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L-W-O Community

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

Self-Isolation Week 2

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

22nd – 28th March 2020


"Happy Mother’s Day to two amazing lady’s my Mum and my Mother-in-Law thank you both for being amazing Nannies and fabulous Great Nannies we love you both".


Thank you to Michelle Leech we love you dearly.


Mother’s Day, Sunday 22nd -  We adhered to government advice and did not have our usual family get together. I was very emotional when I got up and I am sure many Mums in the UK felt the same way, at the thought of not seeing our children, grandchildren and great grandchild.   We spoke on the phone to all our sons and some of our grandchildren. One of my sons dropped a prezzie off and we chatted through the window.  My granddaughter pushed cards through the door.  The day went by quickly, I cooked Sunday dinner and hubby had a beer and I had a glass of wine, not something I do usually but hey ho nothing is normal at this time.

After lunch, hubby read, and I listened to all my favourite music on YouTube.  Did you know?  Requesting certain songs repeatedly on YouTube it not only saves your music but then finds other music that you might enjoy.  Impressed.

Mother’s Day ended with great sadness when my lovely hairdresser had to text all her clients including me to say that all future hair appointments were cancelled with immediate effect until further notice.  Hairdressers have been advised by the National Hairdressing Association and the Freelance Hairdressing Federation to stop working. Frizzy hair to return shortly because my hair grows quickly the only way to keep it tidy is to keep it short.

I found I was getting angry watching the news at all those people who were not self-isolating who decided it was ok to descend on Snowdonia, Llangollen, Skegness and Cornwall or other places with no intention of practicing social distancing.  Did they not know or care that our Health Care workers were under great emotional stress and already feeling exhausted?  Did they not realise that they too could succumb to coronavirus and would need care? How many became infected on 22nd March 2020 just because they would not stay at home?  Lock-down will be the only way these people will listen.  Note to self: Ration the amount of news you watch it’s not good for your blood pressure.

Monday 23rd was a reasonably productive day; I spent the day assimilating the amount of information on lymphoedema and coronavirus checking out what would be worth sharing, sifting the fake news that was already appearing.  Across the L-W-O Community we continued with our #getmoving #EveryBodyCan theme with posting more gentle exercise videos which can be done sitting or standing.  Our government have now arranged for the elderly and vulnerable citizens to register for assistance with receiving prescriptions and essential items.  That evening we sat down at 8.30 pm to listen to our Prime Minster finally tell our nation we are on lock-down as it is the only way to slow down the spread of this virus.  Nobody in our free society wants to restrict the right of the people to moving around but with so many people ignoring self-isolation yesterday it was the only thing our government could do.

Tuesday 24th I found it hard to concentrate struggled to get anything done, whether it was for L-W-O or around the house.  We are getting several reports of medications not being available had to wait four days for one of my asthma pumps, but one of hubby’s heart medications isn’t available and won’t be for the foreseeable future, we have managed to get him an alternative but this is scary.  We have both been told by our GP to get our medications delivered by our Pharmacy, but they are saying that’s not possible, they only deliver once to a household I presume that means in one monthly cycle.  Both our medications are due at different times almost two weeks a part, so that is something that will need to be sorted.  Our local Pharmacies are now operating on reduced hours, which gives them time to restock, clean but most of all give the staff a break. 

My granddaughter and several friendly acquaintances work in retail, they are also considered to be key workers but the amount of abuse they are taking beggars belief.  When did we become such an abusive nation?

We have been told by our GP Surgery that we need to order our medication through the POD (Prescription Ordering Direct) but we are being told the service is not coping and calls are dropping out, in other words you can’t get through.  I finally signed up for EPS (Electronic Prescription Service) and that was quick and easy to use.

Wednesday 25th the weather was beautiful hubby power-washed all the garden furniture and in the afternoon, we sat in the garden lapping up the rays.  It so important currently to get out in the fresh air and I feel so fortunate to have our own garden.  There are very few foods with vitamin D in and we all need this very important vitamin which comes from the sun and being outside.  I continue to check in with our support group every day and more members are taking the time to say ‘hello’. 

Living with a long-term condition like lymphoedema, isolation is never far away so it is so important for those of us who live with condition to support others.  Members lymphoedema clinic appointments are now been cancelled for the foreseeable future as specialist nurse practitioners are being redeployed in the NHS. Clinics within Hospices are having to close their doors.  So far within the L-W-O Community we haven’t had any major problems our role as a support group is not only to offer non-medical tips and advice but more than ever now to make sure our members do not feel isolated.

Thursday 26th supermarket shopping is almost impossible, with ever lengthening queues, no good to someone like me who can’t stand comfortably for very long and everyone must stand two metres apart (six feet). If you go to the supermarket it is now the rule one person, one trolley, no children under 16.  We have been told to shop online but supermarket websites keep dropping out, there are no available time slots, or they are not taking on new registrations and one supermarket online I was 57,368 in the queue.  We can use the local smaller shops, and some are now offering deliveries which is good.  For hubby and me its about trying to maintain our own independence in twenty years’ time we won’t have a choice but to rely on others right now is not good for our mental health.  Each and everyone of us are facing new challenges and we will all need to adapt.

Utility companies are sending out emails suggesting that they would prefer if you didn’t phone them but email them.  We also have been told not to allow any workmen in our homes unless it is for urgent repairs.

We had a What’s App with our six-year-old granddaughter who proudly informed us she has another wobbly tooth.

The highlight of Thursday evening was our nation coming out at 8 pm to support our NHS by clapping and cheering such a simple thing to do, we could hear the cheers and whistling in other streets.  For the stretch of my street that I could see only 5 households came out.

Friday 27th we were met with the news our Prime Minister and Health Secretary had tested positive for Corvid 19 and our Chief Medical Officer was showing symptoms.  Right now it isn’t important what your politics are, and doing the voluntary work I do I try to keep politics away from our lymphoedema community but Boris Johnson or a member of his government has managed to speak to our nation every day this week and Boris Johnson has made us feel “That we are all in this together”.  

Saturday 28th I cannot believe that this week has gone so quickly given that we have gone from last week’s self-isolating to this week’s lock-down.  The best quote I have seen is.

We are not stuck at home – we are home safe

What have we learnt in this very fast-moving week with lots of new laws rushed through parliament? We have seen the best of humanity and the worst of humanity.  The worst is all the telephone scammers that appear to be constantly ringing and in some areas doorstep scammers so please warn your loved ones this is happening and tell them or show them if you can what to look out for. 

Then there is the fake news which has filled my messenger inbox or the ‘please pass this hug on’ NO! I need to keep my messenger free for the L-W-O community who are asking for advice or help.  Then there are the supermarket shoppers who have forced our stores to limit what can be bought.

Those are just a fraction of the things that have bugged me this week.  The upside is that family and friends are speaking to each other a lot more, telephone calls, what’s app, video calls all cheer us.  I have said repeatedly in the nearly seven years I have been running L-W-O that I have met the most amazing, kind, thoughtful people trying to make someone else’s life better.  We have been asked by so many who know we are housebound if we need help shopping or errands running to which we are grateful.  This last week I have read daily of little acts of kindness that make me feel whatever our future holds:

Human kindness is not dead.

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