It’s freedom day. From today, Thursday 24th February 2022, In England, with self isolation restrictions lifted, you will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19. The advice is to stay at home if you can and avoid contact with other people. I just had the displeasure of experiencing the Rona first hand and was keen to talk about why I believe this is the right decision at this time.
The day I caught the virus
Well it was inevitable really wasn’t it. I’ve got two kids in primary school. My eldest got it first. We were only testing daily as there were so many cases in his school. When the double lines showed up, we were all a bit shocked really because he seemed totally fine and if it wasn’t for the school requirement, I wouldn’t have tested him. Despite someone in my household now positive, legally my youngest was still allowed to go to school and although it felt strange taking him, we knew how important it was for him to get out while he still could and learn in the best educational setting for him, which, for him, is at school.
My eldest developed a high temperature that day and complained of feeling very sick which was worrying but after a dose of calpol and a couple of hours sleep, he improved quickly and didn’t suffer any other symptoms at all for the rest of the time.
It felt like we’d been dreading and preparing for this for so long. Now it was here. In my home.
I infected myself
I may or may not have licked his positive swab. Let’s face it. It’s chicken pox party time. I’ve got shit to do. I can’t be tiptoeing around my own home in a hazmet suit avoiding the obvious. I decided to put my trust in science. I’ve had both jabs and a booster. I exercise daily. I’m within my BMI. I eat mindfully and as far as I know, I don’t have underlying health conditions. So my thought was to just get it over and done with already.
Am I stupid? Of course I am!
I’d felt rough two days previously. A scratchy throat and a tiredness akin to jetlag. There was also the mysterious case of my Mimosa tasting like washing up liquid but at the time I blamed my husband’s dishwashing abilities!
As a mum of two very bouncy boys, feeling jet lagged is not unusual for me. When I took the test I, honestly, felt relief. Two years ago I was really scared of this virus. Really scared. Today I know there are treatments. I know I’ve done all I can up to this point, successfully, not to get it. Until now. My son caught it from his class at school. Throughout the pandemic I’ve followed the guidelines and have always been mindful of the risk I put myself and my family in. School was out of my control but I knew how important and necessary it was for my boys to go. We took that calculated risk.
Once I confirmed my infection, I felt like I’d been arrested. I’d be fined if I leave my home. It was a really strange feeling. Even during lockdown we were allowed out for one hour. I couldn’t comprehend not walking out my front door for 11 days. I’m a walker. I need to be in the fresh air.
I couldn’t figure out if I felt really poorly or not. I managed to continue with my workouts but as the week went on I was too lethargic and knew my body was telling me to rest. It DID feel like a cold. A somewhat unnatural cold with a few symptoms I’d never experienced before. My skin was really itchy at times and I did lose my sense of taste and smell for a couple of weeks. Ultimately, I did wonder how much of it was in my head.
‘Drop the bags and run for your life’
The Ocado delivery driver laughed when I told him to drop the bags and run for his life. I felt ‘infected.’So many people I knew had it which was strangely comforting although I couldn’t help but feel I should be tucked up in bed with get well cards and a fruit basket (I totally got a get well card and a fruit basket, by the way, from my amazing in-laws.)
Not being allowed out was incredibly frustating and, in my opinion, was detrimental to my recovery. Gentle exercise and fresh air is the best medicine you can get and not being able to go out for a walk was bad. So that’s why I’m pleased we are moving into the next phase of living with this virus. Because that is what we have to do now.
I fully appreciate that not everyone will be quite so comfortable with it and I understand why. I realise this virus behaves in a way that affects everybody totally differently. It doesn’t matter if you’re 95 or if you’re fit and healthy. If it’s going to get you bad, it will. I was lucky not to suffer too badly. I DID suffer. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not something I want again.
I’m the kind of person that checks if the people around me are allergic to nuts before I eat something containing nuts! So I know that I will behave mindfully when it comes to having an infection of any kind and being in public.
What the doctor said
I wanted a doctor’s opinion on the recent rule changes. So who better to call on than Cambridge-based medical doctor Simon Poole MBBS DRCOG FBMA MIANE.
‘For many, Omicron is very mild, for some it is a fairly nasty illness you’d certainly prefer not to have, and for a minority it remains a potentially fatal illness.
As always there needs to be a balance between the cost in terms of serious illness, the toll of isolation on mental health and the economic harm that restrictions can create.
We are moving to a phase of personal responsibility.
With this comes the need, in my opinion, to be thoughtful and caring of others. Being kind and compassionate needs to be the foundation of the new era where we need to be respectful of good “Covid Etiquette”:
I shall behave in a way which follows the principles that I do not wish to inadvertently give you or your vulnerable loved ones a potentially fatal illness.
I shall remain socially distant unless invited closer by mutual consent.
I shall wear a mask if either you or I feel safer.
I shall do a lateral flow if I visit you and respect any requests to do so from others.(I think it’s a big mistake to limit availability of tests to those who choose to afford it)
This new Covid Etiquette depends on personal responsibility but it also depends on kindness and thoughtfulness towards others, loved ones and strangers alike).
I keep up to date with vaccination not only for my protection but also for the protection of my grandmother and the stranger who I might sit next to in a train..
Are we as a society capable of that?’
Dr Poole’s comments are mirrored by Abbas Kanani, a pharmacist at Chemist Click who said;
‘This is probably the right thing to do at this point in time. This January, the cases were three times more as last January, but due to most people being vaccinated, the deaths were nowhere near as many. We have to return to normality at some point. I still would advise those that are vulnerable to continue to socially distance and wear face masks.’