The A Word: Lockdown – Week 1

Having spent my life as a working Mum I always looked forward to weekends.  As my life moved on, I continued to work full time and Friday was always very welcome.  Now, as our work has temporarily dried up, every day is the same and Friday has become irrelevant.

I started to write my blog at the beginning of this year to raise awareness of autoimmune disease following my diagnosis for ankylosing spondylitis but my condition pails into insignificance in our new world.

A lot of people with autoimmune disease are often confined to home with symptoms such as fatigue or flare ups of their disease.  My biggest challenge isn’t necessarily being confined to home it’s making sure I can get enough exercise. I have always tackled my AS, physically and mentally, through exercise, both in the gym and walking/hiking.  I knew the lockdown was coming and Jamie and I had stopped going to the gym 2 weeks before so it was important to me that I set up a regime that I could do whilst abiding by the new rules we are under.

Over the years we have collected various weights and a couple of gym mats, so we have set up a limited gym in our house.  It allows me to do core (mostly using my own body weight), and a workout for arms and legs.  I have also been sent some great on-line classes for which I am very grateful.  For cardio, Jamie and I are leaving our house for one walk a day. 

Adjusting to the “new normal”, remaining at home and practising social distancing is challenging and everyone will have their own story.  The great indoors” is something we are all learning to appreciate more. This sudden change to life can feel overwhelming but we are trying to use this period to our advantage, learning new skills.  I have been amazed at how much information is available on-line.  Famed museums like the British Museum are offering online experiences, allowing viewers to learn about the exhibits in the museums at home.   Google’s Arts and Culture section allows us to explore some of the wonders of the world online, including the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House and many more.  Virtual quiz nights are very popular and virtual pub nights seem to be taking off at a rapid pace.

On the downside, lots of people will suffer great hardship over the course of the next few months or however long COVID-19 will impact our lives and it makes me sad to think about just how difficult some people’s life may become.

Our two biggest challenges are keeping my elderly parents safe and sourcing food!

In my last blog I mentioned that my parents live 350 miles away and I have done their weekly online shop for the last 3 years.  A week on and it’s still impossible to get any delivery slots and when I call Tesco’s, after following their automated instructions, I get cut off every time.  We have also signed up with Sainsbury’s and Asda to no avail. I do have a delivery slot booked for 1 April and will try and order more than usual to keep their stocks up.  Whilst we have a good network in their village, shopping is a challenge for everyone and I am working through all the options to try and get a resolution.

Secondly, and more amusing, I have NEVER planned ahead for food!  Commuting and working in London, our food was mostly bought as an after thought on the way home, a take-away or two was included in the weekly menu, along with at least one meal out.  Our diet has improved over the last 10 years, but weekly shops have never been our thing!   So, planning 2 weeks of meals in advance, and not just dinner, but breakfast and lunch is a major exercise.  That combined with actually finding the food is taking up a lot of time.   I was pleased to learn that the off licence had become one of the shops allowed to stay open as I appear to have progressed from bottles to boxes of rose!

Our daily routine has also changed; Jamie makes our daily bread (excuse the religious pun) and, after the home gym workout, our walk, jigsaw assembly, YouTube guitar lessons, FaceTime with family and grandchildren, preparing and cooking (3 meals), and an episode of Peaky Blinders, I’m exhausted and ready for bed!   I was really worried about how our grandchildren would cope and day 1 wasn’t great.  However, by the time we got to day 4 things had improved and we have found some great apps to chat and play games.  My granddaughter and I were playing games at 8am on Wednesday morning until she was called for schoolwork!   At 10am, whilst Dad was on a conference call and Mum at the shops, we were entertaining the children from 40 miles away, how good is that!  They can also chat to their friends through these apps and are continuing to learn new ways to communicate.  That said, it’s very difficult for parents with children of all ages.  My daughter posted a meme that made me smile – “quarantine drinking, every time you hear “Mum”! take a DRINK. Just kidding, don’t do that, you’ll die”

I am also continuing to monitor the concerns about the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) in relation to COVID-19, following recent concerns by the French authorities and social media reports that they could be dangerous.  In the absence of conclusive evidence, the Committee of Human Medicines and NICE have been asked to review the evidence and report their findings.  For now, the advice is still the same.  Those people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are to use paracetamol in preference to NSAIDs. Those currently on NSAIDs for other medical reasons (like me) should not stop them.  

Keep safe everyone and thank you for continuing to read and share my blog to raise awareness of autoimmune disease.

Until next time xxxx

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