How are you staying alive through this pandemic?
Being young helps.
When the pandemic started we were told we might die if we were in the vulnerable categories. And we were! Me and my partner both had a variety of “underlying conditions” and were OLD!!
We got back to Thanet from holiday on March 12, had time to see a few friends for coffee and then we were locked down and not able to do anything.
Fear kept us obedient to government guidelines but from the beginning these have been hard to interpret. “Stay in” was clear but how were we going to get supplies – especially more toilet paper as the supermarkets had been stripped before we got home.
We’re lucky in Thanet: the local community rallied round, support groups were quickly formed to do shopping, collect prescriptions and provide a ready ear for people in despair. My helper, Aram Rawf, has been a lifeline for many of us in Broadstairs.
But as lockdown eased and helpers went back to work there were still people scared to leave their homes and confused about how safe they actually were. Many disabled people are still not clear about what will keep them alive and are increasingly suspicious that if you’re unproductive, the government has stopped caring about what happens to you!
My friend with Parkinson’s is definitely not venturing out. She’s been enjoying lockdown – everyone in the same boat and no obligations to go out to anything. But her dad was a hermit for a while so isolation is sort of in her blood.
My friend with MS who uses a wheelchair and has asthma is still not allowing anyone in her house – so take round some Prosecco and your own glass to drink in the garden, but go home before you need the bathroom!
We’re all learning how to buy food online. I made some terrible blunders at first. Anyone want one of the five jars of mayonnaise I’ve somehow ordered?
I also ordered high factor kids sun cream thinking it was good for old skin as well as young, but it’s blue and turns your face blue. Lovely!
And don’t mistake a single item for a kilo. The packer for my Sainsbury’s order had a sense of humour, finding the tiniest most miserable looking single carrot in the shop (I wanted a kilo) but compensating with a sweet potato shaped like a swan.
So we can feed ourselves, see people at a distance outside, get a takeaway delivered and consult our doctor on the phone. But don’t touch the children you haven’t seen for four months – heartbreaking to see the baby tottering towards you with their first steps and you can’t give them a hug because mum works in a hospital with covid patients and still thinks it’s not safe.
What is safe? My guru is Dr Coral Jones of Save Our NHS in Kent (SONIK).
Coral is pretty scathing about the government’s approach to covid because it’s disastrously confused, relies too much on employers who want to make money and not enough on GPs who want to save lives.
She’s given me a simple guide to staying alive – the Three Cs. This is what you avoid:
Coral wears a cloth mask if she’s out of her house and recommends we all wear them when we’re out and about. I’ve made several – anyone else got a mask that matches their shorts? Tasteful!
We’ve still got the virus in Thanet. If you want to stay alive, or keep your granny alive a bit longer, keep to the C rules and wear a mask.
And if a prime minister and a doctor give you conflicting advice, you know who to believe.
Dr Coral is speaking at a SONIK online event on August 4. For details check the facebook page of Save Our NHS in Kent