The news from around the world seems to get worse each day and pretty much everyone realises just how serious the Coronavirus pandemic has and continues to be. Add to that the fact that most people are feeling frustrated by the constraints of the very British lockdown we are all under coupled with the uncertainty everyone is facing around their health, wealth and family well being. I thought I would share some better news by way of cheering you all up.
Back in March, Kirsty and I decided to go to the Cheltenham Festival. We both felt it was a risk, but decided to take that risk and hope we would be alright. The Festival started on Tuesday March 10th and ended on Friday March 13th. On Saturday March 14th we went to Kempton for some more racing. As we came away, we got the news that Kirsty’s Mum, Joyce, had been admitted to hospital with a suspected minor stroke. She was OK and was heading home, back to Kenilworth where she lives on her own. Kirsty and I had a choice to make, well at least in theory. Did we go and get Joyce and get her living here for the duration whilst exposing her to any potential infections we may have picked up in the days before? Or did we not take that risk and leave her to live on her own? The answer was obvious. We would bring her to our house as soon as we could. So on Monday 16th March, I drove to Joyce’s to bring her back. I left Kirsty at home, in bed with what seemed like the beginnings of a heavy cold and got to Kenilworth and back in about five hours. I needed to visit Joyce’s pharmacy to get her various prescriptions as well as loading up the car with her clothes and food. We could be in for a long haul after all.
By the time I got Joyce back to ours that evening, Kirsty had got worse and wasn’t coming out of bed that day. Rather than take any risks, we decided that Kirsty would self isolate in our bedroom, with me sleeping in the spare room. I would ferry food and drink upstairs keeping my distance and washing everything scrupulously before and after Kirsty had touched any of it. It occurred to both of us that the risk to our health that we took by attending Cheltenham, believing we could keep that to ourselves so to speak, was now a huge risk to Joyce’s life. Each and every day for the next couple of weeks I felt conscious that we were playing a potential game of Russian Roulette with Joyce’s health. What if Kirsty had actually contracted the Coronavirus something which we have never been able to figure out to this day? Or what if I had got what Kirsty had, but had not yet actually gone sick? If either of those things had happened, it would have put Joyce in mortal danger. Each day Kirsty got worse, coughing and with aching lungs and each day I thought I had a sore throat and felt a little queasy. I managed to get a box of soluble Panadol from Joyce’s pharmacy and followed the advice from my brother to take one a day and keep warm and dry on my daily exercise walks. Its funny what your mind does when you think too much.
It was only the following week on Monday the 23rd of March that the Prime Minister decided to order an actual lockdown. We had already taken our own action of course and were glad we had. Kirsty, Joyce and I all agreed that the prospect of Joyce being locked down on her own would have been something none of us would be able to contemplate, let alone endure. Even though we were all pretty worried, we had food and we were all together. On the Wednesday 25th March, Kirsty finally got out of bed and came down stairs and met Joyce for the first time. That was weird. Later that week, Kirsty and Joyce started to do some pretty tough jigsaws and we started to get used to routine of lockdown day in day out. I am very lucky in that I do work from home anyway and I was actually relishing the lack of travel and commuting. Our village of Marston Meysey is always amazing but just got better with all sorts of offers of support and well wishes. Joyce then declared one day, ‘well I am a villager now’ and it felt like she had crossed the rubicon. For years we have been trying to get Joyce to come and live with us and now that time had come without any anticipation or planning!
The reality is now that we cannot have any visitors to the house until there is a vaccine and we will have to continue to isolate if and when we go out to the shops. As the unfolding news of the horrors the poor residents and workers have been suffering in the care homes sector started to come through every day on the news, we could all give thanks that we are together, we are safe and we are healthy. Most of all, we are very, very happy as a little team of three. There is no doubt this Coronavirus has been a terrible thing for so, so many, but our story is a glimmer of good news in a pretty bleak ocean. Joyce has transformed from being very frightened, stressed and feeling very, very ill eight weeks ago to being the old Joyce again, full of good humour, laughing and joking and really enjoying life, none more so than on Friday 8th May, when we celebrated VE Day 75 a day she can remember very well. She will be 90 years young next Thursday, 14th of May and we are all looking forward to celebrating her birthday together. Oh, and The Crown has got at least three new fans these past weeks. All is well.