The Lockdown Diaries: It’s The Final Lockdown
Wellness is a right, not a privilege.
This is the last post covering my fairly unusual journey of the last ten weeks. I’ve reached the so-called 3 day pain peak of my cancer in a time of pandemic (uncomfortable and exhausting but not without moments of hilarity). After the weekend I’ll emerge having learned a few things along the way;
Health workers, carers and people in essential services, I suspect you can expect an influx of help, not from our divided government so much as from young recruits to whom you’ve set an incredible example. In the endless parade of patients you may forget most of us, but we won’t forget you.
Instinctively I wanted to stay silent about all of this as I had 25 years earlier, but I wanted to demystify the process and get others to get tested after reading about it, even though it meant entering hospitals with prevalent coronavirus. To the people who messaged me about making the jump, I’m glad you didn’t regret it.
During the Lockdown our neighbours changed, turning common parts into play areas for children, setting out chairs, holding communal meetings and picnics, fetching food, offering help, checking on each other. In short, being the opposite of people in those apocalypse films who hide behind barbed wire with rifles. Perhaps the amazing weather helped (a full 18 degrees warmer than today) lending a ‘Passport to Pimlico’ air to the proceedings, but our preconceptions about each other vanished. Although there’s one neighbour we all hate, obvs.
As Lockdown unravels thanks to government bluster, I know a lot of people who’ve found they’ll now be working permanently from home. Apparently the single most searched-for furnishing item at the moment is a home desk. Writers are finding it hard to adapt as most publishers have started operating alternating three-week furloughs. Other problems have arisen. As public transport largely uses the world’s oldest tube system, it will have to rely on commuters behaving sensibly. Perhaps those annoying tube announcements that call passengers ‘customers’ can now come to an end.
Even with months of financial hardship ahead nobody wants things go back to exactly how they were. The benefits of reduced air, noise and light pollution are obvious. A huge number of home farmers have appeared, and rules should surely be changed to allow allotment owners to sell their produce. Instead we have Boris Johnson being incompetently pressured into accepting EU-banned chlorinated chicken and hormone-stuffed beef from America, where 1 in 6 people get food poisoning annually compared to in 66 in the UK. (The argument is less about the effect on foodstuffs than the subsequent alteration in control standards). It’s something else the Rees-Moggs and Farages can have on their consciences.
Wellness is a right, not a privilege. Too many of my US friends face an endless struggle to pay for eating healthily and getting medical care. Now they have a president who is actively dismantling over 100 safety protections designed to protect and improve their lives. A second term will further damage the international standing of a nation for which I have had a lifelong respect. I’m not sure that the Lockdown there has had the same transformative effect it has had here, but the protests certainly give hope.