Today was the first day that I have had a proper day out since the end of March. I haven’t been shielding, but I haven’t had work to go to, so I have been stuck in the house for a long time. I do have a few serious medical conditions, so I have been trying to be sensible. I have only been out around five times since the start of lockdown. In normal circumstances today wouldn’t have been the most exciting day out, I went to a supermarket, a homeware shop and a garden centre. However in these circumstances it felt so good. I went to THREE different places that weren’t my house or the local shop, THREE!!! I went with my Mum and Dad, so I did not need to worry about not understanding the social distancing rules of each place, because my Mum and Dad helped me. I have been quite nervous about starting to go out again, not just because of the coronavirus but because of all of the social distancing changes that have been made. I thought everything was going to feel very strange and clinical. Not great when you have PTSD from a hospital related trauma!
I was very surprised to find that it wasn’t strange or clinical. It actually felt quite normal, it was better than normal. It wasn’t as busy, everybody was walking in the same direction and people were giving us space. Space is something I really need as a visually impaired person even in normal circumstances, space and patience. Today instead of people dashing around and getting in my way, they gave me space and time to do what I needed to do. If they wanted to come where I was then they just kept back until I had moved on to somewhere else. The shop assistants were very friendly and helpful, and seemed quite cheerful to say they have had to learn and manage all of the recent changes.
I thought I would mention as well that the assistant at New Leaf garden centre was very thoughtful. There was a long walkway to get to the entrance, but the assistant who was at the end of the walkway let us in a different way to make it easier for me. For anybody who doesn’t know, I use a guide cane and it took me a long time to adjust to having it. Over the years I have realised that it does definitely have it’s uses. Not just as an aid, but because some people see it and offer extra help and support, which I am often very grateful for. It was really encouraging to see that some of the new measures can be adapted slightly to make things easier for people who really need it.
I was also very relieved that because I could keep my distance from people I didn’t have to wear a face covering. I had been really panicking about that, forgetting that if I keep at least two metres away from other people, then I don’t have to wear one. In thirty degrees centigrade summer sun, wearing a face covering would be suffocating!!!
I also had a phone call earlier from my hair salon to arrange an appointment. I wasn’t planning on going there just yet because of all the PPE they will have to wear. I just didn’t think it would be a very nice atmosphere. However going out today has made me feel a lot more relaxed about it. It won’t be the same, but it won’t be as creepy as I thought. These are still the same places that we visited before lockdown, with the same staff. We just have to do things in a slightly different way for a while. And we’ll all be OK, we will get used to it, we may even enjoy it eventually. I think a bit of fresh air and sunshine is going to do us all a lot of good.
xx ❤ xx