The fridge is looking a little empty, the wine has run out and I’ve been craving ice cream all week. But even though Mr Tesco is delivering us some indulgent chocolate Haagan-Dazs later this afternoon… we’ll have to resist it for another couple of days. And it will have to be thoroughly washed in soapy water before we can fill our bowls! Yes, there is a strict quarantine going on with everything entering our home. Just one of the many ways, we’re trying to keep safe from this virus. 😛
The last time I was out in the world, sixty-three days ago, my consultant advised me to ‘go home and stay there’. At the time we had no idea if the government was going to try and stop the spread of Covid-19, or if it was going to be allowed to run rampant in our society. We had no idea if they were going to advise us, help us or just leave us to it. So, knowing I was very vulnerable due to my Pulmonary Hypertension, and thus at high high risk if I caught coronavirus, we returned from that last hospital visit and devised a plan to keep us safe. Rules to live by for the foreseeable future.
We decided to limit our contact with the outside world. Not go out or see anyone or touch anything. But instead stay in the safety of our little fortress for as long as possible. Shield ourselves. Thankfully, so far, we’ve been able to do so. Phil works from home, food is delivered from a variety of shops, and -thanks to kind villagers- my medicines are dropped off and other ‘outside’ tasks sorted. My medical appointments are all postponed, or changed to phone or email ones. And anything we essentially need, is delivered by courier. Phil still walks Lottie daily, but at dusk, and in a quiet neighbouring field where he sees no others. That is the only time he leaves our fortress. We’ve been inside for nine weeks now.
As I’m not allowed face-to-face contact with anyone, except Phil, we don’t answer our front door. A couple of signs advise visitors of this and ask them to please leave any deliveries in the porch or front garden. And if someone does need to speak to us, then we chat through a window a few metres away. But it feels weird to break basic social conventions. Not thanking people in person who have run errands for us, not chatting to familiar couriers, not letting the oxygen guy bring my canisters inside. Instead just waving at folks through glass! 🙂
In case any ‘visitors’ to our home are carrying the virus, we avoid frequently touched hot-spots, and wash them regularly. We clean the doorbell, postbox and porch door handles with bleach. And no longer use our front door, but instead go in and out via the back one. Furthermore, Phil gives our wheelie bins a scrub after being emptied by the dustmen. Every. Single. Week. Eight years without even a wipe… and now they’re thoroughly cleaned every seven days! 😛
As we’re not going out, our highest risk of catching coronavirus, is probably from outside items entering our home. Consequently we’ve vastly reduced how much we’re ordering, and are trying to only buy food and essentials. Furthermore, as an early study showed the virus stays on certain materials for a while after exposure, whenever we do have a delivery, we make it go into quarantine! Yep we don’t touch it for a few days! 😛 We leave letters in the porch for at least twenty-four hours before we open them. Food is stored in our campervan fridge, or in large lidded boxes, for forty-eight hours. And parcels and medicines and anything non-perishable is put aside in the garage for anytime up to a week. The downside of quarantining everything, is that we can’t rip open exciting post straight away, or immediately eat food that we’ve been craving and waiting to arrive. I get brain ache trying to work out when to get the milkman to deliver a pint, trying to take into account its short exile in the garage! And we can’t order takeaways -Heinz Tomato soup is no replacement for fish and chips when we can’t be bothered to cook! But it makes me feel safer. 😀
Once the quarantine is up, we then wash everything! 🙂 The envelopes and boxes and outside packaging go straight into the recycling bin. And then their contents are thoroughly cleaned and scrubbed with soapy water (or alcohol wipes), before drying off in the outside sun. With the exception of letters and toilet roll (that get destroyed if dunked in a bowl of suds 😉 )… we clean everything. Everything! Lettuce, tins, bottles of wine, grapes, boxes of chocolate, deodorant, oxygen canisters… even bags of crisps! Luckily we only need Tesco deliveries every two or three weeks, as it’s a long -all morning- job!
I know that the odds of someone visiting our home with the coronavirus are slim. I know that the likelihood of catching it from my strawberries is very small. I know some will judge my preventative actions as over-the-top and unnecessary. But, I’m just doing my best with the limited knowledge about the virus that we’ve managed to scrape together. We don’t know enough about it to know how to keep completely safe. We don’t know what is sensible and what isn’t. And so whilst there is a question mark or an unknown or a not sure- then I’ll continue to protect myself until we know for certain. Whilst there is still a chance -even a small or tiny or slim one- that it could be transmitted via post or takeaways or carrier bags, I feel I owe it to my wonderful body to guard against it. My miracle lungs have given me an additional 3.5 years past their terrifying PVOD prognosis… I need to return the favour and protect them.
Furthermore washing the lettuce or doorbell or Marmite helps me feel less anxious, less worried, less scared. It gives me back some control during this very out-of-control situation. It restores some of my dwindling power. Guarding my fortress makes me feel less of a sitting duck, and more of a knight with sword and shield ready. Being pro-active is better than feeling helpless.
Only two more days until my ice cream sundae… 🙂