The Pandemic and I (14) – when Covid-19 comes looking for a fight…

…It gets a fight

It’s been two weeks since I posted about how we discovered a positive case of Covid-19 at my work place, and how that figure went from one to seven cases in the space of a week. I was assigned to work on a four-person Covid team (a nurse, two nurse assistants, and a person to carry out disinfection).

Here is a broad breakdown of what happened when Covid-19 came to our place looking for a fight:

Week 1 

  • Discovery of our first case via a routine hospital admission of an asymptomatic resident who tested positive on admission.
  • We go into immediate lockdown; residents remain in rooms, all visiting stopped; rapid testing undertaken – a weekly testing regime initiated.
  • Three other residents confirmed positive. All staff negative.
  • Two Covid teams assembled to work with the positive cases.
  • Positive cases = four residents, zero staff.

Week 2

  • Three more residents confirmed positive.
  • Two become seriously ill and are admitted to hospital for critical care.
  • Three staff test positive. Note: these aren’t any staff assigned to the Covid teams.
  • Four more residents confirmed positive.
  • Positive cases = eleven residents, three staff.

Week 3

  • The two seriously ill residents who were admitted to hospital both die.
  • The resident who was originally found to be infected returns from hospital negative.
  • No other residents return as positive in latest tests.
  • No further staff return as positive.
  • Three residents who were previously positive now return as negative.
  • Positive cases = five residents, three staff.

Week 4 (current)

  • A further resident previously positive, returns as negative.
  • No other residents or staff confirmed positive.
  • Positive cases = four residents, three staff.

The above breakdown is clinical and bereft of any emotion. But to say emotions were absent during this period is wrong. Fear; anxiety; stress; mental and physical exhaustion; sadness; loss… just some of the feelings known to staff, residents, and their families.

When I learned of the two residents who died I had to push my emotions to one side in order to carry on working. In private I cried. Seeing someone, one week, who is fit and healthy, then the week after struck in bed and unable to respond properly, eat and drink, or breathe without oxygen, is just hard.

By contrast, seeing some of the infected residents become negative and make a recovery is cause for jubilation. Maximum respect for those who were able to kick the ass of our dear Covid-19 when it came knocking at the door. Let me tell you that three of the cases who recovered had underlying health conditions, and one was more than a 100 years old. Imagine being that old, and beating Covid? Respect.

I’m off the Covid team now for the moment and back to my normal duties – pending no more new cases. And if our few remaining positives can come back soon as negative, then we can say we successfully fought back with only small losses and fatigue.

I don’t want to use any ‘war terminology’ to describe how we must face Covid-19 (especially on the day I’m posting here, the eleventh of November), but in some ways it’s unavoidable, and you do feel like you’re battling an enemy, and even if you manage to claim some small victories there is the understanding that further battles might occur.

For me personally, working on a Covid team has been draining and emotional, but not without rewards in terms of expanding my experience and my sense of duty as a health care worker. Working with other care staff has forged solidarities. Just before going back to my regular duties, I was assigned to work a shift with a laboratory nurse for the testing. Something I would never have imagined doing before.

Staying upbeat? 

Regular readers will know one of my themes is to stay upbeat and offer a little ‘Pandemic Gallows Humour’ to help take the edge off things. Am I upbeat right now? You betcha! Despite our losses, we’re fighting back, we’re on track, like a mean machine Big Trak!

Upbeat USA!

During our ordeals at work came the long and drawn out presidential election results in America, which we saw on TV, and the news that Biden had won and that a brighter future might be in store! It caused some cheering in our small part of France I can tell you 🙂

Upbeat archiving!

On my two days off I decompressed by archiving music for a change and not vintage images. It was for a psychedelic hard rock band I played with in the mid-90s. Found a whole bunch of old cassettes we recorded live on, mostly jams, rough around the edges, but cool to hear again. I bought a cassette to MP3 converter, and… ah… went back in time. Beautiful.

Zig Yell Seed flyer. Collage by Ford.

Then there is the upbeating matter of chocolate

Just like in the last lockdown at work, the residents’ families are sending in parcels of delicious treats to help keep us going.

Good job!

A popular English expression heard among my French colleagues (aside from “What the fuck!”) is…

“Good job!”

Job par Mucha 1896

Stay safe and healthy out there everyone!

The final word goes to Wooof’s ongoing new feature …

TVTA Thinks:

Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given. Some of the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Organization public advice pages 


31 thoughts on “The Pandemic and I (14) – when Covid-19 comes looking for a fight…

  1. Hey there my friend, glad you’re well, so sorry to hear about the loss of some of your residents, this pandemic is truly a trying time. Was a little concerned as you hadn’t posted in awhile which is unusual for you, so was glad when I saw your post pop up in my e-mail. Stay strong, safe, and take care. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for the words, Arcane. Yes, was sad about the two who died. At least our spirits lifted at the good news, and right now we’re hoping things return to some normality soon.
      Man, you’re right, I went eleven days without a post here, a record I think! Glad to be back and having a few days off to unwind and catch up with things 🙂
      Stay strong and safe too, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow scary. Glad you’re alive. The mental damage caused through stress and fear, plus the loss of clients cannot be anything but painfull. Roll on the 90% cure

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, would be cool to hear some more of that music – I enjoyed the grungy nineties vibe! I was going to say I might bring back the denim jacket and delightful ‘curtains’ hairstyle but not sure that was ever rock and roll 😉 The flyer rocks too. It seems like a blast from the past was just what you needed – well, that and the Trumpster being shown the door! I was not expecting that, so to say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement.

    All the best, keep on kicking ass and enjoy those chocolate treats, they’re well deserved 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Jacob, thanks! Cool you liked the music, and I will for sure make another post with more tunes and flyers. Remember well the denim jacket and curtains hair look. Really dood days the 90s. I was plaid shirt, baggy jeans and boots (think Pearl Jam) during Zig Yell Seed, and my hair went from plaits to dreads to cropped in the space of a few years, but honestly I went through so many different styles back then.
      I too wasn’t certain what the election result would be, and gave a cheer when Biden finally got his numbers 🙂 And yeah, will keep on kicking virus ass as long as I can, and as for chocloates… can never get enough 🙂
      Stay safe and well too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi TVTA – The Very Talented Acuostica!
    Man, do I like that music – very tight. I could hear Zepp in there mixed with a bit of Grunge and a slight dose of “Madchester”. The drummer impressed me with the triplet offbeats. The one slight critique I’d mention is the organ sound…it just needed a Leslie RotoCab to give it a little growl (but this is something a lot of bands lacked because Hammond organs with a RotoCab are rare and newer keyboards/synths just can’t replicate the sound) The keys in “Dream On” were fabulous (the layered pads and the Jethro Tull inspired flute and pipes sound).

    So glad you are gaining some victories over this crazy Covid situation and you’re able to get some satisfaction from recent news events. As always thanks and stay safe while you do your important work.
    p.s. Maybe a few more EPs from Zig Yell Seed in future posts? Hint, hint, nudge, nudge. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi FT, thanks so much for the words of encouragement both with work and the music!
      Knowing you as a keyboard player as well as a saber designer, I wondered if you might have something to say about the keyboard sound. You’re spot on, trying to replicate those organ sounds with the synth tech of the 90s was always a struggle. I think Pete, our keyboard player, used sound cards to add to his boards, and he had a laptop installed. Once though, he brought in his Yamaha Moog and that was just beautiful to hear. I even spent time playing it myself (Feron, the vocalist also had a Moog which he let me play often) and you could just get totally lost in the otherworldy sounds it made. What an instrument.
      I will for sure make a post with more tunes from Zig Yell Seed, plus add some more flyers I found! Fab days they were.
      Thanks again 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi there, yes the Hammond organ and Rhodes electric piano were holy grail sounds us keyboard players yearned for. Then there were the Moogs! I was lucky as my keyboard mentor owned a MiniMoog and brought it into the Workshops where he taught. They sounded great at the time but then after leaving the synth overnight it’d detune itself. Regards soundcards I had access to some decent synths (I worked as a voluntary Youth Worker for the local council and they owned a fair bit f equipment and ran the Workshops I mentioned.) I had access to a Yamaha SY22, a Kawai K1 and a Roland W30 sampling workstation (the type used by The Prodigy). I did eventually get to set up my laptop for music and I use E-Mu’s Proteus VX virtual softsynth which is real nice. It is function limited as it was released as Freeware but as a “stand-alone” sound source it’s great (you can program a bank of 16 sounds to run on 16 channels). I do miss my performing days though, Fanfare for the Common Man doesn’t sound as impressive through monitor speakers! Looking forward to seeing/hearing more in future.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cool that you had access to some wonderful kit back then. Yes, the Rhodes electric piano! Some of my fave rock keyboardists are Tony Carey (Rainbow), Jon Lord, Ray Manzarek and Dave Greenfield (The Stranglers).
        You’re right about playing live, do miss that buzz and knowing that each performance will be a little bit different than the last. Did you ever do any studio recording? That’s another thing I miss. I made a fair few recordings with my last UK band, plus a live acoustic video and a promo.
        If I make a post about Zig Yell Seed then I should also do one for the last band, as the sound quality will be good, plus lots of images and art to add.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi again, I have done a session in a studio but for another group so I don’t have any recordings. It was a 32 track SSL desk equipped studio. I did work with a gold disc winning producer once or twice though- my tutor at college was the arranger/keyboard player for Black Lace’s “Agadoo” and he had his own private studio. My college entered a fundraising contest where schools and colleges wrote, produced and promoted an album – my tutor was the Technical Advisor for the project and supplied the recording facilities and I helped him out. Sadly though my music playing career was curtailed by fewer opportunities and Arthritis.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Aaa-gaa-doo-doo-doo! Yes I remember now you mentioning that. Good experience I’m sure. Not sure I’ll get back into a studio any time soon (or even jam or play live), but the memories are precious I reckon.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi there TVT Acoustica, I don’t think I’ll get back into a studio any time soon either but nowadays most studios are just a desktop PC or laptop such is the tech used nowadays. I miss running cables and plugging patchbays and effects units together but I do load up my laptop and connect a keyboard to it and have a jam.
        Push pineapples….shake the tree…..
        Argh! You got me singing the song now!

        Liked by 1 person

      • 🎵Hold a chicken in the air… stick a deckchair up your nose…
        Argh! Wrong song.
        Know what you mean about home studios on PC – we’re so lucky really to have the benefit of this technology right in front of us, plus live studios if we wish.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Man! I’m really not happy to hear about all this, but I’m glad that you shared. I can really appreciate that 1896 artwork you posted. Stay well, sir.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much SD. Yeah, the good news mixed with bad, but seems at the moment we’re on the right track to getting back to some normailty.
      Oh, agree, how cool is that Mucha JOB artwork!!
      You stay well and safe too, good sir.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree – you are doing an amazing job! Both at work and here, online. I can’t begin to imagine the rollercoaster of emotions you and your colleagues (and residents) have gone through. Your attitude of staying ‘upbeat’ is commendable – and yes, at last a glimmer of good news in the world. Stay sane 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Wibi. Rollercoaster is a good way to describe it, what with processing both the bad news and good news elements. And true as well about a glimmer of hope in the world!
      Stay safe, sane and well too 🙂


  7. Glad to hear you are keeping your spirits up during these difficult times. A couple of my friends work in the NHS here in UK and have been taken from their normal duties to work on Covid wards during the pandemic, and I know its been emotionally draining for them as well. Take care and lets hope the news of a potential vaccine now offers us light at the end of the tunnel. You are doing an amazing job. I remember seeing adverts for Big Trek in comic books when I was a kind, but never saw the toy in the shops here. Fun to see it again in your post. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for the words, Paul. I imagine working on a Covid ward as your friends are doing is extremely tough. You’re right about the exciting news of a potential vaccine coming soon! It’s so needed right now.
      As for Bigtrak… I recently bought a replacement bulb for the front photon light (took ages to find the old school screw-in ones). Need to find time to install it and take some new pics with working lights now 🙂
      You take care and stay safe too.

      Liked by 1 person

Reply to this blog post

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.