This week we cannot avoid the news about the new Coronavirus and its current spread across the world. It has had an impact on the dialysis patients like myself in Tullamore Hospital. The dialysis unit is now more isolated from the main hospital than normal: no patient may enter the dialysis unit via the main hospital. We must also arrive on time and not before time. When we arrive, we must use the hand sanitiser and then proceed to our bed and await staff to put us onto dialysis.

Whilst during dialysis, those of us who eat and drink something will continue to get given this food and drink, we are no longer permitted to dine in the waiting room. Many of us were getting a hot dinner from the hospital as part of trying to maintain a healthy diet. This has now been changed to being given a couple of sandwiches to take home.

Up to last Saturday, I had begun to enjoy meeting some of the other patients and interacting with them whilst eating the dinner. I don’t get to meet them whilst on dialysis as I am already isolated due to living with HIV. Sadly, this camaraderie has been stopped for now. Hopefully, we will get back to normal after the COVID-19 scare is over.