We have been directly involved with covid for approximately 20 months. Our world as we know it has been turned upside down, whilst the virus has killed just short of 4.5m people across the globe! Now, healthcare has been overtaken by the global impact of events in Afghanistan. Things are changing literally daily, in front of our eyes. These are all situations that we have almost no control over, ourselves.
I realised after I got sick in 2007, that there were so many things that happened in my life, not decided by my own actions. Politics, economics, global weather, pollution etc. We can attempt to control the direction of our lives. But ultimately there will be an incredible amount of luck involved for us to reach our goals. In life before covid we all had our own opinions about what risk looked like. Most, I guess had reasonably broad boundaries. Happy to go about our business in a relatively care-free manner. Travelling around, meeting up with friends, eating and drinking when we wanted to. Then came covid.
Lockdown after lockdown, fears of leaving our house and even not being able to meet up with our own family. Almost everything became a risk. Wearing masks became normal, and leaving our house became a rarity. Friends were asking me how I was feeling about the risk of covid, as I live with a compromised immune system. Much of it was normal for me, as I am used to keeping out of congested areas and peak times etc. However since my diagnosis in 2007 and continued unreliable health, I have a very different view of risk.
Of course I won’t be putting myself in any unnecessary situations, but I will continue to live my best life. I am seeing many people now thinking twice about travelling, or even eating out. Foreign holidays are definitely off the menu for them too. Hospital waiting lists are increasing rapidly, and now there are starting to be shortages of everything from food to blood bottles in the NHS. The fallout from Afghanistan will also be having a big impact globally. The world as we knew it will not be returning, anytime soon.
As the virus headlines begin to slow, my work is increasing. I’m also getting back to normal regarding my social life too. Frequent days out with the grandchildren, and catching up with friends from near and far. Getting into London now more frequently with public transport, seems normal again. If society is open then I am too. Yes, the health side of things is still difficult, with no face to face visits to my Consultant in more than a year. More issues to be dealt with as time catches up with me, but sod it!
During recent months I have seen more and more of my personal friends get sick, mostly cancer, but also other complex issues. They are now entering the most difficult period for treatment we have known in many years. Their quality of life is decreasing daily and there is little any of us can do, as waiting lists grow. Sure, we are entering the latter stages of our life, but this is the time that many expect to be enjoying themselves, after decades of work and saving.
I am currently working with several people who have late stage cancer, and the system is still working for them, thank goodness! But anyone requiring reasonably routine work is struggling for appointments and surgery. It is blatantly obvious that we are now creating a two tier health service. People who can afford it will pay to jump the horrendous waiting lists, and those that can’t will suffer losing their quality of life.
Given these facts and my inside knowledge, I will be doing my best to spend as much time as I can with family and friends, doing things that make me happy. My personal risk being that I waste time hiding and lose my life hoping that tomorrow will be different. Nobody wants to see people die, but ironically that is a fact of life. Of course you can avoid many risks, but the result will ultimately be the same.
Personally I believe we are all living the ‘lottery of life.’ There appears little logic to it really. Many people who manage their risk still get sick. Same as people who don’t. We all have a choice and see what is happening. How we live after that is up to us of course. During covid, we all seem to have become more judgemental of others. Vaccines, masks, working from home, and generally the way we now live our lives is stimulating debate.
This piece is for everyone, not just those affected by cancer or other health issues. Please let me know below how you view risk, now that we are living in a covid world.