Coping with COVID: Protect and Survive

The last three weeks have been a blur. Working as a pharmacy delivery driver during a global pandemic is not good for your nerves. I can only equate each day to playing in a cup final : you prepare for it as best you can, there’s nerves, tension, heightened senses, you don’t quite know what to expect but you give it 100%. At the final whistle you trudge off the pitch, socks at the ankles, and slump down in the changing room, completely drained. (RCT readers, substitute cup final for performing a show🙂)

Not the best analogy, I know. Cup finals produce a winner and a loser, but instead at the final whistle I feel neither victorious nor defeated, just tired, very tired. The next day brings another cup final, then another. In the words of a song I’ve been listening to recently, “I’m feeling slowly overwhelmed”.

How do I cope, I’m thinking. I’m a burst baw every night. I’ve missed the last two “Clap the NHS” Thursday nights coz I’m away to bed early. My emotions are all over the shop too. The other day I was given free sandwiches at the petrol station. That small act of kindness nearly had me in tears. That and all the rainbows in the windows and messages of support from the public.

How do you cope? I messaged a nurse friend at the end of another frantic day. It was a cry for help. How do you wind down at the end of the day ? Her reply surprised me, for two reasons. Firstly I felt guilty because I knew her instructions were spot on, yet I hadn’t been following them. Secondly, I didn’t think they answered my question. (I was wrong, they did)

The answer ? Go home, take your shoes off at the door, take all clothing off/put in washing machine, get in shower and wash and scrub til you feel clean. It sounded very clinical and didn’t address the emotional side, or so I thought.

So I followed the instructions as I knew they made sense. What I didn’t appreciate was the emotional side of shedding my dirty (infected?) clothes and therefore protecting my family. I didn’t appreciate the ritual of washing away the day, washing away the germs, washing away the stress. After that, I put on fresh clothes, safe in the knowledge that no spooky virus has followed me home. I felt relaxed. For the first time in weeks, I felt relaxed.

And heres the bottom line. We’re all scared, we can’t control this virus and we’re scared. But we can take control of our own wee environment, we can protect our loved ones. And in that simple ritual, which I will perform daily until this is over, I have created a barrier between my clan and this spooky virus.

PS To clarify, I don’t consider myself anywhere near on a par with a nurse. I’m more a water carrier and its the nurses who are in the front line.

2 thoughts on “Coping with COVID: Protect and Survive

  1. A fantastic piece Alan. You’re not quite yourself these days and we’ll just need to add getting the real you back to the massive ‘When this is all over….’ list. I miss that guy, the random chat and the smiles. This ‘spooky virus’ has changed everything- I’m in the camp of those who feel guilt in sitting in my ivory tower, working out and living in lounge wear, doing what I can as well as simply ‘Stay at home’, one of those new digital teachers (previously a tech phobe but no more!), emotions swinging from fear to denial, quietly (apart from on a Thursday at clap-time) appreciating everything those on the front line do for us, NHS, waste collectors, supermarket workers, carers, teachers in the hubs, and so on. You are all heroes. Thank you. Huge hugs (When this is all over….). Cx

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