A Day in the Life…

Image of of person wearing PPE to protect them from COVID 19

There’s been lots of new rules and regulations to take into account over the last 18 months to help control the spread of COVID-19.  Some daily lives have changed more significantly than others.  This Carer’s Week 2021 we’re offering you the chance to put yourselves in our support workers shoes with this Day in the Life…

“It’s Monday morning awake before the alarm, at least I slept! He’s bought me a cup of tea in bed “Thanks”, it’s then I remember I have to LFD test, I have to wait 30 minutes after eating and drinking and I don’t have that time today or any day! So, my cuppa will have to wait. Off I trudge into the spare room, hugging my cup of caffeine in hand.

And so, I prepare for what is now become a weekly sometimes daily ritual. swab into the back of the throat. twist five times bearing in mind my gag reflex isn’t that great, I wonder what the neighbours think? Take swab out and insert into the nose; twist again; take out; put six drops in the pipette and in goes the swab bodily fluids and all; give it a stir; squeeze all fluids off the swab; put two drops on what looks like a pregnancy test (that’s another story) and time for 30 minutes. Drink lukewarm tea; jump in the shower; get some breakfast; fit in 5 minutes on Facebook; 5 minutes on Candy Crush whilst listening to the news Argh! all COVID related, coronavirus this, coronavirus that, care homes this, care homes that; just turn it off. Drive to work listening to some tunes takes your mind off it.  Pull up at work, see whose cars are parked, it’s then I see a gloved hand reaching round the door handle with a soapy cloth in hand. I wonder how many times that door handle’s been cleaned this year it’s never ending.

I ring the doorbell wash my hands; take my temperature; record my temperature; sign in; I get greeted by tired, anxious but smiling faces of the staff team like “a sea of blue”. It’s our new uniform/T-shirts but I’m glad it’s blue and not red, once is enough of Chris De burgh Lady in red, but having it on repeat, no thanks, no offence Chris.  

I go into the changing area/office and off with my T shirt and on with the uniform, including face mask. I enter the lounge for more catching up with staff and the people we support over a cup of tea, keeping our masks on all the time, it’s part of our working life now and when it’s hot you can feel the sweat dripping down your face, I’m surprised we haven’t turned into alien look-alikes and that our mouths haven’t shrivelled up from being dehydrated.

Office clean no 1. Wipe down the desk, the keyboard, the phone, the mouse, any items that of high touch (clean 1 of 4 each day).  Catch up with the handover and communication book, daily sheets, anything I missed. How are people any symptoms, any signs, was that someone coughing???

Ah and then it dawns on me it’s that week again! Every four weeks the individuals we support have to be tested and then there’s that wait for the results which seems like forever. Did I say I hate this week? I hate this week almost as much as being on-call.

I remind everybody it’s testing day and off I go to get the clobber on. I’ve done this so many times I should know it off by heart, but still have to check the right sequence… “The Donning Stage” – wash hands; take mask off; wash hands; apron on; clean mask on; face shield on; and then gloves. Along with my colleague, we knock on the bedroom door “sorry it’s that time of month again we have to do your tests” Not just the one, oh no, you’ve got your LFD test as well as a PCR.

I wonder what the Individuals we support think… What do we look like? Do we sound different? Is it scary? How do they feel having these tests? Do they worry about waiting for the results as much as me? Have they got used to it? With each month that goes by they seem more comfortable with it. Completed both tests with one individual off we go onto “The Doffing Stage” (doffing, I love that word) – gloves first; wash hands; apron ripped from round the neck folded neatly; remove face shield; wash hands; and finally take off the mask and wash hands. This task is then repeated for all the individuals we support along with registering them. Cor! where did that two hours go?

Office clean No 2. Turn the computer on and prepare oneself for any COVID updates. Wonder how many they’ll be today? Hope they haven’t updated the PPE again, been feeling like the team and I have been doing the hokey cokey with that one. Where’s the time gone, It’s dinner time already! Grab a cuppa and food on the go. No more all sitting around the table having lunch with the people we support, catching up – no more sitting around the table full stop………………..social distancing rules.

Best see if the office is free or fit in break room rota (aka spare room). Wash hands; mask off; wash hands; eat; drink; check emails; wash hands; mask on.  Office clean No 3. Afternoon staff arrive, handover x 2, no space for everyone, so it’s spilt in two. I need to do my PCR test they’ll be due soon to collect, check with the staff to see if they need to do theirs.

Complete the daily capacity tracker.  Have we got that grocery shop ordered? Check PPE supply, cleaning materials, answer phone (praying it’s not covid related and all staff are ok) and answer so many questions if I can… all the time the question at the back of my mind, when will we get the covid results? I hope they come back tomorrow, please, I hope they are all negative, I hope none are void…we’ll have to go through all this again!

Then my mind turns to my family, what if, I hope they are ok, have they had their vaccines…switch that button off as quickly as it came, there’s no time for that!

 

Office clean No 4, my hands are sore, when was my last drink? I stop and sit, listening to the laughter and banter between the people we support and the staff team, I couldn’t ask for more. It’s nearly the end of the day, time to pack up…I’m going to join in.

Covid 19 isn’t going away, and we’ll keep learning new ideas. It continues to be tough during these times, keeping up with guidance and overcoming barriers. I wouldn’t be able to sit here and say all these things if it wasn’t for our wonderful teams “the sea of blue” that have and continue to work in difficult, anxious times, going above and beyond and I thank you.

Does it give me solace, right or wrong, that it’s not just me going through the same day? It’s me and half the world… I will let you decide.”