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Don’t Let Me Die In Phoenix Article 6 Everybody Hurts:

In this article John Davis continues to examine the impact that his health issues had on his sense of self and on the well-being of his wife.  The previous article began to explain how cataclysmic events can put at risk even the strongest of relationships.  Today’s article continues to explain the gradual process through which he and his wife came to terms with his near death experience.

In so doing, today’s article asks you to be considerate of those, during the Corona Virus, who become disconnected from their loved ones, who are hospitalised and end up in intensive care units (ICU).  It also asks you to show empathy for those professionals who have to deal with the daily traumatic events of this crisis, such as having to tell relatives their loved ones are dying.

It questions the process through which professionals tuck away their emotions so that they can get back to the work of saving other people’s lives, and, seeks to disturb the idea that health professionals are heroes by reminding you that health professionals, like the rest of us, are mortal human beings.  Mortal human beings, who do a job that slowly tears away at their heart, piece by piece.

As the days progressed I developed a sense of loss, for my body, my sense of self and my relationship with my wife which had been changed for ever.  Looking back, I have noticed that myself and my wife’s gallows humour whilst serving as a useful vehicle for denying what we were going through, actually acted as an obstacle to us having sensitive discussion where we might have engaged in more thoughtful deliberation of what was happening to our relationship.

We tended to lurch from moments of high humour to periods of distant despair.  At the time, I could not quite put my finger on what was happening but I sensed that my wife’s professionalism created pros and cons for our relationship. On the one hand, her professional knowledge helped me to take more informed decisions about my health care.  On the other hand, her professionalism created an emotional distance; as she sought to stand above the realities of what we were going through.

In her work life, my wife had spent many years counselling patients with life changing diagnosis– it takes a toll.  If you want to understand what it is like for health professionals who constantly deal with life and death – try reading this post about the Corona Virus where a female ICU nurse named Julianne Nicole takes her readers through the wrenching roller coaster that is her, her colleagues’, her patients’ and their loved ones’ daily ‘tragedy’ (see link here):

‘The doctor explained that no matter what we do, his body is failing him. No matter what we do, her son will die. They realized that no matter how hard they pray, no matter how much they want to tear down walls, no matter how many times his mother begs and pleads, “take me instead, I would rather die myself than lose my son”, we cannot save him.

We stayed while she screamed. We stayed until she finally let go of her vice grip on my hands, her body trembling uncontrollably, as she dissolved into her grief, in the arms of her husband.

This is ONE patient. One patient, in one ICU, in one hospital, in one city, in one country, on a planet being ravaged by a virus.

This is the tiniest, devastating snapshot of one patient and one family and their unimaginable grief. Yet, the weight is enormous.

The world should feel that weight too. Because this grief, this heartbreak is everywhere in many forms. Every person on this planet is grieving the loss of something.

Whether that’s freedom or autonomy sacrificed for the greater good. Whether that’s a paycheck or a business, or their livelihood, or maybe they’re grieving the loss of a loved one while still fighting to earn a paycheck, or waiting for government financial relief that they don’t know for certain will come. Maybe they’re a high school senior who will never get to have the graduation they dreamed of. Maybe they’re a college senior, who won’t get to have their senior game they so looked forward to. Maybe they’re afraid that the government is encroaching on their constitutional rights. Maybe it’s their first pregnancy, and it’s nothing like they imagined because of the terrifying world surrounding them.

Or maybe they lost a loved one, maybe someone they love is sick, and they can’t go see them, because there are no visitors allowed and they’re an essential worker. Maybe all they can see of someone they love is a random facetime call in the middle of the day from an area code and a number they don’t know.

Everyone is grieving. We’ve heard plenty of the public’s grief.

I don’t blame anyone for how they’re coping with that grief, even if it frustrates the ever-living hell out of me as I drown in death every day at work. It’s all valid. Everyone’s grief is different, but it doesn’t change the discomfort, the despair on various levels…. ….I’ve been here before. I know this feeling. How we survive is how we survive.’

 

This extract reminded me of a famous Gaelic song Padraig Mor MacCrimmon’s ‘Cumha na Cloinne’ (Lament for the Children) an adaptation of which Fhir An Fhuilt Dhuinn (Brown Haired Boy) Margaret Bennett sang in the ‘Love & Loss’ section of Phil Cunningham’s television series ‘Scotland’s Music’ where she spoke of her late son Martyn, the talented musician and composer who died of cancer in 2005, aged 33.

The web site set up in memory of Martyn (see link here) tells us that

‘Margaret’s song “Fhir an Fhuilt Dhuinn” (Brown-haired Boy), was composed by Martyn’s grandmother Peigi Stiubhairt, after she watched the programme. She’s 88 and has, in many ways, been quite silent over her loss, but her song, composed to the piobearachd she has known for over seventy years is her expression: ‘This is just how I feel,’ she said, in every sense resonating with Phil’s discussion on the Gaelic lament.’’

There will be so many families grieving the loss of loved ones at the moment and we need to respect their different customs and approaches.  My wife’s approach to loss is similar to Peigi’s.  In my wife and I’s case we do not blame each other for our different approaches to grief.  We understand that everyone will have their own way to survive this crisis. I and my wife have our own ways of dealing with trauma.

My approach is to sing from the rafters, my wife’s approach is to use professional stoicism to distance herself from the emotions.  It is important for you to note that there is no intended criticism here of either of our approaches – you can only be true to yourself in moments of high crisis.  In order to protect ourselves we clung onto self-protective routines that were familiar to us.  Another thing I clung onto was the fact that I wasn’t dead yet.

The lyrics in this Susto song called Weather Balloons gave me great heart:

What if we could fly

Right out the window

Go find a new place

Somewhere clean enough to feel

One look in your eyes

Fills me up with hope

It changes my mind

Tells me

I’m not dead yet

No I’m not dead yet

My approach is more a kin to flying, living, breathing and loving.  I try to let my body act as a conduit for releasing trauma.  Over the years, particularly before I met my wife, I would use four methods to release trauma.  Singing (which was usually accompanied by drunkenness), dancing (which went well with singing and drinking), waking up in the bed of a female dance partner (singing and dancing only being the start of the shenanigans) and/or fighting (this method was usually reserved to the sporting arena were the pure brutality of physical contact would lay the most tormented of daemons to wrest).

All of these methods, sort of, involved a physical type of self-harm.  It was like I had to physically suffer to express my sense of loss, pain, hurt etc.  After the operations, none of these options were open to me.  Hence, I sort of adapted the fighting one and was, sometimes, grumpy to my wife when she visited – a pretty pathetic from of self-harm that she didn’t put up with.

I was also aware that my wife looked like she was sinking emotionally – so my grumpiness was also an attempt to help her to get in touch with her feisty self (which is usually very strong).  But, this attempt to help her to fight back (which she did) was a high risk strategy because it built a resentment of me in her.  To the point where she said she did not recognise me after the operations.

The lack of an opportunity for either of us to have a complete blow out, a release valve, was frustrating and has led to a lot of buried emotions and memories.  For example, my wife does not want any reminders of what we went through and has not enjoyed editing these articles but appreciates they are my way of dealing with what I/we experienced.

Even though I try to get out my emotions, I still have a lot of stuff buried and the post by Julianne was a tough and hellish read (but worth it). As I read the post, I could actually physically feel what she was describing:

‘Nurses in procedural areas that were closed have been repurposed to work as runners. To run for supplies while the primary nurse is in an isolation room trying to stabilize a patient without the supplies they need, runners to run for blood transfusions.

Physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists being repurposed to be part of the proning teams that helps the nurses turn patients onto their backs and bellies amidst a tangled web of critical lines and tubes, where one small error could mean death for the patient, and exposure for all staff.

Anesthesiologists and residents are managing airways and lines when carrying out these massive patient position changes. Surgical residents are all over the hospital just to put in the critical invasive lines we need in all of our patients.

The travel nurses who rushed into this burning building to help us are easing a healthcare system. The first travel nurse I met came all the way from Texas. Others terminated their steady employment to enlist with a travel agency to help us. Every day there are more travelers arriving.

A nurse from LA came to me after she found out I was part of the home staff, in my home unit, where this all first started in my hospital what feels like a lifetime ago, and said, “I came here for you. For all of the nurses. Because I couldn’t imagine working the way you guys were working for how long you were working like that”. During our surge and peak in the ICU, we were 1:3 ratios with three patients who normally would be a 1:1 assignment. And they were all trying to die at the same time. We were having to choose which patients we were rushing to because we couldn’t help them all at the same time.

The overhead pages for emergencies throughout the hospital rang out and echoed endlessly. Every minute, another rapid response call. Another anesthesia page for an intubation. Another cardiopulmonary arrest. A hospital bursting at the seams with death. Refrigerated trailers being filled.’

Whilst reading this, the noise of A and E and ICU came back to me, the smells and the screams. My breathing shortened whilst reading Julianne’s post.  In the early weeks of my recovery the pain was so extreme I could only take very short light breaths and when I now feel stressed, I drop back into that way of breathing.

Julianne’s description brought back the sounds of various procedures and the memories of how doctors and nurses spoke to me and my wife.  On the brighter side, it also brought back the feeling of love I have for people like Julianne who saved me – they worked so hard on me that first week.

If you follow the link to Julianne’s post, you might also be able to consider why nurses bury their emotions.  My wife has a nursing related, bury it at all costs, approach to stress.  I have always had a fear that, one day, something would open the lid on years of buried emotions and my cataclysmic situation was, indeed, the final straw for my wife in the canned emotions department.

We all have different ways of dealing with the unimaginable – the central thing I have learnt from my hospitalisation is to let go – surrender yourself to the flow and just see if occasionally you can spot the rapids that are approaching and dip in a paddle to miss the worst of them.

My wife has not had that luxury.  She had a handful of weeks off work and then went straight back into doing the job that has so torn at Julianne’s emotions, telling people they or their loved one is dying.  Her immediate managers were very supportive and her colleagues were amazing.  One of my wife’s colleagues in particular, who was also planning her own marriage at the time, was a god send and took as much pressure as possible off my wife.

Just before leaving for the USA I had written this poem about the loss of something you cherish, love and revere.  At the time, I was not quite sure where the poem was going.  But, it was as if it was prophetic:

‘They Are Gone Now But I Love Them None The less’

He stared at the ashend logs

Softly ebbing away

Beyond the grate

With greying

Ghostly grace

 

He listened to their delayed echoes

Crackling in the hearth

Softly ending their days;

No-longer in spate,

Their rays wholly chaste.

 

A memory caught him,

Set hairs running

Off, up his neck,

Of a time, almost midnight,

So very long ago.

 

There he was not 4 feet tall,

A boy enthralled,

Who’d stolen into an emptied space

Not wanting the day to end

At all, in this place.

 

But instead of joy

Tears caught in his chest

The sight of the embers’ last breaths, made him cry aloud:

‘Why do the wooden logs burn out so life-less?’

‘Why do their beautiful shapes, at the end, dissolved to nothingness?’

 

His adult self, that night

Held that question tight

Cherished the thoughts

That the inner child expressed,

Remembered the loss of all those logs and their warm kindness

 

His adult self, that night

Knew right

There could be no solace for that inner child

Knew that in a world reduced to loneliness

The glowing figures, once lost, only returned occasionally to, briefly, bless.

 

His adult self, that night

Sitting dusted by moon light,

Looked beyond the window, hedges, wall, and field

Surveyed the landscapes & horizons of his memories for a moments’ last touch

Searched the snow powdered wilderness for lost figures now mind-struck

 

His adult self, that night

Looked back into the ebbing fire for a sign of solace in the last of the light

Yearning for the warmth of those that had once given such delight

But he could find no joy in that hearth that had triggered his eyes’ hind sight.

 

Instead of joy,

He found only the faintest echoes of  figures now lost

The merest hint of a once warm caress

Which he honoured with a final dedication:

‘They are gone now; but I love them, none the less’.

 

I wrote the poem whilst we were renting a former mill house in the Highlands that had a wood burner stove and the stove had reminded me of a moment when I was a child.  It had reminded me of love/friendships won and lost.  It had reminded me that I had lost the innocence of childhood all to early in life and had, subsequently, learned to associate love with disappointment and pain.

Little did I know, at the time of writing the poem, that what I was actually writing about was the feeling of physical loss we experience when we can no longer be intimate with a loved one – the inner child had fallen in love with the wooden logs, only to feel their painful loss when the embers burnt out.

In the hospital I left behind parts of my body but I also left behind a part of my wife that was desolated by our cataclysmic experience.  This experience provided me with a greater understanding of the importance of the 2014 referendum campaign slogans ‘hope over fear’ and ‘love over hate’.

I had accepted when we heard the diagnosis that my circumstances were life changing and expected to come out the other end a different person.  The person I had once been had gone.  It was to be expected that the person that now lay in the hospital bed was a shell of his former self.

But, what we had not expected was that my wife would, also, never be the same again.  She described what she went through (and continues to experience) as a form of emotional numbness.  Sheer exhaustion brought about by being overwhelmed by the release of years of suppressed memories.

My wife is concerned about the lack of adequate counselling provision for health professionals.  One of her colleagues had to wait 6 months to access  counselling services and at one point the waiting times were, allegedly, up to 18 months.  Though my wife initially received excellent support from her management team,  one of her mangers changed and the new manager showed not the slightest level of empathy (this manager had been trained down south).

Such is the technocratic inhumanity of some NHS managers ,that I have little hope that, over night, we are going to be able to change that culture to ensure a more empathetic approach is provided for staff who have gone through the Corona Crisis and need long term support.  The working culture of our current society is that people are expendable – we owe it to ourselves to change that and bin the selfish folk that run our organisations.

My wife is a saint, who serenely goes about life hiding the fact that her heart has been broken by years of pain and suffering.   I am a grumpy bastard, a comedian and an exhibitionist who expresses his discomfort in very vocal terms – but who is, gradually, learning how to go with the flow.  In the hospital, the two approaches did not really mix and our difficulties communicating related to that clash of styles.

The REM song, Everybody Hurts, has often featured in our family when we encounter crisis:

Setting aside the fact that the REM song had been so over played in our relationship, that it has almost become a cliché that has lost meaning, the value it enshrines has always been important to us.  Neither my wife, nor I, are particularly suicidal people and we share a value that you keep going no matter how hard your life gets.  This is a value that the Corona Virus will test to the limit and that our experience in the USA tested to the limit.

I had lost a part of myself in that hospital but my wife had lost more.  She had lost the tight grip she kept on her traumatic life experiences and, in the USA, she went back to a lonely room every night and quietly, cried her eyes out.  Her sense of well-being was not helped by the sound of gunfire throughout the night.

Having travelled a lot in America, lived in Northern Ireland during the troubles and also worked in tricky places in Europe such as Naples, I am used to the more violent and noisy aspects of cities.  My wife is not experienced in such situations and could not get used to the fact that when she went to sleep, she would be woken up by intermittent gunfire.

A further source of discomfort was the ritual of having to wait for a taxi at the hospital entrance to take her to her lodgings.  Whilst she stood there waiting, an eclectic group of people passed her buy; occasionally bringing the results of the gunfire (their friends and loved ones) to the hospital’s A and E department.  We also have such eclectic scenes outside A and E in Scotland, but, usually, without the outcomes of the gun fire.

The lonely experience of watching her loved one almost die, and never quite knowing if the infection was going to return, brought out an incredible sense of loss in my wife.  As the embodied trauma wore away at her day after day, her body shrank just as much as her emotions.

We had to adopt our own survival methods.  As best we could we tried to hang onto the life raft that the hospital staff had offered us and find a way to work to the shore.  But as we travelled on, there would be further waves to surf over and once on dry land, other bumps in the road needed to be overcome which I will describe in future articles.

As I explained in the previous post, throughout my time in hospital I struggled to understand a certain look in my wife’s eye and she could not explain what it meant – recently she has referred to the look as sheer exhaustion and nothingness.  I felt guilty whenever I looked into my wife’s eyes and saw the nothingness that my experience had reduced her to.  My guilt stemmed from the fact that I had been asleep when she needed me most, as this quote explains:

… Thus, I find myself in a strange situation where people I love were traumatized and devastated by what happened to me, but I – the dude who actually suffered the injury – fell into a two-week time warp before waking up strapped to a gurney: emaciated, woozy, confused, and irritable. I’m left to reverse engineer my own trauma by talking to my loved ones, poring over dry-ass medical charts, and checking notes that my wife kept throughout the whole ordeal, notes that I can’t bear to read. For as long as I live on, I owe it to my family and friends and colleagues to fully appreciate the fact that I somehow didn’t die, and that they saved me. I feel shitty that they had to go through that.’ (see link to the blog  post here)

The nothingness I saw in my wife’s eyes was caused by a wave of trauma and devastation that included the release of over 25 years of suppressed traumatic work and life experiences.  I felt guilty that I had added to her pain by putting her through such a horrific process. I found it difficult to express my feelings in the hospital and just kept saying, ‘will you stop looking at me that way’. Below, an extract from Julianne’s post explains my wife’s plight in terms of bottling up work related grief:

‘I am a Covid ICU nurse in New York City, and yesterday, like many other days lately, I couldn’t fix my patient. Sure, that happens all the time in the ICU. It definitely wasn’t the first time. It certainly won’t be the last. What makes this patient noteworthy? A few things, actually. He was infected with Covid 19, and he will lose his battle with Covid 19. He is only 23 years old.

I was destroyed by his clinical course in a way that has only happened a few times in my nursing career. It wasn’t his presentation. I’ve seen that before. It wasn’t his complications. I’ve seen that too.

It was the grief. It was his parents. The grief I witnessed yesterday, was grief that I haven’t allowed myself to recognize since this runaway train got rolling here in early March. I could sense it. It was lingering in the periphery of my mind, but yesterday something in me gave way, and that grief rushed in.

I think I was struck by a lot of emotions and realities yesterday. Emotions that have been brewing for weeks, and realities that I have been stifling because I had to in order to do my job effectively.’

My wife could not fix me, she had, in some ways, lost her brown eyed black haired boy.  The experience released a rush of grief.  The cataclysmic experience we went through in Phoenix made us look at each other differently.

I felt I had let my wife down.  I felt guilty for not being there for her, in the present, to help her through the operations.  I could not be there for her when I was under anaesthetic and she was waiting, for hours at an end, in a bleak waiting room. I could not be there when the infection and the drugs made me delirious.  I could not be there when the operations had reduced me to the sum of my painful impairments.

Every time I looked at my wife I felt I was letting her down.  My feeling that I had let my wife down probably relates to ingrained notions of patriarchy in my identity that see it as my role to protect my wife from what the world can throw at her.  I hadn’t realised how much I prided myself on my independence, my strength and my ability to be there for her.

I had a contradictory feeling that I felt pride that I had somehow survived the operations but guilty that I was not suddenly able to spring back into being the same-self again and be there for my wife.  I continued not to, in any great sense of the words, be there for my wife through out my stay in hospital and months afterwards.

Indeed, the drugs did not help, because they prevented clarity of mind and my ability to empathetically understand what my wife was going through.  We have been through so much in recent years, loss of loved ones, our son having a life changing/threatening operation, me moving jobs, doing up our house, finding a new home, my wife’s mum being diagnosed with dementia and so much more.  I felt terrible that I was adding to the long list of woes that my wife had had to put up with.

There were times when I looked at my wife and just felt devastated that I was putting her through yet another emotional grind in what is the never ending trauma of our lives.  I did not feel shame, but I did feel guilty that my wife had been forced to become my health care adviser rather than my wife and that her sense of self had diminished so utterly.

My past work experiences working in hospitals and my knowledge of disability issues helped me work my way through my experience.  In contrast, my wife’s past work and life experiences created issues for her sense of well-being.  In particular, my plight meant that past traumas came flooding back to my wife.  This flood of trauma resulted in my wife shutting her emotions down whilst in the hospital in order to cope and in order to be, professionally, there for me and then dissolving into an emotional wreck when she returned to the hotel.

After reading the previous article my wife reminded me of other sources of trauma that fuelled her feelings of isolation and asked me to include, in this article, an incident that occurred before I went into hospital.  The day before I went into hospital my wife had gone to get medicine and general supplies from a local supermarket.  She had  not managed to return to the apartment before it got dark.

Whilst trying to return to the apartment she was followed by an older guy in a car who twice came buy and wound down his window to offer her a lift (which she declined).  Shortly after that she was followed in a pick up by two younger guys – who then drove past her and turned their vehicle to bar her way.  At this point she turned round and they started following her again.  Growing concerned she phoned me.

I was extremely unwell and was sleeping, with the light off, in the upstairs bedroom of the apartment.   I immediately suggested she look around to see if there was anyone nearby like a family or a place with lights on.  She managed to locate and bunker down among a group of condos that had a porch reception area that was well lit and that had families coming and going.

My wife is, generally, a very formidable person – so you can take it as read that the behaviour of the guys in the pick-up was extremely intimidating and unacceptable – they kept circling the top of the road from the condo complex whilst she waited.

Having fallen about a bit trying to get dressed in the dark and then spending ten or twenty minutes trying to work out where my wife was – we were eventually re-united with much relief just before the battery ran out on my phone. The pick-up drove off just before I arrived and we made our way, extremely slowly, back to the apartment.

At one point, I had had to run across a busy four lane road when the lights change.  It  had taken just about everything I had to do that without getting knocked down.  The psychology of that moment was quite amazing, I simply reminded my failing body that having done sprint drills for decades its muscle memory knew what to do and I used technique, and the thought of my wife’s safety, rather than energy, to get me across the road.

Returning to the apartment we were both exhausted and went straight to sleep.  The running moved the infection a long a bit and actually helped my wife, in the morning, to work out that I might have sepsis; when the infection started to show on the outside of my skin.

It was very rare, in our relationship, for my wife to ask me to adopt a male protector type role – indeed, I cannot think of another such occasion. My wife’s experience connects with other writing in this blog where we have utilised the ‘Me Too’ campaign to call out male violence to women.

Our position is that every woman has a right to respect, to access social space without being harassed and to go about their business without male obstruction or intimidation.  We need to be very clear with our sons, friends and other relatives that the behaviours my wife was subjected to are totally unacceptable.

This frightening experience meant that the trip back to the apartment each night caused my wife a lot of anxiety.  Hence, the decision, discussed in the last article, to move my wife to a hotel where there would be other residents that might help reduce some of the isolation type trauma my wife was experiencing.   My wife took this picture from her hotel room.  The hospital is beyond the roof tops near the white building in the valley below.  I could see the hotel from my room, though not my wife.

arizona_IMG_0272

We have to say that in contrast to the pick-up truck guys, the Taxi drivers who took my wife back to the apartment each night, many of them migrant men, were extremely helpful and kindly waited till she was inside the apartment (and later hotel) before driving off.  We need more folk like that in the world and we need to work collectively to remove the fuel from the tanks of the pick-up truck guys of this world.

During the 30 odd days I spent in hospital in the USA my wife was supported by Jean, our good Samaritan from Dundee (who I mentioned in an earlier article).  Jean made every attempt to lift my wife’s spirits.  Jean has a fantastic sense of humour and never let our souls falter for too long.  She’s one of those great Scottish women who gives so much to other people.

It was brilliant to have her on our side and watching our backs when we were at our weakest.  She is the sort of woman who, had she been in charge of the first world war, would have stopped 20,000 being sent to their death on the first day of the Somme offensive because she would not have put up with male chinless wonders sacrificing the lives of other human beings.

There was a moment in my care when an excellent medic went on holiday and someone very dodgy replaced him.  I worked out very quickly the new guy had not read the notes.  For example, he asked me to sit up (I wasn’t allowed to sit up for a couple of months) he then advised a change in procedures that looked to me like they would create an infection.

Luckily, Jean came by shortly after the new medic left and I expressed my concerns and she, after a great deal of encouraging swearing, helped me to request a reassignment of staff so that a medic who actually knew my case was reassigned to me.   I will never forget the moment she picked up the phone and I immediately felt things were gonny be ok.

In the state I was in, I wouldn’t have had the energy on my own to make my voice heard. This is what supporting someone else’s self-empowerment is. We need to support the most vulnerable voices in our communities to be heard, no matter how weak they are.  My experiences of hospitals is that the changes that the patients are involved in and feel happy about tend to work the best (imagine that – eh!).

Jean not only supported me but she support my wife with incredible kindness – just at the time when my wife most needed someone to offer support and believe in her.  I have no doubt my wife would not have gotten through the experience, without our good Samaritan Jean’s support.  We were very very lucky to have the support of people like Jean and a number of key staff members (you know who you are) were also extremely kind to me and my wife during our traumatic experience.

I am eternally grateful for the kindness we experienced. This song stopped me in my tracks the first time I heard it – it could be an anthem for what we need in times of crisis. A Kindness · Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster.

The lyric, ‘For A simple kindness, was a kindness all the same’ is such a simple line that expresses so much.  A lot of people have shown me tremendous kindness over the last 12 months.  A few people have at times sensed something and contacted me to offer support just at the moments where I might have felt like giving up.

I will never forget those people and their kindness teaches us about how we will recover from this apocalyptic time of the Corona Virus.  We will recover through sharing simple moments of love and kindness. By reaching out with love and understanding across boundaries, countries and continents to share stories like that of Julianne.

I promised myself that I would travel back to the USA for the anniversary of my hospitalisation and to thank the staff for all that they did for me.  The lock down put paid to that promise.  But, as soon as I can, I will fulfil my promise.  In the meantime, my heart goes out to those doctors, nurses, and runners in the USA who are struggling to provide health care support in the context that Julianne described.  Their trauma is unimaginable, but they have to share their stories and we have to try and understand and witness them, if we are to help the ‘survivors’ to move on from what they have experienced.

Indeed, we have written previously in this blog about the injustices of the Hillsborough disaster.  One of which was that the relatives did not, necessarily, know how their loved ones died and what their loved ones died of, because evidence was suppressed or doctored.  The stress that the cover up caused was inhumane and justice took far to long to be served.  We must ensure that families that have lost their loved ones during the Corona Virus do not have a similar experience and are not having to fight, decades later, for truth and justice.

Thank you for reading this articles and, once again, for the warm and supportive responses I have received to earlier articles.  Tune in next time, for Article 7, where I will return to discussing the specifics of my health care and report on some of the less savoury issues that occurred during my time in hospital in the USA

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