Lockdown week 16: the end and also the beginning. Are we ready for this?

July 11, 2020

This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.

This is going to be my last diary post as I feel we are truly returning to the real world with all of its new restrictions and guidelines. Lockdown week 16 has been a blast and I am exhausted – more of that later. Firstly I wanted to say I have been blown away by all of your, the readers, support and concern for OH’s operation. Thank you so, so much.

You will all be pleased to hear that OH has had his back surgery and is now on the road to recovery. I dropped him at the hospital, very early, last Saturday morning. It was quite strange not to be allowed anywhere near the hospital. So I drove home and awaited a phone call. The operation was scheduled to take 90 mins so I will admit to feeling a bit panicked when OH had been in surgery for over 4½ hours. The increased length was due to the fact that the operation had been delayed by 17 weeks because of Covid-19 and his scans were 5 months old. In the interim period there had been further deterioration of the spine. I only tell you this because OH must be just one of millions who has had their surgery delayed and what should have been fairly simple surgery has been complicated due to the time lapse.

Anyway finally it has been done. 24 hours later the physio had OH up and walking. 48 hours after the op he was home. Again I am sure this speedy dismissal was the fear of Covid-19 combined with the backlog of operations and the need for his bed. I now needed to dust off my nurse’s outfit and be his carer for the next couple of weeks. We have spent weeks clapping for our carers and now more than ever I respect all of our nurses. I think nursing is a real vocation and not one that I was born in to.

Kobi and I managed to watch most of After Life with Ricky Gervaise whilst OH was in hospital as OH is not a fan of the RG humour. It was so good to have control of the remote even if only for two evenings.

Once home OH felt he was back on terra firma and was now the Bionic Man who could do anything. To be fair men are not good at following instructions. The strict regime of movement every hour, not sitting in the same position for any longer than 20 minutes, as advised by his physio, would possibly be ignored if I gave him half the chance. After such a long operation he inevitably felt terrible and finally he succombed to sleep.

Men are also not naturally good with pain or illness. A friend said to me that her father, whenever he had a cold, at the same time, used to also develop a limp which would annoy her mother immensely!

On Tuesday morning my OH suddenly awoke at 5am to tell me that the builders were coming the following day to renovate our ‘garden shed’ or Le Shed as we call it. He blamed the delayed imparting of such very relevant information on anaesthesia-triggered memory-loss. Le Shed has, for years, been our children’s den. It is where they did all those things that we would rather not know about, most of which I won’t mention here. Le Shed should carry a government health warning consequently I have always tried to avoid going anywhere near it. There have been times when it has resembled Dr. Who’s Tardis as I would look out of the kitchen window and see an endless stream of unknown teenagers spilling out of it.

As our children have all grown through this phase, or so we hope, we decided it should be converted into a guest spare room for refined visitors. However, to be given 24 hours notice, to clear it out of 20 years of teenage detriment, was not greeted with great enthusiasm by myself. Just fyi OH may not lift anything heavier than half a kettle of water for 2 months so this job was definitely down to me.

Most of my children beat a hasty retreat when I announced what had to be done. So it was to be just me and my daily, Irina, with the occasional guest appearance from our youngest son. Upon entering the shed I was hit by a strong odour, as if someone had died in there. I think that this was probably just an overload of years of teenage stink. Irina and I donned our Marigolds though I would have preferred, in this instance, to have worn full PPE, and we attacked the shed. Pool tables, sound systems, surf boards, sofas, mattresses, some very unsavoury looking bedlinen, school photos, a couple of Shisha pipes, sleeping bags, single socks, some other unmentionable underwear, endless plastic glasses, 15 cigarette lighters and numerous toothbrushes had to be rehoused or dumped. The latter was a mystery to me. Did these visiting teenagers really plan ahead and come with their own toothbrush whilst they shared everything else? I am so happy we are through this stage of transition from childhood to adulthood.

Once we had finally finished clearing Le Shed – the teenage fragrance unfortunately still remained – the builders arrived, scratched their heads, and disappeared for 2 weeks. It reminded me of the song, Right said Fred by Bernard Cribbins.


Apparently we need to remove a tree that is leaning dangerously over the river, before they can begin. This next stage is currently being organised by OH from his bed and is causing him a few headaches as it is not so easy to remove a 200ft tree from the river bank. OH keeps saying Le Shed (must think of a more glamorous name) will be so lovely when it is finished – his way of keeping me focused on the job. He thinks it is going to be a spare room but I think I may move in there, when it is finally finished, for some peace and quiet. If, by then, he can still only lift half a kettle he will have to live on cups of tea as I will definitely need a break from this role of carer!

Anyway a week has now passed since OH’s op and after the regulatory 10 days we will be declared a safezone. I can then go out and mingle with the world. Not sure I am yet up for too much mingling however I am sure a change in the weather will lift my spirits. A girlfriend told me that she was finding rehabilitation into this new world hard as she has lost all sense of time because so many points of reference i.e. annual events have been cancelled so she wakes up not knowing what day of the week it is, she looks out the window and the weather gives her no clues as to which season we are in, she looks in her diary and it is empty of the normal annual events. When will life really return to normal?

In the words of Bernard Cribbins, “You never get nowhere if you are too hasty.” So I am going to take his advice and very slowly emerge from my lockdown shell.

For all of Annabel’s Lockdown diary posts click HERE

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