Posted on 22nd April 2020

Slane Castle

Last Thursday week the one thing I was really seeking to avoid happened, I ended up in hospital. Like so many, I was spooked at the idea of coming in when I knew the surge was coming.  However, there was really no alternative to extracting myself from my cocoon in the Meath Countryside.  I was sick as it transpired with a chest infection.  However, there was another reason for my trepidation and that was because I knew as soon as I entered St. James’s Hospital I would be allowed no visitors.  To be separated from my wife at this time has been difficult for both of us.  So, despite being cocooned, I still had to be tested for the dreaded virus and imagine my astonishment when I was told the result of my test was “indeterminate”.  No matter how often I told myself there was no way I could have been in contact with anybody who had it, I had a very uncomfortable night waiting for the result of my second test.  It was negative Thank God.  This is the problem with this whole thing and I will put up my hands and say I am suffering from it, Covid anxiety.  One of the aspects to all of this is the effect it is having on the hospital staff.   To an extent they are all on edge.  The presence of the damn thing is everywhere – even in places where it quite clearly isn’t.  Now there is another aspect to all of this that is causing concern and it is the simple fact that there are people out there who really should be in hospital.  I was lucky in the sense that I was persuaded to come in.  Had I chosen, because of Covid anxiety, to ignore that advice, I would have got myself into a great deal of trouble.  Now I’m on the mend and hopefully soon to return to my cocoon in Co. Meath.

Covid is everywhere.  It is all over the newspapers, the radio and television but you get to a stage when you feel it is going to do one’s head in.  I am trying rather unsuccessfully to limit the amount of news I expose myself to, so in an act of what I felt was defiance the other night I watched Father Ted rather than the 9 o’clock News.  By God I felt the better for it.  Humour is an essential element in retaining one’s sanity through all of this and, of course, friendly voices on the phone.  However, believe me, this crisis will change everything utterly – probably even in ways beyond our imagination.

One of the staggering things that has happened is that the world has run out of space to store oil – that means that the oil-wells around the world are going to be forced to shut down. This has geo-political implications, particularly for Russia and Saudi Arabia.  It will also have a deep impact on the American shale business where some companies may go bust.  However, closer to home are the worrying developments in Europe where the Italians feel that they have been ignored by Brussels.  They are right.  More shocking is the fact that a number of Italian regional Governors and Mayors placed an advert in a leading German newspaper calling for solidarity, most particularly as Germany had its debt cut after World War 11.  Feelings are running very high and the leaders of Europe need to devise an imaginative economic plan to deal with the crisis, otherwise Europe will fall apart.

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