Alone Again, Or…?

I posted this to my Facebook friends a couple of days ago:

I live alone and don’t have any signs of illness, but I could understand her precautions: as she said, the outfit was as much to protect me from possible infection as it was for her. But it was another gentle reminder of how our lives are being disrupted by an unseen enemy. In normal course, I would have been phoned by my GP practice to tell me that there was a blood test request form for me to pick up. I would then take that to the local hospital and join what always feels like half the population of our small town in the queue to be leeched. However, I had a text message on Tuesday from the practice telling me that they would only be doing telephone contacts for now, and the hospital closed all of its day clinics on Wednesday. The district nurse told me that their service had been tasked with taking on the urgent cases, which was a little scary: to be fair, she did say that I didn’t meet the criteria for urgency, but was nevertheless on the list for a visit. In all honesty it was much more convenient for me and saved me the return cab fare. But it got me thinking about how even simple tasks are being complicated, and how much we owe to those in the front line of caring for us. Would you want to be going into the homes of those who are potentially vulnerable to illness at any time, let alone in these Covid-19 days? I sure as hell wouldn’t!

The visit also got me thinking about my own precautions and care. One of the signs of Covid-19, so I understand, is a raised temperature. Time to dust off my thermometer, just in case. But then I realised that I hadn’t seen it since I moved flat nine months ago. Oh. No problem, it would be in the kitchen cupboard with my small stock of first aid stuff, wouldn’t it? Nope. Maybe it had been put away in one of the bundles of stuff that went straight into storage cupboards? Another nope. After all, thermometers are pretty small, so perhaps I’d moved it into one of the drawers in my lounge furniture – all three of them? Triple nope. Time for my usual response to this kind of situation: a muttered ‘oh bugger.’

Perhaps I could think of another way round this? More in hope than expectation I hit the websites of the major pharmacies, like Boots and Lloyds, and – no surprise – every single model was out of stock, even the ridiculously expensive ones which should really have been made of solid gold for the prices charged. Or would have been charged, if they’d had any. I then tried Amazon, to be met with a similar story. Most offered possible delivery dates from mid-April until well into May – I could be dead by then, ffs! Looking in more detail at the various offerings, I also noticed that, apart from their unavailability, they all had one other thing in common: they would all be sent from China. Now, I’m no Donald Trump (whose favourite band is presumably China Crisis), but that did seem a potentially unnecessary risk to take. So I did what any self-respecting (but not yet isolating) Brit would do in these circumstances: I made a cup of tea (not China) and sat down for a think.

As is so often the case the tea worked its magic properties. It suddenly struck me that, as this flat has much less cupboard space in the bathroom than my previous one, I had a small bag of bits in there that I hadn’t opened since the move. Hey presto! One thermometer complete with protective case! Joy unbounded! Well, ok, I’m a Brit, so I was a little bit pleased. A quick clean, to protect myself from my own ancient germs, and I gave it a test drive. All worked as it should, so I stored it carefully in the aforementioned kitchen cupboard in case I need it again. My temperature was right at the low end of the ‘normal’ range but there is no way I’m going to start worrying about that! That would be a tale for another day if there was any change, and I really hope I don’t have to write that one!

Returning to my starting point, I’ve also been spending a good bit of time thinking about those in the front line of caring for and supporting us. I worked for 20 years in the NHS and, whilst I wasn’t a clinician, I met a great many in my time there. One attribute they shared, as do all of those providing my own current care, was their dedication to what they do and to the people they treat. I didn’t laugh or scream at the nurse who came to see me: that would have been completely inappropriate. As I said earlier, I live on my own. I’ve agreed with close family that we won’t see each other until it is safe to do so: I suspect that I might be late for my granddaughter’s second birthday in June, but I’d never forgive myself if I caught something and passed it on to her, my daughters, or other family. I’m alone, not lonely. I will survive quite happily as long as I can get food and medications delivered, as now, and the nurses can work out a way to substitute my weekly bandage changes if, as I suspect they will, the premises I go to are shut down. Look back at what I said in my Facebook post: it’s good to feel looked after. However long this lasts it will be temporary, in the great scheme of life. I give thanks to those whose dedication is supporting me through this and will see me to the other side. We all owe them our gratitude.

I hope you are also taking care of yourself and, like me, feel well cared for and supported. And please heed the advice from the powers that be. They may, like ours, have initially been slow off the mark, but their advice is guided by science, which is critical at this time. Be well. Stay safe.

18 thoughts on “Alone Again, Or…?

  1. tidalscribe March 28, 2020 / 9:14 pm

    Yes, we have had lots of reason to be thankful to the NHS lately with nearly all the staff we have met being caring and efficient; a true calling. Our youngest grandson is having his 2nd birthday party with just his mum and dad and brother – they have all been in isolation for a fortnight! Strange times for all of us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Clive March 28, 2020 / 9:55 pm

      I hope that one of the things that will come out of this is a greater respect for all NHS workers and those in other professions who are keeping the country going, and better pay! Am I being naive in hoping the government will see this too? I hope not. Wishing your grandson a happy birthday! Strange times, indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Laurie March 23, 2020 / 3:47 pm

    Health care workers are the heroes in this Coronavirus pandemic. They put their lives on the line every day, especially these days. We don’t pay them (or teachers) nearly enough. We should treat both of those groups like we do sports stars.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Clive March 23, 2020 / 4:03 pm

      Couldn’t agree more. Our society’s view of what constitutes ‘heroes’ has become warped towards so-called celebrities, sports people and the like. As I said in an earlier comment, I hope that this crisis can prompt a re-evaluation.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. watchingthedaisies March 23, 2020 / 12:39 pm

    It is great to see you being so well cared for Clive. I think everyone will have a new appreciation for health workers worldwide. No thermometer here, but staying safe and well.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Clive March 23, 2020 / 12:45 pm

      Thanks Brigid. It’s a shame that it has to be something like this to make people appreciate such an undervalued group of people. Glad you’re safe and well – I seem to be developing a cold, but hopefully nothing more!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. endardoo March 23, 2020 / 9:22 am

    It is great that this nurse actually showed up, and you are being looked out for. Must have been reassuring. Maybe I’m watching too much lurid Netflix stuff, but I couldn’t help thinking it would have been a perfect guise and modus operandi for a serial killer!!! Stay safe, Clive

    Liked by 3 people

    • Clive March 23, 2020 / 9:54 am

      It was very reassuring, Enda. Mind you, I’ve since picked up a cold and haven’t seen anyone else since last Monday!

      Maybe you should try watching Little House on the Prairie?

      Liked by 1 person

      • endardoo March 23, 2020 / 10:18 am

        The Little House Deranged Murderer On The Prairie, I might watch!! Hehe

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Claremary P. Sweeney March 22, 2020 / 8:11 pm

    I, too, went in search of a thermometer and found 2 which were no longer working. Heavy sigh! Hope your temp stays normal although I know both of our blood pressures rise at mention of our American Caligula.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Clive March 22, 2020 / 8:24 pm

      Good luck finding one in the shops or online! Or maybe they are battery powered and that’s all you need? Thanks, I wish the same for you, while we watch him and his Mini-Me (Johnson) stumble their inept way through the crisis.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. franklparker March 22, 2020 / 5:13 pm

    Glad you found it, Clive. Agree with you that we owe everything to the front line workers – principally the health care sector but not forgetting the supermarket staff and delivery drivers who keep the shelves refilled despite the ravages of panic buyers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Clive March 22, 2020 / 6:38 pm

      Thanks, Frank. I agree totally about other workers and am planning a follow up piece later in the week, when I will better know how things are going for me.


  7. Stevie Turner March 22, 2020 / 3:59 pm

    It’s good that the nurse had all the correct protective gear on to protect both of you. Stay well, Clive, and remember… even this will pass.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Clive March 22, 2020 / 4:08 pm

      I have to admit, I was impressed. She kept the mask down briefly at the door to let me see that we knew each other – she was one of the nurses looking after me till the service changed hands – and then the protective drawbridge was raised. Couldn’t fault her and wouldn’t want to! Yes it will pass, Stevie, but I wonder what the aftermath will be!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Janet Givens March 22, 2020 / 3:50 pm

    “…and how much we owe to those in the front line of caring for us.” Oh indeed, Clive. To try and milk that silver lining, perhaps when this pandemic is over we’ll have begun to recognize that it’s our health care workers we should be holding parades for, building monuments to, and measuring our patriotism by. Perhaps our military might fade a bit into the background, where it used to be. What a world that would be.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Clive March 22, 2020 / 4:05 pm

      That would be wonderful, Janet, but I fear that short term memories will be fuelled by the bigots and jingoists who comprise our government and most of our newspapers, and who will no doubt go back to thumping their usual tubs. Would that your wish would come true, though!

      Liked by 3 people

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