Today we’ve been fitted out for PPE and have been trained in robust safety procedures including staff temperature logs. I’ve ordered scrubs because most of my suits are dry-clean only and I’ll feel better if I can wash everything daily. Quite how and when ‘routine’ eye examinations will be allowed I don’t know. At the moment the one clinical member of staff in the practice is restricted to ’emergency and essential’ work only, though what ‘essential’ is has no clear definition either. There isn’t much in the way of guidance from the British College or the AOP, but I’m guessing that they are waiting for guidance from the government. We are all signed up to CUES though, the Covid Urgent Eye-care Scheme.
Everything feels so fragile right now, like the world is balancing on a knife edge. My ten-year-old has gone from asking ‘When will things go back to normal?’ to ‘Will normal ever happen again?’ Currently I have no satisfactory answer.
I had thought we were starting to move in the direction of that now hackneyed phrase ‘the new normal’, albeit with the smallest of baby steps, then the terrible events of Monday in the US unfolded.
George Floyd was murdered in broad daylight in the most callous way imaginable, suffocated by a police officer while begging for his life. Whatever his background, whatever he’d allegedly done, no civilised society should countenance such behaviour from its officials. There is so much justifiable rage spilling over right now and really it’s not about George Floyd, or even Breonna Taylor, the emergency medical technician on the front line of fighting the pandemic, fatally shot eight times back in March while sleeping, by officers who forced their way into her apartment. Their deaths were the catalyst that ignited the anger for sure, but it’s about so much more… generations of oppression; 400 years of unfairness and discrimination, and it ties in directly with the pandemic as black and ethnic minorities have been both disproportionately infected and killed by the virus. There are so many reasons for this, and this blog is not the right place to offer discussion or opinion but I felt I could not let it pass without comment. I do not have the same life experiences as my black colleagues and friends, but I am educating myself, and will stand with them. I will stand with you. Black lives matter.
It’s been a rollercoaster few weeks. I became obsessed with watching the daily news briefings for a while, but started to limit my exposure because it really was not good for my mental health. Currently I’m still furloughed but after optometrists and dentists being left out of the much touted ’60 page document’, we are making preparations for a return to practice as soon as we’re allowed.
One nice piece of news for me is that my lovely Ophthalmologist mentor has been in touch to say that he’s keen to get me in at the earliest opportunity. The British College have finally told me I have two years to complete my placement. At least the extra wait means a bit more revision time for the Clinical Management Guidelines I guess. I think it’s going to be a very long road back to anything approaching normality but we are finally starting to move in that direction.