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After going on lockdown March 14th THIS happened. At first it was just here and there, at different times, but then it was decided that 8 pm was a good time for everybody. What happened was that at this time everyone in every barrio across the country would step out onto their balconies and applaud all the front line people who were out there every day making our live possible. Of course the very first front line is the hospital staff who put their lives at risk every day to take care of us, without proper personal protection and not nearly enough beds and equipment. But included in our applause are those who we now realise are more essential than we ever realised: rubbish collectors, police, firefighters, supermarket cashiers and stockers, street cleaners, pharmacists, food suppliers, delivery services, taxi drivers and those who are maintaining our water, electricity and internet connections. I’ve probably forgotten some, but we include them in our thanks every evening when we go outside and applaud.

The first couple of times I did this I thought, oh this is so cool! Then you know, you keep doing it. At one point I wondered if people would get tired of having to do this every day, and would they stop. Well okay, nobody HAS to do this. And yeah I missed the other night because I was so exhausted by EVERYTHING at 7.30 pm that I went to bed.

But you know what? I actually love it. And I hope we will always do it. Apparently videos taken of us are uploaded and sent to hospital staff and others to show them how much we appreciate them. The other nice thing is that now I know my neighbours from across the street and down the road. Now when I go out there we all wave to each other while clapping (actually it was ME that started the waving thing in my street, feeling kinda chuffed about that – now everyone is doing it). The other day my across the street neighbours were out on their balcony and we had a chat, they said if I need anything at all, just to let them know.

Last night was the UKs first applause moment and my Twitter feed was full of people going “omg that was amazing, do you think it might become a weekly thing?”. Well I guess that depends. How often do you appreciate these people who are maintaining your lives, not to mention saving them? Is five minutes each day too much to ask? Also… it’s really lovely. Anyhow, I just got back from tonight’s edition, will be there mañana of course.

Are they doing something similar where you live?

lockdown day 12: all that cancer training paid off


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So okay, since lockdown on March 14th I’ve been out of the house twice, both times for supermarket runs and to take out the rubbish (with all the cooking I’ve been doing and the CAT SAND, I can’t leave it longer than that). But each time I’ve felt like I was dodging bullets. Even though my closest supermarket has been taking great care with protecting both its staff and customers I feel extra vulnerable due to, well MY AGE, and also as I’ve mentioned before, the autoimmune shit going on due to previous stage 4 cancer & chemo.

Meanwhile, of course I miss my old life. I miss my work, my friends, being able to make a living. And I really miss my 10,000 step walks along the river and through the city. And then I hear people saying they can’t live without getting outside for their daily run or a bit of fresh air. Well, you know what? Of course you fucking CAN. You just don’t want to.

Maybe it’s my previous experience with having had stage 4 cancer and being twice on chemo, and having 4 major abdominal operations that pretty much robbed me of a year and a half of my life… I learned that when someone tells me to stay home, I fucking stay home. I don’t think, “oh but I want my old life back” and defy the orders, not to mention the odds. Because when you have stage 4 cancer there is no guarantee that you will ever get your old life back again, or any life at all.

There was also the fact that I felt like death warmed over most of the time, so going out wasn’t really that appealing anyhow. But I did ALWAYS wish I could go out again. And then one day I could. In fact the one time I defied the rules and went out too soon after my final operation in 2011… blam! hernia! Nobody to blame but myself.

So while, yeah, I’m going a bit stir crazy and of course I’d love to be outside in the spring sunshine, all of that, I also find myself going into self-protective mode, hunkering down, waiting for this to pass. With the feeling of having been here before, I know what it’s like, and I know I can deal with it. Back then, with the whole cancer thing, I didn’t have hope per se, but I perservered. One day at a time, not knowing what the final outcome would be.

Well guess what? There really was no actual final outcome other than somehow I didn’t die, and somehow I am still here long after I was told I wouldn’t be. So about this coronavirus? Same deal. Except instead of it just happening to me it’s happening to all of us.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve already had the experience of having had my life put on hold, with little or no guarantee that things would get better. This time I’m doing it with all you guys. Stay healthy… and stay home! We can do this. xx