The Coronavirus Diaries – Part 4
Last week I wrote a poem about the pandemic because sometimes I just find it better to express myself through poetry.
This week I’ve decided to share some guest posts from friends and fellow bloggers. We’re all going through this together but our experiences are all different. I wanted to share some of those with you this week.
So I’m handing over to the lovely ladies who have contributed their thoughts and feelings on Covid-19 and everything that has come with it.
AMARETTO’S WORLD – RADIO PRODUCER, CONTENT CREATOR & MODEL
Living in an extended household with vulnerable people…
It’s no surprise that as an Asian, I’m currently in a household with my parents and grandparents. Both of which fall under the vulnerable category. However my Dad falls under extremely high risk, as he is a cancer patient currently receiving treatment.
It’s a weird time for us all. Social distancing in supermarkets and workplaces (if they’re open), having to change out habits and mannerisms. And now that same rule applies in our homes.
My Dad stays on one side of the house and my grandparents on the other. Meals times are strange too. My Dad is disabled from a tumour in his hip and is having treatment for oesophageal cancer. He can no longer walk without walking aids or his wheelchair, so will stay put on the sofa.As the household carers, my Mum and I take it in turns to dish up the food and give it to each of my grandparents in their separate room. Quick and brief interactions with family members inside our own house doesn’t seem right. But it is the new norm.
It feels very clinical and the emotion seems withdrawn. We know it’s for everybody’s safety, ours included. But it is just so so different to how we are used to doing things. Every time I hear someone in my house cough or show any sign of a symptom, it really makes me wonder and my thoughts end up spiralling. I’m sick of working myself up about it.
But it is no joke. We had to call ambulance for my Grandma because she was experiencing breathlessness. Masked paramedics arrived and followed all the protocols. It was scary to watch and wonder what would happen.
It was hard to watch them take her away knowing she’d be there all alone. We couldn’t go with her and who knows when she’ll be allowed out? She doesn’t speak much English and it was such a heartbreaking moment.
Reassurance came through knowing she was going somewhere where they could help her and make her comfortable. She’d be in the best care. And as I write this, she still is.
Thankfully she has been given the all clear and does not have Covid-19. We’re still waiting for her to be discharged as she’s being treated for other things, but it is such a relief!Having experienced this scare, I can only stress how important keeping your social distancing, sanitising and limited travelling really is. If you are also like me a carer and living in extended families, try speaking to everyone in your household so they understand what is happening and that this will benefit them.
Make each family member’s favourite meal on a different days of the week or leave notes/games around the house. I left my Dad a trail of chocolate biscuits the other day!
As well as looking after others, also take time for yourself. I’ve let myself burn out on days running after others, and needed to take a breather away in my bedroom or garden for time to myself.
It’s important to make sure you do it or you’re no use to anyone. It’s a very hard-hitting statement but it rings true every time I hear it.
Stay safe and if any of my post has resonated with you, my DM’s are alway open. Amrit x
MOON (AKA THESTYLECOUNT) – BLOGGER & CONTENT CREATOR
Life as a new mum…
Lonely, frustrating, monotonous….
Although being a new mum is one of the best feelings in the world, these are some words I would also use to describe the first few weeks as a new mum. I gave birth to Zhana at the end of December 2019, and the weeks that followed were a cliched blur of sleepless nights. When my husband went back to work, it was just Zhana and I at home all day.
The visitors came and went but I still felt very alone. I had nothing to talk about other than the baby. It was nappies, milk and sleep on repeat. It felt like my whole life had stopped and now revolved around this one little person.
I wanted to re-join the world again, go for coffees, meet up with friends, pop to the shops. But I was paralysed with thoughts like, “what if I can’t settle her in public”, or “I cannot get my boob out in public”.
Eventually, after six long weeks at home, I mustered up the courage to go to a friend’s house, just me and the baby. And it was fine. Yes, Zhana screamed and cried at times but we survived it! After that, we took a trip to Baby Cinema. There was less screaming and crying. I was on a roll and feeling more confident.
Slowly, Zhana and I were entering the world again and it felt incredible. We went to baby classes, we visited family, we went to the bank. I was doing things and seeing people again. The week was no longer dragging to the weekend when my husband would be with us.
I woke up each day with somewhere to go or something to do, and for the first time ever, I was enjoying my maternity leave. With only 10 months left before going back to work full-time, I felt so determined to make the most of it. I would never get this time again with my beautiful baby and wanted to make every day count.But then Covid hit. And we were self-isolating. We were back to being at home again. All day. Everyday. We had taken 3 steps forward but Covid took us 100 steps back.
I felt panicked and anxious for so many reasons.
How do I keep my family safe? How long will this go on for? Will my extended family be okay? Do we have enough nappies?
I have already felt so out of control with so many things as I adapted to motherhood, but this was a whole other ball game. Will I cope?
Of course I will. I have to. I have to stay calm and keep going so that I can take care of my baby. In one respect, having Zhana during this time has been great as it’s meant I am never bored. There is always something to do. Feed her, play with her, put her down for her nap, wash her clothes, tidy the toys, and then there’s the rest of the housework to be tackle.
But in other respects, it’s been exhausting! Having the grandparents come round to coo over her while I cook dinner helps, driving to the shops and having her fall asleep in her car seat helps, having plans with friends to look forward to helps.
But whilst we continue to weather this storm, I take comfort in the fact that right now my family are safe and well, and Covid has meant that my husband is home with us all the time and gets to see more of Zhana growing up than he ever would if he was in the office.
I am enjoying the slower pace of life. I am enjoying nights in, and long walks and the time to do the jobs that I keep putting off. Because I know that once it is over and we are back in the crazy rat race of life, we will miss this time we had, where we had nothing to do other than stay home and stay safe.
You can find Moon over on Instagram
GEETA – PHARMACIST
The life of a pharmacist…
So what does a pharmacist do? Sign off some medicine boxes that someone else has picked out? I guess that’s the typical thought around what we do. But what we’ve spent years training for is much more than that.
Clinically assessing a prescription is what I’m really doing; is it a safe dose for the individual? Does the medicine interact with the others they’re taking? Is this even a suitable choice of medicine for the individual?
These are just a handful of questions I need to ask myself every time I ‘sign off some medicine boxes’.
The community in which I work, know me me quite well now and they trust my knowledge. They ask me questions about their medicines and any health issues they may have before seeing a doctor. I really do enjoy this aspect of my job and have always loved it. I’m in a position of trust and people rely on my knowledge and experience.
My passion for my career has only been called in to question once – and that was a few weeks ago, thanks to Covid-19.
Christmas is extremely busy in any pharmacy, but nothing could quite prepare us for just how run off our feet we were about to come in the following weeks. The workload tripled overnight and the fear in the community rose rapidly. I had to think fast, not only as a pharmacist but also as a manger. It was not the time for me to get stressed or frustrated.
GPs have closed their surgeries to the public but I can not do the same. The public needs us more than ever.I have a fantastic team and am lucky in that respect. Staff started coming in early in the morning until late at night and even on their days off. They willingly cut back on breaks and lunchtimes. And all to make sure our patients’ prescriptions are ready.
I’d like to point out here that I have many mums with toddlers, who have sacrificed their time with their kids for this. My staff worked tirelessly day in, day out, with no personal protective equipment as it’s not in the ‘government guidelines’.
I spoke to many other pharmacists on what they were doing to protect their staff and the public; some of the answers were worrying and unhelpful. So I made my own decisions including marking out 2 metres in the pharmacy and closing 30 minutes earlier to allow a deep clean.
The government understands how much pressure we’re under and we can close for up to 2.5 hours a day in order to catch up on work. We also have a plastic sneeze-proof shield fitted and continue to emphasise social distancing.
I spent many moments shedding tears, although never in front of my staff. I just wanted to be at home – and safe. It was hard not to be envious of those who have the ability to work from home.
But then, something just changed in me. I suddenly felt so positive towards the whole situation and told myself ‘we will get through this’. I convinced myself and my staff that we will do whatever we can to help and support those that need us. Because people do need us right now. So we will march on with a positive frame of mind.
All of this will be over soon hopefully and I will be proud to say that I am a pharmacist who helped and supported the community during Covid-19.
SABRINA – PERSONAL STYLIST & MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE
From nonchalance and a sense of invincibility to panic and anxiety, then to complete shut down and isolation – this pandemic has taken me through all of it.
Naturally, like many others, my main concern is the safety of my loved ones. My husband and I are checking up on our family via FaceTime regularly and keeping in touch with our friends.
Having peace of mind, knowing that they are all healthy and taking sensible measures for their safety, has meant that I have been fortunate enough to be able to focus on myself and my mental health.
For me, I have found that the best way to maintain control of my mind and any spiralling thoughts is to isolate myself from negativity and keep myself occupied, doing something positive and productive with a clear purpose.So far, for me, that focus has been on launching my styling business. Fortunately, this has involved so much work that it has succeeded in keeping my mind firmly distracted from any anxiety-ridden media panic and speculative ‘what ifs’.
I am determined to remain as positive as possible throughout this time by practicing gratitude, helping others and using any ‘free’ time to do whatever it is that serves my mind and self-development well.
I genuinely believe that, if we and our loved ones are well, we deserve to focus this time on what is important to us individually and what is good for us individually, whatever that may look like.
You call follow Sabrina on Instagram
Thank you to these wonderful ladies who shared their perspectives in this post. I was overwhelmed with the response I had, so I will share some more experiences in my next instalment in The Coronavirus Diaries next week.
In the meantime, I hope you’re all enjoying the sunshine as much as you can (and within the guidelines). Stay safe and healthy.
As always, I’m going to end with a photo of a happier time to lift my spirits. It was taken by Sukh in California this time last year. What an amazing time we had, three generations of one family on holiday together. Hopefully we will get the opportunity again soon.