Reporting Scotland: Shielding Changes

Made my TV debut!!

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Last week I was asked by the British Lung Foundation if I would be willing to be interviewed for Reporting Scotland. The interview all hinged on Nicola Sturgeon announcing changes to shielding on the Thursday (23rd July 2020). If things went Pete Tong in Scotland she would not be making any changes but if she felt we as a country remained on the right tracks then she would be giving us some more freedom.

12:15 on Thursday I was glued to the TV to see what she said. All was good. Changes to shielding were announced which meant my interview for the BBC Reporting Scotland News program would go ahead. The aim was to highlight something I could now do that previously I could not and also then be interviewed by David Cowan focusing on my feelings towards coming out of shielding.

First I want to thank my neighbour in Fearnan for agreeing to come over and be filmed with me for the piece and secondly thank the British Lung Foundation for asking me to do the interview.

I was not sure what to expect. I have been interviewed for the radio and newspapers before but never TV. I had this impression that it would take ages and I would need to repeat certain things several times till they got the shot they wanted but this was not the case. They basically did it all in 2 goes. One filming me inside with my neighbour and then the other go was the interview done outside.

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I was really glad I could give a voice to those who are shielding. I have been part of various groups on social media and I have been aware that there is a real fear about coming out of shielding and back into society again, particularly as the virus is so unknown and many people can be wandering around with it but completely un symptomatic.

I am not sure what my path out of shielding will be but I do know for certain that I will be playing things by ear and not doing anything till I feel ready whether or not the government says things are safe. After the death of a friend who had severe asthma and then contracted COVID-19 I am not taking any risks. Shielding has been very tough and I would love to be able to just get back out and see fiends and get on with life again but is it worth my life, no.

Below is a video of the clip that was shown on TV.

It appears to be really hard for those not shielding to really grasp just how vulnerable we feel. I have spoken to those who are not shielding but think they are protecting themselves as they feel at risk yet they are still putting themselves at risk. They think they need to limit themselves and almost act like they are shielding however when they get the chance to see friends they will or when they get the chance to nip into a shop they will. These are things I will not do. I will do shopping online if I need to or I will go into a shop when there is no one else in it. I will not see other people unless I know where they have been and who they have met. If I feel they have been doing anything that is a bit risky I just won’t meet them. Even those who have been shielding or have not been seeing other people I will stay socially distanced from them. There is no hugging etc. It is just not worth the risk.

Historically I am not a particularly anxious person however for the first time in my life I would say that I have become quite anxious. I am terrified of getting COVID-19 and do not want to do anything to jeopardise myself. I have put so much hard work in by shielding that one silly move could waste all that time. People may think shielding is easy but it is not. You are giving up your independence, your life and everything is on hold. I have had people say to me how nice it must be to not need to go out and do the shopping, and can relax at home catching up on TV or books but after a week or so of this the novelty wears off and you long for some social interaction and normality to life again.

For now I will take one day at a time. I am thankful that I am able to continue my involvement in research, advocacy and awareness work remotely so have opportunities which help pass the time.

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