It’s hard to know where to begin… what a time it has been and will continue to be. Everything turned upside down. Tranquility where there was turmoil, confusion where there was certainty.
Every news bulletin brings a new story and a new facet to the crisis.
At the beginning of the year, my mum was admitted to Leicester Royal Infirmary and subsequently the Glenfield Hospital.
A helpless observer at her bedside, I watched the staff at work, at first in the Intensive Care Unit and later the recovery wards, where she stayed throughout January, before being discharged to The Lawns Nursing Home in Leicester.
The ICU staff were remarkable, as they calmly and methodically went through the process to stabilise her condition and to move her to the next stage of her recovery – which indeed they did.
Their work undertaken with great kindness, patience and gentle humour. Wonderful, lovely people and tender in years to my old eyes.
Sitting as a helpless observer, I felt my instinct to capture them working with my pen and watercolours. I couldn’t help myself… in my head I followed the lines, the colours and movement.
Of course it wasn’t possible, but the image of the doctors and nurses working together has been with me ever since.
At the start of the Lockdown, the BBC were allowed to film the staff and patients at the Royal Free Hospital in London, a huge hospital that specialises in contagious diseases. The resulting footage was made into two special programmes called, ‘Hospital’ which were broadcast on Monday and Tuesday – Week 8 of Lockdown.
The programmes follow members of staff and patients through the early days of the disease. The staff show the exact same qualities that I experienced with my mum at Leicester.
I began to draw Monday’s programme and soon broke down as the memories flooded back. I am still a helpless observer waiting and watching as they work so hard. I guess we all are.
These are my drawings and notes based on the first part of the first programme. The words as spoken by staff themselves.
These drawings are my inadequate but heartfelt tribute to all healthcare workers and carers, for the NHS and care homes. They are all, quite simply, brilliant.
Stay safe and stay well