Lessons from Lockdown
I have to self-isolate “shielding” because I am on high dose steroids to control temporal, hopefully it will also be temporary, arteritis.
After a life of frenetic activity, it was a shock to realise that an imposed physical slowdown also allowed a mental slowdown, allowing for an “on the thought” time for reflection that that could control my tendency to rapidly branching thoughts. These have always been a liability. Many times mid-lecture I found myself out on an improvised branch of thought wondering how I could return to the main trunk. It was only recently that I realised this tendency was associated with mild dyslexia (the more severe form of course I would have termed lesdyxia) and this also explained my tendency to right left confusion. Throughout my medical life I had to identify right by remembering that, when aged about four, my right side was the side of the bell on my first bike. What would the students and my colleagues have thought if they knew this? The answer is, I suspect, “Thank goodness he did not become a urological surgeon – he would always be squeezing the right testicle.”
My branching dyslexic thinking was useful for what I like to think of a creative writing. I have published on a wide variety of topics (including hearing and musicians, complaints, HIV and Covid-19 in the Postgraduate Medical Journal and numerous, often numinous, other topics in non-medical journals) but recently I have become aware that I must be on a list of topics held by “predatory publications” because I am receiving about three request a day to provide further thoughts on a wide range of my previous topics, essentially “any old thing,” from on-line journals that charge a fee for publication. Invitations to attend conferences in 2021 (reduced fees because of my eminent as one request termed it). I wonder, suspicious chap me, how many of these conferences will be cancelled without trace at the last moment.
During lockdown it is important both to have daily routine as a foundation, plan non-routine activities, and to provide treats. Coffee with toast and marmalade. Not quite the same as a Japanese Tea Ceremony but more easily achieved in Scotland.
Philip Welsby is an assistant editor of the Postgraduate Medical Journal. He was a Consultant in Infectious Diseases in Edinburgh. He had, and still does have, a Medical Education Website Struckonmedicine.co.uk that includes three medical quizzes based on a 35 year collection of medical slides. At present he is in lockdown and is hard pressed to keep up with the deluge of Covid-19 paper being submitted. There are no conflicts of interest.
Lessons from Lockdown