Cutting Bras in Half to Make Face Masks Will Only Ever Result in You Looking Like a Right Tit

There’s more than one way to take off a mask

Up until a couple of months ago, I was making my way through life as a part-time psych nurse, part-time writer. Odd combination I know, but trust me it works.

As we all know, COVID-19 arrived and turned the world upside down. No one was immune to the madness of this unprecedented pandemic.

This lunacy first started to appear with the advent of the Great Toilet Paper Drought of April ’20. And then there was Gal Gadot and her friends’ car-crash of a rendition of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’. Even the psychopathic man-child that is Donald Trump was affected by the craziness of COVID-19, culminating in his public suggestion that infection could be curbed by injecting disinfectant into the body. And just as we were thinking the world couldn’t get any crazier, the Great British public showed sympathy for a Conservative Prime Minister. Yeah, I know, the world really did go bat-shit crazy.

With the writing firmly on the wall and in consideration of all possible eventualities, I offered to step up to the role of clinical team leader in the event we — as a high-functioning acute psychiatric admissions ward — find ourselves lacking a clinical team leader. I know, I never learn.

Within days of the unfolding pandemonium — that’s clearly destined to be a perennial pandemic for some time to come — our manager got whisked away to the hospital’s newly converted COVID ward.

Sometimes we just need to dig a bit deeper, ask a bit more of ourselves, and take some proper risks.

I’m going to hazard a guess that when people think of frontline nurses caring for people during COVID-19, they think of such things as therapeutic bedside manners, unconditional positive regard and other such shenanigans.

I wish that’s how it was in psychiatric nursing, but it’s not. Our skills may well lie in positive risk-taking with peoples lives, but if breaking up fights, attempting to talk people out of suicide, and ultimately attempting to have a positive influence on someone else’s life is all that we can do, then so be it, it’s something of value, however cynical and burnt-out you are. You see, being clinical cannon-fodder in a post-modern British NHS ain’t nice, but sometimes it’s necessary. But that’s an argument for another day.

Having become clinically accustomed to this new world order that unashamedly revolves around the global financial cost of managing such a crisis, I now find myself in the odd position of sitting at home for the next couple of weeks while the world and its wife cautiously attempts to return to some semblance of normality.

By the way, before you ask, no, my chequered past hasn’t finally caught up with me, nor has my reputed unprofessionalism finally resulted in my downfall. I’ve simply not been allowed to cancel my annual leave.

Regardless of the potential for a second wave, I’m not going to lie, I relish the thought of not having to go to work for the next couple of weeks.

As I sit writing this story, the craziness of the last 10 weeks or so sits quietly in a corner of my mind, entertaining me with memories of laughter, kindness and love.

You see, I finally get to take off my mask, in more ways than one.


Originally published in Medium publication The Swipe, 13th June 2020.

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