• Ashleigh Wells

Thank You to the Unsung Heroes of COVID-19

I’ve stood in a fair few shows in my time. I’ve been a son, a brother, a partner, a scholar, student, employee, client, businessman, entrepreneur, and a patient. My birth was not easy. Prior to birth, I was attempting to be born bent double at the waist, trying to come out feet-first. I was a challenge even before I was exposed to air.

But the doctors, nurses, ancillary staff and the supporting players in my birth had a hell of a time to bring me into the world. I was rushed in as an emergency caesarean, and after a plethora of difficulties and obstacles, I breathed my first.

But that shift must have been a nightmare. With my Mum and I just one of a dozen, twenty, thirty babies being born during those ten hours and I was a nightmare. Those people struggled and strove to keep me alive, my mum alive, and the other pairs of humans trying to prolong the human race. And it was a Tuesday.

Well, to be more apt, it was probably a “Theusday”… you know… a Tuesday that feels like a Thurdsay.

And after that Theusday, they probably got in the car, or on the bus, and remembered it was Tuesday, and after a few choice words, they may have gotten home, and relaxed, knowing they did the best job they could. And the people they came home to; the husbands and wives, the girlfriends and boyfriends, the flatmates, housemates, roommates, spouses, siblings, parents and partners of the health workers in this country bore the brunt.

The frustration and annoyance, the pain and hurt that those brave health workers feel were (probably) borne in a big way, by their cohabitees. When I’ve had a terrible day, the person who listens and empathises, who addresses and takes on my pain, is my partner. I owe her more than I can say.

In 2020, the health crisis has been the talking point for all of us. I’ve known people who’ve lost family members and friends, I’ve known people to lose their health, and their jobs, their livelihood, and their companies. I’ve known health workers who’ve been hurt by the virus, either with facial sores, or crippling debt, or life-shattering overtime. They’ve had the worst effects of this virus, and in some bleak places, their suffrage has even been dismissed as work-shyness, or worst still, laziness.

Our national health services (NHS) have been under fire for decades, and in the future, you’ll hear so-called ‘evidence’ of the ‘findings’ from the COVID-19 analysis on how our NHS was ‘overstretched’ and ‘not fit for purpose’ and ‘mismanaged’. I urge you now to check fact-finder websites and challenge profusely what you’re hearing. The ‘remedy’ to the NHS’ under-funding will be to “add extra insight”, or “bolster information gathering” into the success or failure of the NHS’ reaction to COVID-19. I would warn you that this ‘extra insight’ will be sought from outside agencies, most likely with American funding. These agencies’ findings will be that the NHS needs ‘extra support’ and ‘enhanced resourcing measures’ and other such euphemisms. What, in short, these supportive measures will mean are increased influence by outside, privately funded sources, and the syphoning off of governmental control over NHS resources, and a gradual increase in the amount citizens have to pay for NHS services. The COVID-19 virus isn’t a conspiracy-theorist’s dream, but it represents an opportunity for nefarious political regimes to benefit from a cataclysmic situation. I urge you to look into the ‘facts’ as they’re presented, and ask, “Why?”

Who doesn’t want to ‘remedy’ the NHS? Who doesn’t agree that ‘extra insight’ is beneficial, or that we need more ‘information gathering’? All these concepts are wholly beneficial. But the price we pay for ‘insight’ is misinformation. So just be prepared to go the extra mile and find out what the ramifications of their findings are.

And finally, when our health workers come home and vent their

work frustrations to their spouses, partners, family and friends, thank you.

To the husband of the nurse who offered a ‘solution’ because he thought that was what his wife wanted, thank you for trying to solve your wife’s problems. I know she shouted at you because she didn’t want a solution, just to be listened to, but thank you anyway, for trying anyway.

To the girlfriend of the mortician who was ‘big spoon’ that night and gave her boyfriend a solid 8 hours’ sleep to prepare him for his next shift, thank you for understanding how tired he is.

To the husband of the doctor, thank you for understanding why he’s done another 3 overtime shifts this week, and choosing not to take it as an insult.

To the mother of the researcher, thank you for preparing her meals and running her that bath to try and give her 20 minutes away from worrying about whether she was ‘doing enough’ to find the vaccine.

To the wife of the hospital administrator, thank you for offering to look over that spreadsheet to make sure there were no mistakes in it.

To the son of the paramedic, thank you for drawing that picture of Mummy in the ambulance, and for showing her how much you love what she does for a living.

To the person reading this blog, thank you for supporting your NHS, and for being brave enough to fact find in the future. Thank you for typing in “NHS SALE FACT CHECK” into Google 4 times during 2021 because you read this.

And to our NHS staff, and our NHS-positive political envoys, thank you for not letting us sell of the right to health, thank you for supporting every citizen, and thank you for doing you bit for our country.

And to my partner, thanks for putting up with me when I’ve had a sh**** day at work.

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