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Staccato: Personal notes by a respiratory pharmacist during the Covid-19 pandemic

In our latest LGBT+ Network Member article, Ameet Vaghela (he/him), lead pharmacist for respiratory and allergy services shares his personal notes of working as a hospital pharmacist during the Covid-19 pandemic. 'Staccato' was first published as part of a writing competition for pharmacists.

Thu 15th April 2021 The PDA


Excited! New job!
But coronavirus era begins.

Goodbye Whittington Hospital. Goodbye London!
This cat’s off to London-by-the-Sea.

New city, new home, new job, new teams, new start.
The sea. The waves. Ice cream.
Hello Brighton! Veni. Vidi. Vici?

So many faces. So many names.

No induction. No welcome drinks.
Must be safe. Protect husband.
Move out of home.
New digs. New roof. New four walls.
Thank you! Oh man with a heart of gold.
Cloud. Silver. Lining.

Not enough time.

So many patients. So sick.

This virus. Invisible. A ninja.
With its crown of spikes.
Doesn’t care. Doesn’t like soap.
It came. It saw. Has it conquered?

The disease.
Messes up lungs. Blood. Senses. Sanity.

Which drugs? No drugs.
Remdesivir. Dexamethasone. Interferon. Azithro bloody mycin.
No soma to forget this reality.

What is this world? This not so brave new world. Must be brave.

Wash hands. Sanitise. Alcohol gel. Wash hands.
Happy Birthday x 2.
Pre-patient. Post-patient x 20 + PRN.
Drug chart. Breathless. Salbutamol & Ipratropium.
Hypoxia. Oxygen. Too much. Not enough.
Pause. Breathe.

Smiley face. Masked.
Happy. Not happy.
How to tell?

Feels so personal.
Is it protective?
Have I the correct equipment?
I’m not sure.

Need. Cup. Of. Tea.

Mask on. Mask off. Sanitise.
Remove gloves.
Exposed. Bare.

I am not pharmacy. I am a pharmacist.
Feeling powerful. Feeling powerless.
How do I help?
What more can I do?
Thursday. Heroes. Clap.

Uncharted territory.
Unknown waters.
What ship? Which captain?

My fears. Your fears. Their fears. Our fears.
No visitors allowed. So quiet. Heaviness in the air.
They passed. RIP. Death. Gone. Stop.


Unprecedented time.
Unimagined dystopia.
Too many words. Too many negatives.
No positives.

The first wave. The second wave.
The deluge. The tsunami. Overwhelmed.
These are not Brighton waves.
This is not a holiday.

Can’t hug. Want to hug. Need a hug.
Can’t cry. Want to cry. Need to cry.

The new normal.
This is not normal.

So tired. Need rest.

Slow down. Breathe.

Go home. Wash hands. Shower. Sanitise.

Cup. Of. Tea. Got. To. Eat. Must. Sleep.

Socially distanced.
This is not a social.
Physically distanced.
Feels so far away.

Husband texts. My pillar of strength.
R U OK? #MissingYou

Missing you more. Sad Face Emoji. #NeedAHug

It’ll. All. Be. Over. Soon.

When? When? When?

Texts my hugs and kisses.

Lights out. Silence.

Alarm blares. Yet another day.

Brave new world.
Must be brave.

And have my cup of tea.

Acknowledgements and thanks

  • My husband and pillar of strength, Tarun Pamneja
  • The man with a heart of gold, Ady Hart, who provided a roof over my head for six months
  • Pharmacy and Respiratory Teams at Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, and Whittington Health, London.


By Ameet Vaghela (he/him), lead pharmacist for respiratory and allergy services


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