The major experience has been around learning how to keep myself safe while being at the front line of management. Being from India, being 60+ and having a life-changing condition hasn't been very helpful. I must say, though, that the consultants on the Paediatrics Unit, where I work as a middle-grade doctor, have been very understanding and accommodating. I have been kept away from seeing potentially CoV-SARS2 infected children. Also, I wasn't redeployed to other departments.
All this while, my heart has been in Mumbai, India, where my wife and daughter still reside. My feelings have been torn between the state of my homeland and family and the state of the UK (England); I also have a daughter that lives in Scotland, creating emotional stress all around for me. I am pleased to say, though, that she is fine, as are my family members back in Mumbai.
All through the initial and the intensive phases of the lockdown, the real relief was that it was possible to go to supermarkets for essential supplies, to exercise in the open for 1 hour initially, and now as much as needed, and to be able to shop online for even some non-essential stuff in the UK. (In India, this was, unfortunately, not allowed, and my family have struggled to get anything else done, such as when their kitchen sink broke.)
The ability to be able to talk to family, friends and anyone else on the internet through Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and so on. This has helped me remain well-informed, connected and sane. The ability to go online and attend webinars and to now conduct ward handovers, trust teaching and meetings through Microsoft Teams has changed the paradigm of learning and communicating for the foreseeable future.
My thoughts are with the people who died, but also with those who have been dislocated from their work-places (such as the migrant workers of India), those that have been stuck in COVID-positive countries like the USA, Italy, Spain, etc, whether they were/are tourists or had gone there for business/work reasons.
I haven't got any memorable pictures or videos to share. However, our department did have a neonate that was born of a COVID-positive mother, and this baby was the youngest preterm in the UK ever (TILL THAT TIME); we managed to publish the details of the baby along with a systematic review of all published cases in the BMJ Paediatrics Open Journal.
By Dr Taher Kagalwala
Dr Taher Kagalwala is a qualified consultant Paediatrician from Mumbai, India. He came to this country just over 4 years ago. He is serving as a middle-grade doctor at the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. His interests include General Paediatrics, Neonatology and Infectious Diseases. His is also the EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) Ambassador for the trust. His family lives in India.