COVID THOUGHTS – A Review from Mary Fickling, Co-Director of PhysioPod UK Ltd

"Finally, yesterday, I got the chance to put my feet up and sit in the comfiest chair of the house (dog removed) and digest the wonderfully imaginative COVID Thoughts book. This has been created and photographed by Gemma Levine FRSA, creator of the highly claimed  HRH Diana - Princess of Wales photograph.

My oh my! It is jam-packed with truly thought-provoking reflections of just how people have coped during COVID, thoughts on moving forward and the important lessons learned along the way.

With contributors from all walks of life, from HCPs, Professors, Politicians, Novelists to Chefs, Dancers, Composers, The Arts and many more. Unique writing styles are accompanied by some amazing black and white photographs of the contributors, captured by the very skilled, photographic eye of Gemma.

Without doubt, we owe an enormous amount of gratitude to our amazing NHS teams during this very difficult time in our lives and I totally appreciate just how flexible those in healthcare have had to be.  Standing out for me in the book, are the thoughts of Dr Kristiana Gordon (Vascular Medicine, dermatology, NHS).  Dr Gordon wrote of her panic at being plunged into the role of Acute Medical Consultant in charge of a ward at the height of the pandemic. Her management team consisting of a Geneticist (her 2nd in command) and an Orthopaedic Surgeon.  She writes of the high levels of compassion she witnessed from her colleagues, of staff helping patients to video call their relatives (using their own phones), long after their shifts had finished. And those same staff, staying on to hold the hands of dying patients, right up until they slipped away, so they would not be alone in their final hours. The whole experience has made Dr Gordon 'even more proud of her NHS' commenting that she feels the experience of working on wards had made her ‘a better doctor, in so many different ways’.


An amusing range of thoughts are featured from Joanna Lumley OBE, who after months of letting her disciplined diet relax (and enjoying the luxury of it immensely!) discovered clothes had mysteriously shrunk on the day she had ‘real work’ to do.  She recounts waddling down the empty road in a kaftan style outfit, with overpainted face.  I did smile, I have had similar things happen to me!

Sarah Vine, Columnist for the Daily Mail shares a poignant piece commenting on how COVID has been ‘a great leveller’ - affecting us all, no matter how rich or powerful. I agree totally, no one has been untouched or is immune to this dreadful disease. I have lost two close friends and my father-in-law to COVID. My heart goes out to all those who are coming to terms with life without their loved ones.

There any so many different and varied accounts and viewpoints in this book, I highly recommend buying it.  It will serve as reminder to us all of just what happened, when the World, as we know it, came to a standstill and of the care, compassion, creativity and connection that we all found in each another and our planet.  This book will be the one book that people will pluck from your book shelf, above all others in years to come. Not only is it visually striking, it really is a most compelling read.

I was chuffed to bits when I came to the end of the book to see my name is included in ‘acknowledgments in gratitude’.  I knew of the idea for this book since its’ conception and have tried to support Gemma throughout the process of its publication, helping with promotion and the creation of videos for each review that came along, sharing in our social media and monthly newsmagazines.

COVID Thoughts was launched on World Lymphoedema Day on 6th March 2021 and all proceeds from this book will go to Lymphoedema research at St George’s Hospital.  As Gemma says “Lymphoedema is one of the most neglected conditions in healthcare today’. Research is key to understanding our lymphatic system and what ‘what goes wrong when it fails’.

Thank you Gemma for all your tremendous hard work in getting this book published, your incredible work ethic and your commitment to raising money for Lymphoedema research – you totally rock, you really do! 


Mary x