Self-Isolation During The Coronavirus Pandemic

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Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you will know all about the coronavirus pandemic and its drastic impact. 

For the last few weeks I have been watching and waiting to see how this turns out.

My husband, also known as ‘The Hubs’, was of the theory that it has all been hyped up by the media and was basically scaremongering. This was before he was almost stranded in Italy on his annual skiing trip with his dad. Unfortunately, the trip was cut short, so he came back to the UK and was told to self-isolate. He still thought that this was a waste of time and we had many phone conversations about how serious the virus truly is. 

I had to remind him that my immune system is compromised and due to my heart failure (and all the other health issues) I would be 'at risk' of death if I came in to contact with it.

Since he went to Italy at the start of March, I have self-isolated due to still feeling really ill with my coughing and passing out (cough syncope) and I haven't really gotten over the flu (from October). I think that I would be tempting fate if I were to go out mixing with others.

The Hubs is now staying at his Dad's house and living the life of his 12-year-old self. 

Our government has now restricted social gatherings and has said for those at most risk, we are likely to need to self-isolate for 12 weeks (WTF 12 weeks)!! I think that this should have been said sooner, as it seems that this virus is raging along now. Take a look at the government website for the most current advice on self-isolation.

What does all this mean for someone who is in the ‘at risk’ category?

It means you should stay home, avoid social gatherings, and only go out if you really have to. I am so lucky that I have the most amazing friends who have helped with doing my shopping and have popped in to check on me most days. We still keep our distance – the advice is two to three steps from each other around the home, and of course you should be cleaning surfaces and washing your hands regularly.

Self-isolation means exactly that. You need to limit the amount of people you come into contact with. You can still walk your dog, just stay away from other dog walkers. If you need to get shopping, then take precautions. My best friend is wearing gloves to handle shopping and money and staying away, at least a metre away, from other shoppers. 

What if you can’t get out to do a food shop or collect medications? What happens then? What happens to the thousands of people who are unwell already?

My neighbourhood have started a 'Covid-19 help page'. This is where lots of willing people (mostly those who work in healthcare) offer to help those who need it. Human kindness at its best. 

So far I have had no advice at all from my GP or other healthcare professionals. 

Self-isolation is the only option for me given my circumstances, I think that this virus could actually finish me off should it be given the chance to. 

I am watching the chaos and panic set in. It seems really scary, almost like the start of a film that depicts the end of the world as we know it. Mass panic has caused panic-buying and there isn't any loo roll, hand sanitiser, milk, eggs, soap, liquid soap, baby milk, paracetamol or tinned food left on the supermarket shelves. This has made me wonder if I am doing enough. Maybe I should be stocking up too?

As I write this I have been in isolation for six days, longer if you count from when The Hubs left for Italy, and so far I haven't gone stir crazy. So what have I been doing? 

I have started a rainbow shawl for my step-grandson. He loves rainbows. I have eaten all the chocolate and sweets in the house. I have napped, oh gosh how I have napped for hours. I have downloaded a lot of games on my phone, so much so that I have had to recharge my iPhone three times a day! 

I have watched so many things on Netflix: The Stranger (fabulous), Grace & Frankie (a must watch, it’s so good I’m watching it twice), Working Mums (hysterical), and another series about a gated community and a missing girl. 

I have caught up with Criminal Minds and NCIS Los Angeles, but I haven't been watching The Walking Dead or NCIS as these are the shows I watch with The Hubs. 

Over three days I cleaned the whole house, including dusting. I have a lot of stuff (crap), including angels, crystals, love hearts and so on - the dusting takes forever! I’m up to date on all the washing (go me) the bedding has been changed and washed… I’m rocking this self-isolation, although it hasn't quite got to me sorting out my wardrobe yet! 

I periodically go outside and sit in the garden, when it’s not raining of course, to get my fix of sunshine, this is vital. Fresh air and lots of vitamin D. 

I have taken the precaution to add more vitamins to my usual stash of medications, I am drinking a vitamin C drink to take my meds with and have added echinacea to my vast array of supplements. I also use zinc and vitamin E, both of which help to support our immune system. 

I have been making smoothies and soups with fruit and vegetables – at the moment it appears there is no shortage of these! Lots of blueberries, raspberries and green vegetables like spinach and broccoli (no kale though, bleurgh!) all of which are immune boosters. 

Some people don't understand how to boost their immunity to ensure that they are less likely to get the virus, or at least more robust at fighting it off if they do. 

Toilet roll IS handy, but it has no special immunity boosting powers.

Both my grandsons may now have the virus as their mum called to say they had become unwell overnight with coughs and temperatures. She has been advised to self-isolate. My son, who works as a HGV driver is currently out doing his deliveries and is speaking with his boss about joining them at home. If he does self-isolate he is worried about his income. He supports his family by working, so no work = no money. What are we to do?

Looking at the guidance, it also appears that The Hubs will have to self-isolate with me for the 12 weeks that they are suggesting, but again - no work, flat pay and no bonus = us not being able to pay our bills! 

These are indeed worrying times. 

Who knows when this will all end or how it will all end. I’m worried. I’m worried about my family. I am worried about humankind. Please follow the guidance and take care of yourselves, and others.

“As I write this I have been in isolation for more than six days, and so far I haven't gone stir crazy.” - @big_british

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by Anita Brown

Anita Brown

About the author

Hi I’m Anita Brown. Diagnosed with terminal small cell bladder cancer in April 2016. I've had palliative chemo and radiotherapy, and a radical cystectomy and urostomy in August 2017.

I've had problems with my bladder all my life, from incontinence, to kidney and bladder stones, and now cancer. I would like to share some of my experiences - follow me on Twitter.

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