Going to Harrison’s Point is NOT a Death Sentence: Confessions of an Asymptomatic

CAVEAT

I have images here which were accumulated while under Isolation, I made sure to include no depiction of Staff nor Patients and thus maintain confidentiality, if there are any objections still? I welcome official images to substitute them with. Please feel free to either contact me or send approved photography at airbourne@bajanreporter.com

UNAVOIDABLE EXCLUSIVE?

There are stories which sometimes no one necessarily wants to be a part of, but we have to live through them nevertheless, this is one such incident… Ironically, in the month of December? I only left the house four times, following protocols of masking and using sanitiser – I guess it’s similar to the old saw of being Dead Right (crossing the street based on traffic lights in face of a car with faulty brakes careening down the street towards you).

A family member gave an associate a lift, unaware said person was tested and presented themselves at work instead of staying home. Well, they vowed no more rides given until a cure is developed!

This was how I became asymptomatic, as we share the same space – when all of us learned the co-worker was Positive, we rushed to Branford Taitt Polyclinic and got tested. The wait was a painful eight days, with a second test sandwiched in between, it was the second test which revealed the dreaded News!

For those who follow comic books, it was very surreal learning the transport coordinator was a <b>Sgt Rock</b> I almost asked if the bus was called <b>Easy Company</b>?

For those who follow comic books, it was very surreal learning the transport coordinator was a Sgt Rock! I almost asked if the bus was called Easy Company?

We were told at 12 Noon on Sun 24th January how a bus would be collecting us, it did not reach Barbarees Gardens until minutes to four. After a few lengthy meanderings through St James still ravaged by construction, we got to St Lucy by 6:47 pm and couldn’t leave the bus until 9:05 pm as there was only one member of Housekeeping available and they were preparing gurneys to act as beds for us, space it seems was at a premium? Plus all other Housekeeping had left for the evening.

GURNEYS ARE BEST FOR SLEEPING

Bajans adore complaining, I’ll admit the waiting in the old Transport Board bus was far from ideal, however? I was not unconscious at Intensive Care with a ventilator down my gullet! On entering the temporary male dormitory, I sat on the gurney and liked how it was firm and therefore my back would not be making me grunt.

Here's the ward, which at this point was between new boarders. I was about to go outside, yes, we were allowed in a back yard with a strong St Lucy breeze, no Chateau D'If for us!

Here’s the ward, which at this point was between new boarders. I was about to go outside, yes, we were allowed in a back yard with a strong St Lucy breeze, no Chateau D’If for us!

I was emotionally drained and ready to go to sleep, however this ward had a TV and we had two American football fanatics, so I eventually drifted off about 1:00 am (after hollering if they don’t sleep too) and I actually had some dreamless sleep until just before sunrise (say 5:40 am) the first of many Cuban nurses came to measure Blood Pressure and other vitals, like three times a day.

But I thoroughly enjoyed the gurney as a bed, if I could afford it I’d buy one and take it back home, fully adjustable with underneath lights for night-time sojourns to respect the bladder, LOL!

SECONDARY ISOLATION VS SUN DECK

We were placed in a building known as Secondary Isolation, it was a pleasant jaunt and made more so by its Sister Glendora Seale who made sure things operated correctly. Whether it’s making sure the MCTV was available or if a child had a particular dietary need? She’d order an extra meal of fish and macaroni out of her own pocket, she deserves far better acknowledgement than a silver dollar that glows in the dark!

This part of the compound houses staff who work the late shift

This part of the compound houses staff who work the late shift

The nurses at Harrison’s Point need to teach their counterparts at QEH how to be humane and realise being of service is not being a servant and therefore maintain a high spirit even in the midst of heavy challenges.

Sister Glendora Seale explained to each dormitory how discharge is based on WHO standards where it is ten days after the positive results, and I was eventually released by Sat 30th January. The medical staff in St Lucy were so cool, they ran an aerobics class wearing full PPE on the Sun Deck in the building across from Secondary Isolation, I do admit to a twinge of jealousy…

CARE PACKAGES

Meals were not what you may like, but considering the numbers of people admitted for observation, you can’t be vex it was not a la carte nor Cordon Bleu, with hundreds to feed, hiccoughs were expected and both Chefette and KFC made good coin before the National Pause set in.

Broccoli resembles a re-enactment of Feeding The 5,000 but hey, it stopped a gap

Broccoli resembles a re-enactment of Feeding The 5,000 but hey, it stopped a gap

However, friends and family could drop off Care Packages at both Harrison’s Point or Blackman & Gollop (the re-purposed primary school) if you had specific needs and there were frequent calls for various patients to collect bags or boxes. So don’t worry if you forgot a toothbrush or razors etc. Just make a WhatsApp call using the guest WiFi (it gets stronger early in the morning up to 7:00 am or by 11:00 pm when less people are using it). People were doing WhatsApp video calls at all hours to friends and family!

BLACKMAN & GOLLOP? CHALK AND CHEESE WITHUP NORTH

Well more people were coming to Harrison’s Point, so we got transferred to Blackman and Gollop which is betwixt St George and Christ Church… I got to miss Harrison’s Point a lot real fast! You had 24/7 medical attention in St Lucy but at the re-purposed school you almost had to pretend to escape to get attention if anything was needed late at night!

This tent was the unofficial entrance for the Nurses Area at Blackman & Gollop, make sure whoever goes can shout hard, like me LOL!

This tent was the unofficial entrance for the Nurses Area at Blackman & Gollop, make sure whoever goes can shout hard, like me LOL!

There was a patient who had a severe coughing fit and when I was trying to wake up get the guard’s attention, he thought I was trying to break out, sigh! I said I need a nurse or Dr as a roommate has a bad cough spasm.

Last glance before heading to Christ Church, little did I realise I'd miss Harrison's Point so badly

Last glance before heading to Christ Church, little did I realise I’d miss Harrison’s Point so badly

When more syrup was needed the next day, to speed it up we suggested their same cup could be used and a nurse said that’s a No No, but when a bottle was brought over to the dormitory, guess what was used to distribute the dosage from the bottle? Not a plastic spoon!

AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT

COVID 19 is no joke and it caught most of the world off guard and we’re still only now coming to grips with it, despite Spanish Flu in 1918 and a similar bout in 1869 and even as far back as Sir Isaac Newton in the mid-17th Century – we need to take clues and create better prevention. If the whole planet can look to do better, how can we leave out Barbados?

The beds at Blackman & Gollop are very low to the ground and nowhere near as firm as their counterparts in St Lucy, this may be great for boys and girls not yet reaching Teens but it poses a challenge for people who have a few more summers under their collective belt!

Every morning and afternoon we would go in the courtyard for a daily monitoring of BP or Blood Pressure, mine was 128/75 most of the time I was told that's very good?

Every morning and afternoon we would go in the courtyard for a daily monitoring of BP or Blood Pressure, mine was 128/75 most of the time I was told that’s very good?

Another thing, while Barbados is eternally grateful for Havana supplying nurses who fought the onslaught of Ebola in Angola, we need to make sure those Nurses understand English better, especially with the Bajan accent?

One Cuban nurse brought Insulin for a patient who was not diabetic and the correct person just across almost screamed for fear of a wrong person being injected and unnecessary tragedy prevailing.

Imagine if we all had easy grasps of both basic English and Spanish? Those same nurses would then understand when people are explaining to them their blood sugar was read too soon after a meal. It should be taken 2 hours after digestion not 30 minutes later, of course the reading will be high! Again, it’s a matter of making sure lines of communication are easily received and transmitted!

OBSERVATION

I know many Bajans still call me white no matter how many times I clarify I’m mixed, so for them the following statement would seem odd in my saying so… I did not see white patients at either Harrison’s Point nor Blackman & Gollop.

The second night I was in St Lucy I woke up to use the bathroom and I saw a late admission, it was a white female with a small boy like 5 years, she took one look at the female dormitory and she walked back outside and I never saw her again. If she can pick and choose where she isolates, why can’t the rest of the country?

How do you expect people to just uproot and leave their homes and pets alone with no security even? I came back to find my garbage teeming with maggots and my coffee percolator had ossified, luckily one family member persuaded a close friend to pass by and arrange for feeding of my pets. But if there are certain guidelines for the Medes then Persians have every right to demand the same conditions, if there are not two Barbadoses then show it in deed, action and enforcement!

I’m also curious, since I was Asymptomatic with COVID19, do I need to take a vaccine? I understand I may not need to do so for 8 to 12 months? But what I’m more concerned about is the possibility of me “shedding” COVID three months down the road?

CONCLUSION

While initially it was scary, it was nowhere near as dread and bleak as I thought, it was almost a Staycation with a mask? But these steps are necessary to make sure we don’t end up like USA, Canada or the UK with fatalities in the tens of thousands over a 30 day cycle.

Please stay home, use masks and sanitiser often (even if family visit) and once you adhere to safety guidelines, hopefully this is as close you'll see inside of Isolation

Please stay home, use masks and sanitiser often (even if family visit) and once you adhere to safety guidelines, hopefully this is as close you’ll see inside of Isolation

It made me aware of using sanitiser even moreso and not complaining for masks, the jury remains out on double masking for my part, but I do believe thoroughly in Hands, Face & Space!

I truly hope the rest of the island does too, for all our sakes! Keep ya backsides quiet and remain home, except for food and medicines… What with no Chefette nor KFC until at least Feb 18th, we may actually slim a bit, is that such a bad thing? Perhaps the virus is doing us a favour?

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