Lockdown Life – Days 11 to 14

Sunday 5 April 2020 – Day 11

Today New Zealand had another 89 cases, bringing our total to 1039, of which 882 are active cases. The USA has skyrocketed with more than 300,000 cases, and adding active cases in the 20,000 lots. Spain and Italy are close behind in total numbers, but seem to have slowed a little with numbers. I am noticing the media coverage changing a little as we go on and the media look for new angles – we have had the infection experts, health professionals and politicians, now we are having news fed to us about how to keep our mental health wellbeing and stories of those who are violating lockdown. Overall, I think our nation is doing pretty well, but you are always going to have the ‘idiots’, as Jacinda named a Kiwi who coughed and sneezed while filming himself in the supermarket. Beyond belief how stupid some people are and how little they can respect ‘society’ rules.

At the end of the day, we can only control our own environment and reactions to this kind of thing, but it’s tough to keep social distance from people who just think the rules are for other people. I like to think I take personal responsibility to be a kind and compassionate member of society, but I get really frustrated that when there are rules put in place for the good of ‘everyone’ that there is always that element that can’t lift their morales enough for the greater good. Rant over.

We are struggling a little now with no carer day or night. Phil stayed up until 5 am (daylight saving so really 6 am) and then I got up and took over from there. With the portable DVD player now broken, we have less ‘time passing’ ammunition in our tool box, and while we can try to get Mitch to engage in other things, the concentration level continues to be a challenge.

Holly and I watched Oceans Twelve tonight – both thought it wasn’t as good as Oceans Eleven, but it was entertainment and something to do together.

E came from her 3rd to last shift before she finishes on Easter Weekend. She has been such a mainstay, the Sunday night landscape is going to change somewhat.

Monday 6 April – Day 12

Up early for Mitch this morning, and he awoke at 7.20 am. No surprises there – if I am on duty, he bounces out of bed.

Cleaned the microwave and oven while he watched Wallace and Gromit and then headed out for a walk. Not a lot to report, but by about 2 pm I was feeling over the lockdown. With Mitchell’s DVD out of action, it’s quite a pain not being able to replace it. We have such limited options for entertainment for him, and there has already been so many routine changes that it is hard to keep optimistic about how to fill his days.

Did a quick page in my gratitude journal today.

Tuesday 7 April – Day 13

A slightly lower number of new cases today, which is some consolation. In the news our Health Minister David Clarke had broken lockdown rules for the second time, this time going to a beach about 20 kms away from his home. He is being stood down from his assistant finance ministerial role and is hanging on by a thread as Health Minister. Hard to see how someone who can’t follow the rules is going to be able to control the health portfolio.

Still trying to write a sober lockdown story for Living Sober, but I seem to be starting and stopping. An uneventful day with Georgia working 7 to 3 and then me taking care of Mitch in the afternoon.

Wednesday 8 April – Day 14

How quickly one can resort to feeling low. About 3 months ago when I went to the doctor for my ‘regular’ medications, I discussed with him whether I might one day be able to get off both the anti-depressants and blood pressure medications. I think things had started to feel more positive, with the trip to look forward to, finances getting rearranged and a bit of extra work coming my way, Mitchell’s behaviour in a settled patch and I was getting back into exercise. While I can’t say I was feeling joyful, I was experiencing HOPE.

I am classified as ‘clinically’ depressed (aka major depression) and causes of this are related to a combination of biological, psychological and social sources of distress, which eventually upset the chemical balance and neurons and pathways or connections in the brain. My GP looked at me and suggested that our situation was not improved enough that I would cope off my tablets. He gently said you need everything to be going right and that he didn’t think our home situation was stable enough to think about it. I immediately started bawling my eyes out. A sure sign I was ready to go off my meds, don’t you think? Well, things were a bit better, but not that great.

Which brings me to today, and that sinking feeling of hopelessness that sits alongside depression. When you are caring for a high and complex child, one of the real problems is a sense of isolation and the total lack of personal freedom. I am a natural extrovert, a social creature, so those feelings of being home all day, with limited options of what you can do have returned in this lock-down. It takes me back to those first few years at home, where I was unable to go out in the car, with my children unless a had someone with me to help. The logistics of taking oxygen, suction, ambibag and regular toddler ‘stuff’ was overwhelming on top of two kids, Not just tricky, but not safe. Mitchell needed to be watched constantly, to ensure he didn’t disconnect, that his swedish nose was attached to the oxygen, that his trache tube didn’t block. It felt like home detention sometimes, and lockdown has a little bit of that element to it. The positive is that it makes remember how far we have come. Today, taking Mitchell out for a walk was as simple as putting on our shoes, putting my phone in my pocket and picking up the keys. Sure I put him in his wheelchair but I didn’t have to carry something on my back and hang a suction machine on the handles. We have come a long way, and I need to remember how much progress he has made, and in turn, what our whole family has managed so far.

So, one thing I know, this family has been through a lot of ‘stuff’, but we are resilient, and that is going to help us come out the other side of this pandemic not too bad. Plus, while it might feel like a hopeless situation, I need to remember my favourite saying.

Stay well, and stay home.

Cheire xxx

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