The Life is in the Blood:
The lack of family in hospital during the Covid pandemic took its toll on the patients, the families but also on the doctors.
Doctors said to me how rare and special it was to be able to meet family members. The pandemic made things very different in hospital; the doctors missed family contact just as families missed the freedom to visit the hospital.
Blinded by lack of support
Doctors were unable to see some of the little things or patterns that family could see, or they could misinterpret a situation, sometimes because they could not know their patients personally and because they had so many patients on which to attend.
A family member has only one patient to observe
A significant part of the tragedy of Covid is the separation between patients and their doctors from the family. That tragedy played out in Alan’s situation. Through no fault of anyone, the lack of encounter with family limited doctors’ information and made it harder for them to care for their patients.
Face to face encounters with Doctors
Some particularly poignant moments I had with doctors come to my mind while Alan was on the ventilator and afterward.
I met Doctor D on the way in to visit Alan while Alan was still on the ventilator. The doctor was concerned, and described Alan’s life as “on a knife edge”.
I simply said, “Alan will recover” — and muttered I was saying that for him, to encourage him. He said it was good to have faith. But I don’t think he quite grasped what I was implying…
By nature, Doctor M was more detached than Doctor D. We sat near Alan’s bedside and spoke about the severity of Alan’s situation. I asked that he be given Vitamin D and the doctor said he’d look into it but that it was most likely he could do that (and it was carried out routinely thereafter). I asked for Ivermectin but Dr M said “No… it was untested.” I asked for Zinc. He didn’t acknowledge.
Doctors don’t really comprehend the benefits of vitamins and nutrition to the patient. For the most part, they are trained in medicine, to use medicine to help and cure. So when I asked for CQ10 to “feed” the mitochondria within his body which was surely being depleted with repeated blood thinning, they didn’t pick up on this request. I don’t think they understood. I don’t think they made the connection.
Phone Calls with Doctors
I had a very long conversation with Dr J, who wanted to know why I vehemently disagreed with the use of what I call “head meds” for Alan after he’d come back to consciousness and, after a week of ICU life, was demonstrating consequences of sleep deprivation and exhaustion.
I said, “just because you cannot see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there” alluding to hallucinations that patients in Alan’s situation experience. I said the meds left him defenceless and I could pray from a distance but it would be much better to come in person.
He said, “I suppose we just have different world views.”
I replied, “Not at all. I see the world completely as you see it in the natural. I just see another entire spiritual realm as well, that you do not see.”
I believe there was fruit in that respectful and focused conversation. It didn’t change the prescription, sadly. Alan did get through that phase after about a week, but I do think it knocked him hard in the meantime. He was not his usual focused, confident self during that week.
Closing the Gap
There were two particular topics that needed addressing during the time Alan was in ICU, having returned to consciousness, which I raised with doctors or nurses over the phone, but which took time to filter through. Eventually a consultant heard me and treatment was addressed.
I remember saying at least three times to different medical staff that Alan needed information about where he was, what time it was, how he’d come to be in ICU, how long he’d been unconscious… any information that would help him have context for what was occurring in the present. One nurse suggested he wasn’t engaging, and when asked “What will you do when you leave hospital,” he had replied, “Try to figure out what happened.” She interpreted that remark as his being depressed or dwelling on the past. I encouraged her to give him information, said he was only trying to work out a context for his condition. “He’s a barrister, he thrives of facts.”
But it wasn’t until I spoke with Dr M2, one of the regular consultants — two weeks later, that action began to be taken.
I said to Dr M2 that Alan was not demotivated or depressed but was lacking information and needed to know what he had gone through, so that he’d have context; giving Alan information would be like providing water in the desert. He said that sort of debriefing usually happened after ICU.
But I had got through. The next day, which would prove to be the last full day of Alan’s life, Dr M2 came to consult while I was visiting Alan. The team that does the debriefing had been earlier that morning, and had begun to set up a programme to feed Alan information.
Though sometimes late, the doctors never gave up trying to rescue Alan from the Covid aftermath.
Thinning the Blood
Dr H was the first doctor who, after several attempts with others, finally acknowledged that a particular blood thinner was causing Alan’s blood pressure to drop to critically low levels and this was taking a huge toll on Alan’s general progress. It was some time fairly early in Alan’s regaining of consciousness that he first acknowledged the detriment, but I mention it only now because of the irony….
First they reduced the blood thinner, then they stopped it altogether, after I pleaded and pointed out a pattern which showed that following infection they gave him particular blood thinner which triggered a very bad reaction that “knocked the stuffing out of him”. Beginning even before ICU, three or four times Alan experienced the same detrimental effect. Finally, the medication was deemed to cause the equivalent of an allergic reaction.
He would no longer be given that medication, nor a substitute.
But it was too late.
The life is in the blood. Alan’s life ebbed away. Too much medicine, not enough nutrition, and the body died. The soul and spirit lives on, in comfort, joy and bliss. We know this. And that is the remarkable truth of the Gospel.
I hope and pray that doctors, nurses and other medical staff who attended Alan and who encountered us both, will discover the Lord Jesus for themselves. Medicine is good, often remarkable. But Jesus is always remarkable and always good.
Every blessing to you until next time….