Living a Life in Lockdown – reflections from Trevor, an unpaid carer

Isolation is something I have lived with for many years.  I am an unpaid carer for my son Scott who lives independently, we talk on the phone to keep in touch.

But living a life in lockdown is challenging and requires a lot of ingenuity and thoughtful routine development. Finding things to do to fill my days, at first was a strange way of looking at things.  Little things become an event, like when the post drops on the floor, through the letterbox. I don’t pick up the envelopes for a day, I just leave them there on the floor. Then the next day I pick them up wearing gloves and wipe down the envelopes, before I open them. I know it’s overkill, but is it? I ask myself but no one really knows where this virus is or how long it stays on surfaces, so is this an over the top response? Who knows, I suppose time will tell us that.

Other events fill my days; shopping.  I am 74 years old and I’m on that at risk list, but shopping online was a complete dead loss. I tried all the superstores with no success at all in getting a delivery slot.  Then I had a phone call from my landlord, City Homes, asking me if I am coping OK?  I told them of my problem with getting any shopping done was zero and was considering going into Arnold to shop. She asked me not to venture out to shop as I am at risk and gave me a number to ring at the City Council.  I rang them and they gave me a number for Morrison’s doorstep deliveries for anyone on the at-risk list. I did this and they delivered 24 hours later.  I have used this service three times now and it works really well.

They emailed me a list of items I can choose from, but I can also request things that are not on the list too. Now one of my daily events is adding to the shopping list each day, so I don’t forget when I order a delivery each Monday.   

Tuesday is the receiving the shopping event!  Asking me to touch their hand-held machine at arm’s length with my touch card is the closest I get to the delivery girls. They place my shopping in bags at my door, I then take the shopping into my flat and place them on the worktop in the kitchen wearing gloves.

After tipping the bags out onto the worktop I throw the bags away. Then I get a baby wipe and wipe down all the shopping one by one, making sure not to miss any surfaces of all the packaging, throwing away the baby wipes as I use one wipe for each item. Still wearing gloves, I remove all the packaging and throw them into the bin and wipe down the worktop and my gloves before I take them off. I then wash my hands for the recommended 20 seconds.

I touch the food for the first time with my hands to store them in the fridge and cupboards. Again is this an overkill, quite frankly I don’t care if it is or not, it helps me fill my day and that’s is the most important thing while I am living a life in lockdown, to help me keep my wellbeing in check. 

I have had an account with Netflix on my TV for £5-99 a month for around 2 years now. But I have never used it as much as I do now, looking at a film is something I have always enjoyed, helping me escape for a short time, immersing myself into the film’s storyline and action.  I have to say there are a lot of naff films out there, this is shown with the amount of films I have not yet finished.  I have become a pretty good film critic now, I can spot a naff film in the first 5 minutes on average.

I look at a film in the afternoon and another in the evening to help fill my days.

I have always cooked a little in the past, but now I cook all the time, getting fresh veg, fruit & salad stuff, means it all stays fresh in the fridge.  Today I took to doing a stir fry, preparing carrots, cauliflower and broccoli, in a wok with a little rapeseed oil, while I pop a lamb shank in the oven. Boil a few spuds to mash and ruin the lot with lumpy gravy, I am crap at making decent gravy folks!

I have also developed a taste for Greek yogurt too with a few fresh berries and honey.  It’s a really nice sweet and it keeps me off the chocolate, ice cream, apple pies, chocolate, cream, cakes, chocolate and jam tarts (OK I love chocolate gezzzzz who doesn’t!).

But seriously eating is a big issue, trying not to eat too much and eat all the right stuff is not easy when you have so much time on your hands.  To be truthful, I think all the events I invent are to keep me busy and stop me from munching on food without even realising it.  

So I have developed a morning routine of exercise, I have a gym bike and stepper in my bedroom and I put myself through a hard 15 minutes, then crawl to the bathroom, gasping for oxygen, to get a hot shower.

This sets me up for the day, to get dressed as though I am going out, I find this is important, so I don’t just hang about in my jammy’s all day.  I also go for a walk for about half an hour most days too.

But with all that I have said here, it is vital I don’t do the same thing at the same time each day, varying my events all the time to get away from a totally planned day as this would only bore me stiff. So, with all this in mind I do it when I want to do it, in a way that feels good and not because it must be done.  I love distraction, like a phone call, cutting into your day’s event, is a good thing.

Being spontaneous is what makes me feel good, living a life in lockdown.

Trevor Clower

Unpaid Carer   

Trevor Clower
Unpaid Carer – Involvement Volunteer

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