Monday, 14th August, 2023

[Day 1246]

Today was a day of telephone calls but most of them turned out to have beneficial consequences as we shall see. During the night, when I had some spare time, I composed quite a long and detailed email which was trasnmitted to a group of nurses who can provide specialist help for Meg as I feel that some of her medication needs to be reviewed. At the same time, I utilised the system which allows one to fill a form online and then on the basis of quite a lot of information to request a GP appointmemt. In the meanwhile, we got Meg up, washed including her hair and then breakfasted so we made a good start to the day, Then one of the specialist nurses responded to the email sent during the night and I found a very empathetic and proactive nurse on the other end of the line. We had a fruitful discussion where she was going to liaise both with our family doctor and with the relevant department of social services. After this phone call, we received a very welcome call from our Irish friends just down the road who invited us in for coffee later on that morning. So we picked up our newspapers and then made our way to our friends, who we were delighted to see.In the course of our chat, I received a phone call from one of the practice doctors who thought that Meg might benefit from having some blood tests. Very fortunately, a slot opened up in the afternoon which we jumped at – appointments with a live doctor are not to be spurned these days. We discuss the implications of all of this with our friends and then we shortly received yet another phone call, this time from the relevant department of social services to see if they could call around for an assessment call later on in the afternoon. Our friends had very kindly prepared some sandwiches, coffee and cake which I must say that Meg and I very gratefully snaffled. We had quite a tight turn around but we did not mind under the circumstances and managed to get ourselves sitting in the clinic’s waiting room with just one minute to spare. Meg gave her blood sample and the doctor called us in slightly afterwards to give Meg a quick physical check to complement the bood tests which had just been taken.If certain things get ruled out, then Meg will be referred on to more specialists which is what we want at the end of the day.

Now we began the afternoon ‘shift’ as it were. The roadworks around Bromsgrove which are extensive at the moment made a quick and easy journey home problematic and we had to take us rather a long way round which delayed us somewhat. We got back to our house some 5 minutes later than our appointment time but we were relieved to see the person assessing Meg who again seemed both empathetic and competent. The net result of all these comings and goings is to ascertain what degree of support Meg needs and calibrated against what is available.So far now that pieces of the jgsaw are starting to appear, we feel that some support for Meg may well start to materialise but it is early days yet.

The government is still on the back foot in the story about the Bibby Stockholm accommodation barge and the outbreak of the legionella virus. I suspected that there would be some contention about who knew about the virus and who told who and when and this is proving to be the case. If the Sunday Times is to be believed, then the government is claiming that it was not told about the virus until two days after the results were known to Dorset County Council. An asylum seeker taken off the Bibby Stockholm barge following the discovery of Legionella bacteria says the government is endangering migrants and treating them like ‘less than animals’. The latest news about this affair is that it may be several weeks before the accommodation barge is thoroughly disinfected and I wonder whether the vessel will ever truly be safe. A similar state of affairs is often to be found when Norovirus is found on board holiday cruise ships and cruises have to be abandoned once several groups of passengers are taken ill. I have often suspected that once a virus is lodged into all the crevices of anything the size and complexity of an ocean going liner, then it must be almost impossible to eradicate it completely and hence further infections flare up from time to time. One line of thought, though, is that now the government has been in power for so many years and the problem of migrants deemed illegal has been with them ever since they took office, then it would have been possible to have designed and built a purpose facility somewhere on our shores that would have housed whatever numbers were required in decent accommodation. Instead, we have government ministers assessing a series of options in little used military facilities where central government already owns both the land the the buildings. This is being done under conditions of utmost secrecy as local opposition (including any local Tory MPs) can always be guaranteed.