Being On A CF Unit During Covid-19

Cystic Fibrosis and Covid-19

I am recovering in hospital after my Sinus Surgery as Covid-19 really starts to take hold of the country. 

Although the ENT team are happy with me to be discharged, I am still recovering from the operation. My balance is a bit all over the place. This is no surprise as I have issues with it due to taking Gentamycin as a youngster. Whenever my body has a shock to the system, my balance is the first thing to go. 

On a walk to the nurse’s station a quick glance at the inpatient list (surely everyone likes a nosey at that, it’s not just me!?) shows there are only five beds occupied. Madness. I’m told it’s like this throughout the hospital and A&E is dead. I mean empty, not full of the dead!

Coronavirus / Covid-19 Stories

Hand Sanitiser Shortage in Hospitals
Getting every last drop out of the bottle!

Stories of panic buying in supermarkets both on the news and from the staff are worrying. Shelves are stripped of toilet rolls and pasta. I can understand the pasta, but unless I’ve misunderstood, this virus does not play havoc with your bowels. It feels very draconian behaviour.  But being scared makes us all act differently I suppose. 

Hand sanitiser and hand soaps are in short supply too. There are tales of units of hand sanitiser being ripped from hospital walls. I can understand someone pinching a bottle of hand sanitiser from a patient’s bedside, and hoping no one notices. To rip a unit from the wall is purely vandalism – a hospital wall at that. Total narcissists. I can imagine these cretins posing for a social media titled “sorted for now!” 

Ventilator shortages

At one point NICE announces there will be guidelines for doctors on which patients to prioritise ventilators for if/when demand exceeds supply. I can’t help thinking with my lung function and being on the transplant list, I’ll be bottom of the pile. I understand the logic, but it’s a downer none-the-less.

Initially visiting is restricted to one per bed per 24-hour period. This quickly changes to no visitors unless in exceptional circumstances. It feels like the right thing but it makes for a very eerie atmosphere on the ward and limits interactions. 

Cross Infection

One good thing having CF teaches you is good cross-infection control measures. We know to wash our hands and to alcohol gel if you have touched anything someone else might have.  That being said, everyone who comes into the room I am suspicious of. Are they a risk? Who do they live with who might contract it? Which surfaces are they touching and can I reach them to wipe them? After every set of obs (Observations – heart rate, oxygen saturations, blood pressure and temperature) I wash my hands. Thoroughly!

Mental Health

Skyping the dog from hospital
There may be no visitors allowed to hospital, but I have a skype call with my favourite creature!

When bored in hospital, the default thing to do is to put on the TV and/or go on social media. Both 24/7 content sources about Coronavirus and how it is spreading. Ironically the TV channels offer ‘useful’ advice as to how to reduce anxiety associated with Covid-19. One of the biggest tips is to turn off the TV and avoid social media. Easier said than done when you are in a room on your own. 

I’m trying to take my mind off things by doing the world’s most frustrating jigsaw puzzle. 500 tiny pieces. All the same size and shape. And only a minuscule photo on the box to use as a reference! Also watching episodes of The Great British Bake Off. If this can’t relax me, nothing will!

Some Good News

One positive has happened and I’m receiving messages from people I’ve not heard from in years. People checking in and making sure I’m as well as I can be. I’ve also participated in evening socialising which has literally never happened whilst I’ve been in hospital! I’ve had zoom calls and played online games. It’s lovely to see friendly faces especially when there’s no visiting allowed, but it is knackering.

I truly cannot wait to get out of this pressure cooker environment and see my dog! I have skyped her but she’s not particularly impressed or responsive to me!