It’s the weekend! Or at least nominally it is the weekend. Usually, I would have been in the office, clinic or on visits all week, so the weekend provides a change of pace, allowing me a chance to spend more time at home. Clearly, this is not a normal week, and we now face the prospect of remaining at home all weekend without work as a distraction. But that is for the next two blog posts to discuss.
Day 4 started early, with a trip to the supermarket first thing to get our weekly shop. There was a queue when I arrived, around 30 people, each nicely spaced apart at around 2m. I was tempted for just a moment to come back later, before reminding myself the queues were likely to be there no matter what time I went shopping.
As it happened, the queue moved quickly. I must say Morrison’s had done a great job of limiting the number of people in the store and setting an appropriate distance for people when they were queuing at the till. They have also installed what can only be described as giant sneeze guards in front of till operators to reduce the risk of transmissions. It’s not perfect, of course, but it’s better than doing nothing. When it came to the actual shop, they had most of the items I wanted, only dishcloths were missing, but I managed to buy some sponges instead so we can at least wash up.
Once back home, I had a video call with my colleague Alwyn to begin the day. It was not so much a clinical call, rather a chance for us to catch up on the week and provide each other a little moral support. This call ran straight into the team huddle which this morning lasted only a few minutes.
The rest of the day has been taken up with phone reviews. I managed to speak with several patients or relatives who I was concerned about, and thankfully so far they are taking the isolation well. It has only been four days so far, but people are more resilient than you might expect. I am sure some of my patients will begin to struggle as the isolation continues, but so far they are coping really well. It is also telling how many patients after me and my family’s health. I only have a limited time to speak with people before I have to call others, yet they take some of their time to check I am keeping well and thank me for my work. It is humbling, and shows that even in the face of uncertainty and hardship, some people continue to think of others.
Sarah and I managed our mid-morning (or more accurately lunchtime) break in the garden again today, and I even remembered to take a picture. The garden is just days away from looking glorious I am sure, and with the clocks changing this weekend the extra daylight on an evening will be welcome.
Sarah went for a lunchtime walk on her own today. She passed the local park, where she managed to see a group of men having a kick-around… I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they all live together, but if they do not it is extremely irresponsible. According to an email I received from trust management, the police are being more proactive at stopping people and asking why they are not at home, whether these men were ever stopped I do not know. As part of the email, I was given a letter explaining I am an NHS key worker should I need to go out for work. It feels a little bit like the 1940s, having to produce my papers to show why I am out, but it is realistically the only way to reduce the risks of COVID.
My walk was uneventful. The numbers of people out and about has definitely dropped further, certainly no more than a dozen people in the 3.5km walk. It was also starting to get chilly, a portent of the weather this weekend I fear.
For dinner, we succumbed to a takeaway pizza. I had actually ordered the pizza this morning to make sure we got a delivery slot, in my mind everyone will be ordering takeaway tonight. In the end it came exactly when we ordered, delivered by a driver wearing gloves who left the pizzas for us at the end of the footpath. It was an unusual delivery, but it worked.
We had thought and discussed ordering takeaway, especially as it increases the risks of social contact. This was weighed against the small pleasure of having a takeaway, a hint of normality, and in the end the pizza won.
Entertainment for the evening has consisted of a couple of episodes of Friends, season 4 episodes 16 and 17. Currently I am flicking through channels on TV to see if there is anything good while Sarah browses the net. Having seen much of the options on offer on the TV, I think I might crack through a couple of chapters of my book instead.
As I said at the start it is the weekend tomorrow. The first four days of lockdown has been relatively painless, having work to keep me occupied has been a part of this I am sure. The weekend without the structure of the day job is going to be the first real test of staying at home, but it is a challenge I am sure we can all do.