Personal Update

Calgary is currently in the middle of its fourth wave of covid-19, and this has made work life hard. We’ve closed all but two of the operating rooms, and are now running emergency cases only, with all elective cases cancelled to free up space in the wards and (importantly) beds in ICU for covid patients. Many of my colleagues have been redeployed to help ICU, and others to the wards. I have been fortunate enough to remain in the operating rooms for the moment, (which I am grateful for because, let’s be honest, I haven’t worked on a ward in over a decade).

But, that’s not to say it’s business as usual. While some parts of the hospital are ramping up, we are slowing down. The days slide by slowly, and are filled with anxiety over sudden shift adjustments, never knowing whether you’re going to be moved somewhere different, never knowing what work is going to look like on a given day.

Last wave, when I had just started work, the shutdown seemed far less intensive. They’re calling the delta variant the disease of the unvaccinated, because the vast majority of cases are discovered in unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated people. This might be the case, but the effects are no less widely felt.

Sometimes fighting covid-19 feels a bit like this statue in Wellington Harbour: leaning into the wind and hoping you're not going to fall. Getting vaccinated is our only safety net right now.

Maybe things seem fairly normal, wherever you are. Maybe you’re now used to having to limit social activities, or wear masks out in public, and you don’t see the point in doing more than that. And I get it—you’re tired, too. You’re tired of having to make constant adjustments to the way you live, and being expected to get vaccinated when you’re perfectly healthy may seem like a pretty big ask. But there is a point, because beyond what you can see ICUs are bursting with patients, many on ventilators. Wards filling fast. People unable to get needed surgery. Businesses failing. Families who are unable to travel and see their loved ones.

So, no matter where you are in the world, as soon as the opportunity arises, get vaccinated. This is the only protection we have, the only hope we have of getting back to normal.

Spotlight on Writing

I was so excited to finally finish my last chapter, as it meant I could finally continue with a different character’s storyline—a character that has been far less elusive and, for most part, easier to write. So, I opened a fresh Word document and wrote the chapter number and heading with great expectations of cracking my knuckles and flying through this chapter. Sadly, that has not been the case.

I waited, staring at the blank screen, willing the words to come. But, somehow I can’t hone in on my character… the scene is murky in my mind and I can’t work out exactly how it starts. I think it will be easier once I get going, but the ‘getting going’ is proving to be tricky. Does she begin in her hotel room? Is she wandering the streets of Athens? Is she alone or with someone? Maybe she’s dining at a restaurant?

I’m just spit-balling here, but you get my conundrum. I just don’t have enough of a handle on what this chapter is supposed to be. And considering I created the chapter plans, I only have myself to blame for this. I guess it’s about time I take my own advice and start employing some previously used block-busting techniques to get my writing on the page.

Have you ever had experience with writer’s block? Let me know in the comments what you did to get past it and how you managed to con your muse into working for you once again.