JulieB By: JulieB
Lecturer in Global Health
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08 Oct 2020 : Did I get too smug?

I might have almost gotten too smug lately. After a brief stint in London over the summer, I settled back down into my very "COVID-secure" home up North which has been a comfy and safe-feeling fortress during these past months... With zero plans to travel, or hardly leave my street even (it's a very nice street), I had settled down until Christmas, or Easter, or perhaps summer 2021 (TBC). It felt OK as a short-to-medium-term plan, especially after 20+ years of massive travels around the world. No TV but plenty of good (unread) books on my book shelf and a fair bit of work to catch up on, as always, plus some walks/runs/cycles in the nearby park on dry days. That was the plan! Extremely low risk, not because I am risk averse, but because I am among the priviledged few who CAN maintain such a low risk lifestyle at this time - and it feels almost like an obligation to do so, at least to me. 

So I was ready for winter, physically, mentally, emotionally, in fact I've been preparing for winter ever since lockdown back in March, as I knew it would be tough to get through. Slightly smug, if I can be honest, looking back now. 

Then today I recieved a phone call from my brother saying that our Mum had tripped over and probably broken her wrist and was about to head to A&E in a busy London hospital, with my Dad for company. So now, in the last 3 or so hours I've found myself booking a train South, searching for a place to stay for an unknown period of time, packing my bike paneers with clothes and items that I might need if I get locked into London or if it gets much colder in the next few weeks, cooking and freezing food that was in my fridge and is likely to go off before I return, watering my plants (which are for once quite healthy, thanks to my zero travels), checking up on how to order and do a COVID test (just in case), and generally organizing things to make the next few weeks easier for everyone. 

While this of course isn't "directly" COVID, it's one of the many indirect ways in which it impacts us - for example, Mum is a very fit, strong and capable walker but months of shielding haven't helped that. And a broken wrist is not a HUGE issue, it could be much worse (hopefully not...! to be honest though I don't know the details yet really...) - but a broken wrist in a pandemic over winter when you've not seen your kids or grandkids all year, IS a huge issue, or can quickly become one. 

So... while I always knew COVID would reach each and every one of us in some way, shape or form, at some point in time, I must admit this took me by surprise when I least expected it. I guess that is just the nature of life though... particularly during COVID times... 

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