After many months of sheltering in place, or shielding, as we call it here in the U.K., the time finally came for me to leave my house for reasons unrelated to medical issues.
The government had paused shielding requirements, but I had been committed to continuing my self-isolation indefinitely because I didn’t believe going outdoors was a good idea. I didn’t feel safe, despite the government’s easing of restrictions.
My plans changed quickly, however, when I was invited at the last-minute to an in-person job interview for a position I really wanted. I had to attend, and the only way I could make it on time was if I took public transportation.
To say I was anxious is an understatement. I went from avoiding all forms of public transportation to using four different types of it for the interview. This seemed like such a drastic change from not traveling at all. I felt like I had jumped into the deep end.
When I left my house, I took social distancing guidelines to an extreme. I wore my mask and carried spares, kept far away from everyone, didn’t touch handrails, and consistently used hand sanitizer.
To my surprise, I found that many of the people I saw also were following the guidelines, and when I arrived at the office for the interview, I didn’t have to shake hands with anyone, and I was able to sit at a distance from the interviewer.
When I returned home, I showered, disinfected all of my items, and threw my clothes in the washing machine.
Before that day, I had been warming up to the idea of only leaving the house when there is a vaccine, which upon reflection, may seem totally unrealistic. As I made the journey that day, I slowly began to see that being outdoors may not be quite as scary as I initially thought.
Since the interview, I have gone out a little more, pushing my boundaries bit by bit. Now I go on walks, cycle, and see friends and family, which I thoroughly have enjoyed. But I still try to be careful with everything I do. I follow all of the precautions.
I must admit, though, that I may be getting a little carried away. The more I go outside, the more comfortable I feel with the environment, which could be a false sense of security. Things may appear to be relatively normal, but the coronavirus threat is still real, and having sickle cell disease means I am just as vulnerable as I was when this all started.
With this in mind, I will need to start cutting back on the number of times I go out. The excitement definitely got to me, and now it’s time to slow down. Wish me luck!
Have you started going out yet? If so, how has the experience been for you? Please share in the comments below.
Note: Sickle Cell Anemia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Anemia News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell anemia.
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