Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Madness in the Time of Corona

Hates a microphone!
Six weeks ago, I wrote about how things change. I was diving back into private practice after 3 years of mostly working at a public hospital. The Corona virus was on the radar then, but it didn't appear to be influencing anybodies plans unless they lived in Wuhan, and it certainly wasn't shaping mine. For me it was full steam ahead. Loving being back at the Hawthorn footy club, and relishing the challenges associated with working with the Carlton AFLW team. I was also at the pointy end of having been the co-convenor for the, wait for it, triennial combined meeting of the Asia Pacific Society for Surgery of the Hand, and the Asia Pacific Federation of Hand Therapists here in Melbourne. 
Do they miss me as much as I miss them?

We were expecting well over a thousand registrants for this conference. As we got closer to the event date of March the 10th, those numbers started dropping. First the Chinese delegation pulled out, then Singapore, Korea, and much of Japan. When the Grand Prix wasn't cancelled, we took this as a green light to continue. At the same time, we spent a lot of time arranging video presentations, and the schedule took a massive hit. 

The conference went extremely well. Minimal contact, but not nearly to the extent we have now. A challenging program amidst a backdrop of impending doom. The call to cancel the final day was made at three o'clock on Friday the 13th. Apt perhaps. There was disappointment, but no complaints that I was aware of, and I can only thank the delegates for that. The gala dinner went ahead, and as Alison Taylor said, it was kind of like the last party on the Titanic. It was certainly the last party I'll be at for a while. 

Ripping tune
I've now lost my contract at the footy clubs and my practice has shrunk to half of what it was. I still have people coming through the door, but I'm restricting that as much as possible to post-operative cases. I've read comments about how we should shut our doors completely or just offer tele-health, and I can appreciate where they are coming from. However closing the door on a person just after surgery and having them rely on surgical advice to "just start moving when you feel like it" is likely condemning them to a crap result. Tele-health is great for some and I've used it to reinforce & adjust programs, but it can't work for everyone. So I'm still open. 

But it's weird isn't it? It's surreal. Streets are empty. Toilet paper has made a return, but you can't buy more then two tins of vegetables even if you mix the types, and there's nothing in bulk. Spotify is chockers with Corona Isolation playlists. The memes that are flying around are mostly hilarious, although I get the impression that the edge to them is getting darker and nastier.

For a positive sporting fix
When I'm not working on the business I'm watching anything on Netflix I can that's sport related. Just finished "The English Game". Acting was ordinary, but the story was fascinating. There's a series of ESPN documentaries called "30 on 30" that I'd love to work through, and I've found several podcasts one of which, "The Howie Games" is a surprising stand out. I'll do some exercise, go for a run, hit the lonely speed ball, and have a kick with my son. I'm also working on a passable version of "I Useta Love Her" by the Saw Doctors. Classic happy space song. It could be worse, and so it's not me I'm worried about. 

Here's where a blog that is determinedly light-hearted and irreverent becomes sombre. I worry for those who don't have my resources. I worry for Mum and Dad. I worry for the mental health of so many. I worry for the long term implications of this virus: socially, financially, and physically. I worry for my friends working on the front-line in public health both here and overseas. I don't worry for the dickheads who think they are above it all and can do whatever they want. Karma will get them.

So stay safe, look after your fingers, and I'll see you on the other side of this madness.