Week Seven – urgh.

How, how, how, HOW is it Thursday again already? I mean, when I look back over the past seven days, last Thursday seems like an age ago (ahh the sunshine!) but then it also feels as though I’ve blinked and here I am again writing another blog post during this fucking pandemic. 

This week hasn’t been the best. My youngest son has had a tooth infection and the stress of getting him some antibiotics for it has been quite high, for me, not least because I am the one who is mum, nurse, doctor and physio 99% of the time. When the dentist tells you he won’t treat the infection until it becomes life threatening then you freak out somewhat. Anyway, thanks to Eddie having a compromised immune system on top of having PCD the dentist did give us some antibiotics and they appear to be working, thank feck. (sorry, I might swear a lot today, go with it) Getting the antibiotics was also a source of stress as I’ve not left the house for weeks and so the whole thought of driving to the dental surgery and then actually getting out of the car and interacting with someone who wasn’t a close family member was not a pleasant one. And when I did go, it was so weird to get out of the car and walk on the pavement – on ground that wasn’t in my house or my garden – wearing actual shoes. The lady at the surgery was brilliant and not at all phased by me standing back and reaching out for the medication. As soon as I got in the car I wiped it down with an antibac wipe and slathered antibacterial gel all over my hands. Then I came home, showered and threw my clothes in the wash. I’m aware this was properly over the top bearing in mind I’d touched nothing other than the medication and had seen the lady at the surgery for about two minutes. And then this behaviour got me thinking, will I always feel the need to shower after being out and about? Will I always have to make my children shower after going to school, if they ever return? Will I always wash everyone’s clothes after a trip outside, even when they’re not dirty? Or become agoraphobic and never go anywhere because that’s easier? If you’re starting to hear alarm bells about the state of my mental health then don’t worry, I have already been referred to a psychologist through the boys’ PCD team to support our family with all of this, and she is wonderful. Once again the NHS is bloody brilliant. 

Anyway, what have I learnt this week… seven weeks into this weird, shitty, frustrating, anxiety-inducing, fucking horrible time? This…

  1. Just because you accept something does not mean you have to always be happy about it. Last week I was in a place of acceptance, or was it apathy? Did I simply have no energy to be concerned or upset about it anymore? There have been times in the past seven days when I’ve been genuinely happy and genuinely okay with staying home and not going out at all. But more recently I’ve been pissed off. I understand that we have to stay in and shield as a family, blah blah blah, but it really fucks me off at the moment. I feel trapped. Maybe that’s because the freedom carrot is being dangled for others – mumblings of a possible return to school on 1stJune (at the earliest) or suggestions of being able to have a bubble of ten people that they can see at the weekend. We won’t be able to have a fucking bubble. We can’t ask five other people to completely shield themselves just so we can see them, and so we’ll miss out on social interaction and my children will not be able to see their friends and it fucking sucks (sorry, mum, I probably am swearing a bit too much today, I’ll reign it in.) Some days I remember to take it one day at a time, and I can and I do and it’s ok. But on other days I wake up with a sense of dread and can’t help but wonder how the hell this is going to pan out for us. So do I still accept our situation and understand it? Yes. But am I happy about it? This week that’s a hard, no. 
  2. The more you are starved of something, the more you crave it. I heard someone say this on the television this week and it really resonated with me. It reminds me of when I was pregnant and wasn’t allowed runny eggs or blue cheese or various other foods I love. What I was being denied was all I could think about and my first meal after giving birth was always soft boiled eggs and toast soldiers. And it was delicious. But now I am starved of more than simple food, although flour is still proving tricky to get hold of, and I hate not being able to pop to the shops and get something I fancy at that moment in time, just because I want it. Right now I am being starved of so much more than cravings and whims. I am being starved of my family, my friends, the sea, freedom, feelings of safety and calm, reassurance that this will ever end, things to look forward to, things that make me who I am and keep me. The list goes on. And on. I am craving cuddles with EVERYONE, coffee dates, browsing in shops, long walks in the countryside or on a beach, laughter in a big group of people, someone else fricking cooking for me (I am sooooo over cooking twice a day every bloody day) time on my own. I miss my life. I’ve just read a novel about someone in prison and I identified with a lot of it. There was a line about not even being able to simply pop to the corner shop to get chewing gum. Urgh. Sometimes I feel like I’ve had enough crap in my life already and want to stamp my feet like a petulant toddler and scream that this isn’t fair. I haven’t broken the law. I shouldn’t be locked up. Yes, of course I am still grateful I have a nice house and a lovely garden, but sadly at times those things don’t always help or counteract having sick children. I imagine that even a palace can seem like a prison in time. 
  3. Expectations. Following on from the above I have learnt (well, it’s an ongoing process) to lower my expectations in many ways. I used to look forward to holidays or weekends away. The BIG things. Now I look forward to a meal I’ve planned. Last week it was a full on Wagamama meal that I cooked from scratch, this week we’re having a fake Nandos. I can’t look forward to the big things, like Disneyland Paris in the summer or a week away with my mum, my brother and his family in France and I have no idea when I will be able to look forward to these things again, if ever without the constant threat of evil viruses. So I have lowered my expectations of what brings me joy and what I look forward to. And I really am trying to find pleasure in the little things. Like looking forward to the weather improving at the weekend (where the hell has the sun gone?) or reveling in having just half an hour to myself. I’ve stopped putting stuff in the ‘what we want to do when this is over’ box because I keep reading articles (I know, I know, I shouldn’t read them) about how this is never going to be over and it just seems like I’m putting stuff in a box to be buried along with any hope of ever doing those things. So the little things are all I have to get excited about. Maybe there’s a life lesson there somewhere.  Maybe I should always learn to appreciate the little things. 

Right, I’m sorry I’m being more negative this week, but as always these posts are about being honest. There is no point in recording this time and being part of a research project if I’m not going to tell it like it is. And the novelty of this has definitely worn off this week. Everyone is a little bit more tired, a little more short tempered. Home learning is still going okay, but only from Mon – Weds. By Thursday everyone’s had enough and gives up, including me. The boys are saying they are bored more and more. The 18yo rarely comes out of her bedroom – she feels safe in there with her laptop and her online friends – and I get it. The husband is working harder than ever and by the time he comes down in the evening he is so tired he doesn’t really want to talk. Zoom meetings with friends are still happening, but I’m getting fed up of the slightly artificial way in which you have to communicate via them. And I am still unable to do any creative writing, which is making me feel like I’m wasting some of this lockdown time. But my brain simply cannot create at the moment, and maybe I just need to accept that, instead of battling with it and trying to force something that doesn’t actually need to happen at the moment… 

Lots of people have been saying we’re all in this together, and we are. But as a lot of people are also saying, and as time goes on I’m understanding more and more, we might be in the same storm, but we are very much all in different boats.

Stay safe everyone x 

2 thoughts on “Week Seven – urgh.

  1. Jo Lambourne says:

    Oh Jenny – my heart goes out to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the wider world. It is so important for you to feel that you are not alone and I hope that just writing down your deepest frustrations and emotions may at least help in some small way to stop your internal pressure cooker from blowing a gasket. I was looking back through some old photo albums during the week – and came across some childhood ones of you, James, Ross and Giles in our garden paddling pool. When we look back, these were such carefree days. Although we didn’t fully appreciate that at the time. As our lives unfold, we all have mountains and valleys and our lives are like graphs much of the time (like the government’s statistical ones which we are all heartily sick of!). I hope that the fond memories you must have of all those great family holidays in Cornwall and beyond will sometimes cast a ray of light in the darkness – those days will come again Jenny. None of us knows how long it will take for a vaccine to be discovered, but we live in hope that as the nations are collaborating for once, it won’t be too long. I missed your last 2 blogs – they don’t always appear on my FB page for some reason – so I will go back and read those now. I heard on Monday that my dear Ross, a doctor working in Sunderland, had Covid-19 confirmed – so spare a thought for his partner Lucy and their gorgeous 14month old son Alex at this difficult time. Thinking of you and praying that this coming week will hold some rays of sunshine, both real and metaphorical. Love Jo xx

    • admin says:

      Oh Jo, so lovely to hear from you, but I am so sorry to hear Ross has Covid-19 confirmed. I absolutely will be thinking about you all and him and his family and praying for a quick recovery. It must be so hard for you not to be able to see them. Hopefully you will be able to soon, we have to have hope! I’m also sorry I’m only just replying to you now as well, I have only just seen this comment as I have logged on to upload this week’s post. Take care, love to you all xx ps as my boys splash in the paddling pool in the garden I am now smiling at the happy memories you have reminded me of, carefree times indeed!

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