Just when you thought this was a little story unrelated to Covid-19, I am sorry to disappoint you but I can almost guarantee that it will be funny.
16th March 2020
Inklings that the Coronavirus disease might actually be a big deal in Australia started to creep into our consciousness. It was the start of social restrictions; The F1 Grand Prix had been cancelled and mass gatherings were limited to 500. Things got serious two days later when there was a run on toilet paper. As a health professional (of the furry kind), I started to make plans to decrease the possible spread of disease while working.
Almost apologetically, I suggested to my clients we conducted the consults outside as it was such a nice day. I investigated disinfectants and learnt lessons along the way.
The first week
Vinegar and metho doesn’t work. But it smelt potent. Working outside can lead to sunburn. Out came the sunscreen and hat. But the beanie was essential for the cold mornings. Then it was warm enough to bring the mozzies out. Find the insect repellant. Luckily the rain held off.
The second week
Back to disinfectants. So vinegar was no good, I found a sample bottle of concentrated hospital grade disinfectant in my laundry, so off to the shops to get spray bottles. Then someone said that disinfectant was no good (as it turns out, it works) so the hunt for metho was back on as the small bottle I had at home was not going to go the distance. It seemed that everyone else had the same idea as this had sold out at the shops too. Then what do you know, Facebook told me that soap was the best. In a nutshell, hospital disinfectant did it’s job within five minute; good for the tools and equipment; Metho mix worked within a minute so good for the hands (sadly bad for my emerging chillblains right now); good old soap and water was the fastest at 20 seconds. How easy and quick you say….Well, the chickens got hungry, found the soap and liked it.🐥 I took my eyes off one evening and a big gouge appeared in the block of soap. For a week, the chickens and I staged a soap war. I won. At the moment, the soap is placed on top of the water tank every morning and to access it, I climb up a chair, reach up and help myself. Of course, one day I’ll probably fall of the chair…
Doggy, please don’t run away
There were lessons learnt here too. After a week of securing the dogs to a lead that I had wrapped around my shoe, I decided there had to be a better way. Fortunately the old guinea pig enclosure was heavy enough to be a secure point. Three cable ties and a carabiner have done the trick so far (Although a young , fit German Shepherd did give it a workout today when the cat decided to make a play for the treat tin). Half a barbell was rescued from the scrap metal pile to be repurposed as the halfway hitching post where clients ‘secured’ their dogs for me to collect. If you thought that that doesn’t sound too strong, you would be dead right. Many a dog have managed to drag or overturn the barbell but it does slow the dog down enough for me to grab them before they take off.
The treat tin
The liver treats used to live on a high shelf in the clinic. The first day of working outside, the chickens found the tin and helped themselves. Then my cats found the tin and helped themselves. Luckily the lid was re-found and the treats were secured. Unfortunately the lid is no good, if the treats are placed on the table as the cats thumbed their noses at it and swiped it crashing to the ground.🐱 Live and learn. Sigh…😢
Are we any good at reading and following instructions?
After nearly five weeks of working in this new outdoor clinic, it has constantly astonished me that the general population have a lot of difficulty reading emails/ text messages and understanding instructions. No wonder the government have to keep repeating their rules about Covid-19 over and over again.
One person read, understood and followed my instructions from the emails I sent out. He doesn’t really count though, as his job is to read and understand words (a lawyer). Some people missed their reminder text messages. Lesson learnt- don’t send reminders on a weekend, do it the Friday before. Most people didn’t click the link in the text message. Lesson here; add ‘My clinic’ to the message as many assumed it was a government Coronavirus protocol. Delete Coronavirus from the text message as there is Coronavirus fatigue…Actually I give up, people just don’t like clicking on links. The solution, add the instructions about invoicing and payments to the end of the text message.
When asked to sms me from the car, these are the variations; some sent sms 👏; some tried to ring me (I can’t pick up if I’m still working on the previous dog); and some just walked up the driveway🤦♀️ (they got yelled at to go back to the car and wait). Luckily only two desperate people asked to use the toilet.
The money thing
Although I had mainly done cash transactions pre-Covid, we are lucky we live in a time where digital transactions are easy and common. Did I say easy and common? Disinfectant in a ziplock bag with the money has been a strategy for my clients that don’t do online banking and had no choice but to go to the bank to deposit the cash into my account. That really defeats the purpose as it meant that they had to do an extra trip out and someone else had to touch money. One client laughed at my early attempts at money laundering when she saw them clipped to the washing line. I swear there are a couple of $50 notes blowing around in the garden somewhere. Maybe not anymore, that was four weeks ago.
So I hope you had a bit of a chuckle at my work life during the Covid-19 pandemic. With the positive news that there haven’t been any new cases in Geelong for the last 10 days, I now look at people and say ‘ nah, you probably haven’t got it’. A couple of weeks back, it was’ you could have it, I could have it’.