By Mary Purcell, Regional Manager
Extract from the Midwest Region Newsletter
On the morning of November 14th, 2020, when I called my 17-year-old daughter for school, she uttered the words we have all been hoping to avoid hearing these past few months; “Mam, I think I have Covid”. She had a sore throat, a temperature, a slight cough, and a feeling that: “someone was sitting on her bones”. My husband had left for work in Newcastle West and my son had left to work with my brother, doing agricultural building.
I rang the doctor’s office, where they were very calm, professional, and knowledgeable. They talked me through my daughter’s symptoms and checked if any of the rest of us had symptoms and what our work involved. The other three of us had symptoms, that in pre-Covid times we would hardly even notice…slight dry throat, slight cough, a bit extra tired.
The advice was that we were all to isolate and we would all be tested. My husband was working in an office by himself, where he may be handing documents to another person, but would not be meeting anyone face to face for any length of time…the advice was he needed to come home immediately!
My son was working out in the open with my brother, and no one else, but as they had traveled to work together in a jeep, they both needed to come home and isolate until we had our test results.
I was working from home with Grow, so was able to continue.
I notified my daughter’s school and we awaited the text for the test appointment. As directed by our GP, I gave my daughter paracetamol.
Even in those first few hours, I found myself reverting to the Grow Program:
“We learned to think by reason rather than by feelings and imagination” — I didn’t need to panic at this point, stick with the facts, we had some symptoms, we were having a test, we were fine.
“Follow sound advice. Believe what your trusted friends and professional tell you.”
We got the text later that day, we were all to be tested the following morning in Limerick, all within five minutes of each other.
My son also got another call to say he was a close contact of a confirmed case and needed to be tested. We were able to cancel that test as he was coming with us for the “family test”. Bob (my son) had gone back hurling training, as allowed, and possibly picked up the virus there.
We went off for our test in the ground of St. Joseph’s Hospital (Test Centre since closed) the following morning. We were met by the loveliest of people there. The guy who was directing traffic had a smile and a word for everyone. A lovely young army lad did our test and was first class, a credit to himself, his family, and his country. The test itself is momentarily unpleasant (we did not find it painful). I guess we are all proud of our own children but I was particularly proud of our two when I heard them thank the young army man and express their appreciation for the work they were doing.
What did we learn during our time of isolation?
- We could live together as a family, 24/7 for over two weeks, and get on really well… most of the time!! We appreciated each other in ways we may not have done before.
- We have really supportive families, who when we needed them, rallied around us. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have that I know, but when we have it, we ought to practice and express gratitude for them
- Neighbours, friends, and the local community were superb, the offers to shop, cook, collect and deliver for us were humbling.
- We discovered the absolute joy of online grocery shopping and as we were able to check the offers section and add in or delete items easily, we think we might have saved money! The shopping was left at our door the next day (as someone who detests the drudgery of grocery shopping, I was almost converted) by a lovely, friendly guy, who chatted through the window with us.
- Young people are really very good decent human beings. Our children’s friends were so kind, my daughter’s really close friends delivered “care packages” to our gate, full of lovely treats, really thoughtful gifts, and lovely cards, with sweet messages.
- The Grow community, staff, members and Volunteers were so supportive with calls and texts; “A friend is as far as the nearest phone.”
- It is ok to not be ok, and there were days when the thoughts in my head were not always healthy, worry would creep in, I worried, particularly for Amey, about if she ended up in the hospital and we couldn’t be with her. In those times and days, I again sought reassurance in the Grow program, “Feelings are not facts”, “I am more durable than vulnerable”, “Tiredness is only tiredness”, “Emphasise what is rather than what isn’t.”.
We survived, we didn’t end up really sick, in hospital, or worse, and for that we are eternally grateful. Every day I think of and send positive thoughts and wishes to each person who is diagnosed with Covid, wishing them a speedy return to good health. I pray (in my own way), for those who are in hospital, those alone and their families, who so much want to be with them, and those who have lost their lives and left loved ones grieving. Covid has taught me to be grateful for all that I have, mainly my health and that of those I love.
My wish for each of you is that you stay well during this time in body, mind, and spirit. I urge you to stay connected, however you can do that. Make a phone call, send a text, join the Zoom call, write a letter- even though we have to stay apart, don’t stay alone. Stay as healthy as you can, eat well, drink fluids, get fresh air, get rest, develop a hobby, practice gratitude.
And may the spirit of friendship make us free and whole persons and gentle builders of a free and whole community.
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