Sunday 12th April
Paper cut-out bunnies and eggs have appeared in people’s windows, along with the rainbow pictures for the NHS. I admire the efforts of all the people with small children to keep them occupied and entertained at home.
When I got back to my street I found two neighbours outside talking at a safe distance, so the three of us chatted for a while. I see one of them frequently as his daily run often coincides with my daily walk. And I see and briefly chat to my next-door neighbours, who are keen gardeners, over the garden fence.
I had a celebratory lunch in the garden – smoked salmon and a glass of white wine. I sat in the garden in the sun with ‘To the Lighthouse’ for most of the afternoon, and had lamb steak and more wine in the evening. I joined another Zoom chat with people from my social group. I rang my brother. A couple of friends phoned.
I finished the day thankful for the good weather, for my health, friends, food, a roof, green outdoor space, plenty of books, and plenty of on-line resources for entertainment. As imprisonments go, it could be much worse. I remember the countless people who are not so lucky.
Wednesday 29th April
I was listening to a chat show this morning. A mother at home full time with her children was saying how she was missing adult company with only her children to talk too. This was dismissed by the chat show panel, saying it was time to connect with her children. I was upset for this woman. I do not know how many mothers I know of who talk about wanting stimulating adult conversation when their children were, particularly, newly born-and they were not forced into isolation for weeks on end as we are now.
It doesn’t have to be an either/or, but the need for both time to connect with her children and need adult conversation. Today I had a Skype session with a mentor for an IT course. How refreshing was it to have a decent conversation with someone, and I am not tied in with children!!
I am learning and becoming more confident on line, as well as getting irritated with people who talk in theories rather than reality!! There is no doubt that the dull weather does not help keep your spirits up. Let’s hope the sun shines again soon.
There is an inclination to just play computer games at the moment as the level of emotion around for me is not helping with the energy levels and the ability to maintain concentration. At least I did my yoga to help keep my leg more flexible and more pain free. After nearly 2 months, perhaps I am starting to really need the change of scene and more company.
Friday 29th May
I have a bit of an emotional limp by this stage of these Covid weeks, so it was comforting to have an email from my sister in Aberdeen. She has been unwell for a very long time so is used to social isolation but with the good weather was able to go out in the garden until the gales arrived. Now her exercises are in the kitchen with Classic FM for company. Their favourite adjective is ‘Relax,’ so she is well looked after, but looking forward to driving to see the ospreys by Loch of Skene, 4 miles away. It helps keep a sense of perspective.
My sister also sent me a quote from one of her friends, ‘My world, big or small, is what I make of it. One person’s confinement is another’s cosy. The answer is inside me.’ I find that so useful. I also saw in The Guardian that a German Professor of Psychiatry called Borwin Bandelow, reminded us that humans developed into social creatures to survive, so isolation was an unnatural state for most. In the past we lived in tribes, and those who broke away from those tribes had very little chance.’ Quite.
Monday 8th June
On Friday 29th May I was admitted to hospital as an emergency suffering congestive heart failure. I was in hospital for just over a week. I thought I would share my experience as an assurance to those who are reluctant to seek medical help. I have to say, the whole procedure was reassuring and safe. In fact, I felt safer in hospital than I do in a supermarket. On that morning, I had a great deal of trouble breathing which was rapidly getting worse, so I called 999. The ambulance was there in minutes and after some initial treatment I had the full blue light siren trip into hospital. As a precaution I was taken to the Covid assessment section of A and E. The hospital has the whole process under control, the atmosphere was calm and quiet. The nurse who cared for me was dressed in gowns, a filter mask and the Perspex shield. She stayed with me throughout. No one else was able to enter the cubicle.
Once I was stable, I was transferred to the Cardiac Unit. The staff there have settled into the routines as if they have been doing it for years. In my day it was called barrier nursing where staff only entered the room after they had put fresh aprons, gloves and masks on. This is now done as a matter of course.
Talking to the staff – paramedics, nurses, doctors, cleaners etc – many of them have had and survived the Covid-19 virus. They have been through enormous strain. Nothing in the attitude of those staff portrayed what they had gone through, although most were happy to talk about it if you asked. Nothing was too much trouble. Nothing. There were no visitors allowed in the hospital, but staff were more than happy to trot along the long, empty corridors to pick up supplies sent in by relatives up to several times a day during their 12 hour shift.
We will come out of the other side of this, and as far as I can see, the door is opening. Even if there is the predicted ‘second wave’, hospitals and health care staff have learned so much and will continue their ‘new normal’ while persisting with their skilled, compassionate, lifesaving approaches to those in their care.