My Virtual School – hospital visit

20 April 2020. A big day today. A day we have agonised over, debated, discussed, researched. And in the end just a damp squib. Routine. Except that it was all more efficient and far less stressful than usual.

Husband had an appointment for a CT-scan at the Churchill Hospital. It has been booked for months at the John Radcliffe, but two weeks ago was moved from the JR to the Churchill. A talk during the broadcast Radley Chapel service last week from an OR consultant based there reassured us, so we decided he had to go ahead with the appointment.

First off, discussion about when to set out from home for an appointment before 9.30am. In normal times we would leave before 7am from Faringdon. It’s a 25 minutes drive to Oxford outside of rush hour. But during rush hour – nose to tail traffic, the worse part actually trying to get into the hospital grounds. And then there’s the extra 20 minutes trying to park once we’ve made it within sight of the carpark. Decided on 8.15 – extraordinary times deserve extraordinary plans. No traffic worth the name in Oxford today. He arrived 45 minutes early. Carpark empty.

No one is allowed to accompany a patient into the hospital (apart from a few very special cases). So the building seemed empty. Most staff wearing masks. Just three other patients in the waiting room. One commented that last time he was there the place was packed – clearly none of those previous patients had any need to be there at all. Husband pointed out that those other patients have all had their treatments put on hold, and now had to wait a long time. The group in the waiting room today are the ones who can’t wait.

He didn’t sit down in the waiting room, and when he arrived home it was straight into the shower, all clothes into the washing machine, and out to clean the car seat, steering wheel, gear lever. Not routine at all in the end.

The hawthorn is coming into flower in the hedgerows. A friend posted video of the swallows arriving over her home in Wales. We went looking for them along the Thames this afternoon. None so far, but they will be here soon. And tonight, we went to look for Elon Musk’s starchain of satellites lined up across the sky. Not sure how I feel about a man who can put himself between us and the constellations.

This is my personal Mass Observation blog. I invite anyone, particularly members of Radley College community,  to join in to create a group record of this important period in our history as we face the COVID-19 pandemic.

© Clare Sargent