April is the cruellest month, breeding. Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing. Memory and desire, stirring. Dull roots with spring rain.
I thought it was going to be a good day but tonight with all the hysteria about the infected tiger – oh how I wish I was writing about The Tiger Who Came to Tea, ( an iconic children’s book by Judith Kerr), and not this new terror, or hysteria about human/animal transmission and what that means for Dido’s daily walks… And even worse people are muttering about socially isolating from our dogs and cats.
The fact is I know of two people who have been in ICU, (one still is). In both cases nobody in their families was affected with anything more than a mild cold. In another instance in a family of four boisterous boys only one became ill with identifiable symptoms. Who knows anything finite about COVID… it continues to be an enigma variation. I am too zoo- frazzled tonight to do anything beyond making a list about the reasons why this started out as a very good day.
- I ordered a vintage ostrich feather duster from Amazon. I like cleaning my house although it being Tuesday again tomorrow I will have to start wrestling with the duvet cover.
- I have become more accomplished with Zoom and can even operate a cyber waiting room. When I started the second Zoom of today I could hear the sound of birds. It was a bit late for a dawn chorus and while not a messiaen catalogue d’oiseaux I was spellbound. I realised it was not coming from my window but from my ‘patient’s ‘ garden. He was conducting the session from his ‘potting’/writing shed. It was only when we got to our end that I realised the birdsong had lasted for a brief time. That strain again it had a dying fall! In the course of our conversation my companion mentioned that he had noticed a Twitter feed where a psychoanalyst was commenting on the Zoom/Skype therapy phenomenon and suggesting that perhaps telephone calls were more intimate. I have many thoughts and shared observations from my ‘patients’ on that subject but for happier times.
- One of my younger ‘patients’ who has been self isolating on her own and is recovering a broken heart is sometimes beginning to feel better. She always looks glorious but as she shines through her Zoom tears she looks like a Bollywood star. She confessed that she was a few minutes late coming online because she was blow drying her hair! All these little details or confessions that are Zoom particulars although punctuality has always been an issue. Furthermore she sent me a Zoom delivery of croissants she has just baked.
I have just watched the Ten PM news and I feel humbled by the unique view into the ICU at UCH and I am in awe of the staff whose devotion to medicine and the Hippocratic Oath means they are risking everything including their lives and family’s health for the anonymous bodies that require to be turned eight times a day at the minimum. It can take up to eight men and women to turn one body.
I swear by Apollo Physician, by Asclepius, by Hygieia, by Panacea, and by all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will carry out, according to my ability and judgment, this oath and this indenture.
To hold my teacher in this art equal to my own parents; to make him partner in my livelihood; when he is in need of money to share mine with him; to consider his family as my own brothers, and to teach them this art, if they want to learn it, without fee or indenture; to impart precept, oral instruction, and all other instruction to my own sons, the sons of my teacher, and to indentured pupils who have taken the physician’s oath, but to nobody else.
I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrong-doing. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion. But I will keep pure and holy both my life and my art. I will not use the knife, not even, verily, on sufferers from stone, but I will give place to such as are craftsmen therein.
Into whatsoever houses I enter, I will enter to help the sick, and I will abstain from all intentional wrong-doing and harm, especially from abusing the bodies of man or woman, bond or free. And whatsoever I shall see or hear in the course of my profession, as well as outside my profession in my intercourse with men, if it be what should not be published abroad, I will never divulge, holding such things to be holy secrets.
Now if I carry out this oath, and break it not, may I gain for ever reputation among all men for my life and for my art; but if I break it and forswear myself, may the opposite befall me. – Translation by W.H.S. Jones.
Finally, someone else with whom I Zoomed thought I might find this article in the New Statesman of interest.