The Lockdown Diaries | Week 5 | The Endless Elephant
They say the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time … which I’ve always found quite a strange saying, to be honest, because, seriously, WTAF? Why am I eating an elephant? Who would do that?
I’m trying my best to take this lockdown one day at a time, in other words, but it’s hard, because my brain isn’t really wired that way. I’m the kind of person who always likes to have a plan: something to look forward to, or to just give a bit of structure to the year. I need some kind of end point to focus on: a moment when I can finally sit back and say, “Yes, this elephant is well and truly eaten!” But, of course, in this case, it just don’t come. This elephant is endless: and how do you eat THAT?
I know I’m not the only one asking that question, either. All week, I’ve been reading news articles and discussions all centred on the same thing: how do we get out of this? What’s the exit strategy? And the problem with that is that there isn’t one. On Thursday, the UK lockdown was extended for another three weeks, but for us 12 weekers, that date is pretty much irrelevant, really: even if the official lockdown does end on May 7th, we’ll still have over a month to go – and after that? Well, after that, there’s STILL no guarantee that it’ll all be over, is there? No, for someone like Terry, who’s at very high risk from Covid19, the virus won’t be any less dangerous in three weeks time – or even in three months time, barring some kind of miracle.
Regardless of when the rest of the country comes out of lockdown, then, for us – and the thousands of others like us – the risk will still be there: which is a hard thing to get your head around, really. It’s hard to accept that, at some point this year, the world will go on: but it will go on without us, because, until there’s a vaccine, we just won’t be safe.
Mind you, it’s not like we’re particularly safe right now either, is it? This week, for instance, Max has been a little bit under the weather. It’s not anything serious (I’m being deliberately vague here, purely because I don’t want any internet diagnosis, but it’s definitely not Covid-related…), but it did, however, prompt a conversation between Terry and I about what we’d do if Max did need medical attention of some kind – or if I did – during this strange time in our lives.
As part of the shielded group, Terry isn’t supposed to leave the house at all: not even to go to the supermarket, or out for a walk, and, as I mentioned in this post, that means the only way for us to keep our family together through this is for Max and I to isolate with him. None of us have left the house/garden since the lockdown started – but, if Max did need to see a doctor – or, God forbid, go to hospital – I’d obviously be able to take him: I just wouldn’t be able to come back to the same house as Terry, without putting him at risk. Which is a problem, really. I mean, who could’ve imagined that, just a few weeks ago we were planning a holiday, and now we’re trying to work out how we can hopefully stay alive if one of us absolutely has to leave the house? SERIOUSLY?
After a little bit of over-thinking, though, we did come up with a solution: that being that, should it ever be necessary, I’d take Max to the doctor, and, while we were gone, Terry would move himself and his stuff to my parents’ house, where he’d have to stay for the next two weeks, while I self-isolated with Max at home. My parents have also been shielding (Which is why we couldn’t do it the other way, with me and Max going there, and Terry staying at home: that way I’d just end up putting my parents at risk, rather than Terry…), so while Terry moving in with them would be technically against the “rules” right now, it would at least be safer than him living in the same house with me and Max, if we’d been out in public.
It might be the safest solution we could come up with, though, but, for me at least, it would still be a pretty grim one, obviously: especially if I did end up catching the virus while I was out, and then had to somehow look after Max on my own, while potentially being really unwell with it. These are the kind of things we have to think about now, though, and, in some ways, these scenarios are just as scary as the virus itself is. I’m not used to a world in which I can’t get medical help without having to risk my life, or that of my child, in the process. I’m not used to having absolutely no one I can turn to for help, if I need it. And, while everyone keeps talking about how we’re all in this together, when you get right down to it, I can’t help but feel that we’re actually all in it alone.
The fact is, if something happens to Max, I’m on my own.
If something happens to me, I’m on my own.
If I catch the virus, I’m on my own.
Throughout all of this, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more alone: which is why you can give me all the tips you want about the eating of the elephant, but the fact remains: I’m just not that hungry. And honestly, I didn’t even ORDER an elephant, anyway…
[Header photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash]