Lockdown – Two Years On

In many ways it’s hard to believe that it’s already two years ago today that the UK’s first Coronavirus lockdown was announced.

Since then, time feels like it’s done some very strange things – some things feel like only yesterday when it turns out they were three or four years ago, but stuff that was yesterday feels like an eternity has passed.

Here, I’ve been lucky, as I still haven’t caught it – although that’s more by luck than judgement, and probably that’s helped by being single, antisocial, and without children, thus eliminating an awful lot of the potential vectors.  I’ve also been lucky in that it hasn’t affected me in the same ways it’s affected a lot of people – I wasn’t suddenly thrown into a world of working from home, with a lot of my social interactions removed, and nor was I suddenly having to be in close confinement with partners or others.

It’s still not been easy, but it’s been OK. It could have been a lot worse – and obviously for lots of people, it was. And is. And will continue to be.

I don’t know how we’ll handle things in the future. I know that “going back to how things were” is a pipe-dream. We’ll find ways to accommodate life with Coronavirus, and it’ll affect us less (much as it’s already doing) but it’s not going to disappear, and things won’t ever be “how they were”.

Onwards, upwards, whatever.


Vaccinaceous

Somewhat fortuitously, I managed to get my Covid booster jab a few weeks ahead of the latest Omicron variant’s appearance, so it was already in full effect by the time Omicron occurred.  (That wasn’t through anything like me being organised, of course, just the way timings worked out) At the time it was a nicely organised process – rock up at the time booked, sign in, get the jab, wait fifteen minutes (in case I’m allergic to the jab and die, or something) and then fuck off to get on with the rest of my day.

The week after, I also ended up getting my flu jab.  (In my opinion, getting the “you now qualify for a flu jab” message is *definitely* a sign you’re getting old) It’s safe to say that getting that one done was pretty much the polar opposite, and not far short of an absolute clusterfuck.

I’d originally tried booking it through Superdrug, but their entire online presence seems to be “Give us a call to find out”. Utterly, utterly fucking useless.

So eventually I went to Boots where the booking process was long, with big doses of repeated information. (No idea why, but hey ho, got it booked) That bit was OK(ish) though. It was when I got to the shop that things went utterly tits-up.

I got there a couple of minutes early, and no-0ne was in the waiting area. No-one at all. Not even staff.  Another couple of people also arrived to get their jabs. Eventually someone turned up, and gave me a paper form to fill in with all my details. Which was a bit of a concern.

It turned out that – in a large town-centre store – the “proper” jab person was on a day off, and no-one knew their password, or could log in to the system and see what bookings were expected. (Nor, as it turned out, mark appointments as completed etc.) So it was all back to paper, and no-one had a single sodding clue about what was happening, who was booked in (or when) and generally shambolic.

The jab process itself was fine, once everything was sorted.  And thankfully I’ve experienced no real side-effects from either vaccination.

Mind you, the following day, I got a set of messages and emails from Boots telling me that I’d missed my appointment. I assume it’s also not gone into my medical record, so I could probably decide to get another one early in the new year, or something. (Not that I would, but still, fucking hell)

Anyway, it’s all done now, and so far as I’m concerned, if one of these viruses is going to get me, they’re going to have to work bloody hard to do so.


Non-Emergency

Back in early 2021, I did something stupid to my knee – still no idea what – which I didn’t take overly seriously.  It was sore enough that I did use a knee brace – particularly overnight – but it didn’t incapacitate me or anything.

Anyway, it turns out that the brace is quite possibly the worst thing I could’ve done, as it allowed things to heal incorrectly and so on.

The knee still plays up – but it’s intermittent. When I first stand or move, it’s sore as fuck, but then it eases off. I’m still fully capable of walking miles on it, but it’ll hurt significantly the next day, or if I then stop and leave it in one position for a long time (for example, driving home from wherever)  Having talked to others with a similar thing, and doing some research, I think what I managed to do was a meniscal tear – basically ripping some of the meniscal membranes in my knee.  Ooops.

Honestly, it’s pretty certain now that there’s not going to be much I can do to improve it. It’s as healed as it’ll get.  But I’d like to get a proper diagnosis of it, in case I’m wrong – I’m only basing this so far on personal experience (of my own damage, and the stories of others) and Dr. Google/Wikipedia, so it’s quite possible that I could be wrong.

However, getting that diagnosis is proving problematic.  It’s not an urgent thing by any chalk, but that’s an issue. My GP surgery are still only taking bookings on the actual day, so it’s a free-for-all of calling in at 8:30 in the morning in order to get a slot that day.  And honestly, I feel guilty at that point about trying to get a slot that could be better used by someone with, you know, something actually important/urgent.

It really is a massively fuckwitted plan. I don’t understand why they can’t do it so that at least one of the GPs in the practice is doing non-urgent bookings for even one day a week.  (Or balance the load and have a rota of who does a non-urgent day, or even week as a break from the urgent daily shit)

As it is, in this case I don’t honestly know that the GP would even be the best thing – all they’re likely to do is say “Oh, that’ll need an X-Ray/MRI” and refer it to the local(ish) hospital anyway.  So maybe it’d be better to go direct to what used to be the “Minor Injuries” clinic, so I can get a scan straight away. But “Minor Injuries” is now somehow “Urgent Care” (which is somehow different to “Accident and Emergency”) and that has the same effect on me – it’s non-urgent, and there are people way more in need of treatment than I am.

I’ll get round to it in the end, I’m sure. But in the meantime it’s a situation that is utter, utter bollocks.


September Restart (Hopefully)

So, yes, I’m still alive. There’s been a bundle of stuff going on that isn’t blog-friendly (or even interesting) and August has been it’s usual shower of shit.

I don’t know why it happens, but it does, and it’s not a conscious process at all.  But I’ll have about two weeks where pretty much nothing goes right, and it whacks my brain hard, and then I realise that yes, yet again, it’s bloody August.

Obviously this year I also got slightly walloped by July, but well, who’s counting?

As is obvious, I got through it all – and in fairness, it’s nothing major that’s been occurring, I’m still in the same house, same job, nothing epic has altered.  But it hits me hard anyway, like I’ve had enough energy to keep going ’til now, then I just feel like I’ve been slammed into a wall, and there’s little to no time or energy to do anything for a few weeks.

So anyway, yes, September. Let’s see how things go from here…


Jabbed 2

On Friday, I got my second Covid vaccination jab.  It wasn’t supposed to happen ’til 1st June, but as I live in the perineum between two hotspots of new-variant Covid increases, I’d decided to bring it forward a couple of weeks. (And obviously was allowed to do so via the NHS system)

As with last time, the entire process was quick and efficient, and went really well.  The biggest downside was that the nurse managed to stick the needle right into a clump of muscle tissue/fibres, which hurt a bit more than the usual one. “Oh yes, I did see it twitch”, she said afterwards when I commented on it.

Not, of course, that it matters a damn. If that’s the worst of what happens to me, I’m pretty fine with that.

Interestingly, this time I’ve had absolutely no side-effects at all – not even a sore arm.  And again, I’m not complaining about that at all.  It’s just it’s a bit odd, considering how many people seem to suffer those side-effects.

And it also triggers that little paranoid part of my brain that says “Well, if you’ve not even had any soreness, how do you know it’s worked, eh?”.  Which is bloody ridiculous, but still a thought process that’s been happening.

Anyway, it’s all done now – unless the PowerClowns decide we need a booster jab in the autumn/winter, of course.  But for now it’s done, and I am (or at least I will be) as protected as it’s possible to be.  Of course, that won’t stop me from wearing masks and so on – I think they’re going to be here for a while still – but it is good to know I’m doing what I can.


Jabbed

Yesterday, I got my first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine.

It was an impressive piece of organisation (which is how you can tell it was sod-all to do with national Government) – i got to the vaccination centre at 8:55 for my 9am appointment, went straight through, giving necessary information and so on, sat down, got the jab, and was out again by 9:05.

Interestingly, I didn’t have to do the expected sit-and-wait for 15 minutes to check I didn’t have any kind of allergic reaction.  I assume it was because I’d answered no to the questions “Are you on any other medication” and “Have you ever had an allergic reaction” – I know others on the same day in different locations still had to sit and wait – but no explanation was actually given.

Happily, twenty-four hours on, I’ve had no reactions of side effects at all to the first jab, which makes me fairly optimistic for things.

Obviously there’s still a way to go – there’s another three weeks before this dose is supposed to be fully effective, and my second dose is on 1st June.  Even so, that means that by the end of June I’ll be as protected as possible.


Alone vs Lonely

With the current Covid stuff, I’ve found it interesting to see how it has affected a range of people.

One of the big complaints about it is how the lockdowns have made so many people realise how lonely they are, along with the damage it’s done to those social norms and events.

Truly, this isn’t something I can empathise with. I’ve never really lived close to any of my friends – they’re scattered all over the place – so I’m absolutely used to being on my own in any particular area. So I’m alone, but I’m never lonely.

Alongside that, I don’t know, I simply don’t feel those things. I’m happy on my own, and always have been.  Being sociable is my “not normal“, being on my own is the default position.

In all of that, I recognise that I’m “lucky“. I’ve come through this year OK, with far less damage than most people have suffered – whether that’s realising their lives are more lonely than they thought, being ill (or watching others being ill), or just seeing things change so much and feeling insecure because everything “normal” has suddenly tilted beyond recognition.

I sort-of understand that desire for everything to “go back to how it was“, but to me even that still carries a fair degree of self-delusion.  Things have changed, and it’s (to me) far easier and smarter to embrace those changes and make progress with them (I hate the expression “the new normal”, but that’s what this is – even with vaccines and so on, there’ll still be major changes for the forseeable future)

I don’t know what 2021’s going to bring – although I don’t think it’s going to be a positive year – but I’m pretty sure I’ll get through it, same as I have this year. And all I can do is hope that the same is true for those I give a sod about.