ONE YEAR ON: Poetic pandemic view from NHS front line

A senior Wigan hospital medic has taken to verse in order to express what it has been like battling Covid on the NHS’s front line.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 10:15 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 10:16 am

Martin Farrier is WWL’s chief clinical information officer.

Here are his verses ...

Visibly Vulnerable

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WWL chief clinical information officer Dr Martin Farrier

Being old has its advantages.

I have a back catalogue.

This isn’t my first Pandemic.

I felt loss before.

I felt fear and overwhelmed doubt.

I knew the fallen and knelt with them.

And the 40 million that have fallen since then.

Through all the 30 years that faded fear of HIV.

They don’t change the beginning.

Like grief, the loss didn’t leave, it just got easier to live with.

Science and social change led the way out.

Tic Toc

Being old has its disadvantages.

It’s hard to be so useless.

I expected so much more of me.

Experience was supposed to deliver expertise, but it was only expertise of past problems.

Covid was new.

These were new challenges.

Standing together.

Dressed like spacemen.

Fighting with paper swords.

And itchy noses.

Covid levelled us as we stood together.

No longer visible by our differences, just scrubs and spacesuits.

Visibly the same.

Visibly vulnerable.

Summer came and the bright light eased the pain.

But like a bad penny, Covid was coming back.

What we learned would be needed again.

The ventilators and CPAP machines were multiplied.

Trials reported.

Science and social change led the way out.

TiK Tok

Being old has its advantages.

Your roots are deeper. Life’s knocks land softer.

Your memory is longer.

The world gets more predictable and crisis is merely a regular travelling partner.

The second wave rolled in on time.

Crashing its destruction.

But the swell was longer and deeper than the first time.

ICU gathered its flotsam and jetsam.

Treasured gifts to be cleansed and returned to the world.

This time my visit to ICU brought old friends and no space suits.

This time I could itch my nose.

This time the drugs are centrally organised and delivered.

This time all the ventilators are the same. No mishmash.

This time its routine.

This time there is less fear, but more fatigue.

Empty and tired.

Given all and stretched to breaking.

Holding on with finger tips.

And yet still welcoming me. As an old friend.

And I’m a bit less useless.

3 million and counting.

It’s not the 40 million of the first pandemic, but nor is it 30 years old.

Science and social change still lead the way out and will guide the journey ahead of us.

And I will add this to my treasured experiences of the best of humanity.

And my faith in people deepens.

And my roots grow deeper yet.