St Peter / Balsall Common

Faith and Isolation

21 May 2020 • General news

Isolation Diary -  Anne’s “Faith Cave” resumes -

Nb this page at the moment has the earliest post at the top, so, if you have already read the ones at the top, scroll down the page to where you stopped! We do not offer the opportunity to turn down a corner of the page. When we get to a full week, we shall start again, and move the ‘older’ ones into the archive

56: Isolation Day 66

After the excitement of yesterday, it’s been very quiet at home today. It’s always quiet when the ol’ man isn’t here – he always generates such an energy and buzz that it’s impossible not to be swept up with it. On my own with Mum is a different story altogether of course. But it’s been OK.

Difficult to know exactly what has been happening in the hospital with John though, as I am not there. But I do know that he has had umpteen medics popping in and out of his room to listen to his chest; take blood, blood pressure and oxygen levels; provide drugs or top-up drips; or have another listen to his chest; and to instruct him on using the oxygen tanks, that he’s to cart around everywhere with him for the time being.

He tells me that he thinks that because it is a teaching hospital, he is a ‘project’ for one of the student doctors. At Heartlands, he’s always been an ‘interesting case’ and I think his reputation has preceded him all the way to University Hospital Coventry, too. And, well, for those of us who know and love him, we’ve always thought he be an interesting case……

Naturally, he’s a bit fed up. Obviously, it’s because he’s feeling poorly, but also because he’s in a very different hospital and he’s not sure of the ‘routine’. What time will they wake him up, or administer drugs, or give him his meals – and, more importantly, will he get a night-time cuppa and a biscuit??

I think it was such a long day for him yesterday, that he’s a bit confused about what day of the week it is, when he went into hospital, who said what when – and was that today or yesterday? So that’s not making him feel better about himself either!! Fingers crossed he’ll feel better tomorrow after today’s interventions and a night’s sleep.

As always when John isn’t around, I’m a bit like a puppet with its strings cut. So, this morning, I wafted around, not quite knowing what to do first. In the end, the doorbell rang and that moved me on. The delivery was another pair of ‘wheels’ for John’s ‘car-in-the-garage‘. The ‘wheels’ are little trolleys to put the car onto so that we can manoeuvre it without having to start the engine. I’m looking forward to that!!

The delivery chap (thinking he was helpful, no doubt) dumped the parcel slap bang in front of the hallway door inside the porch. There’d be no getting in or out of the front, any time soon, without moving the parcel. It was quite heavy. So, I took it a little ‘walk’ and the pair of us toddled to the garage, nay, to the ‘car-in-the-garage‘, ready for the waltz with the wheels sometime next week.

While I was in the vicinity of the garage, I took the opportunity to put my own car back on to trickle charge. After that, I was off and running for the rest of the day.

First job? Get the weed killer out and have a go at the pesky bindweed. The only trouble was, it was very, very hot just then. The sun was beating down on my back and little beads of sweat were forming on my brow – most unladylike. Phew….puff…. sigh….. stop. Get a glass of water. Sit down for a bit. Puff….sigh…. a bit more. Prevaricate. Try to extricate the mint from the bindweed. Watch out… don’t get the weed killer on the mint! And, as for trying to unravel the bloomin’ stuff from the jasmine….. well, it was at that point I gave up. Another go tomorrow??

I had managed to persuade Mum to sit outside while I tackled the bindweed, and she provided a great running commentary which, for once, I heeded. “Anne, you’re working too hard. Stop and have a bit of a rest.” Oh, OK then….. “Anne, I do think you should stop and have a cup of tea.” Oh, what a good idea!! And so on….

Right now, I can’t decide whether the bindweed is doomed and will get its comeuppance with the weed killer soon, or whether we are doomed, and it will gleefully thumb its nose at us for ever more. I think it might be the latter, if I’m honest……ah, well, it does have very pretty flowers.

And so the day went on, much in the same vein, me pottering in the garden, Mum providing a running commentary, “You need a bit more soil just here….” until she’d had enough and it really was too hot and she had to go in, just in time to watch Tenable, Tipping Point and The Chase. I ploughed on, trying to clear a bit here and do a bit there. It was nice, but oh, so quiet.

In between times, I spoke to John and other family and friends, oohed and ahhed at images of the grandchildren, laughed out loud at the picture of poo that Michael sent – Chester’s ‘mud kitchen’ feast of yesterday now deposited on the kitchen floor – oh dear, sorry to have laughed. I think I must be verging on the hysterical.

But all of it helped keep me going. And then this evening, after applauding our brilliant NHS and care workers, I zoomed upstairs to chat to my lovely girls from college. The more we ‘Zoom’ the better it is, and this evening was gently wonderful. Love them all.

The virus, though, is still high on my ‘alert’ radar and I understand that the rise in figures the other day that I was fretting about was because of the weekend reporting. However, I am beyond words regarding it all. We do seem to be a country in crisis now, although I accept that hindsight may paint a different picture in months and years to come.

Just for the record though, official figures today: 2,615 people infected in hospitals; 251 people have died in hospitals; and 338 people have died in all settings, as of 5 o’clock yesterday. The NHS figures: 44 people have died in hospitals, with 73 having been confirmed yesterday (19 May 2020).

If you are so inclined, please hold us in your thoughts and prayers – John and I both need a bit of a cradle just now.

49: Isolation Day 59

Potter, potter, potter. That’s what we’ve done today. I’d love to be a fly on my own wall watching us as we move ourselves and items from one place to another and back again. I’d be interested in a ‘time and motion’ study of our lock down movements. I swear the longer it goes on, the more we simply retrace our steps over and over. Up and downstairs; in and out of this room or that; back and fore from front door to back; round and round the kitchen; then round and round the garden. Not like a teddy bear. We haven’t done that yet – we have left that particular activity to others in the village who are telling full and creative stories with their teddy bears on their front doorsteps; from scenes of birthday parties to tributes to Captain Tom, and then on to Zoom meetings, for the delectation of both children and adults walking by.

With the weather being pleasant enough today and John feeling a bit better, he was pottering down at the ‘man shed’ fitting the final touches to the soffits he’d put up a few weeks earlier. This time, there was no Del Boy moment and the ladder stayed put. The ol’ man was pleased with his work, and I was pleased he was pleased, because it’s a step forward in the recovery stakes. I must say, it’s all looking good, and he was only a little bit out of breath after the exertion.

Whilst John was doing that, I had the pleasure of pottering in the utility room washing the washing machine. I hadn’t done it for a while and was shocked at how grimy it had got. I had also forgotten what a fiddly job it is. I mean, you think you’re just going to bung some liquid into the machine, put it through a hot wash and Bob’s your Uncle. But no, there’s all that business of removing the dispenser and giving it a good scrub; and then there’s the rubber seal inside the door to go at; then the door itself, not to mention the filter. Anyway, it was a good job done and it’s all sparkly now, but it’s a reminder of the sort of chore that I’m really not awfully keen on.

Meanwhile, I was surprised to find Mum had got herself out of bed early-ish this morning and was downstairs before ten o’clock. She is funny though. She wafts down in her dressing gown and then drifts into the lounge before settling herself into ‘her’ seat (which used to be my seat, once upon a time), and then just sits, as if waiting for something, but she has no idea what. I bustle about in the kitchen and make her a cup of tea, putting it on the table in anticipation that she’s going to come through for her breakfast. It never happens without the reminder, “Are going to get your breakfast, Mum?” to which she always replies, “Oh, yes.” as if it’s a lovely unexpected surprise.

This morning however, instead of coming through to the kitchen to actually get her breakfast, she disappeared upstairs again. Sensibly, she was getting her hearing aids, but of course I didn’t know that and, after fifteen minutes (and cold tea) I was beginning to wonder where she was and what had happened to her. So, I run upstairs to check – just one of the many occasions when I dart after her to check she’s OK, when she’s been gone for an inordinate amount of time. Ah, well, I suppose it keeps me fit!!

After lunch, I decided to have another ‘sesh’ with ‘Normal People’. Not quite finished it with one more episode to go, but I have really enjoyed it. The characters are brilliantly portrayed, and it is extremely well directed in my opinion – so much so, that I may even watch it again, once I have finished it this time around.

‘Round and round the garden’ beckoned after I’d finished the ‘sesh’ and I suggested to Mum she might like to do the circuit today. She is mostly always reluctant because she’s nicely settled and ensconced in her cosy seat. She peers out of the window anxiously to see what the weather might be like and whether there might be a good excuse for saying ‘no’. Today, however, she simply said, “If you say so.” So off we toddled into the beautiful sunshine and had a lovely mooch around. Even John joined us, and we sat by the raised flower beds, companionably chatting for a while.

Once back indoors, Mum beamed with delight at the experience and said, “I really enjoyed that.” I knew she would, but it’s not always easy to convince her beforehand,and there’s certainly no way she’s going to remember it for the next time it’s suggested, so we’re just going with the flow…….going with the flow…..

After our evening meal, for the first time in a long time, John and I ‘went out’ separately. I ‘went out’ on Zoom for a chat with my college crew, and John ‘went out’ on Zoom for a quiz night with his Uni friends. To paraphrase Elton John, it felt a little bit funny, knowing we were each on a ‘night out’ but not with each other. Whatever is lock down doing to us?? Whatever it’s doing, we both enjoyed our evenings and delighted once more in the friendships we have.

John’s medications went well again today and, excitement of excitements, tomorrow morning will be the last dose of the intravenous antibiotic before he starts on the nebulised version for the next three months. We have been very grateful to all the nursing team who have looked after him so well. They have been kind and thoughtful and gentle – just what we have needed. But in the nicest possible way, we hope we don’t see them again!!

And for the record, we continue in an ‘eased’ lock down with, according the official government report, 3,446 people infected with COVID-19 as of yesterday at 5 p.m. and 280 deaths in hospital; 428 in all settings. More precisely and ‘live’ data, the NHS reports 47 deaths as at 5 p.m. yesterday.

God bless – and peace be with you all.

50: Isolation Day 60

‘Normal Lives’. No-one has normal lives. Everyone’s is unique to its owner, but the thing that got me most about the series on BBC3 was how recognisable the situations were. Sometimes confusing but true. And I loved how it ended – the unspoken, unconditional love emanating from the two key characters, essentially saying it’s OK not to be OK; it’s OK to do what’s best for you at a given point in a relationship; it’s OK to let someone go. But love wins. Cracking stuff. As you can tell, I watched the last episode this morning and found it powerful.

Love wins. That’s what getting me through the lock down. I hang on to that daily. What is it for you?

So today, following loving advice from several people for maintaining one’s sanity, I picked out things I wanted to do and mostly did them, unlike other days when I often drift from one half-finished thought to another. I watched ‘Normal Lives’; did a bit of yoga; did a bit of gardening; listened to some music; helped John as he cleared out the gardening shed and watched The Great British Menu.

Nothing exciting, but these were things I chose to do. They were naturally interspersed with things I would rather not always be doing, of course, like the washing; the dishes; cooking; washing the shopping; cleaning and being general dogsbody. My choices leavened the bread, which was rather good.

I think both John and I were excited that the last of the intravenous antibiotic had been administered today, though. No more early starts being a particular relief. I think we both feel tired from it. However, tiredness hasn’t stopped John getting on. He’s feeling a bit better (although not best, yet) and is keen to tackle a variety of jobs. First off today, it was putting together pieces of timber for a cupboard above the freezer. The front still needs to be fitted, but it’s a very good start.

Then, he’s keen to get his ‘man shed’ at the bottom of the garden well-organised, which means clearing out the shed at the top of the garden. You know that horrible dependency thing? Can’t do that until you’ve done this; and then you can’t this until you’ve done the other? Everything seems to hinge on everything else in the ‘tidy up’ stakes, so a bit of a bother to know where to start. Having said that, the ol’ man has done a grand job on the ‘top of the garden’ shed and it’s ready for racking. (Does a little skip and a dance…)

Although tiredness hasn’t stopped John from tackling jobs or me doing what I need to do, it has made both of us a bit irritable and short on patience. So keeping Mum going today has been less than easy. She’s doing her best, but struggling in quite a few ways, and the latest thing today was toast. For lunch, I offered poached egg on toast. “Lovely.” she said. But once she got it, it wasn’t too lovely. Straining to cut the lightly toasted, thinly-sliced pieces of bread, she puffed and sighed a bit. I succumbed, and said with a brightness that I wasn’t feeling, “Shall I cut it up for you Mum?” I cut off all crusts and then cut the slices into small pieces. Or so I thought. The small pieces weren’t small enough, and there was more puffing and blowing as she tried to cut the small pieces in half. Oh, dear, oh dear. I think toast might be off the menu in future. It certainly irritated the socks off John and he felt obliged to eat his lunch elsewhere.

Sadly, Mum isn’t always remembering from one minute to the next, and there is anxiety about what we are going to do after lockdown is eased, but for now, we plod on and do the best we can. Another little toddle in the garden this afternoon, which she was reluctant to do initially, but thoroughly enjoyed once done.

And then there is always the night time ritual which she and I chuckle about but is wearing, nonetheless. I tell her it’s time for bed. She doesn’t want to go. I tell her I am going upstairs to write my diary. She nods and steadfastly watches the TV. Five minutes later, she comes upstairs and tells me, with her halo shining and with an air of righteousness, that she’s going to bed. I smile and look approving, then ask, “Have you had your night-time tablets, Mum?” She looks puzzled for a minute, thinks hard, putting her finger to her chin before saying, “No, I don’t think I have.” She grins, and I always respond with, “I’ll just run down and get them for you then, shall I?” And we both laugh, as if it’s the first time this has happened – which, for Mum, it may seem to be the case.

This is us, today and probably tomorrow and the next day……..

We are getting through it with love, a bit of humour and a bit of hope. Hoping that we will soon be able to see our family – unless there’s a second wave of the darned virus of course. This first wave is waning with government figures showing 3,560 people infected, 234 deaths in hospital, 384 deaths in all settings as of 5 o’clock yesterday; and the latest NHS figures showing 45 deaths as at 5p.m. on 14 May.

I regret I am numb to the numbers now, although still alert (get the connection?) to the virus in our midst. Hoping that none of the nurses have brought it into our home and that we will be able to live ‘normal lives’ again, sooner rather than later, that involves proximity to our loved ones.

With love to you all – may you be protected and loved every day of your lives.

51: Isolation Day 61

Hopped out of bed fairly early this morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, keen to face the day. The only thing is, it didn’t last….. I did that fateful thing of sitting back on the bed when I took John his morning cup of coffee, chatted with him for a while and then, when he went downstairs, I browsed social media. The brain does weird and wonderful things when it’s hooked into a phone, and I found myself feeling daft all day after that. There were things I had planned to do, but I found little inclination or energy to scamper through the day.

I was delighted to see Malcolm with my shopping mid-morning, and had a lovely chat to him but, after he left, the thought of ‘shopping washing’ descended like a dark cloud and I was a reluctant recruit. In fact, I was a reluctant recruit to nearly all tasks today – didn’t really want to prep lunch, wasn’t thrilled at doing the ironing, definitely put off cleaning the bathrooms and loos, wasn’t keen on prepping the evening meal either, and the excitement I had felt early on of pottering in the garden palled, so I didn’t do it.

I am not blaming social media totally for all of how I have behaved or felt today – I know that anxiety is playing its part. Each time John says he’s keen to get out and about and go to see the family, I feel a bit panicked. What? Leave the security of our home? Leave behind our sanitised cocoon and risk the germ-infested world? Not sure I’m ready for that yet!! Nor am I sure John’s chest is up to it yet, either, but we’ll see. In the meantime, John’s researching full boiler suits and full-face masks to buy, for when we see the kids and the grandchildren. Not sure what they’ll make of them!! Darth Vader eat your heart out…..

There is also the underlying niggle of what to do about Mum – this is also worrying me. She’s not been great again today – another dopey day, falling asleep for most of it, not knowing what she’s doing for the other half of it and irritating the socks off John again. However, I put the film ‘South Pacific’ on for her this afternoon, and she stayed awake for most of that and thoroughly enjoyed singing the songs.

John, on the other hand, is determined to ‘keep going‘ with a growl and a stiff upper lip, so he has been moving all of the gardening gear and the garden chairs from the bottom of the garden up to the newly cleared top shed. He’s done a grand job of repairing the rotting floor, fitting a shelf and attaching chipboard to the sides, ready to put hooks in and hang the garden tools up. It’s going to look ace when it’s finished. He is the most amazing man.

Despite the doldrums, we have had lovely interludes in between times, when Chris from church called to drop in some yoghurt for John that she had thoughtfully bought when she was in Sainsbury’s yesterday, plus chocolate. We had a lovely doorstep chat with her for a while too. Then, a bit later on, the doorbell rang again, and it was Caroline, on her daily walk, just stopping for a chat. How lovely it was to see her smiling face and share in uplifting talk.

And just before our evening meal I video-phoned youngest son, Andrew, and unexpectedly, chatted to him for at least an hour as I prepped the meal. It was lovely to see him and just mull over what’s been happening and share in our current triumphs and disasters. I do so love my kids and I love the fact that they are now adults. It’s so refreshing to be able have an adult-to-adult conversation with them all.

I have marked today as a ‘can do better‘ day, and I thought one of the social media posts I browsed earlier on in the day, was spot-on. After lock down, we probably do need to be stronger than before the lock down, to face the challenges of the different, emerging world before us. Stronger than before in body, mind and spirit, because who knows what the challenges will be? Much as I recognise the wisdom of the advice, I am not particularly cultivating a stronger ‘me’ just now though – maybe tomorrow?

In the meantime, thank you to everyone who is holding us up – it is such an indescribable feeling to know that there is a network of such amazing people who care enough about us to keep us going. Mwah.

So, to the numbers, just for the record, as at 9 o’clock this morning, the government’s official figures are: 3,451 people tested positive as infected with COVID-19; 260 people died in hospital and 468 in all settings. The NHS figures for yesterday were 39 deaths in hospitals.

52: Isolation Day 62

Oh, dear!! I have started to wag my finger at my dear Mum!! How on earth has that happened?

Well, after breakfast, I suggested that she might like to go upstairs to get dressed, so off she went. John and I went into the lounge to drink our tea, as well as me to do some ironing. After a goodly while, John said, “Where’s your Mum?” Grinning, I offered, “Upstairs getting dressed? But we’ll see when she comes down, won’t we?” Ten minutes later, she drifted down the stairs and into the lounge, still in her nightie and dressing gown. “What have you been doing, Mum”? I asked. “I don’t know” she said and went to sit down. “No, don’t sit down again, Mum, I think you were going to get dressed, weren’t you?”

She was reluctant to stay standing and made a determined effort to sit down. “Come on, let’s go and get you dressed.” I cajoled. Very unwillingly, she dragged her feet like a toddler, as I led her back upstairs. That’s when the finger wagging started. “Now, then, make sure you change all your clothes when you get dressed won’t you? I shall be checking…..” I teased. But I realised how deadly serious I was when I noticed my finger wagging at her…… oh, dear!! I had to laugh that it’s come to this! Fortunately, she didn’t seem to mind……

Other than that, it’s been quite a good day.

John has thoroughly enjoyed mooching about in his ‘man shed’ and garage. The only annoying thing was that he planned to bolt on the fascia for his Lotus – only to find that the fixings he’d ordered were ‘bolts’, and not ‘set screws’….. to be honest, I didn’t know the difference, until he showed me!! But now I know! How about you….doyou know the difference??

In addition to John’s mooching, there have been twoexciting episodes today. Firstly, we had a bit of a conversation with Paul on WhatsApp, which offered two alternatives: a) we’ll come to your house to deliver the bits we’ve got for you; or b) you come to our house to collect the bits we’ve got for you. In the end, Paul came to us. Aaaahhhh, bliss!!

We sat on the patio, Paul sat on the lawn……and we chatted and chatted and chatted….. it was beautiful and sublime. Even Mum joined in for a bit, asking Paul how the family was going on (several times) and telling him how she was faring.

I didn’t want to let him go. I knew he had the family to get back to and we thought we said goodbye as soon as he felt it was time, but did we hang on to him too long? I don’t know, but we would have liked to hang on to him even longer!

Then, secondly, we had a family quiz this evening, organised by the ever-efficient Catherine, and we so enjoyed ourselves. We came last as expected (if only we knew anything about music which we don’t), but it didn’t matter to us as we did OK on some of the rounds.

In between the beautiful family moments, we drew on our own instants of satisfaction during the day. I nipped out into the garden to lift up some Montbretia from the front garden to transplant it into the raised beds at the back; and John, contentedly, tiddled about on his car. I also cooked the traditional Sunday Roast, which was absolutely delicious, and we had a fabulous rhubarb crumble for afters as well, to which we all went back for seconds. Yummy, yum, yum!!

To accompany the rather delicious roast, I opened a beautiful bottle of Pouilly Fumé that Paul had gifted me the other week. Oh, my! It was nectar. I had said to him that I hadn’t yet opened it because it was such a nice one and he said, “Mum, just enjoy it.” So…….. we did!!

And so, to the tally…..3,534 infectees, 147 deaths in hospitals, 170 deaths in all settings, attributed to COVID-19, according to the government figures yesterday; but, more up-to-date and more accurately, just 33 deaths, as reported by the NHS.

The figures are coming down……..Let’s hope they stay that way. God bless.

Nothing new to see here folks. Keep on keeping on. And God bless you all.

53: Isolation Day 63

It was such a beautiful morning that I thought, “I know, I’ll put on me shorts.” I did, but they aren’t half tight!! It’s all that chocolate, and the lovely wine I’ve been drinking wot’s done it……I have kept them on all day though, and they feel quite cosy now.

They were a boon, too, when we were out in the garden, sitting in the sunshine. The sun was lovely and warm, the birds were singing their heads off, the garden is looking neat and we were all quite companionable together once we’d got Mum settled. It was almost a case of Goldilocks and the Three Bears again today, but not quite. Just the two chairs to try out today before she was happy. Mind you, there was still a bit of running about. “Do you want a cushion, Mum?” Oh, yes. Then she was rubbing her neck, and I thought the breeze was bothering her. “You’re not cold, are you, Mum?” But no, it was the sun – too hot. So up we get again to get the parasol for shade.

Whilst we were out there relaxing, John and I had a bit of a giggle trying to take a selfie in front of our rather glorious jasmine, which climbs up the back of the house. But how is it that the kids can do these things so well? They must have arms like Inspector Gadget to get the angles they do on their selfies! We finally managed a pic that we thought was acceptable though, after much gurning and a zillion failed attempts. Another one for the lock down scrapbook. We’re getting quite a collection now.

After a lovely lazy time sitting sunning ourselves, we thought we’d better get on. Heaven knows why we still push on, but we do. There is always something to do in our house. It’s like the Forth Bridge – nothing is ever finished. So, I toddled about to tidy the utility room which, during the ‘great kitchen makeover’ had become the paint store, the tool store and a plant nursery. I pretty much had to dig it out, but it’s done now – whoopee-doop!

John, on the other hand, thought he’d have a go at completing the cupboard above the fridge freezer. There was a lot of grunting and swearing as he refitted the cupboard shell – not an easy job, after all. He’d been at it for about an hour maybe, fitting, removing, refitting, popping out to the garage or ‘man shed’ to get drill bits, the right screw or an extra piece of wood, when I heard a bit of a yell. As I looked through into the kitchen from the utility room I saw him flying through the air – all in slow motion – then tumbling to the ground. What the……?

You know how you think you know where the steps are to step onto? Yes, it was one of those! The darned steps just weren’t quite where he thought they were, and he stepped into thin air. Did a grand job of flying though – I was very impressed. And his tumble to the ground was pretty good too. Managed to avoid all sorts of hazards on the way down and was up pretty quickly, panther-like, after the not-so-soft landing.

Fortunately, not too much damage done – a bit of a shock and a very bruised ego; he wasn’t half cross with himself. So we thought we’d wait a day or two before carrying on with sorting out that particular cupboard. Get our breath back, so to speak. Which he needs just now, probably, as he’s still coughing and wheezing well. As I write, I hear ‘Puffing Billy’ coming up the stairs – it’s great new nickname, which he chose himself…..

Having put the jobs on hold, the lazy day continued then into the evening and we sat down after our evening meal (at which, I am pleased to tell you, I did not have any wine for a change) to catch up on some TV. I don’t even remember what we were watching, but I was amused to find, when I woke up from my little doze, that both Mum and John were dozing through the programme, too……..crikey, I thought, who put sleeping pills in the tea? Must be sun making us tired, do you think?

Looking forward to more sunshine tomorrow, according to the weather forecast, so I am planning to get out into the garden again and tackle the blooming bindweed. It’s having the time of it’s life winding itself around all my lovely plants. Don’t get me wrong, unlike most people, I quite like bindweed. It has such a beautiful flower. But just now I can’t tell where the jasmine starts and the bindweed ends. So I reckon that’s going to be a fun job…..

In the meantime, I am relieved to see today that the virus is beginning to unwind itself from infecting the population in quite such vast numbers. As of 5 o’clock yesterday evening, the official government figures show 2,684 people infected, 138 deaths in hospitals and 160 in all settings. The NHS figures for deaths in hospitals on the same day was 27; with the previous day’s figures finalised at 92.

As the lock down rules relax, I hope we will all relax, too. God bless, and peace be with you.

54: Isolation Day 64

Oh, joy of joys! Paul called in today, unexpectedly, to pick up emergency sandpit rations, and he brought Freddie with him!!

Apparently, the sand in Freddie’s own sandpit was out of bounds because their dog, Mac, had been overly interested in it. All the stores were out of play sand on a Tuesday afternoon, so had we got any spare? The only thing is, said Paul, I’ve got Freddie with me. Well, it was a hot, sunny day and it was easy to be socially distanced outside, so we said, “Come.” We uncoiled the hose and lay it down just beyond the patio to illustrate the ‘no-go’ area, which Freddie respected beautifully, and then we sat on the patio while Paul and Freddie played in the main part of the garden.

It was lovely. Just lovely – to hear Freddie’s piping little voice echoing round the garden again; to see him race to the swing and tummy-swing for ages, or twizzle on it round and round and back again; to enjoy his excitement of ‘hide and seek’ and his giggling in the tickling game; to hear him talk of his ‘tree house’ in the little woods at the bottom of the garden; and to listen to him excitedly pointing out the fish, the damsel flies, the frog and the lily pads on the pond – and “Can we feed the fish, Daddy?”

The only thing was, when it came time to go home, Freddie didn’t really want to go, and we didn’t want to let him go. But his virtual hug was out of this world. Parting is such sweet sorrow…….

The visit has pretty much eclipsed everything else we have done today – so much so that I can hardly think what we did until this evening, when we had a lovely couple of hours chatting to dearest friends Pete and Dawn, and Carol and John on Skype. We had hoped to Skype in the luxury of our lounge, projecting the pictures onto the TV screen, but we weren’t able to get it working properly initially, and then Mum had a bit of a fit about the fact she wouldn’t be able to watch the rest of Doc Martin, so we abandoned the idea and simply ‘lap-topped’ it instead. But it was oh, so really good to see everyone and share our lock down stories.

I had intended today to be ‘bindweed-ageddon’ but in the end, what with one thing or another, I didn’t manage it. Although I was up relatively early, household duties seemed to take precedence and then it was lunchtime already!! After lunch, of course, we were certainly not going to turn down an opportunity to see number one son and Freddie, were we?

John did manage a bit of something today though – he went back to the ‘cupboard above the fridge freezer’ and screwed it into place. Then spent some time putting together the frame for the door. He’s done well although, I must say, he is coughing and wheezing far too well for my liking……

Mum has joined in pretty well today and even helped me plant out some seeds into trays this morning, which she really enjoyed doing. I do hope the seeds germinate now…. In addition, she had a little walk round the garden, joined us outside for lunch and also sat on the patio to watch Freddie play, before feeling too hot and going back inside to watch TV.

I have been so wrapped in family and friends today, I have hardly glanced at the news but, whoosh! Just like that, the figures are shocking today for deaths in all settings – I am not sure why. The official figures from the government are that 2,412 people were confirmed as infected yesterday, 199 people died in hospitals and 545 people died in all settings. The NHS figures show 29 people died in hospital yesterday, with 94 confirmed for the previous day.

Take care everyone – it’s not over yet.

55: Isolation Day 65

So…. the bindweed lives to fight another day!! How did that happen, I hear you ask? Well, it was like this…

It’s been a day of two halves. This morning was most delightful and enjoyable. We got up with the sunshine, breakfasted like kings, and looked forward to the day. I busied myself, rummaging in the attic, to extricate soft furnishings for the garden furniture in anticipation of two of our oldest friends, Dave and Chris, calling in. I set the garden up beautifully – with chairs well-spaced; some in shade, some in sunshine, for every eventuality, including the obligatory social distancing……and then…….. they were here!!!

Excitedly, I ran in from the garden and woke John from his slumber on the settee to let him know. He’d had a bit of a bad night – hadn’t slept well – and was struggling with his cough. But we welcomed our dear friends into the garden, keeping our distance, and chose where best to sit – among the shade of the trees, as it was already about 27°C even at 11 o’clock in the morning – and chatted away.

I was thrilled when Chris presented us with a bag of goodies, too. Inside, there was cake! Chris is famed for her cake where she lives in Rugby, and so we were delighted and felt graced to have one her fabulous Victoria Sponges. Not only that, there was chocolate as well. Oh, alleluia!!

Dave and Chris had planned to spend 10 minutes saying ‘hello’, maybe on the path at the front; but we have such a big garden, so how lovely to sit and chat there instead of on the drive?

As usual, I was like a ‘jack-in-box’. Up and down, to check on Mum – making sure she was dressed; she’d made it downstairs in one piece; had her breakfast; had taken her tablets; felt safe; didn’t want to come outside/did want to come outside?

And then, I thought that John wasn’t feeling great, so ran upstairs to get the thermometer. “What are you doing that for?” he asked. “Well, I can feel something going on as I sit beside you, dear……” Temperature: 37.8°C. Hmmm……. well, that’s bit higher than a) yesterday; and b) I would like to see.

Once Mum was downstairs, I let her know that friends from my teenage years were here and would she like to meet up with them? Oh, yes, please. And, with that, she was up and fairly scampered down the garden to greet them. She sat with us and enjoyed the to-and-fro chat, even contributing to it herself, calling up memories that weren’t quite as we remembered them. No-one minded. It was just nice to enjoy each other’s company.

Having enjoyed seeing their wonderful, smiling faces and hearing about what’s happening in their lives we bade Dave and Chris a fond farewell, at last. Then we planned to tuck into cake…..

Before cake and after lunch, John was tired, so he went to bed. Just before you go…. can I take your temperature, please? Oh, it’s now 37.9°C. Take your jumper off and make sure you lie down on top of the covers. I’ll check your temperature in an hour.

After being bothered about John’s chest over the last day or two, I phoned the respiratory nurses this morning, who suggested leaving off the nebulised antibiotic for a day or two as it may not be agreeing with him.

However, it was clear to me that he wasn’t well and his temperature was increasing. At 38.2°C, I said, “John? I’m going to phone the hospital to see what they advise.” “Yeah, whatever.” I left a message for the respiratory nurses. Then I phoned the Triage nurse on Haematology and her advice was to dial 999. I queried it as an ambulance wouldn’t take John to Heartlands. She repeated the advice. I discussed it with John, “Yeah, whatever.” I thought about it for a bit. In the end, I dialled 999. The respiratory nurse phoned back just as the ambulance crew arrived. “Yes, good, I’d have advised calling them, too.”

So, that’s it. The ol’ man is hospital again, just not the hospital he’s used to and one which doesn’t have his records. I’ve wondered, over and over, whether I should have dialled the ambulance service or whether I should have bundled him into the car and taken him to Heartlands. However, everyone tells me, including Moira who phoned at tea-time to offer support, that The University Hospital Coventry has good nurses and doctors, so I think it’s OK and he’ll be out in a day or two. And John tells me that they are going to touch base with Heartlands tomorrow – yessss…..

I went out into the garden after John left, and thought maybe I’d tackle the bindweed then. But really, the mood didn’t take me, so it’s lived to see another day. Maybe tomorrow?

Mum was upset by the ‘doings’ of this afternoon and she wore her worried face. I regret that, although I was kind, I didn’t feel that I could sympathise. I was too worried myself, and was very grateful for lovely Margaret and her husband, Chris’s visit, offering me a bottle of wine to ‘keep me going’. They caught me just after John had left, and I was never more pleased to see someone who brought love with them than they did just then. Livia also passed by, and I felt blessed again.

Obviously, I chatted to the children (each 39, 33 and 30 years old respectively) to let them know that their Dad was at leisure in a hospitalised environment again, and was eternally grateful for their love and support, too.

Finally, as luck would have it, I chatted for over an hour to my dear friend Anita, who offered words of wisdom like no other could.

And so, today, I haven’t taken note of the situation with the Corona-virus as, a) I was too busy enjoying myself this morning, and b) I was too preoccupied with our situation at home this afternoon, so I shall look at all that tomorrow.

God bless and thank the Lord for medical staff, dear family and friends.

The new sequence begins again on Friday 15th  May, and you can find the backrun via the link at the bottom of this page. We add an episode daily, but move the block each Friday.

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