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Gillian and Suzy


Gillian Colhoun in conversation with
Suzy Guy

Suzy is Gillian’s friend who lives over the hedge. She’s a Respiratory Consultant in Belfast’s Mater Hospital, and mum to five kids. She took part in a TV campaign that changed public attitudes to social distancing in Northern Ireland.


Note 1: March-May

Something was coming. I wasn’t sure what.

Reports from China were unnerving but when Italy happened, it was clear we were in for massive, seismic change.

On 13th March I travelled to England to convince my parents they shouldn’t go to Bologna.

“I’m not sure you should be staying in small hotels with all those other pensioners.”

“Why not? It’s already paid for, and it’s not like we’re elderly.” Both my parents are in their mid-eighties.

I came back to Belfast, not knowing what I’d face. There was no time to dwell, it was all preparations, ward reconfigurations and workmen.

The junior doctors were frightened. I could see it. But then you learn the protocols – how to don and de-don the PPE. Your focus returns to the sick and the worried.

Once you have the routine down, it becomes your normal. It’s not until you try and sleep, that your body insists this isn’t normal at all.

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