Working from home again today , trying to sort my caseload out before I move departments. I felt deflated today after a team zoom meeting , I left a team I loved 8 months ago and I never really felt that close to this new team , some weird dynamics & you can never quite tell if it’s you or them (!). Anyway , I didn’t feel as though I was particularly going to be missed , I didn’t feel there was much space given for my going , but then , they have never been much of a team for allowing processes. Part of me is thinking that there is much bigger plans afoot than I have the magic to see . But I trust in this plan and sense that the new team being set up – to which I am destined for will be a much better fit for me.
This evening I noticed my dog is poorly. I rang the vet and they are only doing emergency face to dog appointments and I have to pay £40 for a phone call triage! I await that tomorrow but my heart felt wrenched at his little face , I know every inch of him and I can tell he isn’t well. He’s my third child. I Adore this creature with my whole being.
My other child – an 18 year old man-child , spends the lockdown constantly asking me for food !
I spent many hours spring cleaning my kitchen today , something I wouldn’t normally have the Time or inclination for . I have neat rows of tins , bleach white cupboards and a feeling of serenity filtering round the kitchen ! I started a long form that I have to fill out . It was a day of doing , of action. I am finding that my obsession with the news is dwindling . I never had a great attention span , That’s why I am a woman of unfinished projects . Depends how long something takes on whether in my world it gets done. God knows how I got my degree…
I haven’t seen my daughter for about a week. She is isolating herself to the extreme , not sure if it’s a reaction to the world chaos or something else , but I feel helpless . I sometimes long for the days when she was little and I had control. You always ask yourself as a mother – where did I go wrong? What should I be doing differently? It’s such a mess .
Today I was contemplating conspiracy theories after one too many wines. Our dear best friends, who we spend every weekend with have been sorely missed in the last few weeks. Firstly we went on holiday for a week and the whole Corona Virus catastrophe kicked off in that time. They run a local bakery shop, which has only been open a year , prior to that , financially they have struggled for the last decade really . Well since the virus and the supermarket debacle in the UK , they have hit gold! Their very popular bread , which is their best seller – they can’t bake enough to cope with demand . People are ordering ready meals to cope with self isolation, buying their cakes, quiches , jams , juices & eggs ! They are obviously delighted, but also totally shattered . Anyway , we were desperate to see each other today , but reluctant to come to each other houses due to nosey neighbours and concerns for my elderly mother (quite rightly) so, like a group of naughty teenagers, we arranged to meet up the park to neck a bottle of wine and catch up , WhatsApp Video is all well and good but it doesn’t quite reach the mark.
SO , with red wine warming my cockles and having not seen them for ages, I started to rant .. As one does in the midst of such strange times and with ones best friends.
My theory is that Corona Virus is not a conspiracy . It’s not man made or placed by a certain government, it’s a bloody virus and like any other pandemic , if we look historically , we are well over due one. But what I sense , is that it has ostensibly shifted the balance of control in our society. So for example churches ; most churches , including mine, have switched to online services, what I have been left with , is a sense of freedom for all those folk who serve in our church , who like I used to (on some level) give their time to do Sunday school , serve coffee, prep studies, give lifts, steward the doors, clear up the kitchen , prepare music , the list is endless ! How they are able to rest. How they are able to stay at home, not do anything and without the control and the pressure and the duty pressing down on their fragile souls . Those burnt out people who have been constantly serving for years , can finally sit at home on a Sunday morning , in their bloody pyjamas , without leaving the house and not feel ANY GUILT!
Those folk who are working from home, those bosses , who say , ‘NO! You can’t work from home’ , who can’t relinquish control and want to know exactly what people are doing and when , have lost their power, those folk who trawl into work , on tubes, in cars, getting kids up, making lunch boxes, dropping off at school , facing traffic jams, can also just get up and work in their pyjamas. The Bosses, the Patriachs – have lost their power! It is fucking wonderful.
Fuck me , people might actually start to think about themselves and their right to decide what’s best for them. I fucking hope so.
Saturday today. A blustery March day in my beautiful country. This morning I went up my allotment , a sacred space I have been debating to relinquish – I realised that I look through the lens of other peoples’ plots , I see their neat patches , or well established veggies , posh sheds in the right place , planks and wooden structures and I feel a sense of disappointment with mine. Today , instead , I saw my two trees , a plum and an apple , like old friends waiting for me , my herb garden I planted last year looking untidy and in need of some love , my daffodils that I planted in the autumn to give me some spring colour , have fulfilled their promise. I cut the long grass and started to try and clear the brambles and I remembered that there is no rush , it doesn’t matter how long I’ve had it , or how much I haven’t done. It’s my bit of land , a tiny piece of my own common . When I spend time there I feel a deep sense of peace .
Then , Tonight I talked to 2 of my oldest friends on Zoom. It was a real treat. It’s been a day of revivals. The wind brought change , growth and clarity. It was also a day of breaking of abstinence. I ate sugar. A bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes, half a (large) bar of chocolate and a bit of carrot cake. I don’t do things by halves , never have. But it’s a fact that me and food have a difficult relationship . I love it but it doesn’t love me …
Still , tomorrow will bring new winds. Who knows where this new world will take us then.
So as a part of our wonderful NHS , I was privileged to be able to shop in the supermarket this morning before it opened . I felt quite the celebrity. I always wondered how other people manage to just do a once weekly shop and now I know! Making the best of what I have . In contrast to this I had to go out again ( rule breaking!) to drop my bike off for a service and promised my mum I’d get her some wine ( essentials ). Both supermarkets had queues snaking round the car park just to get inside!!! As I walked past the queue I was screamed at by a woman for being too close ( 2 meters ) . Normally this sort of rudeness would really get my goat but something in me just Kindly gave her her space , as I almost immediately realised she was acting out of a place of utter fear. These strange days are really affecting people .
Another beautiful morning in the UK. Mother Nature continues to even out the flow of life.
I set to work on my garden today, what a difference some care and attention makes, cutting the grass, tidying all the accumulated shit of my hoarding husband. I found out today that I am going to be re-deployed , as a NHS community nurse , they feel that we aren’t currently emergency staff, as going into homes to check on people being care for in the community is deemed too much of a risk and not enough of one to be doing so. So we are now going to be used in a new Mental Health A&E center. I have mixed feelings, I was enjoying my new role with new mums, I think that they really need our help at this time, particularly the ones with lots of anxiety and intrusive thoughts. Who is going to look after them while we deal with all the emergencies? I know that the drunk people & those who are suicidal and psychotic need immediate help , but what does that mean for the mums who can’t cope, who are caring for the adults of tomorrow?
Anyway , part of me is a little bit excited, to do something different , I have been saying that I want to don my shield of fire haven’t I? Well this is my chance, I did used to love working in psychiatric emergency many years ago , I shall have to brush up on my skills! And I am sure , once the storm is less intense , there will be a lot of psychiatric overflow to deal with.
Tonight , at 8pm , the streets of the UK came out to clap for our NHS staff. My road was highly fucking disappointing and I cried. That’s life.
I love the Spring , I am waking up earlier due to the lighter mornings , something I have been wanting to do for ages but I just haven’t been able to rouse myself , so my early 6am wakings are a real blessing, I feel that the time belongs to me, all is quiet, no one else is up and the mornings hold such peace. I look at my watch come 10am and have done so much , it’s so satisfying. My period came with the New Moon this week, I feel this is significant , an alignment with mother earth, I walked up the common early this morning with my son , my son hasn’t come for a walk with me for years! But due to Lockdown , he wanted his daily walk. These silver linings keep coming.
Fear is a back drop however, the figures from Spain , Italy and New York keep coming through , we keep getting reminded that we are 2 weeks behind. I sense the storm approaching and wonder what it will bring. One half of me wants to don a uniform and go out with my sword into the night , the other wants to hibernate at home with the rest of the nation.
We were reminded today by our consultant, that our more front line colleagues (midwives) are really feeling the strain . The battle is real . Women still have babies, they still need delivering , people still have cancer , emergencies, broken bones .. Where are all these folk getting their care amidst the terror and the swarm? It’s a really scary time to be ill, pregnant , burnt , bruised and even more so , it’s a really terrifying time for those women (or men) affected by Domestic violence. There are some terrible victims in this .
On a more lighter note, it looks like the British public have finally calmed their supermarket frenzy. Shelves are stocked , queues are less and lists are getting ticked off. Nearly 1/2 a million people have signed up to be a NHS volunteers. Kids are doing window posters saying thanks to the NHS. People are actually walking their own dogs. My house is closed to girlfriends and late night visitors . My garden is getting gardened and I decided to keep my allotment . I pruned my tress and grass will be getting cut. Life , as they say , must go on .
The ‘ Lockdown ‘ phrase is very dramatic, and certainly for the UK it is rather over emphasised. The British government are relying on people to use their integrity to follow guidance , which , on one hand there are vast amounts of people that will but there are certainly those who will only follow guidelines as long as it doesn’t affect them too much and of course there are those who rally against authority and want to directly challenge.
This world we wake up to each morning currently is one of fear and damn right weirdness. I wake up from such odd dreams of which I can’t recall but know that they are filled with chaos.
Our household is a cauldron of germs , irritability , home working , home schooling, overeating & a dog . My husband and I have the suspected virus , my 76 year old mother is a mixture of fear and outrage at her imprisioned fate , my children are rather above the whole thing. The wonder of youth , thinks nothing can touch it.
I oscillate between obsessive cleaning and keeping people to their rooms, to
‘ fuck it , we are all gonna get it anyway ‘ moments.
I mean , seriously , how can one household , with two coughing people really arm itself against a virus that can live on surfaces for 72 hours! Every time I see chrome I get the wipes out. There’s a lot of chrome in my house ..
So , being a nurse , there is an expectation that we don our shield of fire and get out on that front line. I have been on leave and now I am in self isolation, so I have , as of yet not been out on that front line. I feel a bit guilty about my general nurse counterparts who are literally fighting fluids, but then I never signed up for that sort of nursing.
Part of me feels that my early exposure to this virus is a way of arming me , so that I can go out there when it all kicks off and make a difference. I have laid awake at night with a heavy chest, fearful of an unknown enemy burrowing into my lungs, I have wondered how my children will cope upon my death , I have laid awake all night with the anxiety of a 1000 fears. I have had my own mental health shattered by this and have used all my resources that I pitch to my patients every day to pull me through the storm. It may sound dramatic , but at the time , that’s what it felt like. And I had for the first time a sense of my own mortality and it was frightening.
I really want to keep a record of these times, they have an unknown quality to them , they bring such strange silver linings. At sunrise , I went for a (very solitary) walk on the common with my dog. The trees are out in full blossom , heavy and brimming with life and colour. As the world goes into lock down , mother nature this side of the equator is just awakening. She doesn’t stop for any man .
She is resplendent .
She heaves her bosom and offers the world her milk.
Today my son looked so stoned it reminded me of my youth. I look at his spaced out face , and goofy grin and I just can’t feel any anger . What is an 18 year old in self isolation to do but smoke weed and eat pancakes? Certainly it’s exactly what I would have done at his age . It’s certainly preferable to the thought that he’s out there being defiant but then again it’s only Day 1.
I recently noticed that my mother has this habit of delivering these veiled criticisms. When I was able to name these , something in me clicked , about why our relationship has got so difficult . My mother lives with our family , we have co-habited like this for the last 5 years and it was probably the most unhelpful thing to have done relationship wise, as it has literally destroyed our ‘ friendship ‘ , of course I love her, but I don’t enjoy doing things with her anymore, if that makes sense. Living with someone other than your partner , someone close to you is perhaps a universally bad idea.
Anyway , so these veiled criticisms are very benign, those around me don’t even hear the subconscious emotions that drip from their delivery . .
The most recent one was when my mother spotted some flowers on the coffee table (that I had brought that day) .
” OOH! Husband brought you flowers has he? ” This is perhaps a more nasty version of one of her jibes, as she knows that it is highly unlikely that he brought them , but something in me snapped and instead of my usual honesty and closing down of her comment with a ‘ no , I got them in the supermarket , lovely aren’t they’ , I wanted to wipe the smarmy look off her face , so I just said ‘ Yes, they’re lovely aren’t they? ‘ .
Now I know that his might appear petty , but what I realised after I had this moment of clarity is that she does this all the time . .
” I bet your mum has taken you out for a lovely walk (to the dog) ”
” New bag is it? ”
” Oh , haven’t seen that top before – new is it? ”
” I am sure your husband has it all in hand ”
I could go on and on .
Now I know that these are jibes. They land at my feet and make me feel criticised , irritated & judged. And yet I know it comes from a place of envy & resentment on her part. That she is old, lonely , left out , isolated and she sees me with my husband and my kids and my life as the loved mother. This should make me feel more kind , and it can , but only momentarily . I know with those closest to us , it’s hardest to accept their shit. But the awful thing is , is that I find myself retaliating in the same way ! I want to throw the ball back harder and faster so that it smashes her in the face! I have been reading and trying to do some shadow work , so I am unashamedly admitting my rage and anger toward my mother, because it exists. But it also proves that she too holds this rage in her , the envy of a mother toward her daughter that Freud spoke of is real and tangible in my mother . It’s so awfully complicated and compounded by living together and financially sharing the family home.
So , what do I do to make things better. In the not too distant future she will be dead and I will regret many things. How do I change that now . How do I accept and love her – so many people go on about missing their mother , wishing she was still here, yearning to spend some time with her , ask her questions that they never asked. And yet , my mother and I stand with the big wall of resentment in between us. She would utterly deny this should it be spoken , but it all tumbles out in these venomous statement questions that consistently get asked.