Photo of pink rose for article by 'A Doctor's' Wife'

Coronavirus and contagion: what are we passing on?

- Photography by Anne Malatt

My husband works as a doctor in a hospital so I am frequently reminded of the constant demand health professionals are under. On a normal day, doctors in the hospital are run off their feet; my husband often comments how at work they literally run from room to room attempting to get to each patient, not to mention forgoing drink breaks, toilet breaks … and forget eating lunch.

Now with hospitals trying to manage the extra demands that come with the Coronavirus epidemic, I hear accounts of emergency departments desperately calling for staff to work extra shifts on top of their already 60 to 70 hours per week. My husband and I have complained at times how the hospital always wants more from each doctor due to lack of staff (meaning funding). He and his colleagues reported feelings of exhaustion and burnout even before the Coronavirus epidemic began. Doctors in the tea room discuss how best to get to sleep after working night shifts; what medication they can take ‘safely’ that will help them sleep after working 12-14 hours dealing with traumatic events, that they receive no help in debriefing from and no time off to recover from. This is almost the norm because they feel they do not have another way.

With the added intensity of the Coronavirus epidemic, whilst also continuing to live our already intense lives as normal (as best as we can), has made me reflect on the above more.

We quickly forget that the reason why hospitals are so inundated and have no spare beds (even at the best of times) is because we need that much help to maintain our health. The hospitals only provide what we are needing. We place a lot of pressure onto health care workers, the government (and now supermarkets) to supply us services and assistance on demand. We want doctors and nurses to fix us so we can get back on with our lives. Where is our part in supporting our health?

We tend to see things like Coronavirus as something random that is happening to us, and forget that things like this come from us. The virus pandemic is of our own making, whether we manufactured it in a lab, or ate diseased live animals or otherwise went against the natural order of life. It is a product of our own refusal to care deeply for ourselves, and to care for everyone else, equally so.

The virus can remind us that we all so connected, whether we like to admit it or not, we are all connected and are in this together. I am not saying this in a hippy dippy way, but as a fact; we are one. Since the onset of the virus we are seeing in black and white how connected we are, but are yet to live as such in our everyday lives.

So, the answer to all this must be to approach things as one. Right?

The way I move around our home and prepare food and hold the space, is then felt by my husband and offered as a way for him to remember how to hold stillness in the chaos. He can then take this with him when he goes to work, and this then emanates from him with every patient he meets and then they too have the opportunity to remember the stillness.

Every movement I make affects my husband’s movements, and this then passes on to each patient. It is passed on person to person, and imagine the ripple effect of this. The virus reminds us that this is happening all the time. We can pass on a virus or pass on a marker of stillness, of harmony, of joy, of truth, of love. This too can be contagious.

As we move through what is happening at present, we can make our focus this; remember every move we make affects another, and we are part of the whole, not just a part, together, we are the whole. How amazing is that! What an antidote to feeling overwhelmed by the world.


  1. Dear Doctor’s Wife,

    What a brief but beautiful reminder that the way we are creates ripples that echo out indefinitely. All that push, rush and running impacts the quality of care that can be offered. It would serve well to reflect on what quality of care we actually WANT as patients. Do we want the rushed, five-minute-or-less consultation from a doctor with too many things on their mind, with a body not fully prepared for its day/job (because more than likely it hasn’t recovered from the previous shift) OR do we want uncompressed human beings with souls of compassion that can offer everything we need and more in our time of vulnerability? For that is what ill health offers: a chance to stop, reflect and reconnect, and perhaps the understanding that the way we move out and forward from that experience may be completely different to how we moved into it.



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