This week I got to be alone for once, it wasn’t as fun as I hoped.
It is not without irony that I note I have written many times about wanting time alone. Well be careful what you wish for because this week I have been almost completely alone. Like far too many, I have had covid since last week. I wouldn’t say I am completely out of the woods but I am hoping that I have got away with a very mild case. My family of course have been here too but I am in my room in quarantine and today is the first day I have had the energy to write about what it’s been like.
I haven’t the level of fatigue as yet that many have been reporting, though I am tired because it is hard to sleep when your chest is bad, but a malaise has settled over me and a dullness in my thought. I think my mood might be related to the fact that I have been so careful and cautious this whole time. And it’s happened anyway.
Shock was my first reaction when I got the result. I was lucky in a way that I had a pretty clear cough as many people I know do not develop this symptom and in the UK we can only test for loss of smell or taste, a cough and/or fever despite the fact it often presents with other symptoms. As an asthmatic I am pretty aware of that specific tight sensation in my chest and so I knew I was a little unwell but I honestly couldn’t imagine after all the caution, I would have got it.
Despite feeling quite lousy and worried I might pass it on I have done some things that have really helped in my first week of covid. I wanted to share my list in hope they might help others.
Preparing food. I have some jars of overnight oats in my fridge which is really good to get slow-release energy and filling too. Unlike the rest of lockdown, I have not been able to go back and forth to the kitchen. (I guess that’s one positive!) I have needed less to eat anyway but not having to think too hard has been a great help.
Going second. In order to remember to clean down in the bathroom or kitchen after using it I have contrived the routine to go second so that I clean up with wipes or zoflora every time I use anything. (Having a disinfectant habit has really come in handy!) We can’t be a hundred percent sure that my boys won’t also succumb at some point but we are doing our best to follow the cleaning advice and kept my towels separate. It’s given the day structure which helps when you are literally hours in the same room.
Doing my best: Those who have had this horrible condition may be surprised that I have worked. As I said, I haven’t had anything like the levels of fatigue I thought I would, as yet. I had been working from home as much as I can anyway so had taken on some different tasks than usual, swapping out some tasks that are based in the office. This week, I have been working slowly through the grunt work of spreadsheet and record-keeping that inevitably comes with working with children’s health records. I haven’t done that much, but having a methodical task has been good for my dulled brain. I have also asked to stop early on both days so that I don’t take it too far. Work have been supportive and there is no question that if I felt worse that I would take leave.
Being mindful: I have decided to do what I can, when I can. So the first morning when I felt rough I took a shower in case I got worse and couldn’t. Probably a mix of the steam that released my cough and the fact I was looking after myself- it really made me feel better. The biggest area that I have been mindful of is enjoying my food. I have many friends now whose taste or smell has been affected and so I have been trying to appreciate the joy of eating when I could, in case this happens to me too.
Meditation and audiobooks: My concentration is shocking which may be the brain fog others have spoken about but I think probably more to do with my anxiety brain trying to work on overtime. All this time alone has given me chance to do an hour of a guided meditation, dozing a little no doubt. I have also listened to audiobooks in short bursts. Belgravia with its sumptuous Regency setting has washed over me as I lay here. There something about romantic escapism that soothes you.
Reaching out: I have told friends and family many of whom are checking in with texts. I have accepted help from people dropping off prescriptions, to knowing who to ask to get milk. I know a lot have felt they can’t do anything because they are far away but knowing they are checking on you and thinking of you helps.
Accepting uncertainty: We have all had to deal with uncertainty this year much more, or at least been far more aware that this is the state of life. You really don’t know what life will throw your way. As such, I know I don’t know the long term impact of covid yet but I think that as always, taking small, positive steps has helped me and I can only take it day-by-day.
I hope everyone out there is well, being ill as always helps us remember not to take our health for granted. And also reminds us most to rest and take it very easy on ourselves.