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Jim Blog

The Reopening.

At the time of writing there are 809 cases of Covid in our nation’s hospitals with 53 in ICU. In recent weeks, Covid has been rampant and as usual it is the hospitals that have borne the brunt of the situation. Loads of Covid patients. Loads of people catching Covid while in hospital for another reason and inevitably a large number of hospital staff out of work sick because of the virus or having to isolate with symptoms. This of course has the affect of clinics being cancelled, appointments being postponed and worst of all, operations not going ahead as scheduled. It’s not just inconvenient, it’s also annoying and at times frightening. It takes a lot to build yourself up for surgery. The thoughts of being under an anaesthetic and at your most vulnerable can be overwhelming.

But whereas the hospitals are under terrible pressure, society, by and large, has returned to normal. Shops and stores have all reopened. Pubs, restaurants and cafes are all back to normal and a great many people are back in their offices or places of work. The relative normality took a bit of getting used to. After two years of lockdown and restriction, all of a sudden, things were back to business as usual. It was like being discharged from hospital after an extended stay. A routine now massively altered and peppered with freedom and opportunity. I can return to my regular haunts, pubs and cafes. I can meet up with people that I haven’t seen for the best part of two years. Yes we had Zoom and the like, but it was never the same. In fact, thank God for modern technology. Communication at least was still possible regardless how far away we were from family and friends.

I must admit though a certain nervousness when the restrictions were lifted. Public transport and some shops still mandated the wearing of masks. This of course has changed with face coverings now not compulsory anywhere with the exception of health care settings. This naturally makes perfect sense. We must do all we can to protect our medical professionals before we lose anymore to the dreaded virus. Some people though are still stubborn, think they know better and try to access clinics and hospitals without masks. Thankfully they are a very small minority and are quickly challenged by security or other staff.

For me, mask wearing is still a must. Even though I have caught Covid and have some level of immunity for the moment, I am still very mindful that I could pass something on to somebody else. Buses In particular I would imagine they are a breathing ground for the virus. A small, enclosed area where everyone is on top of each other, especially during rush hours. I wear mask on buses without fail and on the odd occasion when I find myself on the DART, LUAS or in a taxi. I have sympathy for people who do not like wearing masks, I’m not a fan of them myself, I still believe they are necessary, especially in enclosed spaces. It’s easy to spot one cohort of the population who may be vulnerable to catching the virus, they are older. Then we have the invisible people who might have medical issues that leave them susceptible to contracting disease. Cystic fibrosis sufferers, those undergoing cancer treatments and obviously us with CHD.  We don’t walk around with signs on our heads or bells around our necks so we must still be cautious, aware and considerate of those around us who may be prone to catching Covid which could lead to serious illness.

This is being written on a bar stool, late afternoon listening to great live traditional music on a wonderfully sunny day. I am so happy that things have reopened and are back to normal…sort of!

Be Kind to Yourself.

The articles contained in Jim Blog are written by Jim O’Brien, a 45 year-old adult with CHD. The opinions and views he provides reflect a real life account of his experiences and honest commentary on his life-long journey with CHD. Jim is a valued member of Heart Children and writes voluntarily for us. His views do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and values of Heart Children but we are delighted that he is contributing to a greater knowledge and understanding of what it is to live with congenital heart disease.

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