Covid-19 tiers: Please follow the rules!

From today (31st December), large areas of England move into tier 4 restrictions, which is pretty much lockdown. Covid-19 lockdowns, tiers and restrictions are hard. They have really taken their toll on everyone this year. Everyone wants to hug their parents and meet up with their friends. We all want holidays and day trips and normality. It can be tempting to break the rules.

But please remember what the rules are for!

(At this point I would like to say that I know the government has messed up many times. This isn’t a post about that. I will leave that to people who are far better with words. This is a post about personal responsibility and the reality of Covid-19.)

If you’re one of those people moaning about the restrictions on social media or breaking the rules and sharing the photos, I’m guessing you’ve never had a relative in hospital seriously ill (or worse) with Covid.

I have. And it’s possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever lived through.

Throughout this pandemic, we’ve always stayed positive and maintained that we were the lucky ones. But at the end of November, our luck ran out. My dad got Covid.

My dad didn’t break any rules. He was unfortunate enough to pick it up in hospital. Maybe the person he caught it from didn’t break the rules either. But you can bet that somewhere down the line there was someone who thought it was OK just to nip into a friend’s house for a hug or go out for drink with people they didn’t live with.

And my dad paid the price.

He very nearly paid the ultimate price.

My fit, healthy 75-year-old dad, who has done over 100 parkruns.

Covid-19 is an absolute rollercoaster. For the first three weeks of his illness he got a bit better and a bit worse. Every single day. As a family member, that is tough. It really takes its toll. And it is even harder on the person who is ill.

Every day, we were feeling fear, sadness and anger. Then there would be a little bit of happiness and hope, then it would all get dashed again as he got a little bit worse.

It was impossible to focus on anything. Every thought and action was overwhelmed with ‘My dad’s got Covid. My dad’s in hospital’. Nothing else was important.

To give you an idea of just how much of a rollercoaster it is – on the morning that my dad went on a ventilator, he called my mum to say he was feeling a bit better. He was on a new ward which was nicer than his old one and he’d had a good night’s sleep. We felt positive. Maybe he’d hit rock bottom and was on his way up?

No, he wasn’t. He was about to be put onto a ventilator.

My fit, healthy 75-year-old dad on a ventilator.

We know the ventilator is to save a person’s life, but we also know that many people who go on a ventilator don’t make it.

Can you imagine how that feels?

Unless you’ve been in that position, you probably can’t. I would have said I could imagine it before it happened.

But I couldn’t imagine just how awful it would feel.

Two weeks on from that day, it still feels awful just writing those words and reliving those feelings.

He’d been in hospital for two weeks and, although, we’d spoken to him on the phone every day, we hadn’t seen his face. Just before he was put on the ventilator, we were able to FaceTime him. He couldn’t speak because of his oxygen mask, but he could wave to us and we could talk to him.

It was a surreal experience and, at the back of our minds, we knew it could be the last time we saw him.

Stop there and think. Think about having to say goodbye to a loved one on FaceTime and not knowing if you will ever see them again. Is it really worth that family get together or that drink with your mates?

When he was on the ventilator, we were offered the chance to FaceTime him in the coma – just to look at him. We chose not to do this. We didn’t need to see him like that. Some families choose to say goodbye to a loved one like that. Can you imagine anything more heartbreaking?

Thankfully, my dad made it through. But the nightmare isn’t over yet.

He still has a very long road to recovery. He is recovering from a serious illness, which absolutely would have killed him without medical intervention. He would almost certainly have died long before he made it to the intensive care unit. He is also recovering from being on a ventilator, which is an extreme and invasive treatment. Despite being fit for his age, his age means the recovery will take much longer than it would for a younger person.

Talking of younger people, my dad encountered a lot of people in their 40s in the various Covid wards he passed through. Some of them were every bit as ill as my dad.

Some of them didn’t make it.

So if you’re tempted to go into your parents’ house and let your secondary aged kids hug their 70 or 80-something grandparents. Don’t.

Your parents might think it’s OK, that it’s worth it for a hug. It isn’t.

They might not be as lucky as my dad.

And is being in hospital for five weeks and ending up on a ventilator ‘lucky’?. No, it isn’t.

Lockdowns and tiers are isolating and I totally get that they have a huge impact on mental health and the economy. I also fully support single people being able to have a support bubble.

But for anyone else, ask yourself where you would rather be isolated. In your own home, with your own bed and home comforts and the ability to eat, drink, go to the bathroom and go to bed when you want? Or in a hospital ward, on oxygen and being pumped full of intravenous antibiotics and steroids, wondering if you will live or die?

I think we all know the answer to that question.

Covid-19, Coronavirus, Tiers, Lockdowns, Covid-19 tiers


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Sarah, I’m very glad your Dad is on the road to recovery. Everything you’ve written is correct. I can scarcely believe that people are so selfish these days but Covid 19 has revealed a side to people that I had hoped was not there. X

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks very much. During the first lockdown it felt like everyone was following the rules and even going out of their way to help others, but somewhere along the line that changed. Now it feels like people just don’t think the rules apply to them, which is such an ignorant and selfish attitude.

      Post a Reply
  2. So sorry to hear this Sarah. It must have been terrifying. Wishing him a steady and full recovery. Best wishes to you and all your family for 2021

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    • Thanks very much. It has been awful. The nightmare is over now, but the long, slow path to recovery is just beginning.

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  3. Sending love and hugs. I hope your dad makes a speedy recovery. I am so glad he’s dad is home now.
    I think you made the right choice not seeing him in the coma. If the worst had happened that would have been your last memory of your dad. It’s horrifying thinking about it.
    What a worrying time you’ve had. This virus is scary. It is a rollercoaster, everything is so uncertain. My dad being ill, losing a family friend and a distant relative has given us enough of a scare to stay home and stay away from people. x

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks very much. It has been really awful. It is such a relief to have my dad at home now. He seems to be coping really well, thank goodness.
      You’ve had a really scary time with it too. So sorry to hear about the family friend and your relative. I hope your dad is feeling better now. x

      Post a Reply
  4. Too many people just don’t seem to think or realise it can happen to healthy people and impact them too. So glad your dad made it out and is on the way to recovery. Hope it goes smoothly for him and he gets back to his running ways. Hopefully his prior fitness will help him make progress.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks very much! I was surprised that my dad was the oldest person in the hospital. It seems that it can make anyone seriously ill.
      His first few days at home have gone well, so hopefully he will continue to make a steady recovery.

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  5. Thank you for saying this all Sarah. I’m so sorry you, your family and most of all your dad have been through all this. I wish your words didn’t need to be said but I’ve been seeing so many well-educated theoretically bright people breaking all the rules – both official and common sense – that sadly they do need to be shared.
    I hope people listen and change what they’re doing.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks very much. I did question whether I should share it as it’s my dad’s story, not mine. But I realised it was too important. Like you, I’ve seen far too many people lately breaking the rules and thinking they don’t apply to them.

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  6. It is just awful reading that Sarah, I really hope your dad makes a full recovery. It is horrendous and it really does put it all into perspective. I hope people will read this and consider the impact their actions could have

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    • Thanks very much, I really hope so too! I keep reading it back and upsetting myself all over again! I wanted to write it straight from the heart so that it would have the maximum impact.

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  7. What a horrible ordeal to live through. cannot begin to appreciate what you went through. Too true anyone can get it and can make young and old really ill.
    Really red you have had a good outcome and I wish your dad a speedy recovery to get home now.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks very much, it really has been awful. Like so many people, we thought it wouldn’t happen to us, but it did! I wouldn’t wish what we’ve been through on anyone. I’m pleased to say my dad is now recovering well at home.

      Post a Reply
  8. Sarah,

    I can’t do much more than echo what other people have already said.
    It’s clear that doctors and scientists are still learning about the COVID-19 virus and its effects.
    Sandra is right to say that the pandemic has revealed unflattering aspects of human behaviour. Fortunately it’s also revealed that some people are willing to go “above and beyond”.
    I hope you’ll be able to report that your dad is making good progress with his convalescence.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks very much. He is doing really well now he’s back at home. I’m grateful that he was ill in the second wave rather than the first as the doctors have already learned so much about effective treatments.

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  9. I hope people take heed from this and listen to the advice and stay home. It is not a nice virus, and so unpredictable. I am so pleased your dad is back home and building himself backup. What an amazing turn around for him xxx

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks very much, he had an incredible turnaround, but he went to hell and back before that. It is a horrible illness and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. People really need to do everything they can to avoid catching it and avoid passing it on. X

      Post a Reply

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