And so it begins – lockdown, week one

Sun 22 – Sat 28 March 2020

The first week of full lockdown. Went last Saturday to buy lunch from the bakers and get a take-away coffee, the last time that will happen for a while. We can now all remember the last gym session, the last meal at a restaurant, the last time we hugged a parent.

Remembering and comparing the AIDS crisis

In so many ways, this situation reminds me of the AIDS crisis in the 80s that I lived through. Clearly that was different not least because we didn’t lockdown and for two years it was unclear what was even causing the disease. And it was massively less contagious though again we didn’t realise this for quite a while and some people suffered horrific isolation.

But yet again we are shown to be at the mercy of a virus and we look to tech to save us. Meanwhile humanity shows its best and its worst behaviour. Some people help others, some blame and scapegoat others. And you wonder how much information you can trust.

We probably won’t go back to normal for a long time

And once it is all over, things will never be the same again. It’s taken about 25 years for us to get to a stage where HIV can be safely treated and people can lead normal life. But gay life certainly is looked at before and after AIDS. Perhaps we will think of before and after lockdown.

There may be a quick recovery from the coronavirus is we find a cure and vaccine. But the legacy of lockdown could be semi-lockdown. We could end up living, at least for a period, in a world of much more checking and less freedom of movement.

Health and Efficiency

I’m still well and so are my family, friends and work colleagues as far as I know. I’m adapting to being indoors but finding it hard work. I can live with being in but I miss popping out for a coffee to watch the world go by.

Dealing with the mental health angle

mental health

There’s definitely a mental health aspect. The risk of going stir crazy plus constant fear that a health problem is an indication of infection. Normal health goes on: broken bones, burns, heart attacks, strokes, etc. I am sure I am no different to anyone in my alarm if I think I am developing a cough or temperature.

That is actually the good thing about this disease, that there are two primary symptoms. So anything else like sneezing or sore throat probably isn’t it. There’s also the problem of people being able to have the disease asymptomatically or with mild symptoms. So many of us are now wondering if we have it currently or have had it so possibly providing immunity for the future.

Exercise takes a hit

Regular blog readers will know that I like doing exercise – gym, jogging and yoga. I am feeling very unmotivated at the moment. Indeed, it wasn’t till Thursday that I went out for my first government approved walk. Now I am trying to force myself to go for a walk each day during the lockdown.

But I’m not doing my jog-runs. I might start again soon but at the moment I am not in the mood. Interesting I have temporarily lost my exercise mojo whilst others are starting to discover it. I suppose that shows how we all react differently in this massive social experiment.

Work Life Balance

Learning the good and bad of WAH

Things cannot be seen as normal and a week of WAH (working at home) mainly meant emails, phonecalls, and video conference calls. This includes a daily team get-together to check everyone is OK and boost morale. Great that my job-share colleague is back and things are sort of settling into a new ‘normal’ of what we can actually do.

However, I’m discovering that this way of working is quite tiring not least as part-time doesn’t really apply when you are WAH with a need (and expectation) to be flexible and there when needed plus dealing with stuff as it happens. I am tired in the lockdown even though I didn’t have to do a two and a half training session online which got cancelled.

The need to look after yourself just in case…

woman lays awake in bed

So normal health problems continue and we are all ‘worried well’ to an extent. This hit me on Tues night into Wed when I had a terrible night’s sleep. Vivid dreams and awake in the middle of the night with a incredibly dry mouth and headache. Up for water and the start of a panic as to whether this is some sort of fever.

A terrible sleep followed and when I got up I still had a headache and felt totally lethargic. So took a day sick – if it was the start of the virus infection then I’m certainly not going to spend my last healthy moments dealing with work emails.

when only bed can help

The headache hung around for the whole day. It may have been stress related; my body trying to deal with lockdown demands. But I have been struggling with an ongoing sinus problem for a while: sore throat, tender glands, mucus, earache. Indeed, I’ve always had a persistent cough following the PEs on my lungs several years ago. The message is simple: be nice to yourself as you don’t know what’s round the corner.

What was lost

It’s OK to think about the things in your life that have gone from it that make you feel better and mourn their loss. I was due to have a THT massage last week – my monthly treat. But obviously it was cancelled. And don’t forget last week me and Dave were due to be in Berlin for a strategically place holiday providing R&R from everyday life. 🙁

berlin bear

Books and Reading

No books read 🙁

In a normal week I can normally knock out one and possibly two books. Theory states I should be powering through them during the lockdown. But I haven’t even got through one last week. 🙁 I think that’s due to a lack of motivation and simply the busyness of work eating into my spare time.

I’ve turned to an old staple and easy read (Lindsay Davis) to get through the initial lockdown phase and its stress after the rigour of Ada Palmer last week (detailed in my previous blog here). I will get Davis completed during the coming week and give my views on it in next week’s blog. 🙂

Art and Culture

Obviously no places to visit during a lockdown but, once I got some motivation and my head around life during lockdown, it has been nice walking early morning on Thurs, Fri and Sat respectively around St James Park, Green Park and the deserted streets of central London. Tons of social distancing from the few other people around.

The joy of a good film

Did manage to watch a great classic film on Thurs night. ‘Cromwell’ with Richard Harris as Oliver Cromwell and Alec Guinness playing a wonderfully baroque and soft-spoken (with a Scottish accent) Charles I. Some liberties taken with historical accuracy but a wonderfully produced extravaganza chronicling a country’s collapse into civil war.

Family and Friends

Making sure mum is OK

Obviously no friends met but several spoken to through phonecalls, texts, and via social media. Suppose a silver lining of lockdown may be renewing and strengthening some friendships.

My main concern has been making sure mum is OK. She is being kept safe and socially isolated whilst I’m staying with Dave in his little flat where we try not to drive each other crazy. However, I have got into a habit of phoning mum in the morning to check she is OK (alive) and then in the evening. She’s bored, but there’s not a lot that can be done about that.

Personal Development

Emails and languages

I’ve managed to keep on top of personal and work emails, and continued to do my language learning via Duolingo and Drops. I am wondering if I should particularly focus on language learning during this lockdown. Target that above all else. Would be great to come out of this proficient in at least one language but not that simple with the draws of work and lethargy. 🙁

The Week Ahead

This section used to be the exciting bit where I would future focus on all the exciting things to come. The lockdown has sort of fucked that up but here are the highlights I can identify:

  • Keep calm and pace myself. Suspect where we are is where we are going to be until at least May.
  • Vary the range of video conferencing and phone calls trying not to let them be too draining
  • Daily walks and perhaps, just perhaps, my head will be in the place for a jog-run again.
  • Must incorporate some housebound exercises into my everyday routine
  • Daily calls to mum will continue
  • Definitely finish the Lindsay Davis book and start on something new
  • Might watch some more films
  • Gonna progress my language learning

And Finally…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.