And so it is official. It has begun. I am now one of the 1.5 million folks that have been ordered to stay at home for at least the next twelve weeks. And although I’ve already been self-isolating for a while, although I knew this was coming, it feels quite scary now it has eventually become the rule.
Phil and I started reducing our social contact at the beginning of March. We knew the virus was spreading and knew I needed to be protected from it. He began working from home most days, limited the food shopping to just one weekly visit, and changed all his client contact meetings to phone-calls. We started to pull away from the big wide world, and only left our house when it was essential. But we didn’t take the leap to completely self-isolate until my Pulmonary Hypertension consultant told me to ‘Go Home and Stay Home’. Yep his parting advice as I was guided down a secret back door to bypass the masses in the hospital, was to go straight back to our house and stay there. To not go out again. To stay in and stay safe. So we did. We have. That was thirteen days ago, and since then Phil and I have been self-isolating in our little abode. Hunkering down. Shielding me from the world.
So Sunday night’s government announcement to order the most poorly in society to stay in for the next few months was no shock. Was no surprise. I knew it was coming. I knew our unofficial shielding from the masses, would soon become official. I’ve been discussing it with my PH Phriends, for weeks. I’ve listened to the government drip-feeding this plan for days. I’ve been mentally preparing. But despite all of that, when I watched the Prime Minister’s press briefing about it, I was completely thrown. It was scary. It freaked me out. I shook and I cried and adrenaline soared through my body. I already knew everything he was saying, but hearing it said again and again in a serious and solemn and sober tone, was gut-wrenching. Watching the top dogs standing behind their podiums, with their grim expressions, was unnerving. Reading the strict and specific official government advice, was horrid. Later, receiving my text from the NHS to instruct me to shield, was tough. Every time it is mentioned that vulnerable people will likely die, I just keep thinking- that’s me! Every time someone or something describes needing to protect folks, I think -that’s me! Every time it is reiterated that unless ill people follow the rules, they’ll be in danger I think -that’s me! That’s little ol’ me! I know I’m a dodgy case, with a long over-due sell-by date… but actually I don’t think about it that much. I don’t dwell and worry, I just get on with my life. I choose to look forward with excitement, and not fear. So it has been hard to be emotionally pummeled and reminded of the odds. Tough to be forced to think again and again and again about the imminent danger. Difficult to be notified that I’m different to the masses, weaker than the masses, less likely to survive than the masses.
So the shielding has begin. Both Phil and I are now behind closed doors. Luckily for us, he is able to continue working from home. For the next twelve weeks I will not be allowed to leave our house, go to the shops, walk around the block, visit the park, pick up my medicines. For the rest of March and April and May and June, I will need to stay in our house and garden. I shall not be stepping into the real world, unless forced to. Our drawbridge has been pulled up. We are now reliant upon our community, Tesco and the government to help us get the essentials, and get through this.I have no doubt that the next few months will be tough and scary and hard and terrifying. I’ll probably cry many tears, get bored out of my mind and I’m sure Phil and I will have a fair few arguments! 😛 But I’m also hoping this time of hibernation could be fun. A chance to be together, play together, work together. A reason to get out the board games, grow vegetables, read some books. And time to learn the rules of ‘Magic The Gathering’ at long last! 😀 And it could also be a wonderful opportunity for our society to come together. For neighbours and villagers to make connections and build a community. For friends and family to slow down their pace of life and spend more time together (albeit over the phone and video calling 🙂 ). So I’m looking forward to seeing the world that emerges from this crisis. I have high hopes.
We’re at the bottom of a mountain looking up. We don’t know where the summit is or when we shall reach it. We don’t know what dangers lie in the path. We don’t know how hard the journey will be. And we don’t know who of us will make it to the top. But we have to start climbing with faith that it’ll all be alright. We have to follow the rules laid down by those who have studied the hillside closely. And most importantly, we have to work together, to climb as a team, and leave no man behind. Fingers crossed, we’ll soon all be sitting by that cairn together. Admiring the view. 🙂