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A day in the life of a carer in Wales during Lockdown

I head out to the car with my scarf and my gloves a journey I don’t really want to make.  My heart is pounding. What if I catch it? What if I end up in hospital, I have asthma.

I’ve already given medication, prepared breakfast, cleaned kitchen, toilets, wiped door handles and put a load of washing on. 

I am waiting in the queue of six people at the Dr’s surgery to pick up a script as my oldest daughter’s seizures have worsened since the lock down. 

She is currently at home with her grandmother who has just had a knee replacement and needs care herself and isn’t really able to manage her if she has a meltdown.  Meltdowns are getting more as the lockdown weeks go on. Every day I am becoming an expert in diffusing heated emotions and I am tired.  The pressure is immense to be as quick as I can. I have to get to the chemist straight away and then pick up some groceries.  I keep checking my phone in case I have missed any calls.

It took around 10 minutes at the doctors and then 30 minutes to get the medication.  I then head over to Sainsbury. Wow, there are around 15 people in the queue.  I phone home to make sure she is still alright and mum is alright. 

It’s all a new way of shopping, I thought the chemist was bad with only letting 3 people in at a time.  The tape on the floors 2 metres apart, I haven’t stopped sweating.  Standing half way around the carpark on my marker I wonder if when I get home I will now carry the virus? Will I pass it on to anyone? Will the wrapper of the food be contaminated? I will wipe every surface of the wrappers before putting it away. 

After another 30 minutes I reach the security they explain all the new rules whilst shopping.  My mind is racing as I try to remember it all.  As I enter the store I look where the next person is so I don’t get too close.  I get only what we need but some things are not in stock at all.  I want to be as quick as I can but this system is not quick...but it’s safer. 

The only person that spoke to me is the lady at the checkout.  It is not about the weather anymore, it’s about the virus.  I had a job to hear her as I am partially deaf and couldn’t see her mouth. This invisible virus consumes everyday and raises more fears as you hear more deaths.  I finish the shopping and head back to the car.  There is an eerie silence outside as I pass the queue.  I pack my things in the boot and take off my gloves and scarf.  I gel my hands again.  I got through it!  Let’s get home to safety.

I get home and wash my hands again, it seems that is all I do at the moment.  I check my oldest daughter and mum is alright. I empty the car and then there is this overwhelming fear that it everything is potentially carrying this nightmare.  I have a bowl of disinfectant and wipe all outer packaging before putting it away.  I wash my hands yet again.

I feel drained and it is only lunch time.  I prepare dinner and clean away again.  I’m still wary as to whether I could have picked something up by going out. 

I then have my middle daughter who has just risen from her room moping around the house missing her boyfriend and none of this is ‘fair’.  Life is all about her and going out and being with friends.  I agree it isn’t fair but it is now ‘life’ and we must adhere to the rules to keep safe.  I have had no day care for her sister for around 2 weeks and I feel like life is one big time bomb ticking away more each day.  She needs personal care as well as positive reinforcement and activities to keep her in good spirits to make not only her life easier.

My mum is on crutches and trying to gain strength everyday to be able to manage at her home.  She wouldn’t need to be here if dad was still here but it’s been 4 months since he passed.  She keeps apologising for having to stay here. I would rather her be here right now than be on her own.  My dad (ashes) is in my dining room giving me comfort that somehow he is still with me.  My confident and my best mate.  I have only cried once since the funeral...It’s just too painful..... anyway, I better put the washing on the line while it’s still sunny. 

The bit of freedom I feel is when the sun hits my face.  I close my eyes for a moment, I could be anywhere in the world right now. I am praying that I get to have respite in 6 months. I need something to look forward to right now.

After lunch we all sit and watch a film where I feel relaxed for a while.  That is until I can hear my middle daughter talking to her mate over the fence.  They are planning an evening of alcohol and fun in the garden.  I instantly feel stressed.  She still hasn’t grown up to know her limits and I will have to deal with her state of mind later.  She thinks I need to chill out.  She is only having a few drinks between gardens.  I feel useless.  Am I over reacting?  I don’t even know anymore.  I explain my fears of her bringing anything into the house with her nan and her sister along with me. My (middle) daughter walks up the shop for her alcohol. On coming back I make sure she washes her hands etc. and wipes the packaging.

After giving my (oldest) daughter medication for the second time and toileting her.... it’s time for a cuppa.  My youngest  daughter helps me She is wondering if we can play bingo tonight or go for a drive somewhere.  I cook the tea as I do most nights and my youngest fills the dishwasher.  I shower and dress my oldest daughter and she is excited about playing bingo.  My middle daughter is now in the garden with a bluetooth speaker listening to music and having drinks with her mate over the fence.  I have my doubts that this will end well.

We had a good laugh playing the bingo and we feel relaxed again.  Mum then sat in the living room with the oldest daughter while I had a shower and got pj’s on.  The music is getting louder outside as the drink is in full flow.  I go out and suggest turning it down a bit it’s getting later. This is alright, she is all happy Larry right now.  It is an hour later when she is crying because she is missing her boyfriend and asks me to take her there.  Sobbing that I don’t understand and it won’t hurt to just see him for the night.  So instead of saying no and having a long winded row that no one will win....I suggest she goes to his flat for the foreseeable future, which will then benefit her and me not have her moaning.  I will need to work out how to do this tomorrow.

It’s time to give my (oldest) daughter her medication ready for bed.  Well I say bed, at the moment my mum has her bed, she is sleeping with me in the living room. I also wait for her to go to sleep which is late at the moment, after she has to go through her routine, chat about the day, all about the wedding she is planning with her boyfriend and the babies she is having, her night teddy, eye mask, toilet, toilet again (just in case) .... I can then watch programmes of my own without considering her or my mum. 

I was bought bluetooth headphones for my birthday and I’m sat here listening to some music with a cuppa, answering texts or social media from my friends that I have missed the night before and typing all these thoughts...... all the while watching the monitor for any movement which suggests she is now awake..... and the day begins again!

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