The A Word: Lockdown – Week 5

Hands up who’s watched slow TV?  It’s a term used for a genre of “marathon” television coverage of an ordinary event in its complete length. It has grown massively in popularity in its native Norway, and, apparently, it’s likened to taking a chill pill! We recently watched a 2-hour documentary following a shepherd’s journey from summit to valley as he led his sheep off Scafell Pike, reflecting on life caring for his flock in this rugged landscape and he was definitely a man of few words! This level of chilling out is a new concept for me.

Last week, the UK Lockdown was extended by another three weeks and despite quarantine becoming our new normal I couldn’t help reminiscing about our life before Covid World.

Jamie is still making our bread which is amazing, and we are branching out to cakes too. I can now dance my way through Bella Ciao and our daily workouts and walks are enjoyable. BUT I’m missing our family; FaceTime, Zoom and Houseparty are great but they are not the same as physical contact, especially with close family. Jamie and I obviously look better in real life than on the iPhone camera as our grandson asked his Mum if we were born during the war!

I’m also missing our friends, nights at the pub, football, cricket, Cornwall, my hairdresser (😊) and eating out. We have cooked our own food for the last 5 weeks which is an all-time record in the Mead household. Before our work came to a virtual standstill, I spent a lot of my day talking to people. Sometimes, these days,  I’ll start a sentence, and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it somewhere along the way.

The weather has been amazing recently and it’s helped to reduce the effects my Raynaud’s. As readers of my blog will know, through sharing my story I want to raise awareness of autoimmune diseases and their effect on daily life. As well as ankylosing spondylitis I suffer with a number of other diseases linked to autoimmune and Raynaud’s is one of them. Raynaud’s is a blood vessel disorder whereby our natural response to cold is exaggerated. The tiny blood vessels go into spasm, narrowing and reducing the blood flow to the affected areas. This response is seen most often in the fingers and toes. But it also can occur in the ears, cheeks, and nose. Basically, during an attack, my fingers and toes look like they have died so I’m pleased it hasn’t reached by nose (yet!”).

Primary Raynaud’s is relatively common and happens without any other illness behind it. The symptoms are often mild.

However, the Secondary Raynaud’s (Raynaud’s syndrome, Raynaud’s phenomenon) happens as a result of another illness which is often an autoimmune disease or a disease affecting the body’s connective tissues. It’s less common, but it’s more likely to cause serious health problems. This can include things like nasty skin sores and gangrene and happens when cells and tissue in our extremities die from a lack of blood and I’m not particularly keen on seeing that.

My Raynaud’s has definitely got worse over the years and I do look forward to Spring and Summer when I suffer a lot less.

People like myself and others much worse off are missing our regular hospital appointments as departments have been reallocated to the front line. It’s more the reassurance my rheumatologist offers that I miss, rather than the blood tests or scans, but we all need to pull together during this time and I still I despair at some of the things see online.

I think it’s OK to be concerned as no one’s immune; everyone’s susceptible. But there are still so many people who want to exploit these anxious days by fanning fears, assessing blame and shamelessly critiquing government officials substituting their own self-centred agendas for a national togetherness that is so needed right now.

I understand politics and I absolutely get the importance of the role of the Opposition to question and scrutinise the work of the Government. But this is not the opposition, this negativity is fuelled by our journalists with their unscrupulous reporting who give bait to the angry people and trolls on social media. The purpose of journalism is to provide people with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments. I see glimpses of this from the better journalists, but surely providing false information to support their own political opinion is not helpful when it’s so important our country comes together to fight Coronavirus. I did notice that YouTube has banned any coronavirus related content that contradicts the World Health Organisation advice so good on them.

Working in sales taught me you can’t win alone. I was responsible for leading a team competing to win a £25M 3-year deal with one of the largest global banks in the world. Whilst it was theoretically my responsibility, the whole company pulled together in our effort to win. Our finance department was involved on the pricing, marketing generated the lead in the first instance, pre-sales engineers designed the solution and when we got preferred vendor status, legal worked tirelessly on negotiating a contract.

Collaborative selling isn’t a new concept. Behind the scenes, salespeople have always relied on others to help win deals. If a company doesn’t have their teams working collaboratively, they will lose out, simple as that.

The same collaboration applies to everyday life. Winners have one thing in common, a collective group of people who are pulling in the same direction to achieve their goal. This doesn’t mean criticism is banned, far from it, we learn from receiving constructive criticism, but we don’t learn by receiving unhelpful, disruptive, repetitive, negative waffle!

Hopefully, together, we will win against this awful virus. We can come out the other side with a greater appreciation of the importance of our shared unity. Huge sacrifices are being made all over the country from the NHS workers and social care staff working tirelessly on the frontline, to the key workers keeping the country running and those whose routines and normal lives have been put on hold as we all heed the necessary advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

I can’t imagine we will have another challenge like this in my lifetime. I would love to look back and be proud of what we’ve achieved. Mistakes will be made, it’s inevitable, but I hope our journalists can be more respectful and truthful going forward. I also hope the people on social media who are vicious and nasty can reign in their attacks, so we are able to look back in our shared history and remember how we all stood together and faced this battle as one strong United Kingdom.

Until next time xxxx

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