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COVID-19-by-the-sea, but this is no holiday

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COVID-19-by-the-sea, but this is no holiday

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Excited! New job!

But coronavirus era begins.

Goodbye Whittington Hospital. Goodbye London!

This cat’s off to London-by-the-Sea.

New city, new home, new job, new teams, new start.

The sea. The waves. Ice cream.

Hello Brighton! Veni. Vidi. Vici?

So many faces. So many names.

No induction. No welcome drinks.

Must be safe. Protect husband.

Move out of home.

Not enough time.

So many patients. So sick.

This virus. Invisible. A ninja.

Doesn’t care. Doesn’t like soap.

It came. It saw. Has it conquered?

The disease.

Messes up lungs. Blood. Senses. Sanity.

Which drugs? No drugs.

Remdesivir. Dexamethasone. Interferon. Azithro-bloody-mycin.

No soma. Forget this reality.

What is this world? This not so brave new world. Must be brave.

Wash hands. Sanitise. Alcohol gel. Wash hands.

Happy birthday times two.

Pre-patient. Post-patient x 20 + PRN.

Drug chart. Breathless. Salbutamol and ipratropium. Hypoxia. Oxygen. Too much. Not enough.

Pause. Breathe.

Smiley face. Masked.

Happy. Not happy.

How to tell?

Feels so personal?

Is it protective?

Have I the correct equipment?

I’m not sure.

Need. Cup. Of. Tea.

Mask on. Mask off. Sanitise.

Remove gloves.

Exposed. Bare.

Sanitise.

I am not pharmacy. I am a pharmacist.

Feeling powerful. Feeling powerless.

How do I help?

What more can I do?

Thursday. Clap.

Stop.

Uncharted territory.

Unknown waters.

What ship? Which captain?

My fears. Your fears. Their fears. Our fears.

No visitors allowed. So quiet. Heaviness in the air.

They passed. RIP. Death. Gone. Stop.

Silence.

Unprecedented time.

Unimagined dystopia.

Too many words. Too many negatives.

No positives.

The first wave. The second wave.

The deluge. The tsunami. Overwhelmed.

These are not Brighton waves.

This is not a holiday.

Can’t hug. Want to hug. Need a hug.

Can’t cry. Want to cry. Need to cry.

Tears.

Stop.

The new normal.

This is not normal.

So tired. Need rest.

Slow down. Breathe.

Go home. New digs. Wash hands. Shower. Sanitise.

Cup. Of. Tea. Got. To. Eat. Must. Sleep.

Socially distanced.

This is not a social.

Physically distanced.

Feels so far away.

Husband texts. My pillar of strength.

R U OK? #MissingYou

Missing you more. Sad face emoji. #NeedAHug

It’ll. All. Be. Over. Soon.

When? When? When?

Texts my hugs and kisses.

xoxo

Lights out. Silence.

Alarm blares. Yet another day.

Brave new world.

Must be brave.

And have my cup of tea.

Ameet Vaghela, lead pharmacist for respiratory and allergy services, Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton and Sussex University NHS Trust

With reference to: Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. Harper Collins (1994 edition)

Acknowedgements: Ameet would like to thank his husband, and pillar of his strength, Tarun Pamneja, and the pharmacy and respiratory teams at Royal Sussex County Hospital and Whittington Health

This piece was shortlisted in our 2020 writing competition ‘Post-pandemic pharmacy: a brave new world?’

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