Hello, I am Lindsey a 56-year-old podiatrist and this has been my life in the last couple of years during the pandemic.
Podiatry is a profession that encompasses anything related to the lower limb, the belly button downwards essentially. It is quite an invisible, benign profession that often gets confused with paediatrics and foot fetishes, neither of the above applies to me!
I am essentially a middle-aged, menopausal, overweight, asthmatic female which is probably not an ideal combination facing a pandemic.
Not that I think I'm remotely interesting but I have done some interesting things over the last couple of years so I thought I would just jot them down so you can read them. Not as a Bridget Jones's diary nor as my memoirs either but simply to document my journey through a pandemic and to highlight what my profession has done throughout this unique moment in time.
I am just about recovering from a horrendous virus that seemed to hit us all at Christmas time, being an asthmatic, I seem to hang onto these bugs for an awful lot longer than most, my chest sound like I smoke 60 a day however my sister who does smoked 60 a day sounds much better than I do!
I'm not sure what's happening in China, but I don't like the look of it and if China can't control whatever it's got, I think it could be on its way to us. Suzanne who is the other podiatrist that works with me confirms that she thinks the same.
It's not something one likes to look forward to as I started my training when AIDS was at its height and was considered to be a pandemic back then. I also remember SARS and MERS which hit the Middle East and Canada which we managed to escape. It was only a matter of time before a virus was going to hit our doorstep and I get the feeling this one will.
I decided to place my PPE order this month, if this is a pandemic, we as a profession, will be utilized due to our cross-infection training.
I now know the pandemic is on its way as preparations are going on in the background. I have placed hand sanitiser at all entrances of the green lane centre and gloves for those who would like them. I have given medical information to the tenants that wanted it on how to look after themselves. I have asked the management repeatedly for the communal magazines, left by my patients, to be removed, they have declined, I removed them anyway. They have threatened me by calling the police and told me to stop fearmongering! If you could see my eyeballs... they have rolled into the back of my head.
I am starting to realise that not quite everyone is not on the same page about the impending virus, and I am worried for all in the building, especially upstairs as we are all of a similar age and risk. Once the virus gets into this building it will rip through, I am concerned that they don’t realise the consequences.
Suzanne and I are preparing for a lockdown, we are already thinking of our family, friends, and our patients and how all of this is all going to pan out.
I’m starting to take patients temperature when they arrive at clinic and Suzanne and I check ourselves everyday too.
I have sent Cambridge masks to each of my sons, one in London and the other in Leeds. I knew they would be more exposed to the virus, living in a city. I think when they received the masks, they thought I had lost my marbles!
I am starting to feel really anxious now.
The pandemic will definitely hit the UK if it hasn't already?
Patients are starting to discuss it in the clinic and they are now more aware. The London Marathon has been delayed to October although I find it highly unlikely it will go ahead then. It is something that we really look forward to each year when we volunteer to be part of the medical support team at the finish line.
We launched blisterhelp.co.uk a new online business that we have been working on for 2 years before this point, only I could launch a business in a pandemic! I am already worried about one business collapsing, let alone two?
Niall, my eldest son, asked if he could come home, he works in London and his employers have already advised him to work from home. I think he would have probably stayed in London, but the food was becoming short alongside people’s tempers, I don’t think it was a great place to be. I agreed and picked him up and he isolated himself in his room for a week as he knew he would be a risk to me. Ironically, I will be a higher risk to him, going forward.
Rohan, my youngest son, moved with his job from Leeds to Newcastle, a couple of days before his birthday on the 19 March. He called in at home on the way up and picked up his birthday present of….. 10 toilet rolls, they were well received! He has decided to lock down in Newcastle with housemates he hasn’t even met, I think both boys thought it would just be for a few weeks.
23rd March is the day the government told us to work if we could from home.
We have already received our protocol from the Royal College of podiatrists the night before. Our new role would be to support the GPs and the hospitals from any unnecessary admissions for anything lower limb-related. Our podiatry colleagues working within the NHS will be redeployed onto covid wards due to their cross-infection knowledge. Not that they will be doing any face-to-face care with patients, but they can easily sterilise instruments, doff and don the medical staff who were face to face.
We, in the private sector, will be bridging the gap in the community. It's the first time the NHS and the private sector in podiatry have worked together.
I managed to get my website updated straight away for our new working protocols that Niall has designed in a flow chart for me, good job he is home as I am useless at technology.
Suzanne's dad is quite poorly and needs a blood transfusion every fortnight. She has made the decision not to come to work as that would cause increased risks to her dad and us at the same time.
I made sure she had all the PPE that she needed to keep him safe and even had his own visor on with "Harry 1" written on the side!
Management at the Centre was still in denial regarding any protocols within the building to keep everyone safe. However, I am the only one left operating in the building now and I can implement cross-infection protocols to keep our patients safe. I have cleaned every inch of that building, to the point of my fingerprints have rubbed off and I can no longer access any of my devices through my thumbprints and I need to then remember all of my passwords and this is a constant problem for me!
I diverted my online virtual clinic for Blisterhelp so it could be available to anyone who needed it in Whitby.
Strangely enough, my anxiety levels have reduced on 23 March, which is when my training has kicked in and I only have to worry about myself and my patients, something I've been doing for years but only in a pandemic does my skillset come out to play!
Most people just know us as `toenail and corn cutters` and have no idea of the work we do, it is a problem with our profession and it is down to us really, we need to explain what we do in a language that the public understands. Something I have been trying to do for years.
I get in touch with Whitby Group practice and see if they need anything as I suspect they won’t have much PPE given from the NHS. I drop all the PPE we have going spare and contact Karen who is a patient working at the dental practice, to see if they have any spare. She does the same, they need it more than we do now.
Someone in the NHS/Government has been asleep at the wheel as we knew what was happening in January and so did the government as they sanctioned the vaccine development in January!
We decided on a personal level to foster another rescue dog, we have two rescue dogs already but felt with the lockdown that we could easily look after another dog on a fostering basis.
We decided on a 12-year-old blind stuffy called Blaze, that has been in and out of rescue all his life and had been continually overlooked. What could possibly go wrong?
I realise need to move my clinic; I cannot be in a building that is multi-tenure and not medical. It is impossible to work without risk, funnily enough, we were not allowed to, back in the day, and now I know why!
It's a difficult decision to make as I get on with all the tenants, they may have different professions to mine but I enjoy the conversations I have with them all. The management is in a different situation as they are still being difficult and denying that they have any obligation to impose any covid regulations into the building. I know I couldn't keep my patients safe, so the hunt for a new practice begins.
Work is very demanding as I am ringing every patient that would have been booked in, to check in to see how they were doing? Niall found this quite amusing as he said I could have treated them in the time that I took to chat with them!
We are available for any emergency patients or key workers in the community. Each patient is triaged on the phone first, moved into the virtual clinic and if necessary, brought into the physical clinic.
Everyone is assessed individually on whether the patient is posing a risk to me, or I am a risk to them, and if the problem they have outweighs the risk.
This certainly challenged my knowledge and my referral ability to who and which departments were open and accepting patients. Everything has changed and it is difficult to keep up, I never know what is going to come in next and I need all my experience of 32 years in practice. I certainly wouldn’t like to think I was doing this, having just qualified
The PPE is so uncomfortable and hot and why does the weather have to be so unseasonably hot which is great if you are home in the garden but not when at work, with the sun beating in through the windows. I have indentations on my face from the masks that won’t go, even after a night’s sleep, am I ever going to get used to this?
Our given protocol is for us to switch over to scrubs straightaway but there is a slight problem with that…. there aren’t any!! not to any health care workers . The factories that make the scrub fabric, opened their doors for direct orders for us to buy. Scrub patterns became available on the internet for free, so people could make their own.
Suzanne decided that pink was going to be our colour, I found this a little strange since she has never worn pink in her life. So, 50 meters of pink fabric later, one of our patients, Elsie, very kindly, offered to make them for us. Suzanne, when she received her scrubs had the cheek to comment `that they were a bit pink`!
They certainly have made patients smile when we collect them in the car park, pink flamingos, pink ladies, and the pink podiatrists became our new names. It did break the ice with our new patients. Alongside the pink PJs, the pink clogs the pink masks, and the pink head scrubs followed next, we try to be coordinated, although a few of our younger patients would report us to the fashion police, of that I’m sure.
Blaze the blind dog is the most un-blind dog you would ever come across , Niall is convinced we have been mis-sold until Blaze tried to jump on the bed, missed and went in the wardrobe instead. He makes us laugh and cry in equal measure. He certainly upsets the other dogs, but we cannot help but love him, apart from his howling at 5 a.m., I don't love him then.
Rohan has just let me know he has contracted Covid from one of his house mates that works for Tescos, half the house was asymptomatic and Rohan was in the half that were not feeling well. I am worried, I have seen the evidence for what covid does to the inside of the body and I feel helpless as I cannot see him.
My lockdown birthday is spent locating more PPE and basically, it is like dealing on the black market, the prices are astronomical but we just need it, I order what I can get hold of and have a large G&T in the garden to end the day…..I cannot remember how old I am anyway!
Boris Johnson seems to be recovering from Covid 19, but it is quite noticeable that he struggles to string a sentence together, let alone a paragraph. I put it out into one of our Podiatry groups that is there a possibility covid affected the brain? I did take a bit of a stick, as some thought I was being political,but I meant it seriously, as the brain is just another organ and is usually affected by other systemic disorders so why not covid?
We have much more access to research and clinical facts around Covid-19 and its effects on the body, this is both informative and frightening at the same time, something I now only share with Suzanne.
I am part of many Podiatry groups, and they are supportive in sharing information regarding covid. Quite a few podiatric, vascular, and orthopedic consultants have given free webinars for us all to learn from their experience and knowledge, alongside podiatrists with extended scopes of practice. I have never seen my profession be so united, its lovely to see. There has been a lot of generosity in sharing information in the medical world and I for one really appreciate it.
Its so good so see so many podiatrists rolling up their sleeves and working, like me, to help their own communities. A lot have volunteered their services in other ways, apart from podiatry as have other allied health professionals
Rohan is starting to feel better and I am so relieved but we are starting to realise that covid lasts longer for some people and can affect the body for long periods of time .Hopefully he isn’t one of them?
The dentists are coming back to work, podiatrists and dentists usually mirror each other with protocols as the clinic situation and cross infection training are very similar. This has been the biggest shock to me that they were closed down, they are perfectly qualified to look after themselves and their patients. I am led to understand, they were not happy about not being utilised and I am sure a lot of their patients will feel the same
I have nurses coming into the clinic asking why we have more PPE than them, a fair question I thought but just like the NHS GPs, they have been sold short. We all know what their level of PPE should be, and they have been exposed to the virus without adequate protection. There is no doubt in my mind that they are cannon fodder for Covid -19
I have found a new clinic location, just through a conversation I had with a sports massage practitioner, she is wanting to retire and covid probably pushed her in that direction slightly sooner than planned.
After looking at the new location, I realised that I would need to convert it to what we need it for. I managed to get planning consent for change of use and an architect to redesign it for my needs. I contacted the tradesmen I always use, and all were on board for a complete refit. With it being an empty building and if they adhered to covid restrictions then it was quite an easy one to do for them but quite a daunting one for me. A clinic move at any time is difficult let alone doing one in the middle of a pandemic lockdown. I took advantage of the bank's bounce-back loans to finance the move and renovations. I left the worrying about repayments to later on because sometimes you can only worry about one situation at a time.... gulp!
Exercise restrictions are starting to ease, and we can get out more and go a little bit further with the dogs, and that, like everybody else is the only pleasure we seem to get.
For the first time since the pandemic started, the management of the Green Lane Centre started to do something and removed the furniture out of the general waiting area, yes and that’s it. Their persistent resistance of responsibility in keeping their staff and tenants safe from covid is worrying and what is worse is they keep putting it in writing!
I can't wait to move now; nobody knows yet about the move, one of the benefits of covid.
What is perfectly normal for me now at work with all the protocols in place, is going to be a real struggle for the rest of the country including Whitby, when the restrictions are lifted. There are a large percentage of people who think we are finished with covid 19 but sadly pandemics don't work that way and I know that we will probably get at least three waves or mutations moving forward.
Suzanne's dad sadly died, not of Covid, she managed to keep him safe from that, it was just his time. She was extremely close to her dad and sadly couldn’t be with him at the end due to covid restrictions. It's something she struggles to talk about, and I think she was robbed of the grieving process, along with so many others.
We have moved, I don't know how we managed it in five weeks…..from thinking about it, planning and rebuilding the space. Nothing short of a miracle really, I am very lucky that the tradesmen I use are brilliant.
This is the month where restrictions are lifted for public spaces but not for us. We are taking quite a lot of flak from patients who don’t want to wear masks and don’t understand that we are still under covid protocols. We can’t just do what we want, and neither can they.
Suzanne was in tears as some patients were being very rude and aggressive, what they don’t seem to understand is that we have endured this pandemic as well. The sight of a grown woman in tears after just losing her dad tipped me over the edge.
I decided to act on it, for the first time in over 30 years of practicing I drew up ` a patient blacklist`. This is for those patients who just see us as people they can have a go at. I see no reason why we should put up with this poor behavior, complaining about everything and anything and the general thought process is that the whole situation is our fault.
I have always been lucky with our lovely existing patients, but as we are still dealing with all people in the community from the NHS and other practitioners, it was more those patients that are the problem. They see us as the cause of their inconvenience and not the solution.
So, the list was drawn up and those that were on it were declined from making an appointment, some wanted to know why, so I just told them. I was hoping that being challenged about their behavior might stop them from replicating it to other healthcare professionals.
We were not the only ones that were exposed to this kind of behavior I was hearing it in other forums too. I was just exhausted from working face-to-face since March, everybody expected to be in tomorrow and couldn't understand why they had to wait, we'd had a move that was expensive and unplanned, and I had little chance to gather myself.
Niall went back to London to his job, even though he had worked through the lockdown remotely, he felt ready to go back.
It felt strange, even though both of my children have grown and flown the nest, having them back again is something that I never thought would happen. It was a bonus and was one of the upsides of covid that I had a chance to have quite a bit of time with him again.
It did feel strange when he left, he had been a great help with a move and great company for me, otherwise, I think I would have struggled much more.
Blaze the foster dog who should have gone back to the rescue centre to be adopted, stayed with me, he'd become part of the family now and I just couldn’t send him back. He had been renamed `the pig` Why I hear you thinking ……. Well, Niall let him off the lead in a field, I know, why would anyone let a blind dog off in a field? He hadn’t realised there were sheep in the field, blaze could smell them but couldn't see them. They took his fancy, and he ran around the field with Niall running after him for about an hour and a half trying to catch a blind dog.
Niall likened the experience to catching a runaway pig and from there on Blaze was known as the `Little pig`. I have never had a staffie before, my goodness, he is a character and for a 12-year-old blind dog, he has some energy.
Marco has arrived at the clinic after a few months delay, he is a robotic laser. I have been using lasers for 20 years with great success, but Marco is an M6 MLS class 4 laser and is basically `the dogs` for rehabilitation, joint pain, muscle/tendon injuries and I am the first podiatrist in the country to have one.
We named him Marco (he did look a bit scary in the corner of the clinic) as the name means `a god of war` in Italian ( he is from Italy)and I envisaged he would be waging battles at a cellular level in the body. We created a whole persona for him, he has his own Facebook and Instagram page and a blog. It was a little bit fun in the middle of all this misery, however, I didn't expect Marco's fame to go far, and wide and now patients book in with Marco requesting him by name, which is hilarious really!
Blaze went in for his first surgery, he has a lump on his leg that was a little suspect, so the vet removed it. It was successful although challenging for us because Blaze had to go on tramadol to try and slow him down, he is like a tank, he just ploughs on despite surgery, which is not useful for wound healing at all. I could use Marco on Blaze to enhance his wound healing if I knew the animal settings? He wouldn’t need the googles as he is blind!
Covid 19 cases are on the rise again which is not too much of a surprise as we are increasingly going into enclosed areas with the weather getting colder. For an airborne virus, this is the perfect environment. This was great timing to receive my medical air purifier from France, I had ordered it earlier on in the March but the materials inside it were being used for FFP2 masks and consequently they were in short supply and naturally diverted to their own essential services in France.
It is very impressive, even though it looks like a Duracell battery it is constantly cleaning the air of both bacteria and viruses and I must admit my hay fever is so much better with it on and I think patients felt more secure with it quietly doing its job in the background.
Suzanne’s husband has finally come home as he got stuck in Afghanistan and couldn't come home and it's been 10 months since she saw him last.
When speaking to patients who had local businesses, they had done some amazing things in their businesses to diversify during this pandemic. I wondered if the people of Whitby realise what businesses were doing to survive. The newsletter that I started in April to keep in contact with patients, was gaining momentum, something else I wasn’t expecting.I thought by informing my patients about these businesses, they surely would be as interested as I was?
I took my first tentative steps and asked a few of the businesses if they would like to be interviewed by me so I could write about what they were doing, hopefully, shinning a light on their business. Most that I contacted agreed and some did not and that’s ok as not everyone likes to be in the limelight
My first interview was with the Magpie Café, a well-known eatery in Whitby, they had diversified into preparing meals to be heated and eaten at home. Niall and I had benefited from these meals several times, during the first lockdown and they were gorgeous.
The Magpie agreed and my interview went out, this sounds like I am a natural writer and interviewer, and I can tell you now, I'm just a podiatrist with very poor English skills. I hated the subject at school, I was rubbish, it must have taken me about five times to get my O level and then I ended up with an A, I have no idea how that works…maybe I am a late developer?
I find writing challenging, I am more of a science girl but I am I am interested on how these businesses were diversifying, and I felt they needed showcasing. After all, they had supported my business throughout the year, it was the least I could do.
Going into this month, feels like I have hit a brick wall, I don't know why but I feel very low. I can see no end to this pandemic and going into winter is just going to be brutal.
Lockdown 2 is upon us, and nothing changes again for us, my biggest mistake is I haven’t taken any time off work this year and I am feeling the strain.
I hate our winters anyway and I do feel I am solar powered, I love the heat, I don’t want to do anything in it but the feel of the sun on my skin is very uplifting Later, into the month, I was contacted by The Whitby guide, which is an online travel company. They wondered if I would like to write for them as a guest blogger, they had seen my interview with the Magpie Café and thought it was interesting. I think they have got to be joking and I replied `you know I'm just a podiatrist right`?
After some consideration, I thought why not, the Whitby Guide have a bigger audience than I do and whoever I write about would be highlighted and have a much larger impact. This was the start of my interviewing businesses for the Whitby guide. I do struggle with impostor syndrome for writing these interviews, this is not my chosen profession and I do feel a bit of a fraud but on the other hand, nobody else is writing about them.
After what seems an eternity, I get to see the dentist, one of my crowns came out in the first lockdown, and now the filling on another tooth has dropped out as well. Thankfully my dentist did both of those jobs at the same time, which was a bonus. It was like work from work, dentists and podiatrists have the same clinic protocols as we work similarly but at different ends of the body.
I desperately need the uplifting news regarding the vaccine development, the virologists are just brilliant in how they have managed to get this done and rolled out so quickly. I know that there will be lots of people who will doubt the vaccine but for me, it will be our way out of this pandemic. I still haven't contracted covid even after working face-to-face for all this time, this confirms that our PPE and protocols work, the downside is I don't have a life outside work!
At home, the electricity supply to my out-house has stopped, my washing machine is out there this is a major inconvenience as I have scrubs to wash daily.
The supply to the outhouse is underground, my patio had to be dug up, the wire was compromised, which they replaced and re-laid the patio, just what you need in the middle of December. I am lucky to have such a good neighbour who let me use her washing machine in her garage, there is no chance of me meeting her as I put a glove on door the handle to let her know I was there. I waved at her through the window, long gone are the days of our cocktail evenings! This is getting to be normal now, when will I ever hug somebody again?
Both the boys managed to get home for Christmas just before the restrictions started, in fact, the day before!
This is the first time that we have spent Christmas in Whitby as we normally go to my sisters in the North West.
We had a lovely time, very different from what we normally do, and I was very grateful that we were just together. I have found the small pleasures in life are all we seem to look forward to.
Lockdown 3 is with us, it is not a surprise as the covid numbers are huge, the hospitals are overwhelmed. The vaccine program has just rolled out for phase one, but it is just in its infancy. We will just have to wait a little bit longer.
Niall and I, (he never went back to London after Xmas) are taking our daily exercise on an evening and we have some amazing walks in Whitby, totally quiet with no tourism, walking around town with the dogs off the lead and we never saw a soul. We both realised we would never see Whitby like this again and it was quite a privilege.
I started to write some footcare blister information for another bespoke online travel company that had helped me when I was creating Blisterhelp. It never seems to amaze me that businesses would like my input on their websites
My writing about podiatry is starting to get noticed which is the point I still can't take it seriously because I'm a podiatrist don't you know!
Work is still busy, and I do feel guilty for thinking how tired I am as so many businesses are not open and are struggling, so speaking aloud is insensitive. I think others in the medical professions feel the same too.
We have achieved practice accreditation with the Royal College of Podiatry. This is something I've been working on for a while. I decided that since we operate in a best practice scenario, we might as well be recognised for it. We are the only podiatry practice in North Yorkshire that is accredited. Since I was spending a lot of time at work I might as well make the most of this time and do the things I had on my wish list.
I have become a podiatry legend and the irony is, it is for my writing! Check me out in the link below;
This makes me giggle as all the previous podcast interviewees are leading figures in their field and I'm a middle-aged waffler who could barely get her English O level. I was sure that somebody would guess that I am an impostor but for now I have seemed to have got away with it.
My right thumb is starting to hurt a lot I’m assuming it is with all the writing and clinic work I am doing but I really need to get it fixed.
I have my first vaccine and it is Astra Zeneca, a last-minute call on a Saturday night and I am having it straight away….I am elated and relieved at the same time. However, the next morning is a different story, I struggle to get out of bed and stay in it for the next couple of days, I feel terrible. This has reassured me that I wouldn’t have reacted well against the full blown covid if the vaccine has made me feel this unwell?
My right shoulder is painful, and I recognise what it is straight away. I had a frozen shoulder in the other arm, one of the risks of surgery a few years back and now, I have got it in the opposite arm, how unlucky is that? It is very painful but not as painful as my thumb as that is in use all the time in my job. The shoulder is a nuisance when sleeping and trying to get dressed.
I am in the referral system to see someone about my thumb, it is one of the benefits of being a key worker. We must keep going and thankfully the referral system is quicker than usual, I feel like I am fraying around the edges, I am already carrying injuries in my knee and foot from last year…. I’m starting to wonder what is wrong with me.
Work is hard normally but when you are in pain it is just miserable, and do wonder how long I can keep this up?
We are starting to see patients with some strange symptoms that don’t really fit into any of the medical conditions we see on a regular basis. I have been in podiatry for a long time, and rarely, do I see conditions I don’t recognise, I may have to refer them on, but I do know what they are. This is a whole new bag for me, and I feel out of my depth. I ask around if any podiatrists have seen long covid symptoms in the lower limb….no answer from 7 thousand podiatrists. I cannot be the only one surely?
Rohan has another birthday in lockdown, this time, I sent him a coffee machine and not toilet rolls. Equally, as a practical but slightly more pleasurable, he loved it as, like me, he loves coffee.
I have a steroid injection into my right thumb on the 1st of April and it certainly was `no joke` I am supposed to take a couple of weeks off after the injection but the most I can do is three days.
Ann, who is the MSK physio that did the jab was lovely, but I can feel my toes curling during the whole procedure. My hand in the evening, literally felt like it had dropped off. I hope it works as my shoulder is still hurting but I don't fancy another steroid in that as well, I will sit on that one for a while.
Karen has started at the practice as a receptionist/podiatry assistant and our clinical restrictions are lifting slightly and we can start to work at full capacity, with limitations still, I couldn't have done by myself.
She's such a godsend and our patients have taken to her immediately, she is going to be great for the practice, I can feel it, she is just like me and likes everything to be right
I have my second vaccine and this time I was ok …. phew, that’s a relief!
Suzanne’s husband is sent home from Afghanistan and is out of a job, she is naturally worried and wondering what the future holds
Blaze has undergone his second operation, he has a tumour on his prostate and the vet took the opportunity, whilst he was under anesthetic and removed an additional lump from his leg. Yet again he recovered as if nothing has happened at all, he is 13 now and showing no signs of aging.
Work is draining, we are in clinic from 8 am and lucky to leave by 6 pm and it doesn’t finish there, I am regularly writing my notes up and referral letters til 10pm. I am feeling my age, this work pace is getting hard for me.
Patients are much more understanding now as this is the second year of the pandemic, and we are getting used to this new way of life, but the reality is, I have no life outside work, I feel the risk to patients is too high
This is by far the hardest month for me on a personal level.
I tragically lost my little dog in an accident that I witnessed, and I feel very responsible for it. I blame myself for being so tired and not having my full attention to the situation at hand. I struggle to forgive myself and the loss is immeasurable. My dogs have managed to get me through this pandemic, but I feel I have let them down.
I drive to see my sister as restrictions have been lifted, we have both been very careful I should have been on a fascial manipulation course, it has been cancelled yet again. I have booked the other two doggos into kennels and travel to Manchester to see her. In truth I wanted respite from my grief, however, I wasn't expecting the news that she was going to tell me.
She confirmed she had rectal cancer and would be starting chemotherapy and radiotherapy shortly. She looked tired and had lost weight, she is only a small person to start with.
I felt the bottom fall out of my world but continued to put a brave face on for her. The fact that the clinic was at full tilt made it easier as it was a distraction. I just had to concentrate on work and not let my personal feelings come to the surface.
These two months just go past in a blur, Whitby is absolutely bursting at the seams with visitors, and most think that we are finished with covid. I’m continuing to write about other local businesses and am really enjoying finding out interesting facts that I didn’t already know and sharing them with others. I think I am improving too….it takes me a little longer than others!
My sister has started her gruelling 5 weeks of chemo and radiation every day, I honestly don’t know how she is doing it, I think I would be as miserable as sin and moaning all the time
I catch up with her every week to see how she is getting on; I am immensely proud of her as she has just quietly nailing it.
Niall turns 30, how do I have a son who is 30 years old when I am only 35…..in my head?
We had a lovely dinner at the Mallyan Spout Hotel in one of their igloos, I wrote about them earlier in the year for the Whitby Guide
Niall had a school friend and his fiancé over from Canada and we had some drinks in the back garden, it seemed so surreal, and that this should feel like such a big deal, it was lovely to have company again and someone else to talk to
I think they found their visit to the UK slightly restricting as the fuel crisis has just started and petrol has become the new toilet paper!
The London Marathon went ahead and although the both of us were supposed to be there, Suzanne's daughter went into labour and baby Harry was born, Suzanne was with her all the time, due to the hospital restrictions still being in place
I went to the marathon by myself, it was my first big day out, I haven’t been anywhere in the last 18 months and then decided to go to London by train and underground, with thousands of people. Nothing like going from zero to a hundred!
I had my mask on all the time, I wouldn't have dreamt of not having it on. I loved it, it was so nice to do something normal for a change,it is always brilliant to be part of the London marathon medical support team
I didn't stay overnight this time, not wanting to increase my risk to covid, I was back home by 11 PM it certainly was a long day…. I was exhausted
I have just received my third vaccine, this time it was the Pfizer jab, I had a sore arm but that was the only effect, thankfully.
The clinic floor needs replacing as it had started to lift after three months of use, I’m not sure of the cause of the problem but it is getting replaced whilst I'm on holiday in Barbados.
This was a holiday that had been bumped and delayed over the last couple of years. We decided to go at this moment in time as my sister is within a safe window of time between chemo, radio and surgery, she was advised she could go on holiday.
I always used to think going through security at the airports was the hardest bit of travelling but I take that back now.
Preparing for a holiday abroad with the risk of a positive covid test, covid passports, passenger locator forms and never really knowing whether we would actually get on the plane, was constantly in all of our thoughts. Security was a walk in the park compared to the preparation carried out before the holiday.
Barbados was very strict about their protocols in entering their county, mask-wearing and having my temp taken every wear we went, wasn't a problem to me. It was just like work on holiday, but more importantly, it was safe for my sister, it certainly helped her to recover from the chemo and radio she had endured.
I just slept for about eight days solid, whether it be on the sunbed, chair, bed or on the bus, sleeping was just the order of the day, I just couldn't seem to stop, I think I must have needed it. We barely did anything at all, apart from sipping rum punches under an umbrella and dipping our toes into the lovely warm Caribbean Sea. Ordinarily I would have felt guilty about this laziness but not after the last 18 months. I felt so lucky to be away and I kept wanting to pinch myself, it was the best holiday I've ever been on and probably the most needed.
I’m back from Barbados into the depths of our winter, the floor was replaced in the clinic and the business survived, Karen did a great job of juggling both businesses.
Omicron mutation has started up and it feels like “here we go again”
My blooming thumb pain has returned with a vengeance. I think I know why I am fraying around the edges…. and it’s the work of the menopause!
Yes, I know most of you will switch off at this point, but women represent 51% of the population and I am sure that most of you men will have a Mum, Wife, Sister Daughter, or Aunt that is struggling with menopause.
There is a good reason why practitioners don’t diagnose family members, even themselves, we lose prospective. I have patients in every day with muscular-skeletal problems, that the menopause will contribute to.
Not all women have hot flushes or insomnia, there are plenty of other symptoms going on and I think that's the problem with me, I have been too busy problem solving and diagnosing patients’ foot and leg pain, than actually recognizing my own!
I booked a virtual appointment with Newson health, the menopause specialists. What an educational, mind-blowing consultation that was, sometimes it just pays to see the right people `who know their onions` (Yorkshire saying)
I have always been an advocate of HRT but thought I was unable to take it, I was wrong, it has made such a difference in healing my injuries and stopping my joint pain.
The link is below if you need it or know someone else who would make good use of it
Are we going to get a Christmas or not are my thoughts as the covid numbers are rising again?
I decided that we would give out Christmas cupcakes to patients every day in December (thanks to Penny Clare Tea Room)It was a small gesture that brought a smile to all our patients that visited us in December, and my uniform just got tighter!
Niall is the best man at his friend's wedding; it had been cancelled four times already, it was amazing that it actually went ahead, they all had a great time and didn’t contract covid either!
Christmas is here again, and we are all together in Whitby, I feel, we are lucky yet again
The clinic is shut for 10 days, we can totally rest and that is exactly what we do... Absolutely nothing!
We are back into the clinic at full throttle and there is chatter in the media about covid restrictions lifting again. I do feel this could be slightly premature, as the hospitals are still full of covid patients, unfortunately, the majority are unvaccinated, an equation that is not difficult to work out but that is all I am going to say about that subject.
The governments antics in the lockdowns are coming out to play, i am not a political animal but really, do any of them have any qualifications to run this country?
I have lost my confidence in all of them, and I mean all parties, there doesn’t seem to one outstanding politician that I can see anywhere.
Most of us would be sacked if we had behaved as they have done!
Blaze has had is third surgery on his eye, a melanoma had grown on the inside of his eyelid and that was like a walk in the park for him, he really is quite indestructible!
We have launched a new website for blisterhelp.co.uk.
As a consumer, looking at websites, one has no idea how much work goes into them, that is, until you do one. It has taken up so much of my time and the writing seems to go on forever, but the hard bit is done now, and I just have to top it up every month.. Phew!
Niall is in St Lucia alone, he is not supposed to be but the other person that he was going to visit has been delayed, due to omicron. He has ended up being on the honeymoon Island by himself, the irony was not lost on me!
He loved it and I suspect he probably he knew everybody on the island before he left. He is like me, a sociable soul.
My sister went into her surgery, which had been delayed due to omicron. The cancer, in that time had spread, which meant she needed more extensive surgery and plastics. She ended up being in for 12 days in total.
Here we are, two years after the pandemic first hit, all restrictions in the public domain have been lifted. However, for us in a medical setting, everything remains the same.
Not a problem for me as I know why we must continue, and I think most patients understand that too.
I have been really impressed with my Podiatry profession, they have stepped up to the plate and worked continually in the pandemic, either in the NHS or in the private sector, keeping everyone moving. I have to say I am proud of all of them.
I know other healthcare professions have done a brilliant job too but I can only speak for my own profession as I know how much they have achieved and endured
Karen has been with us for a year now and she is brilliant at her job, keeping the practice well run, efficient and most importantly, friendly.
I have put an advert out for another podiatrist to join the practice, carrying on at this pace is becoming impossible but I am also aware, that podiatrists are in short supply, and getting any type of professional to work in Whitby is difficult, but I am hopeful?
Suzanne, Karen, and I still have not contracted Covid, we know we will eventually, none of us fancy it still. It is reassuring that all our procedures and protocols have kept us and our patient safe, despite being face to face for two years.
I can sleep at night, knowing I have caused no harm.
My frozen shoulder is still with me, but I am hoping that this is the year it will thaw. I have been diagnosed with IBS and Suzanne is having investigations for Colitis and it is not lost on us on how we have managed to contract these problems. We both get on with whatever is thrown at us, but the last two years have taken takes its toll and shown up eventually in our bodies.
My sister is making great progress after her surgery although she is very frustrated with it all, which I think, is a good sign.
No further chemo is required which is a relief she needs to heal and that will just take time.
Niall and Rohan have continued to thrive and grow in their prospect jobs. They have both worked and adapted throughout the pandemic, in a way that I am extremely proud of. I feel if they can navigate a pandemic this early in their careers, they will be absolutely fine going forward.
Blaze is now 14 and is as lively as ever, living his best life and Luna our German Shepherd continues to be as protective of us and the house, on a daily basis!
But now we are faced with another problem in Ukraine due to Russia. As if we haven't had enough to deal with, Putin has decided he wants a war. I have no doubt the man is not normal, whether it's due to overuse of anabolic steroids, mental health disorder or he is simply deranged?
My heart is broken for Ukraine, I cannot bear to watch what is essentially a war crime.
At what point does anybody intervene without serious repercussions but in the same breath how can the world watch this unravel?
We have collected an enormous number of medical supplies that the people of Whitby have generously supplied. I know how they feel, we can only do small bits in the hope that it might help as we all watch in horror.
I cannot believe the last few years have gone from Brexit, a Pandemic, and now what looks to be the third world war.
Is this going to be our new normal?
Thanks for reading about my two years in a pandemic, hopefully it gives an insight into my life at work and home, my sincere wishes are that the next few years will be less demanding and more enjoyable for all of us.
Chilblains (also called pernio) are small itchy, red (purple sometimes) swellings on the skin. If not addressed and treated, becomes very painful and can sometimes ulcerate, exposing the foot to the risk of infection.
You may have noticed little skin-coloured bumps around your heels, that are more noticeable when standing, they can still be visible when sitting or laying down?
Women go through many complaints throughout their pregnancy, and foot pain can be one of them, unfortunately, it can also get overlooked..
Many people may not recognise the complications that may occur if diabetes is not correctly controlled and monitored, with foot problems being amongst the most serious...
As a diabetic, there are many tips and hints to help manage and prevent foot complications occurring due to decreased nerve and or vascular function....
As a diabetic, it is important that you look after your feet and part of managing your feet properly is to have your feet assessed on a regular basis by a qualified podiatrist...
Hello, I am Lindsey a 56-year-old podiatrist and this has been my life in the last couple of years during the pandemic...
Over the past few years, the most common problem we see in clinic, involving children, would most definitely be heel pain. This could be present when playing sport, or after participating in other forms of strenuous activity...
The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the back of the heel, it is considered to be strongest tendon in the body and its movement helps you step up on your toes, run and jump...
`COVID- toes` is a symptom of contracting Covid-19, it can present in any age group, across all continents and in a full range of skin types. Although it tends to be more common in children and young adults...
Uneven leg length is quite common, and often a few millimeters is not going to cause major problem, and probably will go unnoticed. However, for some even a small limb length difference can cause problems in the hips, back and neck...
We all know children grow a lot over the school holidays and more often than not you need to buy new uniforms and new school shoes in August before they start in September...
In netball and basketball there is a tremendous amount of pressure that is put on the foot, ankle, knees and hips. This can occur at the highest level or even when playing socially...
Pain is pain… right? Sadly not, pain is a complicated subject but simply put, it can be separated into two categories; Acute and Chronic pain. There is one noticeable difference between the two and that is the amount of time that the pain has been around?
Shockwave Therapy has become one of the most effective ways to treat chronic lower limb pain, t was originally developed to treat Kidney Stones (Lithotripsy), as an alternative treatment to surgery...
This may sound like an odd title, but this is how I refer to the most common foot condition we see in clinic, which is Heel Pain. Did you realise there are over 40 causes of heel pain, the most common one that is known about is Plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation of the soft tissues on the bottom of the foot...
The Podiatry profession in the UK is subject to careful monitoring and regulation. These systems are in place to protect the public from sub-standard levels of care, and to ensure that practitioners always know to which standards they should be working to.
There can be many reasons for this, but a common one we see at Lindsey Ebbs Podiatry is a lack of understanding on what makes one shoe better than another and not knowing when a shoe has passed its used by date and should be replaced.
Pressure gait analysis gives a detailed insight into the forces impacting on the foot when walking or running. This information allows us to identify areas of the foot that maybe under a higher pressure load which over time can cause pain, injury, fractures and pressure ulcers of the skin.
At the Foot Hub Whitby, we treat a lot of patients with shin soreness, and it doesn’t matter if they’re a seasoned professional sports person or a weekend warrior.
Perhaps you have been told by a friend, a concerned family member, or a health professional that you have a heel spur but they can only be guessing!
The insoles are a clever innovative piece of equipment that can quantify the movement of the body with different mobility disorders such as neurological, orthopaedic, age related or sporting injuries...
I have been using a laser in practice for 25 years now and have long realised the great outcomes that can be achieved by them, so after extensively researching the Class 4 MLS laser, which is quite unique to other class 4 lasers in that it doesn’t emit heat, I realised this was the laser I wanted to upgrade to...
Preparing for a marathon or a half marathon takes dedication and a lot of time, applying these simple tips can make the experience a more positive one...
Many people think they have ingrowing toenails when in fact what they have are involuted (curved) or thickened nails...
Dogs have always been a large part of my life, I have never known a time without a dog from being a small child through to an adult, after having my own children and working full time...
Infection control is something Podiatrists alongside all the medical profession take very seriously. Reducing the transmission of microorganisms like bacteria, viruses and fungal infections...
Is muscle memory a thing? Yes, it is! Not that we have mini brains in our muscles as the brain is definitely located in the head! But there is no doubt that our muscles remember movement...
Verrucae are caused by infection in the skin from the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). They are often harmless and can disappear on their own, but sometimes...
(from Podiatrists who were at the finish line)
Fascial is a band or sheet of three-dimensional connective tissue, primarily made of collagen it surrounds every tissue, muscle, tendon, nerves, blood vessels and organs of the body...
Winter time can be quite harsh on the feet, they go from a warm centrally heated houses to artic conditions outside, which takes...
This is the most common heel pain complaint we see in clinic. It is an inflammatory condition of the plantar fascia caused...
Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the cause of warts and verrucae, they can appear anywhere on the skin but are mostly seen...
Most people wouldn’t really think of a melanoma on the feet and legs, but they do present there...