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In the news: "Lockdown may have eased, but I am still shielding"

Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 4,417

Scope community team

edited September 2020 in Disabled people
This article in today's Metro discusses disabled actress Samantha Renke's choice to remain shielded despite the lifting of covid-19 restrictions.

Explaining some people's negative reaction to her decision, Sam says:
I’ve noticed a shift in people’s attitudes and it makes me feel almost hesitant to say I’m still shielding. This is because some people seem to have a form of amnesia and have resumed their lives almost completely as if we’re not in the middle of a global pandemic. It feels like they’re oblivious to the fact that there are those who are still isolating at home and this results in some confusion and awkward conversations. 

Although many of our members have discussed their feelings about going out post-lockdown on this How are you finding socialising post-lockdown thread, I wondered are you still shielding, and what reaction have you received from others?  Let us know in the comments below.


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Replies

  • scotleagscotleag Member Posts: 88 Courageous
    I've been to the GPs twice for blood tests & one (local) hospital appointment. I have repeatedly refused another hospital appointment as it involves two train and two bus journeys (total travel time over two hours not including waiting) & consider travle risks outweigh anything else.

    No one has been admitted into our house since March. Two days ago I had to rather sheepishly tell the meter reader he couldn't come in.

    I haven't been inside any kind of shop since March 11th or a supermarket since March 13th. All food is left on the doorstep, then taken round the back for washing before being put away. Post is left lying if possible for three days before being opened though if it's an NHS or brown envelope both it and contents are disinfected immediately.

    All of these procedures are both preceded and followed by hand washing.

    This has been the way of things since March 16th (one week before lockdown) The end of shielding has changed nothing for me.

    WRT going out, I didn't leave the house for two months once shielding commenced and the first time was for one of those blood tests. After that I have gone out at times of my choosing, to places unlikely to have huge crowds (parks, gardens e.g.) where social distancing is easy to maintain. On occasion the beach has been quiet enough to visit and I also go to my wife's allotment which is tranquil and there's usually no one else around.

    During those first two months my wife even undertook taking out and bringing back the bin and recycling though I now do this with hand washing both before and after.

    I consider myself fortunate to no longer live in a big city where some of these activities would be manifestly more difficult if not impossible. 

    I agree entirely with the views expressed in the extract you posted. It's actually more difficult now than when during shielding was in place. Example: when pubs were shut it was much easier to plan a route than now when they are not only open but people are - sensibly - congregating outside rather than in. Much more sensible for them but an additional hazard for me.

    When out I do not sit on park benches or chairs but continue walking. if I need a rest I will sit on stone or grass. I've been to a cashpoint just twice (God knows why as all spending has been done online, I suppose it's a 'just in case' thing) On both occasions I sprayed the keypad then the notes and my card.

    This may all seem overly-cautious but I can't see any alternative. It is incredibly frustrating. I am grateful my wife has curtailed her own activities in order to support me even though I feel this isn't fair on her as she isn't under the same restrictions. I am resigned to this way of life continuing for another six months at least.

    In some ways it has been easier for me than most. I recognise I am fortunate in that respect. I live in a smallish town (20,000 or so) and have worked largely from home for many years so do not face the same difficulties as those in cities and/or not used to being stuck in for any length of time.

    I resolved early on not to just sit and watch TV all day. In fact I even cancelled Netflix and Starz to reduce the temptation (though I still have NOW, the BFI & Prime) but I will admit I was grateful for the return of live sport.

    On the other hand neither myself nor my wife drives. It's something that's never really bothered me before but the lack of the freedom to just get up and go somewhere different is annoying.

    I missed the funeral of an aunt who lived 600 miles away & will next week miss the funeral of a cousin 300 miles away. I desperately wanted to pay my respects and am deeply saddened at being unable to do so. 

    Socialising is almost non-existent. A few phone calls with friends but they have their own problems to deal with (one couple are about to lose their home and jobs and in normal circumstances they'd have been welcome to stay here until they got sorted out) and I have Skype calls with my cousin who is now dealing with the loss of his brother. Other than that it's social media.

    Additionally lack of exercise means I have put weight on, almost a stone. This is also due partially to comfort eating. Yes, it's wrong to have a dessert every night but being stuck in and having to plan leaving the house with military precision means there has to be some kind of 'reward' for accepting the way life is right now.

    Even though I know this will continue for AT LEAST six more months I try not to think too far ahead and take things a day at a time as that's easier to cope with.

    What I'd really like to do is what just a few months ago I'd have thought mundane. To go on a train. To get on a bus. Even if it's just a ten minute journey. To walk into a shop when I feel like it. To go to the supermarket. To go out for a meal. To have a coffee. To buy fish and chips even.  

    I'm not sure if this is the kind of thing you were looking for by response and I know it's long. I tried to write a blog piece but gave up halfway through. Anyway, it's good to get it off my chest. I don't want to moan on to my wife as she has gone the extra mile these past few months. 

    Thanks for reading - if anyone's made it this far.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks for sharing @Cher_Scope! :)
    Scope

  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 4,417

    Scope community team

    @scotleag Thank you for your in-depth response.  We really appreciate you taking the time to let us know how you have been coping.  It sounds like you are limiting the risk of catching corona-virus as much as possible by using a wide range of precautions.

    Those little comforts you miss like buying fish and chips, or going out for a coffee are understandable too.  I hope they will be back for you in the not too distant future but its very much a case of playing it a day at a time now isn't it? I'm glad you have a caring wife with you  :)
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  • scotleagscotleag Member Posts: 88 Courageous
    Thank you @Cher_Scope I don't want to come across as too moaning. These are unprecedented times and I know I am in a more fortunate position than many, perhaps most. I'm not on my own. I CAN go out if I so choose. And with careful planning I can be in a wide-open park, some beautiful (even in winter) gardens and the sea - the latter will actually be easier in winter with fewer people around. 
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