• neil

Day 90 (15 June): From our medical correspondent

Updated: Jun 16, 2020

The blog today is a bit of an odd one. For a change. I am writing it on my phone from a hospital in Leuven where I have been sitting for the last couple of hours waiting on a friend. I think the prolonged wearing of a face mask is beginning to result in oxygen deprivation.

Either that or they really do have pink pixies flying around at head height.

Everything here is very efficient. The chairs are perfectly arranged at 1.5 meters distance one from the other and there are more disinfectant dispensers than patients. But to get from floor to floor the lifts are packed. Interesting factoid resulting from that experience: your correspondent has learned he can go from the ground floor through to floor four without taking a breath. One of his eyes popped out - but he caught it before it hit the floor and he did not breathe once.

I am here in part as an interpreter, but unfortunately I seem to have considerable difficulty in understanding people who are wearing masks. Was I an unwitting lip reader before all this began or did Hungarian become the national language while I was distracted?

I was so embarrassed after twice asking somebody to repeat directions that I just thanked them cheerily, feigned confidence, and walked into a broom cupboard.

Oops, now there is a chap approaching whose mask covers his nose and the bottom of his eyes but leaves his mouth completely exposed. And he just coughed a spluttering cough. I have moved away in the most spritely of fashions, again without breathing. Aged 64 I discover I am a natural free-diver. From my new out-of-aerosol-snot-range I reckon I can just about hurl a chair with a fifty per cent chance of taking the splutterer out. Doing my bit for the community.

If I get out of here without infection I shall sacrifice a guinea pig in gratitude and invite you all to a barbie tomorrow - as long as you keep your distance. But right now I am desperate for a pee - this worries me as I have heard that public bathrooms are notorious virus traps.

On the other hand, if that is truly the case, why do they not just build a bunch of bathrooms, let them catch all the lurgy and we can all get back to normal?

If the bladder emergency goes above scale 8 I will have to take my life in my hands. Not that I call it 'my life' of course. In the meantime I am thumbing away at my iPhone keeping you informed of the imminent and the crucial without reference to any online supporting documentation ( e.g. legislation changing national languages overnight) because the hospital WiFi provides no security and 'network traffic is exposed'. Which is more than I can say for my poor suffocating nose.

So it’s not just me trying to stay virus free. It’s my phone as well.

(Queue rousing Disney chorus of “We are all in this together”)

Let it be noted in the blog: Day 90 and my phone turns out to be my comrade in arms and a bosom buddy. Perhaps I should find the psychiatric floor and take a room. At least that way I might get to have a non life-threatening pee.

I'm so bored . My friend is away for tests and I now know how many floor tiles there are in this room. On closer inspection that broom cupboard turned out to be a clothes cupboard with smart green doctor smocks. I’m thinking of donning one and telling random people they have been selected to donate a kidney. Please step this way.

If I don't post tomorrow it will be because I am operating.

Keep safe! Keep on the outside of your kidneys!



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