A WALK FOR FRESH AIR

After almost 3 weeks of being indoors, M, my youngest daughter and I decided to take a walk just outside our house. My oldest daughter K, is shielding from Covid 19 and is not even allowed out of the front door. K was upset to see M and I leave. I felt bad about it but explained to her that it was a short walk and in a few months she could come out too.

The last time I left my house before today was March 20th. The last time my children left the house was March 18th. The country went into lockdown on Match 23rd because of Covid 19. I was meant to be at work on March 25th but we had to self isolate as M had mild symptoms. We are also further restricted by K needing to shield. We have kept ourselves busy at home and using this time to do the things we have always wanted to do in the past, and wished we had the time.

Although we were allowed our 30 minutes of exercise when our 14 days ended 5 days ago, we did not feel the need to go out. The current government guideline is to stay at home. Only those who can’t work from home can leave their house for work. Also there is an allowance to exercsie for 30 minutes a day.

M and I felt awkward and tense walking out of our gates this afternoon. I had already talked to M about distancing ourselves from other walkers and to not touch anything outside our own grounds.

My husband N also advised us on what routes not to take; the narrow lanes where it is almost impossible to distance from others.

Being obsessive is not in my nature normally. But I wanted to do the right thing.

I was quite shocked at the number of people out and about walking, jogging and cycling. They were not at a distance. Cyclists passed each other with close proximity, joggers leisurely jogged past other walkers and some walkers behind us walking at the fastest pace approaching us at close proximity.

M had to keep away from someone and without realising it brushed herself against a lamp post and she hadn’t even realised it till I told her. We immediately washed her top and washed her hair when we got home.

There have been various reports that say that if you are jogging or cycling or moving at a fast pace, you could easily walk into droplets in the air that are infected with the virus from a previous jogger/walker/cyclist that sneezed or coughed into that air. The virus itself is not airborne but can persists in droplets for a short period of time.

The coronavirus is known to survive on hard surfaces. So touching a lamp post while you catch your breathe, sitting on a seat in the park for a rest or opening a bin to throw rubbish, isn’t what you want to do. Then there is the shoes, we left ours outside of the house so not to contaminate the house.

That walk for fresh air seemed so unnecessary to us. We are fortunate to have a garden and we can get fresh air and relax in our garden safely. We exercise daily in the house and I feel myself getting fitter.

However there are several people who do not have the privilege of a house with multiple rooms or a garden that is private. These are the people who will beneft from getting their 30 minute exercise outdoors.

There are also the families who will struggle to keep their children in doors, eg those with autism, Attention Deficite Disorders or Anxiety problems, and also adults who have claustrophobia or anxiety who will benefit from getting out for 30 minutes to help their mental health.

There has also been a significant rise in domestic violence since the lockdown. Getting out of the house may be the only way to move away from a situation.

The Government today addressed the issue of Domestic Violence and released this number for victims ; 0808 2000 247 (National Domestic Abuse Helpline) or call 999 if in immediate danger and press 55 if you can’t speak but need urgent help.

There is also the NSPCC ( National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) Telephone 08088005000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk, that can be contacted for help.

For those who can stay indoors comfortably for a few more weeks, have a garden and room in their house to exercise in, this is probably the best option to #StayHomeStaySafe.

This will create a safer and quieter environemt for those who desperately need to have this daily 30 minutes of respite.

I watched Horizon on BBC 2 This week and recommend it as it explains why it is so important we stay safe and protect ourselves, each other and the NHS. Please click on link below.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000h3nm/horizon-2020-coronavirus-special-part-1

As a family we have decided to not walk out of the house if it wasn’t for food or work.. We have the benefit of technology to keep in touch with close ones and to keep ourselves entertained at home.

I strongly feel the need to protect our health workers and other key workers who have no choice but to leave their homes and families to go to work.

I am sure no health worker or key worker wants to be made a hero or a martyr. They all will fear for their safety and health, and the lives of their close ones.

Clapping the NHS is a good way of showing appreciation. However it isn’t going to ‘help the NHS’. Personal Protective Equipment, the public staying at home and thinking of each health worker as a human being is what will help the NHS.

Take care every one. Happy Easter. Let’s keep looking out for each other.

SPIRITUALITY AND POSITIVITY

The meaning of spirituality has evolved over time. I am not an expert on philosophy nor religion but have personal beliefs and experiences.

My interpretation of Sprituality is, it can be based on religious beliefs, traditions, one’s personal growth or beliefs, or using Yoga/meditation to connect to one’s inner voice. They all involve a period of quieteness and reflection. I am guilty of not allowing myself to have a period of quiet time on a ‘normal’ day.

At challenging times, subconsciously or not, we reflect and seek comfort in our ‘spiritual self’.

Today is Good Friday and Easter is around the corner. Good Friday reminds us of the death of Jesus. Christians mourn the death of Jesus on Good Friday. Christians meditate on this day as they follow the journey of Christ to crucifixtion and death. It’s a time of quieteness to listen to the voice of God. A time that is dedicated to God and one’s self. A time of learning and reviewing our priorities in life.

Being a Christian country, Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays in the UK. It’s a long bank holiday weekend that spreads over 4 days. Quite often we are blessed with sunny and warm days.

Easter marks the resurrection of Christ. It marks hope, positivity, a new beginning, a fresh start and time with family. And of course chocolate.

In the past as a family we have used this time to meet up with family who live away. Last year we caught up with friends we hadn’t seen for awhile. We exchanged late Christmas presents and Easter Eggs!

Several church attendees will be missing the opportunity to worship in a church setting and having family get togethers. Kids will be worrying about the Easter Bunny being in isolation this year. I am grateful for this as we haven’t even caught up on our Christmas chocolates!

4 years ago, when I was struggling with family events, I remember a friend sending me a text to say..look after yourself and your family, let us pray for you. Those words lifted me that day and I often remember this to remind me of the power of prayer.

I picked up a book today that was given to me a few years ago by a family member. In the book she wrote me a note that says ‘life can be so hard to understand at times…worry about nothing, pray about everything’.

See! The winter is past: the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth: the season of singing has come. Song of Solomon 2:11-12

Meaningful and caring words stick in my mind and it is brought up to the surface at times like this. My spirituality comes from God as well as words and advice that have been given to me over the years, whether it be family, friends or words of encouragement via various sources.

I don’t often talk about my religion. It’s a personal thing to me. However I cannot forget the teachings of Christianity that have contributed to who I am today. Believing in God gives me hope, comfort and reassurance .

Last Sunday I listened to an online palm sunday service by our church. The Poem by Mary Stevenson was mentioned by our reader. It’s called footprints. It’s a poem I think that many will find useful at this time.It reminds Christians that their burden is shared and supported by Jesus. This is the link to the poem. https://footprints-inthe-sand.com/index.php?page=Poem/Poem.php

Whether we believe in God or not, we all seek and reach out for that something that is normally tucked away when we lead our busy lives. It is these times that we reach out for them and feel supported.

I was inspired when I saw my older daughter K making an invitation list for a party she is planning when we are through this pandemic. Friends, family and party is her way of coping and it’s helping her think positively.

My younger daughter M has been baking and choreographing dances. Cake and dance is keeping her positive.

My husband and I are health professionals. We are keeping up with the news and recent research and it affects us when we hear about the number of people dying. Every death is a human being that will be missed by a living relative or friend.

Medicine at the moment is like nothing we have seen before. We are off work at the moment . Fortunately able to take our annual leave and spend time with our daughters. We feel safe as we are at home.

One day is the same as the other at the moment.

M, my youngest daughter, says the only way for us to remember if it is the weekend or not is when K, her sister, has eggs for breakfast. K has her routine and eggs for breakfast is her way of marking the weekend!

We worry about our colleagues, family and friends who are exposed to this virus at their work.

My husband and I will soon find ourselves possibly exposed to this virus as we return to work. It will be diffciult to keep being positive but we have to reach out for that ‘something’ to give us hope.

Stay safe and stay home this weekend.

THEATRE

I am posting a shorter post today as I am a bit preoccupied . I guess we all have days like this and I only think it normal.

I believe it’s healthy to acknowledge how we feel. It may not work for everyone but for me a good cry gets the worry out and if not I just sink. I hate the feeling of sinking.

I have been wanting to write a blog about the theatre for a while. Today seems to be the day.

A photo memory popped up from Google Photos yesterday. Two years ago we watched Wicked The Musical’. I miss the theatre. I miss seeing the many talented actors, singers and dancers on stage.

Going to the theatre is something I have done for 30 years. A theatre trip is always exhilarating . I particularly like musicals. Probably like my daughters I love music and dance. Our trips to the theatre have mainly been as a family but I have enjoyed many shows with my female friends.

I remember being shocked when I heard Broadway was shut. Just felt like such an unlikely thing to happen and before we knew it the West End shut.

The industry is struggling at the moment. Several talented people who have put so much work in to their careers and fighting their way through such a competitive industry are now out of jobs.

I was meant to see ‘Six’ The Musical this month. M was so excited when I booked the tickets. She excitedly told her history teacher that she was watching the musical, however I think he did not fully understand the relevance of that comment during a history lesson.

We can support the industry in many ways. Buying a gift coupon for someone’s birthday, donating cost of tickets to the theatre for cancelled shows or there might be an option to move the show dates on to future shows. Also celebrating the end of the pandemic with a theatre trip.

There are also several free online screenings available.

I have included the links below.

If you enjoy the theatre like I do, hope you get the opprtunity to enjoy a show in the comfort of your home.

Please feel free to coment with other links I have missed out.

https://www.metopera.org/user-information/nightly-met-opera-streams/

https://www.roh.org.uk/streaming

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdmPjhKMaXNNeCr1FjuMvag

https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/nt-at-home

https://www.sadlerswells.com/whats-on/2020/digital-stage/

http://www.curveonline.co.uk

Stay Safe .

POWER OF FRIENDSHIP

I dedicate this blog to My Family and Friends who have given me their friendship at several stages of my life.

As I was growing up the people who gave me their friendship were my immediate family, cousins and school friends. I still reminisce about my childhood days especially when I hear music from the 70’s and 80’s. Great memories of us creating discos in our own homes and staying up till late at night chatting.

As I left home and moved to a different country to do my degree, my friends were my University friends. Most of us lived away from home and we became a family. Till today we still are a family and distance doesn’t stop us from being part of each other’s life.

As I moved into working life and lived in the UK, my first friend/colleague is now my husband for 22 years. We have fond memories of this time that we still giggle about. We actually worked well together in a hospital setting. We share these stories with our kids..’How Mum and Dad Met’.

As I worked in various cities in the UK my friendship circle expanded. As I moved away I missed the friends I was leaving but always did my best to keep in touch.

As I had children, I was fortunate to get to know even more people through toddler groups, church, schools, dance and drama groups, Speech therapy groups and our local Down Syndrome Association.

I have been part of my church community for 16 years. I don’t attend church as often as I used to but everytime I attend a Sunday Service and meet up with my church family, I come home refreshed and contented.

My friends were a great pillar of strength as we went through a difficult period of our lives a few years ago. Support was shown through so many ways; texts, emails, cards, facetime, telephone calls, gifts,visits and through food that was left at our front door for years till we got our routine back. During this time we made new friends who we met at the hospital. They were going through extremely stressful times too and we often think of them and send them our love.

Last night I had a text from my friend whom I haven’t seen for 5 years. She messaged me to say she is enjoying my blog. I felt honoured that she had taken the time from her busy life to let me know this. Her words made me realise that she hasn’t forgotten who I am and I felt pleased that after all these years I am still the same person inside. I want her to know it meant so much to me.

My university friend of 25 years, texted me 2 weeks ago to remind me to wear my glasses and not my contact lenses during the pandemic; to protect my eyes from any source of infection. How thoughtful of her to think of this and to take the time to remind me of this. She herself was self isolating with her family.

I started this year saying I have to make time to see my friends.

A month ago , I had a reunion with several groups of friends and my sister. I was away from home for 2 nights! The last time I was away from the family for more than a night was 4 years ago. That weekend meant so much to me as I reconnected with friends and family. It was also the weekend that my sister told me ‘You need to write…’. It wals also International Women’s Day. It was a weekend that was meant to be. I left thinking we must have this reunion again in 3 months.

2 months ago I spent the day with my other sister. I went to an exhibiton to see her art work and a short story she did that was on display. I was so proud of her. We had lunch,chatted and shopped. I left thinking, we must do this again soon.

I also managed 2 trips to the cinema with a friend, brunch with another coffee with another and was looking forward to watching ‘Riverdance’ with another friend this month. Sadly this isn’t happening now.

I still have Christmas presents that I hadn’t given to 2 other friends that live just 90 minutes away from me! Wish I had made the effort to see them before Christmas.

I was looking forward to my sister in law visiting us last month, we look forward to her visits every few months. We have a lot to catch up on when I see her next. She makes me laugh.

There are also my ‘social media’ friends, Mothers of Children in the entertainment industry that I have got to know. A group of women who are always supporting each other and exchanging ideas. A group of women I don’t meet often but enjoy reading their posts and appreciate them reading mine. A group of women that help each other in the entertainment industry.

I miss the ‘Dance Moms’, we sit around on a Monday evening and share our stories and worries as our kids have fun dancing. Hope it’s not too long before I see them again.

Sadly it’s going to be awhile before I see my friends again. My daughters say the thing they miss most is seeing their friends.

As my daughters grow older we are developing a close friendship. I am quite often surprised when they read my thoughts and feelings, and offer mature advice that I wouldn’t have thought of.

I hope my daughters will be able to continue their friendship with their cousins and friends as years go on.

It’s great we can all connect with friends and family via technology.

We share funny stories to lift each other’s mood. We also share our worries. We seek comfort and give each other virtual hugs. We think about each other.

‘Don’t just tell people that you love them-show them.And that means showing up. It means being truly present in the lives of the people you care about’ (Michelle Obama).

(Thanks friend F for giving me this book of quotes for my birthday.)

Dear friends, I appreciate each and every one of you . If I am ever slacking as a friend, please just give me a virtual kick in the b***, and shout ‘WAKE UP’!!

Sending love, stay safe and see you all soon .

WE DECIDE

I have chosen the above title as that was the theme for this years’s Down Syndrome Awareness Week (16th March to 22nd March).

‘All people with Down’s syndrome should have full participation in decision making about matters relating to or affecting their lives.’-DSA UK

This theme is particulalry relevant to our daughter K this year as she finishes school in June and has chosen the college she would like to attend. College would be 3 days. I was in the midst of looking around various clubs that she could access over the summer and the days she isn’t at college.

She is also keen to get various work experience and hopefully get into employment.

Families of people with disabilities have been campaigning for the voices of their children to be heard. As like every other young person, people with a learning disability are capable of making choices , whether it be what they would like to eat, what they would like to wear, what they choose as a hobby , to making big lifestyle decisions in relationships, independent living and employment.

December 2019, was also an opportunity for K and her friends to vote in the general election. Families exchanged photos of their kids going to vote. A moment of pride for these young people and their families.

The ‘We Decide’ theme is also featured in a video produced by the National Down Syndrome Association on Facebook . This was released on March 20th. It shows various young people making choices in their daily lives. A reminder that we live in a democratic society and we all have the ability to make the correct decisions for us and our families.

It’s ironic that the Awareness week ,with a theme of ‘We Decide’, was followed by a week of lockdown due to coronavirus. Although we were expecting it, it would have scared us thinking we will be loosing our freedom to perform our daily routine ; going to work, going to school, going out to the cinemas, eating at our favourite restaurants, popping into the shops for milk or meeting up with friends. We have all lost our freedom to make the same day-to-day decisions that we made a week ago.

I think we would all agree that the groups of people mostly affected by this will be the elderly, the vulnerablen ( Adults and Children), those with mental health problems, those who live on their own , those who have lost their jobs ,the homeless, families caring for children with high needs and many more. These are the groups of people who probably didn’t have the privilige to feel free to do what they wanted day-by-day even before lockdown. A group that probably wished their lives were different. And now they are loosing any stability or freedom they had in their lives. Like the visits to day care centres, weekly lunchtime clubs, walking to the local shop to get a paper or visiting their usual place of worship.

Some people who need carers may not even have the choice of who comes into their home to help them, as several carers are also self-isolating due to illnesses themselves. As we get older we like to hold onto routine more, it gives us a sense of being secure and preserves dignity.

We also have the A- level and O- level Students, who have been working hard towards exams that would determine their future. They have encountered one of the saddest times in their lives as they hear they have no other opportunity to get the best results they can in their exams.They are now worrying if this would make it even more difficult for them to get into their University of choice and do the course of their choice.

Families who made summer holiday plans are not able to go ahead with them. They have no choice but to spend their holidys indoors

Workers are encouraged to work from home. A new system for many as they try and work out new IT systems and change the way they work or trying to work while looking after their kids and then there is home-schooling to fit in.

Key workers going to work are finding themselves working in different areas and having different responsibilites.

Teachers are taking turns to go into school during the Easter Break to look after the children of key workers or the vulnetrable children . A way of working they never thought will happen.

We are all making adjustments and making decisions we wouldn’t normally make. But we have no choice. However in our heads we know this is a temporary plan and we will get our lives back when it is over. We can be autonomous again.

When this happens, we must remember the people who wouldn’t have friends or family visiting them as they never did anyway, vulnerable kids who will start worrying about the long summer holidays, the homeless being out on the streets again and the many families who would have lost loved ones.

Let’s appreciate the lives we lead now and make the most of it. We can Decide how we spend our days now. Let’s try and have fun but yet reach out to the people who might be finding this lockdown harder than us.

ISOLATION

Since my last blog the country is now in Lockdown! My husband and I being health professionals were still at work. Unfortunately, we are now housebound for 14 days. M started with a dry cough and runny nose 4 days ago, the day after lockdown . It was not easy trying to decide if she fitted the criteria for self isolation. Under normal circumstances I would have said ‘It’s just a cold…’. However this ‘cold’ now could potentially be a ‘deadly virus’. Work is now on hold for 14 days. We felt a sense of guilt but had to remind ourselves that we were being responsible, following guidelines and helping the NHS.

Poor M is now in lockdown in her own room. The only way we can distance and stop spread within the household. Guilt sets in again wondering if we are doing the right thing. M is a sensible 12 year old who understands her sister is at high risk and her parents need to be well to look after the family.

Thankfully M is having lessons online from school daily from 9 am to 3 30pm . This seems to take up most of the day. She is also using this time to do work-out sessions in her room, practising her drama and singing , watching Netflix/Disney Plus on her computer, reading, using social media and Facetiming her friends. I never knew Instagram had work out sessions! Gone are the days of work out DVDs ! (or Videos!)

I am the only family member taking food up to her room and spending time chatting to her about her day , checking she isn’t emtionally compromised and her symptoms have not worsened (Cough not worse, no Fever, no Anosmia, not Breathless). She is probably reciting this in her sleep.

Sadly I have a mask and gloves on while we do this. We have also been texting and facetiming each other. K gets really excited when she Facetimes M, as she can watch herself being cheeky with M. M sometimes stands at the top of the stairs so that Dad and K can say hi. It’s also the time when a quick amazon purchase request is made…it’s normally a yes from us.

Day 3 of isolation was also my Birthday. N and K did their best to make it a special day, I felt spoilt but missed M. I missed her. I longed for a hug and a birthday kiss from my family but we have to be socially distancing and at least we are all in the house together.

M also looked upset that she wasn’t able to celebrate my birthday as how we normally do. I felt empty but no words can describe how proud I am of M. She is the most sensible, resilient, caring, hard working, considerate 12 year old that I know. But I am biased! She is determined to ‘contain’ herself in her room and not put her family at risk.

M was the last person I expected to be in isolation. I was preparing M to look after K and herself if Mum and Dad got unwell. M has a book of recipes and lists of things she could do if Mum and Dad got ill. We have a box with sweets, easter eggs for Easter Egg hunts, biscuits and easy to open cans if Mum or Dad were unwell and we had no fresh food to cook. M also has also been cooking for us on the weekends practising her cooking skills if Mum or Dad are unwell.

I am sure like you all, our isolation days have been busy! Cleaning surfaces, taps, light switches, running the washing machine and dishwasher everyday, as well as washing our hands several times till our skin is drying out! (Reminds me we may be running out of hand cream!)

We are also obsessively cleaning every package that comes into the house from outside. Wearing gloves as we do this and discarding packaging immediately. Recycling still as much as we can!

We are still needing to home school K and encouraging her to keep fit with PE Joe and Leilah Isaac on Youtube.

Isolation days have also been a great opportunuty to keep up with family and friends. I have spoken to rather than texted family and friends more this week than I have all year.

Then there is the numerous ‘amusing videos’ being shared to lift spirits . When we receive one we immediately want to share those videos to several whats app groups and friends/family, even resharing it back to the people that sent it to us as we eventually forget who sent it in the first place.

Catching up with the latest news on Covid 19 on Television and social media has been overwhelming too but needed to be done. I almost felt irresponsible as a British citizen and medic if this wasn’t done and shared.

There isn’t enough hours in the day to do it all! Not even in Lockdown. How can this be? How did we find time to work in the last few weeks!

We must just be a society who without realising it, seek out gaps in our day and then quickly fill them up with further events/activities. We are subconsciously wanting to progress in our lives and open ourselves to new experiences.

We are probably also a society that needs routine to get our day going. We need to keep busy to feel useful. We need to be doing something every minute of the day, even if it means picking our phones up to catch up on latest notifications.

I think it’s great we are all able to keep life going no matter what the circumstances are. This helps with our physical and mental health. It’s good to use this time to take up a new hobby, learn a new language, write a book or even start a blog! It’s good to challenge hidden talents and to think out of the box. It’s good to be creative.

However I think it’s also Ok to be a couch potato and to catch up on Box sets of Friends, Glee, Luther. It’s OK to sit and watch the kids playing. It’s Ok to have a Pyjama day mid week.

I notice this morning many churches are now streaming live morning services too which I think is so important for all of us whether we are regular church attenders or not.

We are fortunate to be isolating with technology, entertaining us, informing us and connecting us.

Technology has definitely made M’s week go quickly. It gave her time with her phone, ipad and computer. No time restriction made. She deserved it

We can’t wait for M to come out of her room. I think I might break the rules of social distancing and give her the biggest hug ever before I take her technology away from her for a few hours!

M may or may not have Coronavirus, but it somehow feels like a trial run when and if things get worse.

Stay safe everyone.

SHIELDING

This photo of my daughter K was taken on Mother’s Day. We celebrated it in the simplest manner as most Mums did this year. I am J, a Mum of 2 daughters K, aged 18 and M, 12, wife to N and I am a health professional. This is my first blog on my first blogsite.

I have written a couple of articles in the past that have been featured on social media and a magazine. I am also in the process of writing a book about another life changing experience we encountered a few years ago.

I have now decided to start a blog as we see ourselves being drawn into worrying times with Covid-19. A situation where no matter how much we do to protect ourselves and our loved ones, no matter how we educate ourselves about it, no matter what age or how healthy we are, we could still be infected with this virus.

My family and I have been extremely cautious in the last few weeks as we noticed the situation  in the UK escalating. Washing hands, cleaning surfaces, social distancing, creating a room so that if one of us developed a fever/dry cough we could isolate ourselves and teaching the girls how to cook for themselves and to be even more independent.  We have been preparing for a life indoors for a few weeks now. We now find ourselves in the midst of a Coronavirus Pandemic.

My oldest daughter K is a vulnerable adult, with underlying medical issues and Down Syndrome.

The girls have always lead a sociable life attending various after school clubs and meeting up with friends. They also love school. N and I have busy jobs and when not at work, as most modern parents, we are busy with home life.

As this crisis was getting closer, we took an independent decision to take on Social Distancing. We avoided crowded shopping centres, supermarkets and also started online piano and singing lessons. We spoke to the girls about how to protect themselves; we stopped meeting up with friends and encouraged face time. We were avoiding unnecessary contact with people.  Work and school were the only reasons for leaving home.

We were relieved when schools closed as we felt that would definitely prevent spread with the virus even though children may have mild symptoms or none at all.

Our first day of home schooling went well. The idea of online schooling with teachers teaching from their own home was an exciting experience for M.

Being 18, K normally enjoys spending time on her own, or with friends. I however managed to spend time with her yesterday trying to help her get into a routine for the next few months. She loves routine. She loves school. I had to make her understand that it is now our routine to do school work at home. Thankfully it was as successful as it could be.

However what I did not expect was a text saying  she is one of the 1.5 million people that fitted the ‘Extremely Vulnerable’ Group who needs shielding for 12 weeks. This meant we needed to make even more changes in our lives to protect her. The guidance is much stricter and it is a scary thought that my 18 year old is at the highest risk if she gets Covid 19.

According to the ‘Public Health Guidance’

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Shielding is a practice used to protect extremely vulnerable people from coming into contact with coronavirus. The Guidance states..

You are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks from the day you receive your letter. Please note that this period of time could change

There is also further guidance on how to manage ‘shielding ‘ one self if they live with someone else eg not sharing a bedroom/bathrooms, others washing their hands regularly, limiting time spent together in shared spaces, regular cleaning of surfaces, eating in their own room, using separate towels etc, the list is long but all makes sense.

K lives in a home with 3 other family members, she has a learning disability and she is a sociable child. All these factors makes it diffcult to follow every single piece of advice but as a family we owe it to K to give it our best effort , along with protecting her mental health.

It might be difficult to make her understand why she is unable to step out of the house for 12 weeks. She understands there is a virus around. She understands she needs to wash her hands often and change her clothes daily. She understands that she has to learn at home and not at school at the moment. She understands that she can’t see her friends but she has to Facetime them. She understands that we need to sit a distance away from each other. She understands that once again her holiday to Florida isn’t happening.

Maybe she understands more than I think. K went through a life changing event 4 years ago. Her life came to a halt with no warning.

This time, she has been warned. This time, she has been given time to prepare. This time, she isn’t doing this on her own and instead with the rest of the world.

This time it is not going to last as long. This time Florida will be rearranged to next year and not 3 years later. This time she feels well and she is at home with her family. This time she is ready.

The four of us have been distancing from each other as much as we could . I will be needing to take a break from work for a few months as I need to care for her and need to consider remote working.

My husband and I are also concerned about how our girls will cope if we are both taken ill.

We are trying to eat healthily and exercise to increase our fitness levels, hoping this will help with recovery when we get the infection

Every day we read real life stories that tell us that anyone can be infected and deaths have been reported in various age groups.

The real life stories and seeing videos and photos of those affected makes it all so real and sad.

My thinking is to take on every bit of advice given, do everything you can and listen to your instincts, so that one day you do not say to yourself..’I regret not doing …. or I wish I had done…’.

Please read the guidance if you have had a text from NHS Coronavirus like we have.

We need to #staysafe #isolatetoprotect #socialdistancing to help get through this .

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