Last week I left the flat for the first time in a year and a week

I honestly felt like I was never going to leave the flat ever again, and actually after last Thursday, it’s still a worry…

Nothing to do with Thursday, but last week was a bit of a bad week. Not sure what caused the flare up but my hips swelled up, then possibly the way I had to walk and sit to lessen the pain and discomfort from that caused pain in my back and neck, which forced me into lying down flat for a while until it all sorted itself out. Then I got a migraine. So Sunday and Monday were pretty bad. I was taking my full doses of cocodamol, which then kicked off my chronic acid reflux and even on esomeprazole and top up gaviscone, I was still choking on acid reflux asit continued to splash up my throat.

Such a glamorous life of a chronically sick and disabled person I lead.

But, Thursday was the day of 3 weeks since my jab. Which, it goes without saying, I did clearly survive. So, I’d already made a plan to go out and enjoy the nearby country side.

Thanks to waking up choking on acid reflux twice, I got less than 3 hours sleep. I actaully thought, you know what? I’m going to go the whole hog. First time outside of the house, properly, in a year and a day? I’m gonna dress nice! I’m gonna even put on make up! And if you know me, then you know that’s a very big deal because I only wear make up for weddings and really nice days out at the theatre with my friend, or I look very very sick and actually care enough to Not want people to think I’m diseased. And, given it was meant to be a sunny day, I thought “and the Sun Protection Factor on the foundation will come in handy.”

I woke up on Thursday feeling like crap and could not be arsed with the make up, so I didn’t. I did wear one of my nice Tshirts though, underneath my hoodie. And it was one of those awkward weather days where it was a bit too cold not to wear a coat, but absolutely boiling with a coat, so I thought, I haven’t actually felt a nice cool breeze on me in a very long time, so I’ll just wear a hoodie.

And then we went outside to the local nature park. We wore masks from before we even left the house, as per the SCIENCE. We passed 33 people during the whole hour we were out, only 2 of them were wearing masks, and they were carers inside of a car. It might be “safer” outside, but the air droplets of this virus do still linger in the air. Just because the government say you must wear a mask inside shops and enclosed spaces doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also be wearing masks when just outside.

Seconds after we got to the park, we got passed by 5 fellas on bicycles, none of whom we wearing masks.

I wanted to come home immediately. I just had to keep reminding myself that they were in each other’s company far longer than they were in mine, so more likely to get each other sick than me. Which is terrible, but no less true. But also, on the other side of the same coin, they must trust each other implicitly to take that risk with each other’s health, so if they could trust each other not to infect each other with the virus, then I could, potentially, also trust them not to infect me.

It just keeps coming back to not knowing whether I can trust everyone else is taking the pandemic seriously, taking the risk to their own health seriously, the risk to other people’s seriously, and that they understand what asymptomatic transmission means. Given what I’ve seen on the news and on social media, and even some friends, it’s a resounding no.

But I persevered. I was somewhat amazed and also somewhat dissappointed by the park looking the same as it usually does. The grass was still all there, there were no dystopian towers suddenly built in any of the fields, the pavements were all the sme, but I got wonderful fresh air (through a mask), and I was surrounded by greenery and some flowers. You can’t ask for more from a walk in the park!

Oh, we saw police horses! That was nice.

We also saw a whole group of people taking up over half the path and they could have gone single file like we were doing, but they didn’t. Which is just rude in normal circumstances, but violates the neccessary social distancing required during a pandemic. I mean, come ON people!

End of the line for the park, we turned around and came back. Which was good timing really because it was starting to go from “refreshingly cool breeze” to actually shivveringly cold.

Despite the bad morning and not feeling very well when we left the flat, I did actually feel better in a different way when we got back. My hips and knees didn’t feel like they were sitting in their sockets the right way, but I felt like I’d earned the tiredness I felt. The thing about chronic fatigue syndrome is that you can feel drained and tired but not feel sleepy, and you can go from being lively awake to feeling sickeningly overwhelmed very quickly. And, it’s always a risk when doing something new, or for the first time in a while, to feel sickeningly overwhelmed, almost as if you’re about to suffer a massive migraine that doesn’t quite come. It just happened that this time, I felt refreshinly tired which led to sleepy. So, after dinner, I fortified myself with some gaviscone and went for a kip.

I woke up a few hours later with my forehead all red. What could have possibly caused that!?

Oh yeah. The sun. Because when I sacked off putting make up on, I then didn’t bother with sun cream in it’s stead. I’ve been putting After Sun on my face twice a day ever since, hoping the red and dry skin will clear up to a slightly brown tan at some point. It usually happens. It’s not happening this time, though.

Maybe my skin’s forgotten what it needs to do after all this time of being indoors.

I don’t plan on going out again until after the second dose, now. The good thing about going out on Thursday, waiting 3 weeks until the first dose had reached it’s peak, was that it was likely to be other people braving the outdoors and elderly people already vaccinated (because, I don’t know if you remember, but shielders were actually advised to not even risk going out for exercise like other poeple were allowed to do). Now Johnson’s opening the country back up, I can anticipate the pavement situation being worse.

I sometimes have a good view of buses going by the window. I saw one a couple of hours ago with a lot of people on, despite bus companies saying they’ve lowered capacity, and the government saying still to only use public transport if your journey is necessary. (Which conflicts their over all message of return to your offices, filthy scroungers who don’t want to pay for commuter coffee or lunch break sandwiches from the expensive coffee shop near your work! I can understand why peopel are confused…)

Ultimately, I just don’t think it’ll be as safe it was, for me, to go out again until I am fully vaccinated. So that’ll be in two months.

I wonder what the outside will look like then! Dystopian tower, barren land, or depressingly the same as it did last Thursday?

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