virus could get us was through the front door. After I told my son about Cornelia’s daughter we were called to a house COBRA late night meeting and instructed that we were not allowed to open any parcels for 48 hours and all food was now to be washed. Or flash fried in the oven! We learnt that freezing was useless as the trickster would re-emerge once defrosted. Whereas 72 hours delay in the fridge outwitted COVID lifespan. Today, we have a delivery of wine, although like tea loaf I don’t drink wine. I will be curious to see whether or not that delivery goes through DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and if you’ve ever tried bringing a dog back into the UK you will know all about their power. How many times have we been overnight highjacked at Calais.) or is whipped, without caution, upstairs.
I have to confess I felt all this quarantining and swilling down of food was a bit OCD until last night I made a grave mistake of listening to the 10 PM News:
New Government guide lines are to be issued to the NHS about which patients will now qualify for ICU care. This is not the time for John or me to become infected. We will try to wait our turn in the infection queue in the hope that by then there will still be some room for us at the Excel Inn. I have just spoken to a friend who lives in the desert in Arizona where her isolated community has been tested now for COVID.