Key Worker Series – Interview with Lucy an anaesthesiologist working for the NHS
In these times of uncertainty, the Press & Media Office is launching a ‘Key Worker Series’ in which we will speak to the people who are continuing to work during the coronavirus pandemic in order to keep the country running.
Some, notably NHS staff, are on the frontlines fighting back against Covid-19 in order to protect the members of the public. Tragically, we have already seen some NHS doctors and nurses lose their lives in this noble cause. We will always be grateful for their service and sacrifices.
Given they are on the ‘frontline’, we are starting this feature by speaking to Lucy an anaesthesiologist working for the NHS at a London hospital.
Lucy preferred not to give her full name.
How does the current situation of Covid19 make you feel?
I am scared going to work. The pavements on a weekday are as busy as a weekend, people strolling around like they’re on holiday. I was scared going to Tesco for their first NHS hour. There was nearly a riot and I was being crushed in the mayhem. I am angry that stricter measures weren’t applied sooner, sad that the world cares more about economics than individual lives.
Do you feel safe at work?
I feel safe at work. Covid is an inevitability for all of us, it’s just a matter of when and how bad it is but as the anaesthetist, my job is to intubate and set up the ventilator so my risk of infection from aerosols is highest. Thus I always get personal protective equipment.
Do you personally take any precautions before you come back home from work?
I change out of scrubs into my “commuting outfit”. Some of us are showering several times a day at work in between COVID cases. I dispose of my gown, gloves, hat, mask, goggles, visor, shoe covers. I clean my stethoscope and ID badge and water bottle then wash my hands with soap and water.
How are you keeping your spirits up?
I FaceTime my parents and our giant puppy who are all shielding. The puppy doesn’t understand where my voice is coming from and tries to climb inside their screen to find me. All my friends are medical so a good moan and groan can be an outlet.
Any moments of kindness you’ve witnessed?
At home my whole street have a new WhatsApp group with tips for where such and such a product can be found, leaving things on each other’s doorsteps, offers of help etc. Most of them we’ve not met in person properly before but when everyone clapped we had a little shout and wave across the street putting names and door numbers to faces.
Have you seen a spike in spirituality/reflection within yourself?
I do find I pray more in times like this but that brings guilt, like I’m only speaking with God more because I need him.
Has the current situation made you appreciate certain things more?
It’s made me appreciate how lucky I have been to be able to visit my parents so easily usually. With wedding plans I’ve been seeing them two or three times a month since Christmas and it’s been amazing, yet I definitely took it for granted before it became not possible. I’ve also realised I could easily survive on a piece of toast a day. Thousands survive on less. I’d rather survive on that than go to several shops to find the products I want.
Choose 3 words that you will look back and summarise this time as…
Predictable. Unsettled. Temporary.
How do you feel when the nation comes together, stands on their doorstep and claps to show their appreciation for Key workers?
Uncomfortable mainly, with tiny nanoseconds of pride but also some nasty streaks of bitterness. NHS staff aren’t heroes. We do these jobs day in day out, it’s our job, we chose these jobs, we get paid for these jobs. It’s nice to be appreciated, but it’s also awkward because what about all the other people that make the world go round?
What is the first thing you’ll do once this is all over?
Drive home and give my parents and puppy the biggest hugs!
What do you hope life will be like after all this is over?
I hope people don’t return to selfish ways. I hope people remember a time that GP and A&E departments only had sick people that needed to be there. I really hope the mental health fallout for those who struggle with anxiety or loneliness isn’t too bad.
I hope pollution levels don’t rise again. I hope people continue to think of others every day, to be considerate of one another. I hope those grieving can heal and rebuild their lives. And I hope the world is ready for the next time, because with the planet as connected as it is, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened so it’s shocking not one country was prepared.
Thank you to Lucy and all key workers. They are all in our prayers. May God protect them all.
Look out for further interviews with key workers in the coming days.