Going the Social Distance

I woke up this morning at 7 am, sneezed twice, and convinced myself that I had COVID-19 again. Not that I’ve ever had COVID-19 (at least not that I know of), but every ache/pain/cough/splutter over the last couple of weeks has ratcheted my heart rate something shocking. It will be a miracle if I get through this without giving myself a heart attack.

Two nights ago, I took my temperature after a hot flush! I’m 51 – hot flushes are the norm these days…but worrying about carrying a virus to my mother that will potentially kill her is not the norm. I don’t consider myself to be a high risk. I work from home, and I’m already a bit ‘Sheldon’ on germ transfer, so I’d be surprised to catch the virus – but then again, aren’t we all thinking this? Isn’t this a classic “it will never happen to me” situation?

Anyway, there I was half awake at 7 am on a Sunday when the world was cancelled – even Mass. (I mean, if that’s not a signpost to the end of the world, what is?) So I rolled over and went back to sleep, only to lapse into a dream about My Husband panic-buying food that he doesn’t like. (He’s an infuriatingly picky eater.) He was preparing to cook turkeys (food neither of us enjoys) in commercial deep fat fryers that, in real life, we don’t own. In this dream, a beautiful white husky arrived at the back door with a tiny puppy in her mouth. As I was trying to find some turkey to feed to the dog, family members arrived at our door with red eyes and streaming noses. And we let them into our house… While the husky ran away! Was this some sort of fever-induced nightmare?

Actually no. It’s a fairly normal dream for me. I recently got a Garmin fitness tracker, which tells you how much sleep you get and what kind of sleep. Out of 8 hours of sleep, the average person gets 1 ½ hours of deep sleep and 1 ½ hours of REM sleep. Me? Well, typically, I get ½ hour of deep sleep and about 3 hours of REM! One night I got 5 hours of REM. I don’t just dream feature-length movies; I dream entire box sets, get up to go to the loo, and resume where I left off when I get back to sleep.

I read that high amounts of REM sleep was a sign of anxiety, but I wouldn’t say I’m anymore anxious than the next person. Sometimes I’m even considered quite chilled about things other people freak out about. I think it’s just me. I dream a lot, in the same way I talk a lot… It’s just one of those things.

So I awoke at 9.30 am and clambered from the dream about my family being sick, into a morning of blue skies and sunlight. I realized my sneezing fit was over and that possibly I was not coming down with the dreaded virus.

Sunshine, blue skies, and flowers to lift the heart.

Nonetheless, I think for the next while, I’ll employ social distancing and hit ‘pause’ where possible to give space and isolation to those who can’t stay at home because their work commitments call upon them to be out and about.

Bless you and thank you:

  • To the medical professionals – oh my goodness, where would we be without you at any time nevermind now in this crisis?
  • To the people restocking shelves in supermarkets and keeping shops and pharmacies open
  • To the truck drivers delivering those supplies
  • To the postal delivery people bringing parcels to our doors
  • To the cleaning staff in public buildings – you are the first line in the defense against disease at any time, but especially now. Be proud of your work.
  • To the caterers who are sending food out to the vulnerable
  • To anyone who helps the rest of us social distance in any shape or form.

We can’t all be ICU nurses – but if you’re writing funny or uplifting poetry (my friends, you know who you are) or stories to distract us and bring us to a different reality, it helps. If you are tutoring kids via video link; picking up the telephone to check in with the immune-compromised or the elderly; singing from your balcony – I haven’t yet reached the stage where I’m going to belt out “The Boys From The County Armagh” from the front doorstep – but it might happen. If you’re thinking, how can you help and staying at home while you figure it out, you’re part of the team. Let’s go the distance – the social distance!

For my part, I decided to get back to blogging in an attempt to say, “You are not alone, and together (at a safe distance), we can get through this.”

After I post this blog, I’m going to invite Adriene into my living room via YouTube for a wee spot of yoga – try it. She’s great. Then if the weather holds, I’ll venture into the garden. And maybe tomorrow, I’ll blog again… perhaps about gardening… like I used to.

Byddi Lee