Sunday, 10 May 2020

Day Fifteen

I’ve not caught the clap.

There you go, I’ve admitted it. During the coronavirus pandemic, people across the UK have been standing on their doorsteps every Thursday night, clapping to recognise the efforts of NHS workers and carers.

I, however, haven’t, because I hate nurses.

Not really. Jesus, learn to take a joke, would you?

Look, it's not a competition. Just because you clap doesn't mean you love the NHS more than me. Just because I have a child with Prader-Willi Syndrome doesn't necessarily mean I love the NHS more than you. (But I probably do. Deal with it). I expressed my love for the NHS as best as I could in a blog post marking its 70th anniversary: There. Give There it a quick read if you think I’m being an old cynic here.

But there’s just something about the whole clapping - a nice idea for a one-off show of appreciation - that now feels like a empty gesture. Does an exhausted consultant, coming off a 12 hour shift, really feel better because Bob and Brenda from No. 22 banged a saucepan on Thursday night? I’m not sure that they do. Particularly if Bob and Brenda then invited Trevor and Sue and the kids round for a VE Day barbie because if there’s one thing that renders a ribonucleic acid-based virus non-contagious, it’s a bank holiday.

I love the NHS and I know and love people who work in the NHS. They don’t want to be thought of as angels or heroes - they just want the resources to do their job, save lives, and care for people safely. 

So I just can’t bring myself to clap along with Boris, our glorious ‘led by the science’ leader who seems to have achieved hero status for contracting and surviving the virus, despite boasting at a press conference about shaking hands with everyone, including hospital patients, but who still insists that government messaging throughout this crisis been clear, consistent and responsible. 

If clapping brings you comfort and hope, and you think it helps  - even if it’s only good for your own mental health, or if the kids find it fun - please carry on. Maybe I'm a miserable old cow, out of step with the rest of you. Maybe I deserve your opprobrium* (*for my opinions, not for my vocabulary - I'm smashing my 'learn a new word a day during lockdown' challenge! Tommorow, I'll tell you what Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia means).

For now though, and for the foreseeable future, eight o’clock on a Thursday - when others are applauding and pan-bashing - will just happen to be the time I choose to chuck my empty booze bottles into the recycling bin. 

Because if no-one can hear the chink of empties then it means I’m not an alcoholic, right?

Song is The Meters - Handclapping Song

As part of the 2.6 Challenge (which is asking people to fundraise and donate towards small charities that are threatened with closure because of the effects of the Covid-19 crisis) I'm currently writing 26 blogs in 26 days.The PWSA UK is a charity which is absolutely vital for people with PWS, their families, carers and professionals who work with them. Without urgent help, PWSA UK will fold. This charity saves lives and for some people makes lives worth living. If you can, please go to my Just Giving page and donate anything you can spare - a few pence or a few pounds, it all counts. And if you've already given, but are annoyed by what I've written today, I'm sorry, no refunds. Do come back, though. Remember: Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, you know you want to know.

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