1 Apr 2020  •  Blog, Covid-19  •  6min read By  • Simon Thackeray

Reflecting on the last two days with Simon Thackeray

Monday mornings have always been my most hated morning up until recently. Just over a year ago I decided to stop working Mondays. Since then the odd Sunday night feeling I’d had, even as far back as primary school, had disappeared almost immediately. But today, despite not having to go into work, it was back. Today became the most difficult day yet of this whole Covid saga.

Some of it was caused by my anger towards the Government bulletin that said all dental practices had received deliveries of PPE. I’m not sure who has got mine, and talking to a load of dental friends, theirs either! I think it was very poor briefing of the minister rather than a deliberate lie.

Most of the morning has been spent just trying to get somewhere regarding the set-up of the hubs, with LDC emails going backwards and forwards between members now that dentistry has been effectively stopped in the UK. The constant discussions about what type of PPE, when to use what type of PPE, and actually whether indeed there WAS any PPE started really getting to me. I shall keep to myself my feelings about some aspects of the organisational structures of the NHS, obviously there have been supply issues with PPE for front-line hospitals, let alone us. Yet despite the best efforts of the LDC’s I’m involved with, the urgency to really set up these hubs quickly by those that have the power to just isn’t there, and neither is any of the protection that we will need to treat people with by the sound of it.

Despite us all having to at some point provide ‘disaster continuity plans’, and ‘significant event analysis’, you could be forgiven for thinking these scenarios we are now in haven’t really been considered at all by the powers-that-be (perhaps they could have asked us sooner…) and that they are now back pedalling readily because they didn’t expect the CDO to close dentistry down so completely and so quickly. As ever, the patients are left in the middle of this, and likely to blame the dentists again.

I actually achieved very little therefore today. It was the lowest I felt since having to close down a week earlier. I managed to set up a Zoom meeting for the following day, but that was about it.

The high-spot of the day was actually nearly losing a finger to one of the dogs! Not the beagle for once, causing his particular brand of mayhem, but our black lab X pointer. Stupidly, I left a pile of cooked chicken bones out, and of course these were seen as fair game to her. However, in my haste to stop her from choking, I stuck my fingers right in between her biggest carnassials as they were chomping down…I’m now expecting sepsis or something similar to teach me a hard-learned lesson!

The evening for once was relaxation, the remake of Death Wish with Bruce Willis actually took my mind off all things Covid-19 for a couple of hours. Since no night is a ‘school’ night these days, there might also have been a beer consumed as well.

Tuesday feels better. Much better. However it dipped pretty quickly when I had a call (not from one of our patients) from someone with toothache who was a key worker at the local hospital. Whilst he was grateful for my advice (the same as his dentist had given him) he was rightly bemused at the fact that he could get treatment for his cat if it had toothache, but not really for him. There is no answer to that, and it was frustrating that I know I could have solved the problem with a quick extirpation of his upper central. I almost felt like giving him the email address of the CDO for him to discuss it with her directly.

It was great to have half a dozen of them (patients) and some of the team just chatting for an hour, but especially great to find that one of our high-risk patients who had contracted Covid-19 was joining,  having been released from hospital that morning.

It got better again though an hour later when we held a virtual ‘coffee morning’ with some of our patients using Zoom. It was great to have half a dozen of them and some of the team just chatting for an hour, but especially great to find that one of our high-risk patients who had contracted Covid-19 was joining,  having been released from hospital that morning. We are all so used to hearing about the tragedies, that we have seemingly forgotten that there is still some good news to be had. I think everyone left the event feeling a little bit more positive inside as a result. When you actually have first-hand evidence that people are pulling through this, you can’t help but feel a bit more buoyant.

Again, the afternoon seemed to be sorting out personal stuff like mortgage holidays and similar for home and work. I’ve been struck how some of the banks have been more than willing to help, and others don’t even seem to be aware that Covid-19 is around. Personally, I think an awful lot of businesses will reap the rewards of their actions after this is all over, both positively and negatively.

Last off, the first webinar of the week with Kevin Rose. Slightly different to the others I’ve done recently, two of the panellists had nothing whatsoever to do with dentistry, but everything to do with what we are going through. Learning how a top-flight international rugby coach and a renowned entrepreneur are managing the same situations we find ourselves in, was both reassuring and inspiring equally. We need to remember that it’s not just the dental world that has been tipped upside down, but that of almost every other field in every other sphere of day-to-day living.

I think I might actually take tomorrow off and cut the grass.

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