Two years ago today, Barry and I arrived at Tarleton all prepared for our booked passage on the Ribble Link the following morning. We’d just left the boat to explore the area and lock, around 8.30 pm when my mobile phone rang. It was a number I didn’t recognise – so I almost didn’t answer it. Fortunately, I did.
The Dreaded Death Call
The Paramedic calling was a kind man who I’ll never forget. What a dreadful call to make, having to inform a daughter her mum had died suddenly and unexpectedly. I thought at first he WAS, after all, a bogus caller. He had to repeat his words for them to start to sink in. Sadly he was genuine. Mum had been found dead in the bath that evening, by her carer. She’d been there for hours bless her. However, she’d enjoyed a gorgeous sunny day, and it’s sunny here today too. I discovered a few days later she’d enjoyed walking around the park home site that morning, chatting amiably to lots of people.
Following the call, he and his partner paramedic had to stay in mum’s park home for three long hours waiting for the police to arrive. They weren’t allowed to move her body until then – apart from the fact that it would’ve taken more than the two of them to move her. Unimaginable. I only found out weeks after mum died, how long they’d had to wait. They weren’t allowed to leave her body as there were no members of her family able to get there to identify her. Thank goodness none of us was! Barry and I were many hours away, without transport, otherwise, I’d have been there like a shot. But only because I’ve seen death so much as a health professional.
I can’t comprehend today, how people like this young paramedic, must be coping with what’s happening and the number of deaths occurring at home. Nor of course, all the people who’ve been, and will continue to receive, similar calls during this traumatic and transformational period.
What I would say to readers, is take videos of your loved ones as soon as you can. I missed the boat a little. A few weeks before mum died I’d said to my sisters we needed to take lots of videos of mum, knowing she had dementia and possibly a heart condition … Luckily I did shoot a few, which are so very precious to us all now. One was of her saying out loud the first two verses of the Wordsworth poem “I wandered lonely as a cloud …”, and I read out the whole poem at her funeral. She loved poetry and could recite verbatim dozens of poems she’d learned in her youth. Here it is. I love it:
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
On A Lighter Note …
Pip and Mick on NB Oleanna, have once again kindly collected our fruit and veg boxes from Nantwich veg boxes. They were delivered to bridge 95 where they moored up a couple of days ago. I splashed out this time. Rather than one mixed fruit and veg box, I ordered one of each. I love it! You put in what you like, and dislike, then you wait. It’s like Xmas. The sort of Xmas I could deal with. Because the gifts are locally sourced (not necessarily locally grown mind you, unless we’ve suddenly started growing bananas?), and edible. Nothing wasted. No ‘unnecessary stuff’. Thank you both. It’s lovely getting to know you better during lockdown living on a narrowboat 🙂
Surprise delights were a grapefruit, humongous radishes, peaches and nectarines, the greenest broccoli I think I’ve ever seen, fresh peas – real ones in a pod! Oh my. Simple lockdown pleasures. More about eating fresh tomorrow …
COVID-19 Symptom Study
So, a friend messaged to say a friend had had and recovered from COVID-19 a couple of months ago, then fell ill again a few weeks later. The test came back negative. However, the ambulance crew and her GP are convinced she had a repeat COVID-19 infection, and their view was there seem to be an inordinate number of negative tests when clearly the person has COVID-19.
Do you understand test sensitivity? It’s a bit complex. Some tests can almost guarantee a positive result is positive (but even then there are limitations), but a negative test is not predictive of not having it! It’s rather confusing yes?
If you’re interested to read more, I found this article helpful – Report from the American Society for Microbiology COVID-19 International Summit, 23 March 2020: Value of Diagnostic Testing for SARS–CoV-2/COVID-19
“Some patients with pneumonia may have negative nasal or oropharyngeal samples but positive lower airway samples, for example. Accordingly, the true clinical sensitivity of any of these tests is unknown (and is certainly not 100%, as in the hypothetical scenario); a negative test does not therefore negate the possibility that an individual is infected. If the test is positive though, the result is most likely correct, although stray viral RNA that makes its way into the testing process (for example, as the specimen is being collected or as a result of specimen cross-contamination or testing performed by a laboratory worker who is infected with SARS–CoV-2 [these are just some examples]) could conceivably result in a falsely positive result.”
It’s a veritable minefield. One of my big concerns, as you know, is the lack of availability of tests to EVERYONE who needs one – regardless of age, race, socio-economic status, etc. The fact that we have the second largest number of cases and deaths in the world, have loosened lockdown, AND aren’t testing in any way the numbers we could and should be, means we’re probably really the worst. Good luck to those naive (gullible?) people going out and about again as if nothing’s changed. Those that have been left with no choice I am truly sorry for you.
I’ve been in touch with someone in authority about my inability to access a test when requested via the COVID-19 Symptom Study App. I’ll let you know if I hear anything more.
Symptom Study Update
I haven’t been informed of a webinar this week, though I do know the team need urgent funding to continue with their research. It would be a travesty if they have to abandon it. So if you haven’t donated, please consider doing so. It’s one thing we DO have some control over.
Here’s the link to make it easy: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/displayCharityCampaignPage.action?charityCampaignUrl=COVIDSymptomStudy As of today, they are £553,559.14 short of their target …
I’ll leave you with this thought-provoking image …
Thank goodness mum isn’t alive to witness this, as none of her family would’ve been able to visit her. That’s unimaginable 🙁