“Let’s rewind back to mid-november, I’m having a quiet beer with friends on a friday night, but inside my body is giving me all the warning signs of what i had already feared was inevitable to come. Two days later and a visit to A&E with my wife confirmed my fears and another week in Leicester Royal was required. A week of being prodded, poked and scanned, an ensemble of injections, tests and medication all alongside daily investigations by doctors telling me that my body had once again ground to a halt.
Back in May 2015 I was diagnosed with aggressive fistulating Crohn’s Disease. Everything about that day changed my life which was no longer my own. An active life full of adventure and discovery became an existence of pain, exhaustion and social distancing. My family has been amazing from Day 1, especially my beautiful wife – she is my rock in every way and takes every difficult decision in her stride with a warm smile and a comforting embrace. My three children support me through laughter, comedy and chocolate and always know how to make me smile in the darkest of times. My youngest daughter finds it hard however to hide the worry that she feels almost daily around my condition, but saves her tears for when she is alone. My friends try to support from afar due to the rarity of social events and the distance between us now.
Since November I have been unable to work and thus long days home alone are often difficult, Netflix has become a frustration rather than a treat, long conversations with my cats are often one-sided and social media and news outlets provide little to stimulate the imagination. But I get through each day with a mixture of chores, sometimes adventurous cooking and small trips out into town or to the shops. Although the days are difficult, I still have some freedom to how I live my life and the choices that I make day to day.
Then in December a news story breaks of a viral outbreak in China that proves to be interesting reading. At first glance it carries no immediate worry and being 5,000 miles away, western society deems it an incident for the Chinese to handle and we return our focus back to drip-fed biased news that we have become so used to.
However as Christmas comes and goes and then Donald Trump flexes his sociopathic muscles with Iran, the story begins to dominate news outlets. All of a sudden the number of new cases is growing alarmingly and the mortality rate is creeping up. The virus spreads to China’s neighbours and then to Europe and by the end of January it reaches our own shores. Does our government look to take any action immediately to protect the people that live here… No they make capitalist based decisions to protect our economy and the elite that fund them in the background. Rather than planning for the inevitable onslaught on our already frail NHS, decisions are made instead to look to protect the listings on the FTSE 100 and alongside this, the companies that our government officials have links with are assured of their safety in the future.
Alongside the government doing nothing, our society chooses also to take a line of ignorance. We instead bury our head in the sand and use Seasonal Flu rates as evidence to argue that it will all blow over. The ‘Not In My Back Yard’ principal is visible across the nation and we go about our daily lives with no change whatsoever. The government chooses to ignore WHO guidelines to test as much as possible and isolate where we can and they use the media to convince us that it will only affect the elderly and infirm – we will be ok if we wash our hands and don’t sneeze around each other. Alongside this, the media are constantly updating us on the situation in Italy and yet we still don’t take things seriously enough to warrant significant changes in our day to day lives.
Then on the 5th March (which is also my birthday ironically) the Shit hits the fan – the news comes of the first UK death of Covid-19. As a nation we are suddenly like a deer in the highlights at night. The ensuing panic manifests itself in the aisles of supermarkets, we have no regard for others and have regressed into a pack of hungry wolves. Society finally realises that the NHS has already cracked, its staff are overworked and at risk of contracting the virus every time they leave for work. How does the government react… again by not doing enough!
Mr Prime Minister advises us to avoid pubs and restaurants but makes no decision on schools, universities or public transport which are all hives for spreading contagion.
Finally as of Friday 20th March, Boris decides to grow a pair, his hand forced by society not having the decency to follow guidelines of distancing and isolation where possible. This is again followed up by the lockdown last night which will allow some draconian powers to be enabled to attempt to stem the spread of Covid.
I took the decision to self isolate at the beginning of last week due to my health and the effect the medications i take have had on my immune system. A couple of walks with my wife and a brief visit to the GP to ensure all is ok were my only trips out last week. The realisation set in over the weekend that I won’t see my youngest daughter for 12 weeks as she lives with her mum in Grantham – a feeling in some way that I am deserting her and failing as a parent hits me hard. Last night at 7.03pm I received my government text message explaining that I am in the highest risk category and that I must shield for 12 weeks minimum. Clarity overtakes hope upon reading this message and a little voice in my ear lets me know that I just might not get through this. So now my choices have been taken away…. No more trips into town or to the shops, no pint in the local with friends, no walk in the fields with my wife. But I know this isolation will give me the best chance of seeing the new world months down the line and I can’t wait for the day to arrive where I see my daughter face to face and hold her tighter than ever before.”