The Great Indoors: A Coronavirus Diary

Hello from week 11 of shielding! At least, I think we’re up to 11, when I work it back it could also be 10 or 12. We’re in double figures anyway. It’s been a tough month, I feel like there’s barely anything to talk about in this update but I’m just going to start typing and see where we end up. I’ll start with the biggest impact on our day to day, which is the fact we’ve lost our access to the communal garden. It’s relatively unsurprising, since the weather has improved everyone else in our fairly large row of tenements has been using it heavily, so we can’t. I don’t blame them or begrudge them the use of it for a second, I’m just feeling the lack of outside air very badly; the pair of us are looking a little peaky and grey these days.

That routine I was smug about in last months update? Well, it couldn’t be more out of the window. Right now it’s all hands on deck for Andrew to finally hand his corrections in. In my new (and slightly terrifying) role as image scanner, reference checker, editor, and final proofreader I think I’ve read his thesis from beginning to end more times than he has. I can’t believe I thought I’d be spending time this month sewing some clothes, I was so naive! I have made the time to apply for a Contact Tracing job though, it’s literally the only thing I can do to help with the overall greater effort – and I have felt absolutely useless not being able to go out and volunteer.

Logistics and shopping-wise, we still cant get hold of basic things like cleaning wipes or plain flour, but in fairness I do know people in other areas who are no longer having problems. What I’m more concerned with is how our online shopping, and the subsequent deliveries, have felt like a dumping ground for dud stock. We frequently receive absolutely wild substitutions and out of date, squashed and/or mangled products; you know, all the stuff that no one would pick in person. I’m trying to just count myself lucky that we are able to book delivery slots at all, but I can’t help but think that just because we are disabled and in shielding, it doesn’t mean that we should have to be grateful for any old shit.

Talking of shielding, the Scottish Government have published an incredibly detailed roadmap for moving out of lockdown, it’s clear, it’s helpful, but it’s for everyone else. There has been no further word about the shielding group, and no developments. As far as we know, we’re good to go from the 20th back to life as normal-ish? Yet, until there is a vaccine, Andrew can’t go out and the advice from his medical team remains to stay at home. But also, the strictness of shielding and the lockdown has us both missing routine appointments; I’m very overdue a smear test (I’m on yearly testing after a LLETZ the other year) and Andrew has his hospital check ups that aren’t happening. I’m worried.

Regardless of roadmaps and lockdowns and plans, everyone is pretty much just doing whatever they want anyway, and have been for a week or so. The sun is out, and the weather is warm, everyone’s had enough. We live next to a big public park and see everyone heading over for a chill in the sun with some beers, I hope they’re having a nice time, I wish I could do it too. I’m very much on team ‘let people enjoy things’, you know I am, but this particular issue is putting me on edge as I can’t help but think it’s going to mean we’ll stuck in here for longer? However, I absolutely can’t and won’t blame individuals for seeking joy; whilst the Scottish Government’s handling of this has been better than elsewhere, it’s far from perfect.

Bottom line? I’ll be honest, this month has been bad and I’m climbing the walls. I know that staying home 24/7 is safest for us, and neither of us want to be forced out into the world before a vaccine is available, but we’re living in a busy tenement block. Our neighbours are having a huge impact; not just with the garden but the fact the flats are old and noisy, and everyone is home and stomping around all the time slamming doors. If we can hear them, then they obviously can hear us; I’ve never craved privacy so much in my life. I feel like the brattiest, grumpiest bitch that ever lived and we really, really need to try and move away from tenement living when this is all over, if it ever ends.

In conclusion, whilst this is probably the most negative of my coronavirus diaries so far, we’re fundamentally safe and well, if a little frazzled. I want the government to outline a roadmap for shielders, like the one they’ve given everyone else, so we can plan ahead rather than just living in the right now. And I’d love June to be pleasant, once Andrew’s corrections are done (just a couple of days to go!) we can maybe have a life? We’ll work to reestablish the routine we lost, make time for hobbies, and sit next to our open windows as much as is humanly possible in order to get some sun as I feel like a shrivelled little husk.

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