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COVID Update for posterity: August 2020

14 August, 2020

I have to own up to it. I’m suffering from burnout.

It’s not burnout from work, although we are all working very hard lately.

And it’s not burnout from keeping up to date with the necessary reading of research and available professional development that has sprung up left, right and centre since we all moved our ENTIRE lives online.

No- it’s burnout from listening to, participating in and combating futile arguments, discussions and behaviours associated with COVID.

I have wanted to keep writing updates on what has happened in 2020 because quite frankly, I reckon it will end up being like childbirth – you blank out the worst parts of it in order to stay sane. And some of it is so damn ridiculous I can hardly believe it’s actually all happened.

The Battle for the Last Roll of Toilet Paper Circa March 2020

I became aware of this the other day when a patient raised with me one of the ‘discussions’ I wrote about in an earlier blog with a Health Fund representative, who I had to relate what a pelvic floor physio actually did each day when treating patients with prolapse/ pelvic pain / faecal and urinary incontinence.

I had already completely forgotten about that nightmare day when this particular fund made us jump through a few more hoops than we were already jumping through, just to facilitate a patient receiving a $40 refund for their Telehealth appointment. This lady laughingly said she could imagine me red in the face, walking through the Yeronga park, laying down the law about the indignity and discomfort for the patients that they face when they have pelvic floor dysfunction.

That was a horrible day because it was the culmination of a difficult few weeks and a twenty something young guy was trying to tell me he understood about women’s issues and there’s nothing I could tell him that he didn’t already know. He insisted that it was very important that each patient write faecal incontinence or painful sex or whatever their most personal body failing was, on this special extra form they were requiring to be filled out and fax it in before they could get their $40. I had completely blotted that 57 minute conversation from my memory until she reminded me.

But we have had many useless, futile conversations and arguments over the past 6 months. Hundreds (no actual lie or exaggeration here) revolve around the phones and the internet. I know that Australia would become a Superpower of Productiveness if we could raise the bar with our technology providers. The number of hours lost to sorting out the internet and receiving and making phone calls has been insane and it’s a national disgrace. The communication from the employees of all Telcos (being that their primary role is to enhance communication) is appallingly difficult. We are still grappling with a major phone issue that neither Optus or Telstra can fix. So if you ring my landline at work and you get an odd message – definitely ring the mobile (0407659357) and there will be a secretary or the correct message on the other end.

Then there have been the ridiculous arguments from people about wearing a mask or complying with police directions or following rules.

Just wear a mask when you need to!

What is it that people object to? Have they not seen enough people night after night on different news services who have had COVID and telling us – take it seriously, it isn’t the flu?? Have they not been hearing that young people are succumbing to this virus – yesterday a man in his 20s died in Victoria and a 30year old in Queensland earlier in the week.  And then there are the purile political point-scorers – politicians who think it’s ok in the middle of a pandemic to bash on about their opposite number in the Parliament – and that is directed at all politicians regardless of their party.

But there is no point in burning out at this early point in the pandemic because despite today Russia reporting (claiming) they have Won The Race to get the first vaccine up and running, I think we have a long time to go in dealing with COVID. Poor Melbourne is suffering badly at the moment and is in Stage 4 Lockdown – it seems there may have been some shananigans in hotel quarantine. It seems incredible that so much suffering can be traced back to that alleged indiscretion. There is an inquiry tasked with getting to the bottom of that. 

New Zealanders under Jacinda Ardern has had a brilliant success with their Elimination Policy………until they spoke out loud about it and jinxed it. 100 days free of COVID – make a public announcement and back into Lockdown. Now this is increasing daily – started at 4 then up to 14, today 32. It’s more evidence of the contagious-ness of this virus. Jacinda has gone in hard again – particularly after watching Victoria’s experience this may be a good move. Let’s hope that it doesn’t continue to escalate out of control.

Aged care has been a disaster through COVID. There have been many outbreaks in many Aged Care residences and many deaths and it appears that a shortage of PPE and a lack of training has been part of the problem. There is an inquiry drawing to a close soon and the evidence is not looking good. The outcome will be for a future blog.

The final word on burnout is that I have come to realise that holidays are not only a wonderful elixir when they are actually happening, but the months planning them, preparing itineraries for them, thinking about them and imagining them actually contributes to anti-burnout. Those beautiful overseas holidays we have had since 2011 have kept us energised into our 60s – given us a purpose to working very hard so we can explore and have adventures in new and old lands.

Fortunately I have thousands of photos to remember them by. And thankfully Facebook throws up regular ‘Memories’ so I can look back and re-imagine those beautiful days. As we approach the end of August 2020, there will be daily reminders of last year’s very special trip to lots of mountains and of catch-ups with our kids overseas.

One day I hope we can do that again.

I hope we can get on a plane and not be petrified that we will arrive at the other end COVIDed. I hope we can hug our kids – a real bear hug not those elbow bumps. My son has come home, but my daughter and her partner are still in London and if it seemed a long way away before, it seems a million miles away now. I hope we can travel again without allowing two weeks at either end to sit in a hotel room quarantining. I hope we can afford travel insurance or that there is even such a thing as travel insurance.

For this we are relying on scientists. Clever people who are paid a pittance to keep us healthy and safe. If someone can tell me why a footballer or a cricketer are paid a gazillion dollars to play sport and scientists have to burn the midnight oil to put in grant application after grant application to sustain their very existance…….

So until there’s a vaccine, here’s some more mountain spam.

Gornergrat, Switzerland, 2019 -I long to see you again!

 

 

4 Comments
  1. took eastham permalink

    Loved your blog. I answered but don’t know where it’s gone. Hang in there and count your blessings. Thanks for a great laugh. You expressed the way I feel very frequently. Don’t know where my reply went , full of mistakes as that comment space is obviously only meant for a few words and I’m so long – winded. Hope you get to talk to family and they are getting through all this. Take some time out? Binnaburra or O’Reilleys. Love and Blessings Daph

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Antonia Gott permalink

    Oh Sue, you nailed it! Fantastic piece.

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