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Weeknotes 7-20 March 2020

I re-started my Weeknotes again two weeks ago with good intentions. It seemed that the sensitivity of my work had dropped, and the all out pace had slackened. I was lining up for a new project after a few days of ensuring all the admin was caught up. In a week of escalation on the pandemic front I managed to get myself admitted to hospital, although not with Covid-19. No, I went with another bout of cellulitis twinned with sepsis. I last suffered from this in August 2018, shortly after taking a 50 year old shed apart. This time there was no obvious cause.

I went to work in Tuesday morning as normal, and felt completely fine until about ten. I started feeling a bit rough then, a bit like a hangover and the after effects of vigorous exercise. My muscles ached and I felt tired, I also had a bit of a headache. Over the next couple of hours I got worse, and didn’t fancy eating lunch. So I decided to go home and work from home for the two hours of meetings in my diary. After that I thought I could finish early for the day.

However by the time I got into the train at Victoria I was feeling a lot rougher. It was a struggle to stay awake. It took a lot of concentration to make sure that I changed trains at East Croydon and got on the correct train. I messaged my wife to tell her how I felt. So I was met from the train. A quick change out of work clothes into something more comfortable and then we went to A&E.

The waiting room was surprisingly busy for 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon. Most of the seats were taken. I didn’t spend long in the waiting area though. I was out the back in a bay where I had my obs done and was visited by a doctor. I was pretty confused at this stage and my wife did most of the talking. It was lucky that my daughter was on a play date with a friend. I had a chest x-ray, swabs taken, an electrocardiogram and then they decided to give me some drugs.

Me in hospital with a canula for the drip March 2020 (photo: James Kemp)
Me in hospital with a canula for the drip (photo: James Kemp)

About half seven, by which time I was in the Acute Medicine Unit, a consultant came along with a junior doctor in tow. She didn’t listen properly to what I was saying and decided that since my leg wasn’t very impressively swollen and my temperature had gone down, that I could go home. She prescribed me some oral antibiotics and sent me to the pharmacy to collect them myself. I wasn’t happy about it, but couldn’t see a way round it. I also didn’t actually have any money on me, nor my wallet.

Nevertheless I went to the pharmacy, who wanted paid before they’d hand over any drugs. So while they prepped the prescription I called my wife to WhatsApp me a picture of my bank card. I then used the picture to set up Android Pay on my phone. This then enabled me to pay for the prescription. So I collected it and returned to the AMU to wait for my wife.

By this time I could feel the drugs wearing off. I was lying fully clothed on the hospital bed, but I felt cold and started shivering. I also fell asleep, because I didn’t need to stay awake. My wife reappeared, unhappy that I was being sent home. Fortunately the charge nurse agreed with her as soon as he saw me. So I got readmitted. Just as well really because my temperature hit 40C overnight. The paracetamol and antibiotics seemed to help though and I was glad of the offer to get IV antibiotics from my wife’s team at home.

Empty shelves in the Caterham Tesco on Tuesday 17th March 2020 (photo: James Kemp)

I’ve spent all the intervening period at home on sick leave watching the country descend into the beginning of the apocalypse. My last trip out to the supermarket was largely pointless because many of the shelves were empty, although it’s the busiest that I’ve ever seen that supermarket and there were a lot of people with trolleys piled high with stuff they probably didn’t need. I bought milk and chocolate biscuits, as well as what I needed to make fajitas for dinner.

Back to work (from home) on Monday. Both my kids and my wife are already working from home. So it’ll be just like being in the office…

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