“This is awful” she said looking at me with sad eyes.

“Yes, it is” I replied.

“I mean its awful for both of us – you and me” she said.

“Yes, for both of us” I replied.

I have had this conversation on more than one occasion since the advent of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing in the surgery. A consultation process honed between us over many years has altered beyond recognition.

There is a sense of loss between us – of what used to be perceived as “normal”.

“Normal” was observing each others facial expressions and body language in addition to words and tone of voice. All were important for us to know where we stood and what progress we were making in establishing a shared understanding of solving todays problem in the context of a journey and a relationship forged together over a lifetime.

We do our best with the social distancing, minimal cold washable surfaces, face masks and hand sanitizers. We are creatures of hope and we look to the future together.

“A vaccine will come and we can get back to normal” she says.

I nod and smile “At least some kind of normal” I reply.