A Glimmer of Light during Dark Days

Whilst it seems that the world around us has been turned upside down, I’d like to think that there is a glimmer of light during these dark days. Even in these most difficult of times, we’re seeing a number of examples of those little things which have served to cheer us up. Of course, how we approach the challenge of the Corona crisis will dictate how well we cope. I’d like to think that seeing the bright side will help and I’d like to share a few of the things I’ve seen recently.

  • Travel restrictions have meant itinerant South Australians have had to return home. As a result, and following a brief career as a ‘surfie chick’, Georgie Hollingdrake has returned to the fold at Gawler Animal Hospital. All of you who’ve come to know Georgie’s smile, over the years, will know what a good thing that is! On a similar note, both Steve and I have been confined to quarters for a period of time (he’d been in WA, I’d been in the Barossa!).Not a great time to be ‘missing in action’ but I’m happy to say we’re now both up and running!
  • To minimise spread of Coronavirus, we’ve split our staff group into two separate teams. To combat the social isolation this has created, we’ve created a ‘Messenger’ group – you’ve no idea what a workout that group is having with videos, memes, jokes, etc. We’re probably getting to know each other better than we ever did and learning new and more efficient ways to communicate.
  • We’ve also discovered the joys of ‘Zoom’ meetings. All ten vets involved in GAH got together last weekend (Easter Friday no less) to discuss cases and to work through some of the challenges we’re facing in split teams – but also to catch up socially!
  • After finally losing his beloved dog, Diesel, to osteosarcoma (bone cancer), Louis Nikolic, one of our valued clients, sent us though a copy of a painting he’d had done of said dog. It was a wonderful depiction of one of our favourite patients (he’d been through the wars, over the years, and so we’d come to know him very well). Euthanasia can be a very traumatic experience for staff members as well as for owners and it’s lovely to have such a positive reminder of what a great dog he was!
  • As many of you have already experienced, we’re no longer allowing clients into the building at GAH. Of course, this is to help control infection transmission but it does make life very hard for both pet-owners and staff. Despite this, the response from you (our clients) has been enormously positive and supportive. You’ve no idea how much better this makes us feel so thank you all!
  • A benefit we hadn’t thought of when we decided on the above restrictions. The other day, one of the consult nurses mentioned to me that, less than half way through her shift, she already had over 6,000 steps for the day! Who cares if the gym is closed???
  • Very personal, this one, and a bit indulgent on my part – it was my father’s 98th birthday last week and he’s not allowed to leave his house (“I might as well be in prison”) due to being ‘high-risk’ (isolation rules are much more stringent in the UK). He can’t even go out to his beloved golf course! On the day, however, all of the neighbours on his street conspired to congregate (at a distance!) and sing him happy birthday while he stood out in his front garden. There was a huge smile across his face as a result!

So, you can see that it’s not all bad! Hopefully I’m not jumping the gun here but the sharp decline in new cases of Corona in South Australia has to be seen as a positive. If that trend continues, maybe we’ll get a softening of restrictions sooner rather than later. In the meantime, and until that happens, I’m hoping we can all take an optimistic view and look for the silver linings in all of this.

Thanks, once again, from all of us at GAH, for your understanding and support. Stay happy, stay healthy and look after each other until the world all settles down again!!

Dr Dave MacPhail

Dr Dave MacPhail

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