Putting signs and notices in place just doesn’t seem to work efficiently.


For the past twelve weeks or so, I have been putting off a necessary trip into the heart of Palma for a bi-annual check up with a specialist at a well known private hospital. During that interim period of indecision, I have been advised by the media, and read many reports, urging people not to ignore their regular hospital appointments, especially if they have been scheduled in, and recommended by your consultant as part of a vital maintenance health programme.

But in all honesty, the decision has been a tricky one! And for many people it is also proving to be a worrying concern. But realistically, keeping on top of your personal health issues should never present a questionable negative, or get in the way of common sense.

Over these weeks I have repeatedly put off the inevitable, cancelling appointments and re-scheduling to when I thought I might feel a little braver about the whole thing, hoping Covid19, and all the angst connected to it would somehow just disappear. But no such luck! Even with numbers decreasing and phase 2 of lockdown underway, I have still been concerned and worried about the see-saw attitude of the general public towards safe distance protocol here in Majorca, and sadly, not been able to really trust anyone’s behaviour out in public. Some people really don’t seem to get that 2 metres is NOT 2 feet! And certainly NEVER two inches!

As with most hospital appointments, and ‘revisions’ conducted here in Majorca, the consultation undoubtedly requires a routine blood and urine analysis beforehand for the specialist/doctor to review. This is a great concept which they employ here, and gives wonderful insight, yet at this time of concern, unfortunately means an additional visit to the clinic a few days before the official consultation – a double dose of the dread!

Prior to committing my body and soul to the said hospital appointment, we telephoned to enquire about the safe distance protocol, and were assured that ‘advice’ was definitely in place, although they stated they couldn’t control numbers of admission, or guarantee the public’s behaviour once inside the hospital! Why did that not surprise me?

However, we also discovered that many consultants are more than willing and happy, once in receipt of your blood results and analysis, to arrange a virtual consultation to discuss routine results over the telephone. So if you are personally struggling, and having to consider a similar scenario with a scheduled appointment, do check with your doctor about the possibility of an appointed telephone call to limit your visits and reduce your anxiety.

On the day of the blood analysis, we decided to get ahead of the game and be one of the first through the doors at the hospital, up at 5am and leaving home at 6am to arrive, park up, and be raring to go when the department actually opened at 7am. Although Palma itself, at that time in the morning was like a ghost town, we were quite amazed that more than a few people had the same idea, and the waiting area was steadily and quickly filling up. Stickers had been placed on the floor, designed to instruct you where to stand and to keep people apart. Mandatory masks were respectfully worn by everyone, and there was designated seating, organised to maintain the regulation distance. And it all seemed quite orderly until the registration area got busier and common sense went completely out of the window.

Some people remained aware of distancing, while others rudely and mindlessly squeezed past when they could easily have just stood back for a few seconds and waited! But then that’s tantamount to being polite as well as sensible, two characteristics sadly lacking in some! Safety and selfish might sit closely together in the dictionary but both are words and worlds apart!

I honestly don’t understand some people’s obsessive need to push forward and squeeze through the smallest of gaps, when for the sake of a few seconds, they could hold back, then pass by easily, safely, and without compromise to others. Or why, in a corridor wide enough to drive a truck through, certain individuals have to walk within a gnats breath of you, ignoring the opportunity to ‘distance’ while brushing past so closely with only inches to spare. Wake up Covidiots! This virus doesn’t spread on its own – it actually needs help, and some people out there are doing a great job!!!

I suppose this ‘magnet mentality’ is the same condition that occurs in massive car parks, when hundreds of vacant spaces are ignored by that one moronic driver who parks his car right next to yours, and so closely you can’t even open the door to get in! Or prior to Covid19, on an empty beach with plenty of space all round, why a boisterous family suddenly plonks themselves down right next to you, invading your space along with your towel? I think it’s a cultural thing, which we first noticed when we moved here, particularly with people in queues at supermarkets, banks, or anywhere in fact where people are held in a line. They seem to insist on standing so close you can feel their breath on your neck. Or their matronly bosoms in your back! In a nutshell, the majority of Majorcans like to stand close!

But back to the hospital . . . when the nurse led me through to the cubicle and sat me down, I noticed the paper covering installed on the arm rest, and asked if it was changed for each patient as my bare arm was about to come in contact with the porous material. The nurse looked somewhat bemused. Her eyes smiled politely behind her mask as she gave me the Majorcan shrug and said; “if you want?” I said “Yes! I want,” and she immediately changed it. Now, Other Half who was in a different cubicle, had a different nurse who automatically changed the hygienic protector on the chair the moment Other Half walked in, and assured that she does this automatically for every patient. So you see, even within the medical profession, this see-saw attitude towards PP protocol exists. Individuals are individuals, and the sad fact is that some are simply being more diligent than others. Yet all in all the hospital experience wasn’t too nerve wracking and I am glad that I went along, although next time I will take a cattle prod to maintain my own distance from those who are not so metrically minded and can’t do it for themselves. A short, sharp jab should jog the memory!

Alternatively, ‘distance marshals’ could easily be employed in public institutions where crowds queue and gather, simply to remind the masses that Covid19 is still around and the rules of distancing are not to be flouted. Putting signs and notices in place just doesn’t seem to work efficiently, and why should a selfish minority have the right to compromise your health?

Hospital appointments are a very necessary routine for our long term survival, so don’t ignore them totally through fear and anxiety. It’s death we should be afraid of, not life! But equally, don’t be afraid to take responsibility for yourself, or calmly advise those looking after you to observe protocol. And to those around you who continually get too close, tell them to ‘back off!’