We are, as everyone keeps telling us, in unchartered waters. This pandemic is something, the like of which, we have never seen before. My daughter, who is a Consultant Anaesthetist running an ICU, tells me that her team has prepared for all sorts of emergencies but never for anything on this scale.
So, what do we do? Now I am not naturally someone who sticks to the rules. I had to go on a driver awareness course before I convinced myself that speed limits have a place and need to be stuck to. I certainly kick against every single rule that I don’t agree with. One of my granddaughters is just like me – she’s really struggling right now.
So here I am – being told how long I can be outside every day – being told what is ‘essential’ to get from the shops. And do you know what? I am sticking to the rules – why? Because if we don’t more and more people will get ill and more will die. Sticking to the rules saves life – period.
Where I am struggling is about returning to real work. I had lovely ways of earning money before all this started; I worked in the gym, I went to care homes and I ran circuit classes. And of course, I went to college and I wrote and wrote. The gym is closed, we can’t go into care homes and people with cancer are in a high-risk group. College is now online, and every meeting is on the phone. I have more time than I ever thought possible. I am enjoying writing and my daily walks and my workouts.
But I feel guilty. I am a nurse, I started my training in 1972 (no, Florence was not my tutor!) and qualified in 1975. I have been a registered nurse for all that time. I have done my CPD, my accredited hours and all my revalidation tasks. So why am I sat at home when the NHS is crying out for help?
– I’m too old
– I’ll get tired if I work a whole shift
– I haven’t been on a ward for years
– I live with someone who has cancer
– I am trying to move to a new house
– I am scared
– I’m not too old to exercise every day
– I won’t get any more tired than I currently do with early starts everyday
– A bed bath is the same today as it was 50 years ago. Being kind and helping doesn’t change
– The cancer is well under control
– The house move doesn’t need my constant attention
– Of course, I’m scared but I’m experienced and highly skilled
– People are dying
– NHS staff are exhausted
– My daughter is scared too – and she goes to work every single day
– I AM A NURSE
Today I sent off my application for flexible working as a nurse. I am telling you not for glory and praise but to show you that I am putting my money where my mouth is. There is no point boasting about being a nurse for 50 years if a ‘call to arms’ sees me scurrying off
What can you do to help? What random act of kindness can you do today?