Stood Down Thanks to Covid-19. Day Seven. By Owen Zupp.

Owen Zupp Ambulance

Day Seven. Stood Down. Thanks to Covid-19.

One Week On.

Enter, enter, enter, save and send. The online form made it so easy that the significance was almost lost. I had just stretched my accumulated leave to cover the next eight week and after that I am most likely entering the realm of Leave Without Pay, or LWOP. As I typed in my details, Kirrily sat across the desk from me and did the same. They were due to be submitted by 5pm and we weren’t a long way from the deadline. We had chatted with friends about the options of taking it as half pay and similar and, in the end, everyone’s situation is different.
For us, the big question is whether the Boeing 747 will ever return to commercial operations or is the “Queen of the Skies” destined to bid farewell, sooner rather than later. If so, which type do we train to fly next? Stay with Boeing, or back to Airbus? These are really first world problems. Things that we can’t control and don’t need to be addressed right away.
And still we keep receiving kind messages of concern from folks aware that both Kirrily and I are stood down. And still, while we are very conscious of our situation, there’s a sense of calm and thankfulness. We have a comfortable home, space outside and our kids close to us through the day due to their online schooling. To be honest, we consider ourselves fortunate.
More often than not, our conversation drifts to others who have it far tougher than us. The elderly who find it difficult to get to the shops, only to be limited to a single can of fruit. They have no intention of hoarding, but the simple act of shopping is not a simple act in your senior years. I think of the medical professionals, the nurses and the first responders. Of my paramedic friends, who are still in the job after all of these years and they’re still putting everyone else first.
It could be easy to focus on our own situation with gloom and trepidation, but we must keep that gremlin in the box. It will only serve to cloud our thoughts and let the good moments pass unnoticed and cloud our judgement when we need to be astute, moving forward.
I’ve made a point on catching up on a summary of the situation in the morning and usually of an evening. The constant rotation of state health ministers, medical experts and social commentary is a bombardment and time suck that could make social media look like a worthwhile learning experience. I want to stay informed but not saturated.
Physically removed, I try to call a few friends each day and respond to the many readers that are contacting me – especially since this blog began. We may be in a state of isolation geographically, but we can remain connected through other means.
Depending on the speed from which we ultimately emerge from this, I’ll either be back at QANTAS, or working elsewhere until I’m needed again. I don’t have an answer or a timeframe for that question, so I’m not sweating it. I’ve been fortunate to have a range of exciting writing projects and other contacts within the aviation industry that are keen to have me on board at some stage. On the ground or in the air, it will be great to mix with like-minded souls once more.
Until then, I’ll keep connected as best I can, treasure my family and remain positive about the future. Even the darkest cloud can punch out a rainbow, sometimes they’re just hard to see for all the lightning. We will all get through this but until we do, let’s consider those less fortunate and those who are on the job, caring for us and at the coalface of a better tomorrow.

Stay safe everyone and see you tomorrow.

Read Owen’s books here…

Boeing 747 - Aviation Icon and the Queen of the Skies.