Covid-19: Lockdown begins and breast screening offical stops throughout the UK.

Friday 20th March 2020

8:30am I arrive at work and set the x-ray room up, waiting for my colleague to arrive. When my manager calls to say that from the coming Monday, breast screening will cease nationwide. Therefore I was no longer needed by the hospital (I am a contracted locum).

As you may have guessed, it was not the best start to the day. On the other hand, I was expecting it to happen eventually. I was surprised they were still breast screening to be honest.

Covid- 19 had been on the news and the prospect of a lockdown seemed inevitable. Toilet roll, gloves, hand sanitizers and anything to do with antibacterial / cleaning was non-existent on the supermarket shelves.

People would lightheartedly mock anyone who was able to get hold of toilet roll. This is a picture a family member shared jesting that he stole all the toilet roll.

Supplies for hospitals over the past week or so were hard to obtain, as citizens were buying them for themselves or selfishly selling them at an extortionate price. I only know this to be true because the department was having difficulties obtaining hand gel from their normal supplier.

I made sure to wash my hands between each patient. As well as keeping my head down whilst positioning the ladies, so they were not breathing on my face. 

Regular hand washing and social distancing was constantly aired on the news and radio. Children songs, cartoons and even the prime minister were giving hand washing technique advice (wash for 30 seconds – the duration of the happy birthday song). It was surreal, not the advice to maintain good hygiene (that is always good advice), but telling people for how long and how they should be washing their hands. Surely grown adults should know and be doing this anyway, then again there are always those who lack in the “hygiene” department.

What is the point of using hand gel at random points in the day, but then not wash your hands when you go to the toilet? (many times have I gone to the lavatories and seen women not wash their hands whom I had just done their mammogram).  

Where there is fear and panic, human nature always rears its ugly head. Flour, pasta and bread were hard to come by because people were stockpiling. Even vegan produce was impossible to obtain, and as you know vegan and gluten free products are expensive.

A colleague mentioned how when she went to the supermarket afterwork and there was nothing left. She felt like a bad mother for not thinking ahead and having frozen food stored in the freezer just in case. My heart sank, no mother should ever feel like she is not providing for her children, especially because of other people’s greed. 

Retired seaman, 79, pictured by empty supermarket shelves says ...
This is not my own image, but it demonstrates my point.

During lunch break I needed to buy a toothbrush and mouthwash. In the store there was not a single bottle of mouthwash left, or anything soap / deep clean related on the shelves. 

Queuing with just a toothbrush in hand, an elderly lady asked the cashier if they had any paracetamol left. To which the cashier said, they had only what was left on the shelf. The customer mumbled how there was no paracetamol anywhere and had already gone to three other stores. I digged deep into my pocket and found a packet of paracetamol. It had one or 2 pills still in it, so I offered it to her. First she said no, but I said if she really needs it, she should take it, as it is better than nothing. 

As I packed my bag at the end of the day, I thought what will these next few weeks bring and will I still be getting married on the 28th May 2020?  

This is where my journey through lockdown really begins.


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