Tuesday 7th April The Coronet Diaries

April is the cruellest month, breeding. Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing. Memory and desire, stirring. Dull roots with spring rain. (Eliot)

It is also the eve of Pass-over which is exactly what all the medics are doing right now in Intensive Care. Passing the bodies in their care over and over again.

Visions of Ezekiel Bomberg

I slept less than usual last night. Who could not after watching the untranslatable experience of the attempts at life-saving procedures going on in ICU at University College Hospital. Never has the Hippocratic Oath felt so sacred. Even medicine has/had become tainted by materialism and the ways in which some private insurance demands ‘Health Screening’ for the healthy as if people were required to take an A level in passing their mammogram.

What I/We saw in intensive care last night, where human bodies swathed in what seemed to be crepe or stretched bandages looked like Egyptian mummies, except they were anti-septic-white. And headless.

I cannot think of any work of art, any installation, any ‘Theatre of Cruelty’ that begins to communicate to us not an empty space but a space breathing or failing to breathe death into life in the way does the gestalt of this unique intrusion into ICU where we witness images of Hell attended to by Angels of Mercy. ‘Matron’ told the BBC that for some of her staff it is simply too much for them to bear and they descend into uncontrolled panic. I am in panic. We are all in panic now. Maybe, as a psychotherapist who has friends working in ICU, I can be of some invisible, minuscule support over the Easter/Passover weekend. Bodies are being passed over and over. And over. By exhausted doctors and nurses eight times a day.

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