Dr Jeff Featherstone is one of our healthcare heroes at the frontline dealing with Coronavirus in General Practice and the A and E Department. He shares how he copes with the stress.
These are difficult times: We are at war with a virus that is causing huge stress for everyone. So how do I cope?
I need to get away from the frontline and find some peace and head time. I have to remain safe, sober and not come into contact with too many people.
I achieve this by jumping into my trainers and jogging around the highways and byways of Ring and the environs. I am getting on a bit now, but I reckon if I can still get up the hill from Simon’s Cove to Rock Savage, then I am not about to have a heart attack!
I even arranged to do a 10km with my son Jack, who is planning to do the Liverpool Marathon in May. Seems unlikely but we both live in hope. I ran from Courtmacsherry to Timoleague Abbey and back on St Patrick’s Day and well, it was heaven. Everybody I wheezed past smiled and bid me good morning! Life-reaffirming stuff. No crushing chest pain either!
Another route I love is Long Strand. As the Atlantic pounds in and the sands shift underfoot, it is great to be alive. There is even a little café there now to reward the adventurous after a bracing run or walk with the family and pooch. What do they say…there is no such thing as bad weather – you just need to have the right clothes.
Come the summer, I break out my fishing rods. It’s Long Strand again with my great pals Donie and Lolo. Everyone stops to talk and surreptitiously peep into our fishing baskets, which are usually empty.
However, occasionally having cast a lead 100 yards past the third breaker where the birds are diving, baited with razor clam, sand eel or lugworm, the rod whips down violently, as a Bass finds the bait. A tug of war follows, as you fight the fish and undertow till the prize is landed. What a beauty, big and silver-scaled; and if you decide to administer the coup de grace, what eating! Most are returned however, as I feel a certain kinship with a fish of such staggering beauty.
I have done a lot of exciting things in my life – flown planes and hang gliders, ridden fast motorbikes, scuba dived and so on but nothing compares to that rush we get from seeing that rod crash down on the Long Strand, as the sun sets in all its glory, and the Galley Head Lighthouse starts to scan round and around. Look closely in the distance and keep an eye out for seals, whales and porpoise.
All of this exists in a world that is endless, which ebbs and flows through the 24 hours of the day, which exists in all its beauty in that stormy world called the surf. Boring? You must be joking, pure karma, see you there sometime…