header photo

L-W-O Community

For those living with Primary, Secondary & Paediatric Lymphoedema Online & in the Community

Self-Isolation Week 12

Author: Gaynor Leech, Founder of L-W-O



What a strange week this has been. After 11 weeks we are beginning to ease out of lockdown and in our case almost total self-isolation.  New rules apply as we enter the second phase of an alien new world.  This blog will concentrate on things I have read this week all related to how we protect our selves over the next few months, some of this will be tongue in cheek but much of it will be about the concerns of patients and how our Health Care professionals (HCP’s) are preparing to receive patients or clients.

Many moons ago when I organised an event or public gatherings the only thing, I had to worry about was if there was disabled access and where the fire escape routes were.  Slowly over the years Health and Safety has become an industry sometimes at the expense of common sense.  The big buzz words now are 'Risk Assessment' and yet this term was first introduced into legislation in 1992 Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations.  Sadly, risk assessment not only affects our working lives or venues we attend it has now crept into our daily home lives.

Sunday 31st – Hubby spent the day tidying up outside making sure a one way system was in place for when we have visitors to our garden, he lit the smaller of our two barbecues (braai) so that we he can make sure its ok for when our friends come around tomorrow for a braai.  I sat and read in the garden, it was such beautiful day and by the time I came back in the house I looked as if I had been on holiday to some exotic destination as I had a healthy glow.  As always, I took sensible precautions and I am thankful that I rarely burn.

Monday 1st June - The day was quiet, I also shared a video of Laughter Yoga which received mixed reviews, one of our members reported that their local support groups had organised  a live session with invited guest last year and although quite a big group apparently the patients were negative and apparently the organiser only received one positive review.  Which is sad because these sessions can be fun.  On a separate post one member reported ‘leaky legs’ but seemed to be coping well as this was something she had experienced before.

One of my friends has a birthday today and they asked could they come to us for a braai although they have a lovely garden it is easier for social distancing in our garden.  The afternoon was spent sanitising everything and I reflected on how language has changed since I was a child.  In those days you did not sanitise anything you used disinfectant and lots of bleach and if you wanted to kill anything off you used carbolic soap. How language and the way of doing things has changed. So, what does a socially distanced braai entail?

  • Strongly consider your guest list – yep only two – our friends have been in self isolation like us
  • Separate entrance into garden – yep – used to be called the tradesman’s entrance - or back gate
  • Ask guests to bring their own cutlery, plates, and condiments – really?  Yep
  • Have a one-way system around the barbecue – yep – no problem
  • Only one person should handle barbecue tongs – yep – got two one for each couple
  • Serve food on plates from a distance – yep bought their own food – just the meat to cook – managed not to get anything on the floor from a two metre distance 
  • Set out seats two metres apart in advance - but not face to face – yep – no problem
  • Sadly, no birthday hugs but lots of chatter and a glass of champers to toast our friend
  • Not allowed indoors – what about the loo? Luckily, we have a down stairs loo all doors left open direct route – separate coloured hand towels – to be put in the washing machine at minimum 60oc after their visit  - yes I could have saved work by putting paper towels out – but really?

We started at 5 pm and sat out until 9.30 by this time it was too cold to sit any longer but despite all necessary precautions we did have a good time even if it felt at times like -

“ Round and round the garden”. Remember the nursery rhyme?

Tuesday 2nd June – Absolutely delighted on checking my email inbox that I have received an email from BLS to tell me I have received an educational grant to go to their conference in October, this will be my third conference. 

I was asked today if one of our polls could be presented at a Vascern meeting together with Danish, Italian, French, Norwegian polls and Manuela Lourenco Marques, would be presenting her Portuguese poll.  I have seen the results and look forward to sharing them with you soon.

I spoke to my local Macmillan friend who told me that there is no face to face contact, communication is all via video or by telephone, to date she has made over 1200 calls.

Wednesday 3rd June – Today I published the new webpage on Arm and Hands movement this is part of our #getmoving series.  I have also been playing about with mood boards to see if these can be used as the basis for our future videos in partnership with PhysioPod.

L-W-O members are beginning to ask questions as to how treatment and clinics will differ from pre Covid-19 times.  Several of our members are still shielding in the strictest sense and are very reluctant to be venturing outside or into places where they might meet others.  I asked the question “Have you been contacted by your lymphoedema clinic?”  This is the result from our poll:


The above results are interesting 143 members took part. As many of us have taken to video calls as a way to communicate I was puzzled to find that this method of communication was not used.

These comments were written in post are not unexpected.  The top comment “What service?”  Followed by “There are no services in my area”.  Real fears are developing in our community from patients who are being warned that,  for the foreseeable future appointments will be emergency only.  Also, there is a suggestion that patients might be asked to measure their own hosiery, older patients do not necessarily understand metric measurements. 

Thursday 4th June – Today was a day of rewrites on the website its now taking shape and as I work through each series, I am beginning to see things more clearly.

Face masks are now mandatory in more outdoor settings.

Friday 5th June – One of our new members asked, “I just got a cat and I was wondering if I should be worried about getting scratched?” She also asked about the risk of infection.  The members that responded generally felt she need not worry, to take sensible precautions and to treat any cuts or scratches immediately. 

I have watched over the last few weeks how HCP’s, therapists who have not been redeployed in the NHS or other settings have been preparing for a return to receiving clients or patients.  Having undertaken risk assessments in the past I know how stressful putting these in place can be and they will all have a risk assessment in place prior to lockdown.  Several therapists have undertaken online courses over the last few weeks either to improve their skills or courses linked to Covid-19 risk assessment. I will ask all of you to spare a thought for the work and the risk assessments that are currently being rewritten.  

 What is likely to be the new norm with your appointment or treatment?

  • Your clinician will be wearing face mask, gloves and a visor
  • Handwashing/hand sanitiser will be priority for both clinician and patient/client – do not be upset if you are asked to wash/sanitise your hands on entering or leaving premises
  • You will not be able to take your partner/friend into a treatment room
  • There will be very few soft furnishings more disposable coverings on couches and seats
  • Use of paper towels
  • Be prepared to take your own drinking water, disposable cups might be available that glass of water at the end of your treatment will not
  • Be prepared to take your own hosiery appliances
  • If your treatment time seems shorter than normal, please remember your clinician will have to sanitise the room after you leave and before their next appointment
  • You may receive telephone call 24 hours prior to your appointment to see if you are well enough to attend
  • Do not be surprised if you are asked to take your temperature prior to your appointment or on arrival of your appointment

These guidelines have come from the Federation of Holistic Therapists and are subject to changes.

Finally, I checked in with our membership to see if they were ok and wished them a good weekend. I decided I would not touch the laptop until Monday morning…

Saturday 6th June – Yesterday I said I was going to stay off my laptop until Monday, any queries would come through to my mobile if there was an emergency.  Cue the lovely Mary Fickling who having looked at the mood board on deep breathing I had sent her earlier in the week decided to create the video. We both spent the morning, and a good part of the afternoon being creative, there was lots of toing and froing but the results are amazing, and Mary has successfully added to the PhysioPod website a guest blog, take a look.

I am well and truly done for this week

I love the point when your tired everything is funny


Go Back