Life of a Mum

Lockdown and me- from front liner, to isolated.

For those of you that don’t know I’m a nurse; I have been for 17 years now, I’ve worked through all sorts; swine flu, major incidents, fires, shootings and stabbings. I thought COVID was going to be a little bumpy challenge in my working life.

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At the beginning of the COVID outbreak I was working as normal; my role is to respond to sick or deteriorating patients- so pretty much high risk front line healthcare. I was seeing the sickest of the sick, those requiring respiratory support; whilst being intensely aware of the C word hanging in the air. I’d calmly, treat, swab, isolate and inform my patients when we thought COVID was a potential differential diagnosis.

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March 22nd was my last clinical day; busy with training for COVID and busy with patients, lots that could potentially be C-19. I returned home; stressed, overwhelmed and a little worried. Getting mostly unchanged on the doorstep, shoes In a bag, clothes straight in the wash- shouting hello to a sleepy Dorothea and Daddy as I jumped in the shower before allowing myself contact with them.

On March 23rd I headed to Sainsbury’s for the weekly shop, queued up at 7am with all the NHS staff (some wearing masks and gloves), elderly shoppers getting irate at staff for not being able to join the NHS queue – I realised life was suddenly very different. It felt strange. I returned home to a letter.

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A letter I hadn’t really given that much thought to. I knew as I had Rheumatoid Arthritis, and was only multiple treatments that suppressed my immune system, I was, In theory in the ‘at risk’ group for COVID- and I’d asked my boss for a risk assessment due to this. What I didn’t quite expect was to be one of those in the ‘vulnerable’ group; and that I’d have to stay at home for 12 weeks minimum! I called my boss and explained and she said she’d put me back in the rota from June 16th- it seemed such a long time.

Coming to terms with going from being a key worker, a helper, a hero – to being sat at home was vert challenging. Wracked with guilt that I have the skills to assist, that I should be helping the fight and supporting my colleagues- I felt useless sitting at home. My husband was relieved, he’d been worried about me, not wanting me to go into work- worried that I was going to become one of those patients I talk about taking to ITU.

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You’d think being at home with my family constantly would be a dream; and in some ways it is; I’m loving time to cook, meals as a family and time to create fun activities for Dot. But the isolation is unreal; the last time I went anywhere was Sainsburys of March 23rd- since then just a few walks (which in accordance with my letter I shouldn’t be doing- more on that later), no contact with others apart from zoom and facetime- the monotony is unreal.

Its hard not to be lazy: somedays I can’t be bothered to get showered and out of my pjs. But then the next day I feel guilty for that so I have a day of constantly being busy, and not knowing where to stop! Getting the balance right in lockdown is so hard.
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Luckily about a week into lockdown my workplace found me some tasks to do ‘working from home’ and I had a laptop delivered. This has been really good at helping me develop a diary routine, have some purpose and actually feel like I’m helping out. As it mostly involves interviewing, its also been great at giving me some social interaction, which is great. Its been great to join in with our teams weekly meeting via zoom too, and seeing the lovely familiar faces.

So, the letter. Its surprisingly how restricted and isolated they actually expect people to be- and its so easy to see how this can have massive impact on our physical and especially mental health. Vulnerable people like myself have been advised to stay at home for 12 weeks minimum; this includes not going out for walks/exercise- not even in your own garden. Also not to share a bathroom or bed with family and not to eat meals together. Obviously as a young family with a small house this is near on impossible- I honestly think I would have lost the plot if we couldn’t eat and watch movies together!

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As myself and Daddy are having to both work from home we are actually spending time at opposite sides of the house for most of the day. I’m sitting in our upstairs lounge- which also contains Dorothea’s playroom, and Daddy is sitting in the downstairs dining/lounge, so we have a whole floor between us for most of the day. A much needed break and some degree of peace (for Daddy) which means when we meet for food, or a drink in the garden its really nice.

The social isolation is for me unreal, my husband often takes the mickey out of me for my constant need to be surrounded by people- but i’m just a sociable person. In my daily working life I communicate with 10’s of people each day, and on my days off I like to meet friends for coffee and cake, or take Dorothea to a farm park or children’s group. I going to have to find some coping strategies to help me get through the next 7 weeks.

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I mostly feel thankful- thankful that I’m safe, having time with my family that I’ll never get again; like having 3 months of maternity leave , but with a toddler (less tea and cake and naps- more crafts and giggling). I’ve told my team that when I can safely return I’ll take the baton from them and they can have a break, I’ve also busy sourcing donations for our teams to enable their rest periods to be comfortable (refreshments and reading materials) 

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Awesome print made for my team from Zoe loves letters

I’m going to try and write a couple more blogs about my time in isolation- let me know what you think.

 

Family time

National Trust

Yes I admit it we are national trust geeks. I don’t know anything else you can pay £100 a year for and have so many fab days out.

Here are some of our favourites- with pics of course.

Trelissick is probably our number one. It has a little bit of everything. It’s always on our ‘must go to’ list when we head to Cornwall; which is at least twice a year- and even though we’ve been about 6 times now we still want to revisit.

Trelissick Gardens- Cornwall

Stunning gardens, gorgeous house (especially at Christmas), beautiful views, massive trees, fragrant flowers and bugs to search for!

One side of the estate you have a glorious view out to Falmouth; if you’re really lucky you may have the little wooden folly all to yourself to admire the view. The wide open grassy areas mean there’s enough space to create your own picnic area and sun spot, but still be close enough to other families to make new friends.

A very close second place- bonus points for us as it’s within an hour of home. This estate is huge with a massive variety of things to see and do.

This one is perfect for families with little ones; as they have an awesome farm and play area. But grandparents won’t feel left out with the stunning country house and impeccably kept gardens.

Plenty of picnic areas- and a shady garden with deck chairs to sip a cold wine while the kids make new friends and run around in the trees.

There’s loads of areas suitable for cute photo opportunities; wagons, beautifully painted benches, expertly symmetrical topiary and shady woodlands full of places to explore.

Another one down in Cornwall. A beautiful castle on an island. The novelty is that it’s a tidal island; get there at the right time and you can wander across (but hurry otherwise you may be paddling), it was also fun for Dorothea to experience the short boat ride home.

This tea room is quaint with beamed ceilings and unbeatable views, the two shops are also a great browse.

The trek up to the castle is not for the faint hearted (they provide hip carriers to help with the little ones)- and probably wouldn’t suit anyone with any degree of mobility issues. But if you can get up there the castle is certainly worth a look!

If you can’t the gardens and small hamlet are pretty special to wander round. The little town of Marazion is also worth hanging around for; some pleasant independent shops and a nice play area and beach too.

Do be aware; this is one where you have to pay extra for parking.

Who can resist a national trust property with an epic maze!!!!

This one is perfect for sunny photo opportunities; and would also keep the kids busy.

This one made me feel like we’d been magically transported to a tropical country- the whole place was like a sun laden playground for the most awesome plants and flowers.

Again this one is in Cornwall; but surely all these spectacular recommendations must make you want to visit the best southern county!

Almost didn’t want to tell you about this one!

We just want to keep it to ourselves; the most glorious, picturesque and isolated beach. We’ve been lucky enough to have it all to ourselves.

Again this one is like being transported to a different country. Here we were making sand castles, splashing and stripping down to T-shirt’s in December!

The waves and rocks are amazing for the little ones to see. Rock-pools are to be explored, sandcastles to be built and pebbles to be skimmed.

Just above this beach hidden in the rocks is the infamous Minnack theatre- so Porthcurnoe is a cool place for a pre theatre picnic! (Or swim in the Summer)

Also called ‘church cove’- this ones quite a drive out in the sticks but certainly worth it. Another gloriously isolated beach and church.

This area seems to be bustling with wildlife; and there were plenty of birds for Dorothea to admire.

A lovely little stream runs down to the water. We loved donning our wellies, having a good splash and practising our pebble skimming.

There’s no facilities; so pack a picnic (or cream cake and flask of tea) and sit for a little while.

Back near home now. We were lucky enough to find this one by accident at Halloween!

The great thing about national trusts, is that the soon familiar leaf symbol pops up on all the road signs, and gives you a great few hours that you were not expecting!

Calke Abbey tends to have quite a lot of food fairs, which adds a little bit to your day out. The drive through the estate to the house is impressive- and must be at least a mile long!

The gardens here are awesome; we were so impressed by the Halloween pumpkin display- and again there’s lots of spacious picnic areas, and great big trees to play hide and seek.

Stowe is one of the most impressive of the national trusts! The architecture is outstanding and the grounds are huge.

The massive archways as you approach set the scene well, for what is about to follow.

This is certainly one you could spend the whole day at. Wandering around eager to see the next impressive monument or statue would impress anyone. Again great for picnics, picking daisies and off course making wishes by throwing pennies in the water.

We’ve only been here once- but it’s stayed in our memories. A beautiful but very long and wising walk down to a stunning country house and pretty gardens.

Yes another in Cornwall! I know, we are slightly obsessed!

Now there’s very little at Lizard point! But the trip is worth it for the epic views and the isolated chance of seeing seals in the wild!

Just look at the colour of the water!- yes it’s in England!

There’s a cool little shop that sells, earrings, socks and glassworks too!

Well I hope these ten have given you something to think about. What else can you get for a tenner a month???

We are long-standing national trust geeks and proud! So I will be showing you more- as there’s loads of our favourites to explore more and photograph.

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There’s a fab app too!