Along with an Extra 1.7 million people in England I have been asked to shield at home starting from today. So no more trips to work, the shops or the pharmacy or meeting up with people outside or inside of my home or theirs home.
I have been working full time with 2 days at home and 3 days in the office each week.But yesterday I received a letter from the NHS that said that due to putting new evidence into a risk model with information the NHS already holds, I have now been identified as being someone who might be at high risk of catching and becoming seriously unwell with Coronoavirus.
So I am now classed as being in a high risk category and am now formerly known as clinically extremely vulnerable. People in my category are now currently advised by the government to shield and stay at home as much as possible until 31st March or Be Free Day as I might get use to calling it.
This is so surreal, The whole covid-19 pandemic has been so surreal and I have done my best to aim to obey the rules and do the right thing and follow advice throughout the pandemic but I kind of did it hoping to prevent an infection for a vulnerable person or people not realising I was that ‘clinically extremely vulnerable person myself’!
I do not know for sure because the letter did not make me feel worse by telling me what my risk factors were but I can mainly assume it is a combination of my newly diagnosed diabetes, age, weight and blood sugar levels along with my past mental health difficulties for which I still take medication for.
With regards to my physical health and diabetes diagnosis I had already put measures in place to try to do my best to reduce my diabetes risks as I have been following a new food regime which has resulted in me losing at least 0.5 stone or 3.5kg over the space of a few weeks and I was already very motivated to continue with this new food plan.
It is a very simple plan. No snacking, having a sweet or desert only with a meal and weighing my portions or rice, pasta and potatoes instead of just bunging them on a plate like I used to. This plan does seem to be working for me and when I want to have a snack I just have a drink instead.
I am due to have my first phone assessment with a diabetes dietician next week where she can look over what I am doing and hopefully provide me with any hints or tips too.
The diagnosis of diabetes is something that has been hanging over me for years and now finally having it has been a call to arms for my mind and body to really try and focus on losing weight and getting my blood sugars back under control.
Managing diabetes, my weight and blood sugars is going to be an ongoing fight for me now and knowing that I am now described as clinically extremely vulnerable at the age of 45 possibly due to physical and mental health issues is a wakeup call and call to arms to hopefully sort my shit out!
I am also due to get my Covid-19 vaccine jab this Saturday which is one of the reasons I am still allowed to leave the house so that can but only be good news too.
Or Money for nothing and contracts millions given to friends and party donors for free.
I normally don’t get my news from Facebook but today a meme was doing the rounds about the lack of news on an important story.
Matt Hancock the UK Health Minister has been found guilty of not disclosing NHS contracts to the UK public. Now at first you might think well he had a lot of other stuff to do, with say saving the population and all that. But the more you dig into the news (or lack of news item the worse it gets).
The Government unlawfully failed to publish details of billions of pounds’ worth of coronavirus-related contracts, the High Court has ruled.
There looks to be a battle at the heart of government to not give money to local councils and health services for fear of waste and not trusting them to do the jobs they are they are there to do. Or for fear of them doing such a good job they might end up asking for even more money or powedr and control.
Prior to the pandemic we have been force fed for many years the lie that spending money on public health, local government and public service should be cut back, year on year for it is never affordable or practical to spend money on others and not really needed and civilisation itself might even collapse and our capitalist way of life grind to a halt if we try in any way what so ever to fairly fund government services with tax payers money.
Then a real crisis comes along in the shape of the pandemic, which results in a very real scenario of civilisations being put to the test and grinding to a halt and suddenly were all bloody socialist regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, spending money as a left-winger, centralists or even right-winger on life saving society enhancing services and treatments is now seen as a normal way to do business..
So since last Thursday that is what I can be boxed off and defined simply as a dyslexic diabetic and to be honest I have been called worse.
I really wanted to put something down on here but at the same time I wanted to absorb the new diagnosis of being a diabetic first and begin to try to understand more on what that definitional and diagnosis now means to me. I have been being tested for it for years and kept on coming back as negative and not having it but blood suger levels slowly increasing year after year and I knew my time would come. My brother had it and so did my Grandfather. My mum has it and so does my Grandmother.
The mental health medication I take also increases my chance of putting on weight and developing diabetes and it seems lockdown and my desire and ability to increase the amount of cakes I have been eating also increased hugely my chance of being diagnoses with diabetes this year, plus the sedentary lifestyle with working at home more and just not having many places to go or reasons to go to them, my chances of getting diabetes this year along with my blood sugar levels just sky rocketed up, up and away.
It was like I was playing Russian roulette with a gun that had as many bullets in it as it had chambers to fire them out from.
Prior to the diagnosis I really was kidding myself that my health was ok, my diet was ok and my lack of exercise would change. I still don’t know if I am kidding myself but I am trying to get my head around this and make changes that will enhance my health. I have been for so long focused and dedicated to looking after my mental health, holding down a job and keeping a roof over my head that I really did feel there was not much time left to look after my physical health or pretty much do anything else and I am still not sure if this is true now.
So now I have had a wakeup call and if I want to have a good quality of life, I do have to make some lifelong changes to my diet and improve my physical health. I’m pissed off this has happened I see life like a big beautiful, messy and complicated picture that paints a thousand words or life like a potential journey to a thousand places in a thousand worlds.
When some new negative words or views are added to my already complicated llfe bubble, one of those words being diabetes and the second being diagnosis it just feels like what was already a struggle to live as a life just got a little harder and it sucks right now.
Although I am already feeling much better now than when I had first heard the what felt like inevitable news and am beginning to get my head around it now somewhat more and implement some positive changes for myself.
I have signed up to get advice, be educated by and taught more about diabetes by a diabetes mentor of sorts, through our lovely National Health Service and I have stated keeping a photo diary of everything I eat and drink now for the diabetes dietician to mull over and tell me what I am doing right or wrong.
It’s exactly one year to the day since the first article was born on this website.
I was reminiscing last night about different types of communication platforms or social media sites that I have followed or used in the past and also wondered why I used them and if or how they used me.
The reason I mention whether they have used me or whether I am using them is that on social media platforms such as Facebook and MySpace you sometimes feel more like you are the product or thing that is being promoted or sold. Where as on a website blog because I control and editing and content of it it feels like I have more ownership over it.
The first website I really enjoyed using was MySpace. It was an amazing platform for sharing music, finding like minded people and also having as a platform for political and ethical activism. The way people shared ideas and raised awareness concerning different issues and ideas really was inspirational and at its peak I do believe it was purchased by Rupert Murdock because of its ability to empower individuals to educate one another to inform and share ideas. To someone like Rupert Murdock such a platform of sharing ideas and ethics was a dangerous thing that was to be bought, sold and suppressed. Someone like him feared and would try to buy and stop a form of communication that might threatened the consensus or shattered what was seen as the norm of political and ethical thinking by the so called rich, great and good defined by corporate media. A platform where people can educate themselves and no longer need to be told what their opinions are because they are too busy thinking for themselves could be feared by some people within power.
We should always aim to speak truth to power – for one day we might be the difference between the worst happening and preventing it from happening.
That is what I really like about having a blog, I am my own editor and hopefully those that are reading the published pages are doing so because they want to see what I have been upto or heaven forbid what I might even have to say.
I really never thought I would have enough to say to be able to do a blog. But once those fingers start tapping away on a keyboard, it can sometimes be that I have too much to say and must try to keep it relevant and to the point.
Being dyslexic also means I am not a fan or find large pages of words difficult to read sometimes and my grammar and spelling are also not great. When I was a child I loved visual mediums such as Cinema, TV and cartoons. But I was not a fan of books and really struggled to try and read books from page to page let alone cover to cover. If I struggled to connect with a book I would find that I could not remember what I was reading at the top of a page once I had gotten to the bottom. Where as with films, TV episodes or cartoons I found them much more memorable and felt more emotionally connected to them than word on a page.
Saying that though one thing I do and did love was creative writing trying to build emotional images and stories though words. I am quite an emotional human and so feelings and emotions are part of this human journey and so trying to connect with people and share my morals perceptions of right and wrong with others and also learning what other people’s views of right and wrong are is a fascinating journey that WordPress helps me to continue to travel along. So happy 1 year birthday to this website I hope you have many more birthdays and I look forward to sharing ideas and reading articles and blogs from other fellow WordPress writers too.
Today the UK marked a grim reaper of a covid-19 milestone. We recoded over 100,000 people that had tested positive with Covid-19 prior to their deaths that then went on to die. One hundred thousand people are such a large amount of people that it is almost unimaginable. As a teenager in high school we had a large sports hall that could fit around 1000 pupils in it for an assembly, so that is a way I could try and visualise the amount of people being 100 high school sports halls of people having died because of this terrible virus.
So far I think on a personal level I have not been as severely affected as many, many people have. I hope that that continues to be the case. I am not a huge social butterfly and so I don’t miss going out that much although it does feel like life is on hold sometimes.
With work I still get out to the office 3 days a week and so that is still taking place although I prefer working from home to going into the office.
I live on my own and covid-19 has not changed that I enjoy my own company and through new digital platforms such as this have continued to express myself and feel like I am doing something constructive or real. But it often just feels like I am typing a diary to myself for my memories and forget or don’t worry too much that others might read this too.
I received a letter from the National Health Service a couple of weeks ago asking if I wanted to sign up to take a coronavirus blood test which will try and determine if I have had covid-19 in the past and whether I have any antibodies to Covid-19. This sounded really interesting and important research to help with so I signed up and got my testing kit today.
So I did the test not 100% sure if I made a mistake when doing it (which I told them about when feeding my results back). It looks like it might have come back as positive for having had it in the past, but I would prefer to take a second test to be sure.
I volunteered to have my test results shared with the NHS and also for them to be able to access and monitor my health results for the next 20 years should they need to, I am in no way paranoid about giving them access to my records and not that I need to but I am sure I could withdraw my consent at any time should I change my mind.
I thought I might have had a serious case of flue last January which I always thought could have been covid-19 and this test result simply backs up that case. I hope to not have again what I had then. It was the mental side effects that unrolled last year more than the physical that concern me the most.
Having been a person who has experienced severe mental health difficulties in the past and who now takes two tablets a day (possibly for the rest of my life) to prevent things like that happening again or at least to reduce the risks or chances of things like that reacuring. I cannot over state to you the joy of experiencing non negative or even positive mental health days and moments in time.
I have just watch a new US press briefing at the White House with Dr Anthony Fauci now working for President Joe Biden and although the Covid-19 crisis is severe and will likely get worse before it gets better. One refreshing ray of sunshine in this briefing is that the US administration and Dr Falci have a plan and are very much up for this battle.
With day after day and bleak report after bleak report it can sometimes feel that nothing is changing and you just don’t know when something is going to change, but back in the beating heart of western democracy and the free world, there are people with plans who will hopefully greatly assist in the battle against covid-19, against the damage to the global economy and against the competing crisis of also battling climate change and saving or reestablishing our wilderness areas.
Mr President it really does feel like the USA has once again rejoined the battle to try and save this world from itself.
It was the worst of times but we have seen the best of many people. A time like we have never known or wish to know again – but how can we ever learn any lessons from times like this and if we do learn what will those lessons be?
I wonder what will be written about how 2020 unfolded when people look back. Although there are lots of ways and reasons to see the bleak black clouds of heartfelt hurt and disappointments I wonder what will be the silver lining of goodness or positivity that might come through this. A little like a blanket of snow drop flowering across a woodland floor bringing in with them the signs of a new season and rejuvination of life after a bitter and harsh winter.
Sometimes how we view and react to a life event shapes how or even if we can move forward from the event. Although at other times it might be the very events themselves that force us to be re-shaped and review our view of the world or how we see ourselves within it. Coronavirus is very much an event that people have had to react to and or been reshaped by.
So do we thank or blame god?
Curse or give credit to a politician in power?
Or will we be grateful for what we have or curse for what we do not have?
Well in time we will hopefully have an opportunity to find out, reflect and move forward.
Today was my last day in work until Christmas. I now have one week off until I log into my work computer again to do some work and even better than that I managed to get all the work that I hoped to do today done. Presents bought and wrapped, Christmas songs playing on Spotify. Though this Christmas is in no way normal for pretty much everyone.
In a normal year in the week building up to Christmas day I would be out on a Wednesday night like tonight listening to music in a bar exchanging cards, gifts and stories with friends whilst getting merry with a Christmas Guinness or two.
I’m afraid I am not a household drinker of alcohol so lockdown drinking does not really happen for me. I still have four cans of Guinness being kept cool in my fridge that I was given from my workplace for leaving my old job back in July. There is something lovely about a social pint in a bar with friends, family or strangers just does not do when drinking at home on my own. Therefore I just don’t drink alcohol at home alone.
They say people forget what they do when they drink (too much). But for me some of my most cherished memories are from times when I was having a drink with strangers, family or friends.
Back to Christmas!
In a normal year my bags would be packed now and I would be on the first train out of Exeter to visit my mum to stay with her for Christmas. I even booked the day off work Christmas eve to travel to Cornwall. But we all took the decision not to meet up for Christmas this year and have a catcup around Easter 2021 instead or after Mum has had a vaccination against Covid-19 first and is in a better position to be protected against the virus. After such a difficult time the one thing I did not want to give to either of my parents for Christmas is the risk of bringing Covid-19 to either of my parents, so better to be safe than sorry.
Instead I will be spending Christmas with a friend who also would have been spending it alone in Exeter this year due to his circumstances too, so our social bubble is legal and legit for a Christmas day meal together. He is vegetarian so nearly all of the food I am cooking is vegetarian, all bought and ready to cook. I am really looking forward to it. I even have some Guinness flavoured coffee to get me going on Christmas morning.
So here it is Merry Christmas from Exeter in the UK its just gone 12 midnight and it is now officially Christmas Eve 2020 here. I look to the future now, its only just begun. I hope you do to.
Well I tried to do a survey on my last post and so far only three people have responded so this time I would be answering the questions myself a sort of summary of 2020 and see how this goes.
Question 1. Hardest thing I had to do this year.
Making sure I did not have a complete meltdown and go backwards in life after having a severe mental health blip at the beginning of the year. Some time back in March I went to A&E with huge concerns for my mental health I think it was a few weeks before the first lock down started. The thing was I had a chest infection and bad cold/flue or covid-19 thing at the beginning of 2020 and it stole from me my ability to sleep properly at night and I kind of slipped into a non sleeping, spaced out and obsessed with Covid-19 taking hold around the world mess.
I had enough insight to realise that I was unwell, which is why I went to the hospital. I managed to have a good talk to the on duty mental health team there and got a lot off my chest about how to move things forward. After four days off work gathering my thoughts and learning how to sleep again I was able to carry on working and kept ticking over until I had recovered from my mental mess more thoroughly.
Questions 2. Greatest achievement of 2020?
Also back in March I went for a job interview for the council working in environmental health and amazingly got offered and accepted the job. The job did not start until July 13th. This was because I needed to be trained up in office in order to learn how to do the job so was only aloud to start after the first lockdown had finished.
Question 3. Best purchase of 2020?
I went and bought a tree, not just any tree mind you but a book published in 1770 that had a print of Yggdrasil. Yggdrasil (from Old Norse Yggdrasill) is an immense mythical tree that plays a central role in Norse cosmology, where it connects the Nine Worlds.
I did a little research on the print and found out I could by the origianl book with the print in it would cost me less than buying a copy of the print to hang up on my wall straight from a retailer. So I got the book, scanned the image into my computer, then uploaded the scan onto a website that turns scans and photos into pictures to go an walls on canvases and had the picture produced onto a canvas frame and posted to me to go on my wall in my lounge above where I now work for the council when I work at home.
At the time you could buy this image on eBay as a print for about £60 but the way that I produced it meant I had the original book that the print came from along with the framed print for half the price. A good deal in deed.
Speaking of Trees and life – The tallest tree in Wales had been damaged by a storm and was supposed to be cut down, but a better solution was found. Natural Resource Wales, which was in charge of the site, ordered artist O ‘ Rourke to cut down the tree. He cameup with the concept of carving what the tree stump and trunk into a giant hand – to symbolise the tree’s last attempt to reach the sky. Once completed, the sculpture was coated with tung oil, a natural vegetable oil safe for the closeness of the riverways.
Question 4. Silliest purchase(s) of 2020?
I bought a box load of DVD’s to sell on eBay to raise money for local Exeter charities. At the time their shops were all in lockdown so I thought I would raise some money for them by having online auctions for them on eBay. What could go wrong, well quite a lot actually? I still have boxes of stuff here ready to give away to charity shops as struggled to sell on eBay.
Question 5. Silliest/riskiest thing I did during a lockdown?
I am not a real risk taker most of the time but it’s those times when I do take risks I think later on “what the hell were you thinking” “just don’t bloody do it again”. Well one of those times after the first lockdown had taken place was joining in a drink game with a bunch of people I did not know in a pub that I very much know and enjoy. It only happened once but the next day I was cursing myself with thoughts of “what the hell were you thinking” “just don’t bloody do it again!!”
Question 6. What did I like about this year?
I love nature but I really managed to rediscover nature on my doorstep. When walking the street in spring and early summer at 6am to head to a shop to get a paper and some milk or other supplies, I found that such a magical time to be alive on a clear day the birds sing like they are giving you a personal performance and I even got a bird table to feed the many starlings, fat pigeons and little sparrows that would hop onto my bird table.
Food for thought
This year has been and continues to be a revolutionary year and for good or ill the revolution continues to go on day by day. Some will win some have lost, some will survive some will not. A lot will live and many will die. Good things have happened and better may come still.
The fact that I am still here and you the reader are still here is a huge plus for me to.
Happy Christmas to you and yours and best of luck for whatever 2021 throws in your direction.