So we are almost 6 weeks into lock-down when I receive a text out of the blue. It’s from the NHS coronavirus service and it says, ‘Your condition means you may be at high risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus. Please remain at home until the end of June…’.
This is followed shortly after by another which reads, ‘You can open a window but do not go outside your property. Ask others to take rubbish to bins and walk any pets’ and continues with advice on asking people to do things for you.
The third text following hot in the heels of these two asks, alarmingly:
Do you live with others?
– stay 3 steps away
– sleep separately if you can
– use separate bathrooms or if you can’t use it first and clean between uses
– eat separately, use separate cutlery, dishcloths, towels
– clean and wipe doorhandles and surfaces etc etc
My heart skips that cliched proverbial beat as I wonder what to do and why I have got this message and try to put it in perspective.
I call my medic friends; they are not surprised I have received the texts, they are going out to all people who are deemed at high risk. But my question is why am I high risk?
My sarcoma was localised and excised over six years ago. I had six and half weeks of radiotherapy which is supposed to compromise the immune system – but according to my research only for a limited period of a few weeks/months after the operation. I have followed my own advice – unlike Boris – and live a healthy life centred round boosting my immunity. In addition to eating the right food, cutting out dairy, eating much less and mostly white meat when I do, and plenty of fish, I do lots of yoga, Pilates, walking – on my travels I can cover up to 12 kms before I flake, diving, gardening (pics of the garden to brighten this up), growing my own veg. As a result I have one cold a year which lasts a maximum of two days. And that’s it! Plus on our recent 4 month trip round the world I never got sick once: I must be one of the healthiest people you know!
Of course I understand why the NHS are doing this: they need to make sure that people who are at risk, especially those over 60 and undergoing current treatments for cancer, leukaemia, heart disease etc, are advised on the right course of action. I am obviously on some second-wave database, as I assume (and am told) those at most risk will have been informed of their status almost immediately by their doctors.
My worry is that sending texts such as these with no prior warning to people several weeks in and in such bald and unfriendly terms can only cause great anxiety. I am lucky I am blessed with an analytic mind and a level head – but what if you aren’t? Mental health issues will and are playing a big role in the current crisis and this centralised de-personalised messaging can only add to people’s distress.
I have decided to ignore it for the record. I go out to the famers’ market, which has exemplary social distancing, hand sanitisers, provides gloves, allows only a few people in at a time, and go out for walks occasionally when I’m not too busy working and writing. Otherwise I’m at home in the garden and feeling as fit as a fiddle doing yoga and concocting delicious meals with my own and the farmers’ produce. I am also taking my beloved Ling Zhi mushroom tablets, vitamins D and B and eating lots of natural vitamin C as an extra precaution. Normally I take no supplements as I deem my diet supplies me with all I need.
As I write I have just received the latest friendly missive from coronavirus central reminding me to stock up on essential items and ending with a terrifying
‘In case you do need to go to hospital during the coming weeks get a single bag ready with your key health information and essentials’.
I don’t live in a bubble as my much-loved father in law died from the virus a couple of weeks ago. We all know the risk of going into hospital – he went in for one thing, caught the virus, and died. Like any normal person I value my health and wellbeing having already faced death once myself. I will just deal with the risks my own way, thank you.
I fully agree; good for you.
I agree with your healthy outlook. Not sure about the market visits with possible asymptomatic people but hey is a little risk ok? Yes. Keeps life exciting and keeps you free to choose. You are a great example of a post cancer patient enjoying life to the fullest. I will follow by example if need be.
No longer a patient – an ex!!! Famers market is pretty healthy in the open air, so I’m really not worried about that. But that you for your concern. stay well! xxxx
Reblogged this on vickygoestravelling and commented:
Here’s something I wrote on the trials of COVID19 for my healthylivingwith cancer.co site…I thought in the absence of travelling further than the local shops it might amuse.
Hi Vicki ! Thanks again for your blog and Andy and I are in a similar position but still walking the dog and click and collect from farm store etc., despite letters from NHS but was sorry to hear about Ross’ father. Please send my Ross my love.
Take care and enjoy that lovely garden of yours!
Thanks sweetheart…so glad you are also feeling postive and living your life! That’s what keeps us going. Ross currently in the garden repotting the bay tree and filling tubs ready for my herb seeds!
I was very glad that you were able to finish your exciting travelling ! Now enjoy your beautiful garden.
Take care and keep well.
My condolences to Ross and you.
Thank you dear Kitty. I hope you are keeping well in these difficult times. X