Saturday, 4 April 2020

Impossibly normal, lockdown times

I’ve been writing so many things in my head. Letters to MPs, blogs, book.......But they’ve not arrived on a page until now. I was away for a week and in that time the world, or our world especially was shifting on an axis of fear and preparation. We were in a forest, surrounded by mountains which added to the disconnect between what was real and well-what was also real. My achievement that week was not, sadly, to gain access to the beauties of our surroundings. My mobility scooter is not able to go far in these settings. But I did manage in the hot tub with the aid of a hoist. Bliss. I managed to trust the hoist and the people controlling it to do it twice. We  could see the Loch (Long) recently emerged from its grey, rain fuelled presence to one of sparkling hope. And yet the the snow still defined the tops of the mountains and for that time all seemed impossibly normal.
But our daily fervent study of the news led us to finally accept that we were headed home to lockdown. We even shopped that day. But as I arrived home I had to shiver under several blankets to get warm. It’s just stress and exhaustion with travel I told myself. But when it happened during the night again I realised it was more. I ached and shivered and felt rotten. The cough arrived a few days later and because of asthma I called 111. I got an antibiotic to cover for secondary  infection and told to act as if this was coronavirus. It was then the headache started. Five days later I needed migraine treatment after vomiting and a headache like none I remembered ( I had monthly migraine for 40 years) and things started to improve. I’m breathless still at times but my cough is better. And finally it’s passed leaving me with loss of my taste for coffee and a loss of enjoyment ( taste again I think) for wine. Oh come on that’s just the final straw! No else has had it so I don’t know if it was the virus but it had an impact. I look back on the days my temperature was raised with the fear; a sort of bodily angst. And we’re locked down with our children firmly reminding us of the limits of that. 
I’ve been Housepartying and Zooming like us all but I long for a hug from my family. To take in their familiar smell and feel my body just relax into their presence. I miss my grandsons ready smile, the hugs, high fives and kisses. But we both want to be here when all this improves and so we comply and take each day at a time. 
I remain on cancer treatment and go next week for a preventive infusion for my bones so life goes on in the cancer world too. I guess I’m used to living with a life threatening condition and finding the energy and motivation to just keep going. So there’s part of me that knows this uncertainty of living with the threat of a potentially fatal illness and an even bigger part of me that thinks ‘f***’ you Covid-19, I’ve not gone through all I have to let you get me now!!! 
Like so many of us, I’ve wondered about what will change ( that’s another blog coming soon I hope) and I do know we need to use our agency to enable change not just wait and hope. But I observe with concern that so many are working under huge pressure, simply replacing old patterns with the online version. 
Please STOP going from one zoom meeting to another. Pace yourselves, this is a marathon you need to behave differently for. Online takes a different kind of concentration and long meetings will have adverse effects and be ineffective. Take time to reflect. This crisis has allowed you to change something quickly, what else might service you better? This is a crisis we are living through. As the police chief here said this is a national emergency not a national holiday. We are living with this stress and can’t just ignore the impact on us.
So my final tip is around self care. In a crisis our parasympathetic nervous system comes in to play; our fight flight and we need to manage that. Finding strategies that help you unwind and settle those nerves is crucial just now. Now it might be mindfulness or praying mediations, or music and relaxation, yoga and so on. And it can also be jigsaws, crafting, practical projects, simply breathing ( try the Breathing app, it’s simple and effective), writing, painting, reading those books you’ve always wanted to.....the list is endless all you need to do is make time for it. 

Sending a virtual hug and please stay at home to stay safe and be kind to yourselves. 

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