Friday, January 22, 2021

All in all, a good week it was!

Louisa Jordan

I think the week that has just passed was supposed to contain the most depressing day of the year; the Monday that starts the third week in January. All the festivities are over, the weather is terrible, it’s a five week month, nobody has any money. Add into that the pandemic and the reports of it running wild once again, the soaring death rate. We had patients being too scared to come in for treatment; we were cancelling patients that we considered too vulnerable to be outdoors. Our lockdown has been extended to Mid-February and for this lockdown, we are not supposed to be out our house except for work, food, exercise or acting in a caring capacity.

Yet, everybody is feeling rather chipper.

It seems we have all turned a corner.

Not least because the vaccine being rolled out. All over 80’s in Scotland will be vaccinated (first jab) by the end of next week. They are being done at their GP surgery, relatively lower numbers so no issue with distancing, a nice appointment system worked well.  They got the Oxford Zeneca, renamed the Zeneca because, it’s rumoured, the Scottish government did not want the English title on the vaccine.  The vaccine is being given out by the Westminster government, but that’s not on the literature. (So it’s rumoured.) 

Meanwhile the Pfizer was available at the Louisa Jordan, the exhibition centre which was turned into a huge overspill hospital for Covid patients. It has never been used for that (thank goodness).

As a big venue it has the resources to store at minus seventy. So it took a few clicks in a form to enrol as the second wave (after care homes and care home workers, dentists, pharmacists, doctors, dentists, nurses etc.) and the other health care workers in close contact with patients were due in.  Even then, we waited until we heard that they were injecting health care reception staff and we decided that all the genuine front liners had been done. Once we registered, we were in that day , a hour wait in a queue that snaked along slowly, a few questions, a jab, a  wait for ten minutes to  make sure  all was OK and home we went.

The relief for me, was heart felt.  I thought, we have got through this alive. We have known of so many who have lost their lives.  We have still to follow our guidance, still social distance, gloved up, visors, PP3 masks but the fear has gone.

In three weeks the 80 year olds can all come back in for treatment, with a degree of protection. We will be contacted on 5th April with an appointment for the second jab. While that doesn’t make medical sense, it does in the sense of population. The first jab is 60 plus protection probably higher, and even if the disease is contracted, it will be mild. So with most of the population  vaccinated, covid will cease to stress out the NHS the way it has been doing, and our health care system can get on with the cancer treatments and hip replacements.

 Working at full capacity, the Louisa Jordon will be doing 5000 jabs a day. I hope the teaching profession gets their call up soon; they seem to be being forgotten in all this.

The Louisa Jordan is at the main exhibition centre in Glasgow, converted in a matter of weeks to a hospital. Row upon row of white cubicles,   all numbered and lettered, almost like stalls on a race course.

 It was up and ready for operation on 19th April 2020 and has never been used. There are still reports of hospitals being overwhelmed so I’m not sure why it has not been used but there you go.

But here’s a quote “The hospital hasn’t been used to treat coronavirus (COVID-19) patients due to the continued suppression of the virus. However, thanks to a successful pilot, 315 patients have received orthopaedic and plastic surgery outpatient consultations since the start of July.”

 While walking through the deadly quiet hall of the exhibition centre, we did see signs that something had been going on. In particular a drawing on a whiteboard of a knee cap and the cruciate   ligaments. I noticed it because it was wrong.

So who was Louisa Jordan? I confess that I had no idea until I googled her.   She was a nurse, born in Maryhill Road (where Taggart was set actually) from Irish parents in July 1878. She was one of ten children, seven of them surviving to adulthood. She began her nursing career in Quarrier's Homes, a Bridge of Weir sanatorium   about five miles from where I live now.

Louisa was working as a nurse in Buckhaven when the First World War started and she immediately enlisted with the Scottish Women's Hospitals for Foreign Service in December 1914. She joined a unit bound for Serbia, leaving Southampton in mid-December of that year. She was then deployed to treat the war wounded at the Scottish Woman’s hospital near Kragujevac. There was a typhus epidemic in early 1915 and Louisa volunteered to work on the infective ward. The disease claimed her own life just a few weeks later. She was buried in Serbia.

 There was also something in America this week, and that lifted the spirits of the whole planet.  Normally, only those very interested in politics would watch the Inauguration but this one was televised on a lot of channels and most people took a look at it in the course of the day, mostly to make sure that the old president had actually gone.

Amongst many things I was struck by how nice it was to hear a softly spoken president.

Oh, and in writing life something rather fabulous happened, more on that in another blog. That means I didn’t really understand it but when the paperwork comes through you are guaranteed a blog.

Caro Ramsay


  1. I'm beginning to feel left out on the vaccine front. South Africa hasn't started vaccinations and it wouldn't help because I'm not there. Minnesota has started, and a number of friends are already smiling, but I'm not there either. And I'm not a citizen of Denmark, where I am. Sigh.

    1. Come to NY or NJ and just be frustrated to no end at how badly the roll out has been handled up until now. At this rate, I'm hoping to be vaccinated by April. That's April 2021, revised from April 2022 as the result of the change of Administration.

    2. So you're stuck here... nice weather, huh? ;-)

  2. Wow, three fabulous story lines in one post! The fabulous rollout in Scotland of the vaccine, the fabulous put out in the US of the venal, and the most fabulous yet-to-be-disclosed news on your writing life! YES, perhaps the most terrific (substitute "fabulous" if you prefer) third week of January ever.

  3. I've (almost) always found January to be a great month, relief that the holidays are behind, spring is soon ahead, but no spring work yet needing done. A great time to relax. Of course (to turn a phrase, although it seems to ring a vague bell), THIS January was the PERFECT January (ignoring all but one historical events...)

  4. Lovely, Caro, I particularly like the news about Luisa Jordan. My WIP is set against WWI, and those nurses!!! Incredible. It cheers me to know that she is memorialized!

  5. That's good that roll-out is going well there. In New York City, not so much. I just lost an 89-year-old friend from Covid. Very sad. His 92-year-old spouse survived.

    Wanted to say that I just finished "The Red, Red Snow," which was quite a read. I felt like I'd had a mental workout. I had to think!
    Very good. I can't believe I waited this long to read an Anderson and Costello book.
    I saw you speaking about the book on a video from Bloody Scotland. The locked-house aspect of it intrigued me.
    So I got it from the library and was satisfied with it, as I'd be from completing a good crossword puzzle. Every i dotted, every t crossed. The murders explained. The evildoers revealed.
    And yet the descriptions of the land and the weather were compelling. I just wrote about this book at Kittling Books, and the word "highlands" intrigued the blogger.
    Will go on to read more in this series.
    Thanks to the wonderful Bloody Scotland panels that were posted for so many of us to see.

  6. And I meant to add that when I least expected, there was a line of ascerbic wit dropped in. I had to laugh out loud sometimes.