The week that felt like a year – Coronavirus and WAH

Sun 15 – Sat 21 March 2020

Bio-hazard symbol

What a week it has been. Perhaps one of the most monumental of our lives – we won’t forget this. The Coronavirus lockdown is certainly up there with the Falklands War, the Fall of the Berlin Wall, New Labour’s 1997 election win, 9/11, and 7/7. I’m pretty sure, as with all those things, that the ripple side-effects will last for years.

I keep needing to pinch myself to think that just over a week ago I was collecting money for Sport Relief. And then Hell broke lose with the order to WAH (Work At Home) for the foreseeable future and the onslaught of advice on social distancing. It really does feel like time itself has changed an got longer. This could be the defining issue of our time that we are living through. It’s certainly showing up the mediocrity of some people with positions of power. 🙁

Work Life Balance

Previously we had been informed we were having a test WAH day on Tuesday – eminently sensible. Then over the weekend, events over took things and this was changed to WAH from Monday onwards; I think this was a common occurrence for many people. I had my work pooter with me so no big problem just my head to get used to it.

WAH is hard particularly the risk of being constantly on duty

Last week was really hard work though. I have spent a huge amount of time in video-conferencing particularly seeing how best I can support my team and how they can do their work remotely – a common issue for many I suspect. It can be done, it’s just getting everything sorted.

One of the big problems from being forced to WAH full-time without any option to meet was simply that it is so easy to be permanently ‘on-duty’. I am still part-time and my job-share colleague has been on leave. So there are tons of emails and it is hard to not look at them or deal with them as soon as they arrive.

We’re all going to be shit hot at video conferencing

One of the key benefits from this enforced WAH is the need to experiment and get better with different video-conferencing platforms. Done several voice only conference calls which seem to work the same on various platfroms. But my favourite video conferencing facility is definitely Slack – set up a group and start the call. 🙂

Health and Efficiency

I don’t feel like I’m at risk

Theoretically I am in the high risk category from Coronavirus as someone with HIV and who should have the flu vaccine each year (though didn’t bother this year, oops). I’ve also have a propensity to develop Pulmonary Embolisms – blood clots on the lungs; this is why I take warfarin and have to have the INR test done regularly. My lungs ain’t great.

But I don’t feel vulnerable particularly as my viral load is undetectable and, as such, my immune system has made a great recovery from the point several years ago when I was on the point of developing AIDS. Plus I take a cocktail of meds to keep me well. Fingers crossed. 🙂

Living with uncertainty

Apparently the symptoms can come on very rapidly and people’s health can change very quickly. More than anything it’s the uncertainty. If we could get mass testing then that would cause the stress in people to dissipate immediately. The main relief I have is knowing that the two main symptoms are fever and persistent dry cough so anything else apart from that is OK. 🙂

The problems of addiction

I seriously think one of the main problems I have at the moment is dealing with drinking less coffee. In normal times I would regularly have several coffees during the day. And I’m not sure coffee from a jar is as strong as coffees made by baristas. I did try to detox from tea and coffee once – it was Hell, never again. 🙁

Seriously though, I wonder how people with addictions are going to deal with this. Addiction is a hellish thing and they will likely still get their drugs but at what cost? And also think of those in recovery who won’t be able to get the support that will stop them from relapsing.

Gym

On Monday I managed to get to the gym which I knew might be the last session for a long time. Then on Tuesday the gym owners took the very responsible step to voluntarily close down – can’t believe some big operators like Pure Gym stayed open until they were instructed to close. I knew this was coming but still made me depressed. It’s a small independent gym with the possibility that it may never reopen. 🙁

Jog-run

Sun 15th in the morning I managed to do my usual 10K jog-run. But it was a very disappointing one with the time a bit over 1 hour and 5 mins; very slow. Video about it can be seen here. Like my gym session on Mon, sort of thought this could be my last jog-run for a while.

I didn’t do anything on Sat (or Sun), just didn’t feel in the mood and wasn’t sure it was safe. I had even thought about just doing a 5K. Hopefully as things pattern out over the coming week and my head gets used to things, so then I can think about how to introduce exercise back in my life.

A long purposeful walk

I did manage 3 hours of walking on Wednesday going to see mum to check she was OK – see below. Decided not to risk public transport, so tried to avoid busy streets and keep social distancing. I was amazed at the number of places still open and people’s failure to keep at least a metre apart. Hopefully I didn’t catch anything and, more importantly, I haven’t passed it to mum.

Where has my motivation gone?

I am finding it very hard to get motivated to exercise whilst housebound. I just don’t feel motivated and my head swims with worries about Dave, mum, work colleagues, my own health, friends, and the world in general. One thing though, I don’t feel like I have been over-eating. Though what I think and what the scales say over the coming weeks may well be two very different things. Strangely I feel more in control of my eating than for a long time. 🙂

Family and Friends

Mum

My main worry at the moment is my mum. Similarly Dave is concerned about his and she is far away whereas mine is in London. They are both at risk in terms of age and underlying conditions so we have got them both, effectively, self-isolating. Fundamentally being on their own but with regular support being provided. For my mum, through me and my brother. For Dave, through his family network.

I am staying with Dave to keep my mum safe but I did visit on Wed. My brother is also staying over occasional nights. We have persuaded her to only go out occasionally and finally managed to persuade her to put Mother’s Day on hold this year. The ideal would be for her to be totally isolated but seeing us albeit briefly will stop her getting depressed. Roll on when I can go back and spend proper time with her.

Perhaps a side-effect of all of this is that we are all more aware of the really old and vulnerable not just the noisy baby boomers who go on about the war but weren’t actually there. 🙂

Last Supper

In these week that feels like a year, last Monday evening I went out for dinner with Dave and our friend Stuart. We ensured we kept our distance. But it was a different time when we had been told meeting was still OK. I knew it would probably be the last meal out for a while. And it was a lovely evening with a lovely friend. Won’t be doing that again for a while. 🙁

Books and Reading

‘Seven Surrenders’ by Ada Palmer

Only one book read last week primarily because it was bloody hard work. The second volume of the Terra Ignota trilogy, ‘a narrative of events of the year 2454’. I read the first volume a while ago and found it a book to get through more than anything. But it was distinctly original with some great points to stimulate thinking. So I decided to take the leap and read book two.

It’s as weird as the first book though helped this time with a list of the main characters which I constantly found myself checking. What I find inspiring is that Palmer has created a human society that is so very different to our own. And that is what I think the world will be like in 400 years time. Consider the difference between our world and Stuart England then times that by 20 due to the increased rate of human technological development.

Fundamentally the story is (I think) about a perfect peaceful and advanced society that is suddenly in danger of falling apart due to a long-term conspiracy. And into this comes a person with special powers. Is it coincidence that he has arrived at this time? Seriously weird – often it’s important just to go with the flow and set aside that it’s not at all clear what is happening.

I suppose I will have to do volume 3 but I won’t rush into it. Perhaps I will wait until the libraries reopen. I think the next few weeks will demand fun and easier reading.

Personal Development

Theoretically all this extra time is a boom for me to focus on personal development. However, I have already pointed out how work is intruding into my free-time – hopefully it will settle as time passes. It’s a bit like being on sabbatical again but also being locked up. I didn’t get everything done then that I wanted. But it did enable me to lose a stone in weight which is surely one of the best things I could have done for my long-term health. 🙂

Obviously no physical art and culture though interesting how so much is being shifted to online. I suspect another long-term effect of the virus and social distancing is more stuff going via the internet and people feeling comfortable with that.

Holidays and travel abroad

Berlin

Last Thursday, me and Dave were due to fly out to Berlin for a week away. 🙁 Managed to get a refund on the hotel but not the airline (thanks Easyjet, hope someone bans your planned supersize dividend payments – totally inappropriate at the moment). Hopefully we will be able to visit there for Folsom Europe in Sept as currently planned.

Future planning

Looks like some other travelling we’ve booked or part-booked won’t be happening like visiting Dave’s mum in April. However, me and Dave have gone a bit crazy and booked a holiday for next year. Our beloved Gran Canaria February 2021. Hopefully we have progressed to some sort of post-Coronavirus normality by then. You have to have hope. 🙂

The Week Ahead

  • Looks like the only going out is to get food and drink
  • Not sure if I will be able to get over to see mum, it’s not exactly ‘essential’ 🙁
  • Daily 3.45 pm huddle with my team will continue
  • Think I’m on line management training on Thurs for 2 and a half hours, all being done remotely
  • Might motivate myself to do some exercise inside and possibly even outside if I think it’s safe enough – which it probably ain’t 🙁
  • Hope to get through a couple of books next week, something more simpler than Ada Palmer 🙂
  • Definitely carry on using my language apps – Duolingo and Drops 🙂

And Finally…

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