Wednesday 1 April 2020

Thought Picnic: From chills to thrills in health updates

Singing of life
There was a time I was in a church choir just before Christmas, my croaky voice landed within the baritone range with the likelihood that if I had voice training, I might well have improved the range without straining my voice box.
For me today, I could either be singing ‘Good Christian men rejoice’ and ‘As with gladness men of old’, it is not Christmas, but I have had that state of mind. My Christian faith is a source and wellspring of hope and strength that I cannot relegate to insignificance. It gives me the ability to see beyond the inconvenient, the uncomfortable, the disturbing, and the difficult or seemingly impossible.
Banishing the anxiety
The muddled messages of the government about the extremely vulnerable needing shielding from the Coronavirus left me in a quandary that I was expecting a letter from the NHS informing me of my vulnerability and the need to stay indoors for 12 weeks. [GOV.UK]
Visiting the website today, I notice the cohort I belong to had been removed from the list, but that is not before I realised the full gravity of what the government was planning for those who are extremely vulnerable. In one of the worst expressions of an intention regarding the health outcomes, some people in Wales received letters that led one of the recipients to say, “It was like having my death warrant being sent by the grim reaper. It made me feel worthless.” [WalesOnline]
Asked to give up already
The intention, for the people with vulnerable conditions, if they did fall ill due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus or they had a deterioration in their health due to their underlying conditions to stay at home to be cared for by friends and family, not to call 999 for emergency services whilst agreeing not to be resuscitated if they stop breathing or their heart stops. The people were to grant prior absolution to medical professionals from following the Hippocratic Oath.
It is one thing to initiate discussion on your personal end of life care, it is another for your own GP to inform you that they will fill in a DNACPR (Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) form on your behalf because the state has decided the limited resources and personnel in a pandemic we were poorly prepared for makes you expendable.
Courtesy of WalesOnline [Link]

Reading the letter sent a chill down my spine, the prospect that if anyone falls gravely ill that no medical heroism would come to your aid, rather you’ll be left to expire. The thought that when I had the January, what could be cured with a few doses of antibiotics would have refused me until the bacterial infection presents sepsis resulting in agonising death does not bear thinking of.
From despair to great relief
This in my view is the culmination of the mendaciously, heartless and evil herd immunity madness that the UK government proffered on the 12th of March. Allow the vulnerable to be strafed by the Grim Reaper without respite, their martyrdom a glowing statistical sacrifice to the greater good of giving up their places in the health service to the presumably more deserving because they are younger, healthier and maybe still have more to contribute to society. Such is what makes cynics of a more caring humanity.
This morning the British HIV Association published an update, the first line was the summary and answer to many anxieties about vulnerability. “So far there is no evidence for a higher COVID-19 infection rate or different disease course in people living with HIV (PLWH) than in HIV-negative people.” [BHIVA]
Even better personal news
A few hours later, I got a call from the specialist nurse from my hospital, as my consultant had sent me a tweet that my scheduled appointment for the 3rd week of April will be by telephone rather than a visit to the hospital. We had a discussion regarding the results from my last visit in October if there were any changes to my condition and how I was faring in my broader life.
One piece of information that would have determined where I was in the vulnerability spectrum was the CD4 count, it was the highest it had ever been from a nadir of 20 to over 400. For the past decade, it had struggled to stay in the 300s and now it had breached a somewhat magic figure. That made me really happy and glad.
Obviously, that was because I have been religiously taking my medication which keeps the viral load undetectable, but I also think the beginning and growth of a romantic relationship has contributed in no small measure to my sense of wellbeing. I have my Brian with an I to thank for that. There is a life to live out there, a world of abundance to thrive in and love of inestimable value to appreciate, cherish, and enjoy.

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