Who Won The Week (8 March 2020)

I have Fandango to thank for this title – he has been posting regularly on this subject from his west-coast-USA vantage point. I am interested in current affairs too, and normally have some nonsense or other to spout about one of the UK’s topical news stories. So, I like to join in. Maybe there’s something in your world that you’d like to post about?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is wwtw.jpg

In my earlier life I was fortunate not really to have any health issues. That changed, four years ago, when I had the stroke. In the immediate aftermath, I thought I would have another stroke anyday soon, and that would be it. After all, I was every bit as likely to have a second stroke as I was to have had the first.

As time went by, I started thinking that maybe I wouldn’t have another stroke, leastways not right then. That maybe I did have a future ahead of me. I determined that if ever I got well enough, I would try and help people in the same situation. That was why I volunteered.

As a volunteer, I have seen lots of stroke survivors. Some people go on to recover well, with full use of their limbs and the same brain-power, that they had before their stroke. But alongside the success stories I saw the worst cases – people who had their full brain power, were absolutely aware of their predicament, but were left unable even to get up from their bed. Their partner has become their carer in the blink of an eye.

I have talked to these people. Some of them have said that they just want to hurry up and die. Seriously. And I can understand why – medicine has the power to keep them alive, but not the power to grant them any kind of quality to their life. They remember who they were, they see what they have become, and they want out.

Bottom line, I have seen how we can keep people alive, artificially almost, and certainly despite their wishes. I’ve been blessed to see this first hand, at a relatively young age, when my thought process is still good, and I know it is not for me. I guess we would all say the same. I’m also blessed that my medication can be fatal, at the right (i.e. wrong!) dose. So I know I have a get-out, if needs be.

I dodged one bullet with the stroke – it left me damaged but I’m still productive. If I suddenly became unproductive, I know what I need to do. When my time is up, my time is up. So, if I have a choice – quickly over a few hours, days or weeks or slowly, degeneratively, maybe over decades, then it is a no-brainer.

I pulled my original post today, on International Women’s Day, because I thought this topic was more important. It went along the lines of actions, not gestures, that by all means pat ourselves on the back for the progress which we have made, but let’s not forget that there is work still to do. And you can guess the rest … But this whole week, our national news feeds have been dominated by one thing. So are my favourite Irish feeds- even my local news feeds! COVID-19, AKA CoronaVirus. So, in terms of dominating the news coverage, there is actually a clear winner. Not a who, but a what – the COVID-19 virus.

So far, I have been very unimpressed with the level of public information in the UK. The key questions I had were:

  • what signs do I look for?
  • what should I do when I see those signs?
  • how can I expect to be treated?

Instead, we had the chief of Public Health England (you can guess…), who came on our most serious news programme and said that the NHS had a thorough strategy for dealing with COVID-19, but when pressed, would not elaborate on exactly what their strategy was. So I’m sure that many viewers, myself included, decided that the chap was a shill, a puppet, put onto TV to further the propaganda – we don’t have a clue of how to deal with this, but let’s think about nice things instead, and hopefully the worst won’t happen! So, this guy instantly loses any credibility he might otherwise have had.

However, regardless of the obstacles, the questions are clear enough, and with the global news network on our computers, we can piece together the answers, if we’re prepared to look for them. Some outlets have covered the story better than others.

My current take on the virus is that:

  • The virus is recognised by flu-like symptoms, in particular shortness of breath.
  • The advice in the UK, if you see the symptoms, is to stay at home. If you’re in the UK specifically, the advice is to call the non-emergency health number, 111, although I am also hearing from other sources that the number is inundated with other calls, so they don’t pick up.
  • In most cases, so far as I can make out, the treatment is just to stay home and weather the storm. No specific treatment/hospital required. This self-isolation is not the precursor to treatment, but the actual treatment itself! Usually.
  • But this scenario can change if people have other aggravating conditions, for example, respiratory issues. It that respect, people are dying from this virus so it can have serious consequences. I read an article from Spain which said that anti-AIDS drugs (which I am guessing are strong antivirals) have been used with some success.
  • Lastly, my wife is a nurse who works for the NHS. Her employers have expressed a degree of concern if my wife goes to her usual social gatherings (her choir, etc.). But soncern is as far as it has gone. They recognise that she is taking a risk. And, these concerns have been raised by admin staff, not by clinical staff.
  • They have also asked her what duties she can offload onto other people. Things she does not have to do herself, just so she has contact with as few people as possible. Unfortunately, most of her job is contact with people. But the obvious thing is blood tests, which are ultimately shipped to the local hospital anyway for analysis. So far, nobody booked in for a blood test has been diverted – this is a plan rather than an action. If you know the Salisbury area, then the virus has been detected in Amesbury so far (maybe 15 miles away). It is a little too close for comfort, but I don’t think I’ll be able to outrun this beastie. it’ll reach me eventually. Amesbury gets all the glamour – it was one of the epicentres of our Novichok nonsense a couple of years ago, too. As of Friday, my wife’s surgery still had a consultant visit them, to talk about something totally unrelated to this virus, so they still appear to be working normally, even if they are planning for the abnormal.

I have no idea how I will be affected personally. I am a diabetic who has already had one stroke, the NHS will tell me that I am “high risk”, although that has never made a difference in practise. My health these days is very good, however. I have no idea how I would be treated – or even whether I would be treated. At this stage, it doesn’t much matter to me. I guess if I felt bad, my first decision would be to decide whether I actually wanted to be treated.

I must admit, in this respect, I can see a clear difference between news broadcasting, which we have a lot of, and public service broadcasting, of which we have none. One is talking about the sensational – in the UK’s case, the two deaths so far, while the other should be concentrating on informing the public (i.e. the other sixty million of us) so that it understands the risks and the actions. Even the BBC, here, is just another news agency in that respect. I think that’s quite poor, but the truth is out there …

Lastly… remember that I’m not an expert. If in doubt, try and find one and ask them. And hope you get a straight answer. And, if you know better than me, please share.


  1. There is more panic and misinformation than anything on this epidemic. Stores are out of water, disinfecting wipes, and toilet paper. I have no clue as to why people are hoarding TP.

    Stay home as much as possible. Wash your hands frequently. Keep your hands away from your face. Use hand sanitizer. Don’t expose others if you are ill in any manner.

    I too have a compromised immune system. Happily, I can stay home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m quite lucky too as regards having commitments which require leaving the house. Just my charity work and my weekly grocery shop. Most likely, I figure if I get caught, it’ll be because my wife picks something up at work and brings it home – just normally at this time of year, she is always picking sniffles up from her patients. I think it is too straightforward to sit here and think that somehow it will not find me.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Plus it’s scary, isn’t it, how inadvertently large our network becomes? I discovered last week that I have a very tenuous connection to Wuhan itself. I met up with an old buddy of mine last week. His son, about a year ago went off to South Korea to teach English as a Foreign Language. While there, he has integrated, and has got himself a Chinese girlfriend. Whose parents are in Wuhan! Now, it is six months since I last saw my friend, six months more since he saw his son, and nobody ever met the girl or her parents, but isn’t it funny how in just a few hops, everyone knows everyone else?

          Liked by 1 person

    • I have just returned from my local supermarket and found the toilet roll shelves stacked high. I am not sure if they have been rationed – I have heard as much on the media but did not see any evidence of it and we didn’t try to buy any – if the worst comes to the worst, I will go bear-like! They had, however, run out of the supermarket-branded paracetamol (although they had plenty of premium-branded). Paracetamol would come in handy if people have flu-symptoms, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s