The Lockdown Diaries | We’ve officially stopped shielding, and I’m feeling predictably anxious about it
Well, it’s week 17 of lockdown folks, and, actually, I’m not sure I can even really CALL it “lockdown” any more, because there’s not really a whole lot of “locking down” still going on at this point, is there?
This week, Scotland entered Phase 3 of its easing of restrictions, which means that indoor restaurants, bars, and non-essential shops are finally allowed to open, with hair and beauty salons following later this week. Even more importantly, as far as our family is concerned, we’re now FINALLY allowed to go inside other people’s houses again, and this is HUGE news for us, because, combined with the fact that children under 12 are no longer expected to maintain social distancing (Whether indoors or out…), it means my parents are once again able to start looking after Max a few times per week, to give Terry and I some time to work. Can I get a hallelujah over here, please?
The first time my parents came to collect him, I was actually a bit worried that Max wouldn’t want to go, purely because he hadn’t left our sides in so long that I thought it might be strange for him to be away from us. I needn’t have worried, though, because, as it turned out, he was so excited to see gran and grandad that he left without so much as a backward glance, and had the time of his life playing at their house, while I cleaned ours from top to bottom (Yeah, I know, I need to get a life: seriously, though, lockdown did NOT leave much time for cleaning, so you can imagine how much I was itching to get the Zoflora out…), stopping every few minutes to briefly panic about where Max was, before remembering he was with my parents. Phew!
As I said, this is the biggest – and most useful – change so far for us, and while the rest of this week’s changes won’t really make much difference to us, the fact that Scotland’s numbers have remained low means we’ve been gradually starting to feel a bit more confident about getting out of the house again – to the extent that I don’t really think I could truthfully describe what we’re doing at the moment as “sheilding” any more. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still being super-cautious about everything: we have no plans to start visiting shops and restaurants again for the forseeable future; we’re still practising social distancing and increased hand-washing; we’re still meeting up with people outdoors rather than going inside (We do go into my parents’ house, but have been seeing everyone else in their gardens so far…), and we’re still being what many people would describe as over-cautious about sanitising shopping and deliveries.
But this week we’ve also seen a few friends, and have been venturing a bit further afield in search of outdoor adventures. (These photos were taken at Cramond beach, where we spent an energetic half hour or so before the rain started up again…) I’ve gone back to running on my usual route, even though it means narrower paths, that it’s tricky to socially distance on. We’re being careful, and we’ll continue to do so, but we’re definitely not “shielding” any more, which is both a relief (for Terry), and a worry (for me). As I said last week, my anxiety right now is higher than it was a few weeks ago, because while the number of Covid-19 cases in Scotland is much, much lower (At the time of writing, there have been no Covid-related deaths for the fifth day in a row, and I think just 5 confirmed cases in the past 24 hours), my anxious brain is still doing its best to convince me that we’ll still somehow manage to be one of people who are unlucky enough to catch it. Thanks, brain! Love you too!
So I spend a lot of time worrying that we’re doing the wrong thing, and going over various encounters in my mind. Was I standing too close to that person? Did I take a risk by petting my neighbour’s dog when she came bounding over to me? Like, is that even ALLOWED? (Seriously, though, it’s a five month old spaniel puppy: I’m not made of stone, people…) All the fun thoughts, in other words. It’s just a constant process of questioning myself, and second-guessing decisions we’ve made, and I suspect it’s going to stay like that for a while, really. Worried though I am, though, I’m still glad we’re able to get out of the house more, and start seeing people again: not only is it really good for Max to be able to interact with people other than his parents for a change, I’ve worried right from the very start of this that my health anxiety would make it impossible for me to ever go back to normal, once lockdown was over, and I guess the only way to avoid that is to just continue doing our best to stay safe, while still trying to get on with life as best we can. It’s the only thing you can do, right?
With the end of our shielding journey, then, comes the end of this little diary series, because, well, it would be a little bit weird to keep writing about lockdown when we’re no longer really locked down, wouldn’t it? For those of you who enjoy this kind of diary-style writing, meanwhile, just a quick reminder that I do most of that kind of stuff over at Patreon these days, where you’ll find all of the posts I wasn’t comfortable sharing on the blog itself, plus some shorter, personal pieces that you won’t find on the blog – unless, of course, we find ourselves having to do lockdown all over again at some point, in which case, well, me and Boo Boo the Poo Poo will be right here waiting for you…