This is a post that started as an email to my list. It's from a series of reflections I wrote as coronavirus ramped up. If you enjoy it, perhaps subscribe here.
I've spent the last two weeks having more meaningful conversations than I've had in the last two years.
Turns out my upbringing was much more British than I thought. Growing up, I never felt particularly distant from my friends and family, but our boundaries were in place. We never talked about death or love, way too heavy for everyday.
Right now, those walls are collapsing before my eyes.
Sometimes this feels like being in the open ocean, especially when you have no answers. But there are also fascinating, important, moving stories being shared.
For instance, my Mum sent me a 300 word Whatsapp message, the longest piece of writing I've ever received from her.
It was about her time in the NHS.
Like me, she started her career at 17. All I knew about this period is she had to fold her own paper nursing hats and she worked in SCBU. I'd assumed she was a nursing cadet.
Actually, she was a Special Care Baby Nurse, on and off labour ward, doing bilirubin tests, breastfeeding support, learning about ventouse and forceps assistance, the whole nine yards. I had no idea her role was so closely related to midwifery.
Her message ends:
"My only regret is not going back to train in A and E. Go and enjoy it".
I often joke with Jason that my emails to my list are very self-centred. But it's turning out nothing is just about me.
My interest in being a healthcare professional is much more connected to my family than I realised.
I think the 2020 coronavirus pandemic will be one of the most important times we ever go through. There's a shift away from the 'cult of self' that we have in the West.
Whether you're homeschooling kids, on a zoom call, or you're in clinical work, the odds are you have connections and support that are more visible than ever before.
Will this community last when after it's all over? I'm not sure. But I think some of these changes have gone deep. We'll have to see.
This is the last one of these emails for now. I have an interview tomorrow with my local hospital. Wish me luck - and good luck to you.
I'll be back as soon as I can,