Dr Xand van Tulleken is a much-loved medic, broadcaster and someone with first hand experience of the impact of covid 19. In spring 2020 Xand contracted Covid while preparing to film a documentary about the virus with his twin, Dr Chris van Tulleken. Xand isolated at home for two weeks but continued to experience strange symptoms, including heart palpitations. When these worsened he rushed to University College Hospital, where his twin was working on a Covid ward, and had to have his heart ‘shocked’ back into a normal rhythm with an electric current. Xand talks about his experience of going so publicly from presenter to patient.
He’s also someone who has witnessed more than his fair share of sadness on a global scale, having worked during the genocide in Darfur and in various humanitarian crises all over the world.
So here, we talk about all he’s learned to date and how he copes now. Xand and Helen discus:
- Sadness and the medical profession
- Watching your heart stop on national TV
- The isolation and loneliness of covid
- Working in disaster zones
- Getting teary and talking about feelings when it’s not your MO
- How understanding our body helps (and how, some days, it doesn’t)
- The vagus nerve and why ‘what happens in vagus doesn’t stay in vagus’
- How to sneeze paint out of your nose (you’re welcome)
- Missing someone so hard it hurts
- Why we all need ‘an emotional support dog’
- Love, loss and why heartache isn’t the worst thing in the world