Dear Future Me

I’m writing this at what I believe is the beginning of week six of lockdown due to Coronavirus. I’m writing this to remind myself and my future children of what a strange time it is. I don’t want my personal experiences to become a haze, lost in a sea of other memories.

  • I didn’t take this seriously at the beginning.
  • As cases were rising, but lockdown hadn’t commenced, we saw family but didn’t greet them with a hug or a kiss and we stayed two metres apart.
  • I worked in the office for the first week-10 days, making lots of telephone calls and writing numerous letters to service users.
  • PM Boris Johnson announced a lockdown at 8pm on Monday 23rd March. I text my supervisor and confirmed that despite working for the NHS, I was not a key worker on the front line and so I should work from home until further notice.
  • Myself and my partner set up work stations in different rooms – him downstairs at the dining room table and myself upstairs in the living room.
  • We have kept to a semi-normal schedule. My alarm goes off only 30 minutes later than normal despite not needing to commute to work.
  • We try and keep separate during working hours except for a lunch break. It helps us maintain a sense of normality in a very non-normal time.
  • I had quite a breakdown about my weight during the lockdown.
  • We left the house once a day – we went for a run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and went on walks the other days of the week.
  • I am still learning to “enjoy” running (I’m not convinced this will ever be a thing for me). Within five weeks, I have built up from running for seven minutes at a time to completing 5k in 34 minutes. I’m hoping this continues to improve.
  • At the beginning of cases rising, people began hoarding items – toilet roll, pasta, rice, chopped tomatoes, eggs and sanitary products. They were seemingly impossible to find. My mum managed to buy one pack of nine toilet rolls and we split it between my parents, us and my brother. My boyfriend’s dad managed to find one pack of gluten free pasta and gave it to me.
  • Within a few weeks, supermarkets began an “NHS hour”. I went to one of these – 9am on a Sunday morning and never felt more uncomfortable. We got applauded as we walked in, Tesco employees thanked you as you walked around, they gave a three cheers over the tannoy and played Angels by Robbie Williams. I wanted a huge hole to swallow me up. I felt this discomfort each week I went, but it was the only way to get some of the essential supplies.
  • Clap for carers/keyworkers at 8pm every Thursday evening. You can hear people clapping, banging pots and pans and cheering. Again, I felt uncomfortable with this, particularly when my neighbour told others in the cul-de-sac that I worked for the NHS and I sheepishly had to explain that I am not on the front line and am working from home.
  • The only places I have seen since the lockdown commenced are my house, the 5km surrounding the house on a walk/run and Tesco. I have only seen my partner and those that I pass in the supermarket and on the road during exercise.
  • Police are on the streets asking people why they are out, and giving fines to those without a valid excuse (keyworker going to/from work, out to get medical supplies, out to buy essential food items, or to exercise). You cannot just go to a friends house. You cannot find a coffee shop that is open.
  • On Wednesday 8th April, we had no hot water or heating, but there was no fault registering with the boiler. We called both our gas & electricity supplier the next day but as we were getting a supply it wasn’t up to them. We called the boiler company who sent an engineer out that day. He diagnosed the problem but needed to order parts. We heard nothing the next day (Good Friday) and so we went without hot water until Tuesday the following week. This was also the time we found out the immersion heater didn’t work. We were lucky it was good weather that weekend so we didn’t need any central heating. We really enjoyed that first hot shower in a week.
  • A few weeks later, the hot water went again. We got an engineer out who said the part they had originally replaced was faulty. Luckily he had a spare with him and he fixed it (again). Touch wood, we’ve had no further problems.
  • Thousands of people are being furloughed – not working but will continue to receive 80% of their pay as per government scheme. I know quite a few who have been furloughed. Many are worried about their future employment prospects.
  • A 99 year old man, Captain Tom, decided to walk 100 laps of his garden (equating to 2.5km) in the hopes of raising £1000 for the NHS. He became a worldwide sensation and raised more than £35 million within a few weeks.
  • Whilst completely admirable, I felt so much anger that a war veteran has to raise money for a government funded body. I felt even more angry when a spokes-person from the forces said they “drafted” him in, using war like speech.
  • There are huge shortages of PPE in care settings, and NHS workers, care givers and social workers are dying from the virus.
  • The prime minister was diagnosed with Coronavirus; he later went to hospital and was further moved to intensive care as he required oxygen. The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, became deputy prime minister for a few weeks. Boris Johnson recovered and has since said that contingency plans were made in the event of his death.
  • I get periods of boredom and restlessness from staring at the same four walls. And then I feel guilty that I feel bored when I am surrounded by books, projects in the house and unlimited movies and series on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
  • We facetime with my partner’s nan at 6.30pm every Friday. On the second week, she became quite upset because she could not work the tablet and so we couldn’t see her. After the phone call, myself and my partner made a plan to give her a care package. When my partner went to pick up a prescription, he dropped off a bag containing a home made quiz (five rounds, 10 questions each – all handwritten), a small plant, a photo of us, one of my favourite books, a home made easter cupcake and a Lindt chocolate bunny. She absolutely loved it.
  • Telephone conversations ultimately revolve around Coronavirus and the lockdown.
  • Our holiday has been cancelled – we were due to fly to New York (the epicentre of the outbreak in the USA) on 5th May 2020 as a 30th birthday present to each other. Who knows when anyone can go on holiday again.
  • Weddings have been cancelled – lots of friends affected who have had to move their weddings by months, if not at least a year.
  • We held a virtual hen do for a friend whose hen do got cancelled. Others had prepared games – a quiz, Mr and Mrs, a scavenger hunt and ‘guess the torso’.
  • The virtual hen do was the first time I put on make up since this started. I’ve let my hair dry naturally so the hair dryer and straighteners haven’t seen the light of day for several weeks.
  • I’ve had one other breakdown – a bird (we think) got trapped in the loft/walls. My absolute nightmare that I ended up getting in my car, driving a mile down the road and just crying. According to my partner, it managed to get out and no more noises were heard after about an hour, but I didn’t come home until lunchtime. I’m guessing the lockdown was getting to me and contributed to this breakdown.
  • My friends are amazing – we check in on each other by text and phone calls most days. They keep me sane. We can rant at each other, cry, and ultimately laugh. I cannot begin to describe my love for them.

As I said before, it is week six and the government is stating that the UK is “past the peak” but we must maintain social distancing to ensure there is not another wave of cases. It will probably still be a while before we can see friends and family in person.

I know this is a long one, but I will continue to add to it to document a time that will undoubtedly be in history books.

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