Turning 11 and how times flies

Our Nurses, Doctors, Health care professionals, Care workers and all key workers are honestly amazing. They are beyond a clap on a Thursday and always have been. So why has it taken this long for people to realise the importance of those that keep us alive, look after our loved ones or hold our hands giving us their strength when we don’t think we can do this ourselves? Every day these individuals put their lives on the line for us and ask for nothing in return. They do it because for them it's a way of life - their life. 

When I speak to care workers I ask them why do they do this when it can be such a thankless role and a typical response is:

"it allows me to help those that have done so much, and it allows me to give back to them when others have forgotten about them."

Sinead (Axela Operations Director) sent me a message today that made me realise that there is a real disconnect at the moment. Today, a chord struck more strongly than anything since this pandemic started, and more so the lockdown nearly 50 days ago.  My 35 year old sister with 14 years of Intensive Care experience could not stop crying on a video call. She was trying her best to stop but the smallest comment about  COVID19 set her off again. 

My whole family are medically trained and I know they have all seen and been through a lot in their careers. For as long as I can remember, my middle sister has always wanted to be a physio and to help and care for people, but to hear her utter exhaustion today broke my heart. I have been given her permission to share a cry for help to the public to remain at home and keep safe. 

Before I share her heartfelt words, I would like to share how Respect Care have been helping to fight this pandemic. For weeks, our CEO was battling to make headway in obtaining adequate PPE for our staff continuing to attend and care for our service users in the community. Some were unaware whether or not they had the virus, and some were sick in hundreds of other ways. Life went on and so did their care. Effortlessly and with little complaint, our care workers still visited these individuals, as they depend on them, and for many weeks with only the basic protection we could get our hands on. 

So although I understand the reason that everyone shows their appreciation on a Thursday at 8pm, our care workers, NHS staff and all key workers are beyond a clap. Their love for what they do, their understanding of the necessity of their roles in our society and their sheer passion to assist each and every one of us in our daily lives is far beyond clapping since this pandemic. 

So from all of us at Respect Care - Thank you, even those who have been able to work at home and like myself feel rather helpless in this situation. If you feel that what more can I do to help? What more can I do to fight this virus and help people? Please read the painful yet truthful words of my sister - ICU Respiratory Physio - and then you may realise that staying at home is enough, keeping your distance is making a difference to saving lives.

“Whilst I appreciate it must be awful staying at home, not being able to go out to see family and friends or go to work, I'd like you to think about this: I've been a physio for 14 years and I've spent most of that time working in intensive care units. Simplified, my job is to help people on ventilators breathe again, help them rebuild the muscles they lose through illness and inactivity. I thought I'd experienced a lot in that time, but nothing prepared me for the last 8 weeks. I've seen things I wish I could forget, I've cried more than I ever have before at work, I've felt fatigue to the point I was convinced my body had been replaced by cement, my skin is damaged and sore from PPE. We've sat with patients who sadly passed away so they weren't alone at the end, we've spent endless hours clearing phlegm from people's lungs, turning them onto their fronts in a bid to help them breathe more effectively.

Coronavirus isn't something to take lightly. If you get it, and end up in the ICU, despite our best efforts you are still more likely to die than survive. If you manage to survive, you face weeks, months of rehab to try and return you to your "normal" but that is also an unlikely prospect. Coronavirus and being in ICU will waste your muscles away, it will damage your lung tissue irreparably, it will affect you psychologically; you will live with the scars, inside and out, for the rest of your life. The NHS and everyone that works in it, has done an amazing job so far, everyone has given a part of themselves, some have even given their lives to fight this, to protect you and get you home again but for the love of god, please be sensible. This isn't your chance to catch up with the family and friends you've been missing because when the next wave happens, there might not be any healthcare workers left to help you. Please stay home if you can, protect yourselves and those around you.

Cliona Long (ICU Physio)

Anonymous police officer.

I know of two people personally who have died from it; one a member of police staff (Saturday just gone, who I knew for 11+ years) and a colleague's father. Whilst frontline officers are at risk going to corona-related calls, interacting with infected people, we have to continue as it's our job and we can’t say no.

Anonymous police officer

Over the last 50 days I have seen staff, working harder than ever with little regard and respect for their own safety, yet have been expected to dig deep at a time of national/international crisis, putting themselves and their family at risk, some having to move out of home so that they can continue working to provide for their family.

I have seen people I consider friends/colleagues go from being healthy strong individuals to become service users/patients and in some cases die, all while others around us complain about not being able to go to the pub.

Isn’t it about time we stop distinguishing between health and social care, and just call it care and show and give those that put their lives on the line for us the respect and recognition that they deserve?

Firstly, thank you to all those that have not just put themselves on the line over the last 50 days and will continue into the future. You're all amazing - your passion, dedication and human spirit is inspiring.

So please listen to those who are experiencing this virus first hand and living with the pain it is causing directly and indirectly so we can get the world well again!