Experiences of 2020

Caroline - Social Worker

I’m Caroline McDonald and I reside in Renfrewshire. I am a Social Worker in a local authority children and families team.

In mid-march it became clear that the pandemic was about to have a significant impact on all of our lives. My employer advised me to work from home because of my underlying health conditions.

Unfortunately, my husband contracted COVID-19 into the second week of lockdown. We tried our best to keep on top of a strict cleaning regime and my husband opted to remain within one particular room of our house. However, this was challenging as I was responsible for cooking meals for the family and caring for my husband. The reality of working from home, helping my kids with their school work, cooking, cleaning and caring was hard going. I was worried about my husband as I had never seen him so unwell before. I did my best to keep positive, to reassure my children who were becoming increasingly anxious about the pandemic.

The following week I began to feel unwell. I sought health advice from the NHS 24 who confirmed that it was likely that I too had symptoms of COVID-19. At this point my husband and I had to agree on childcare provision should either one of us become so unwell that we had to go into hospital. My sister agreed to step in if needed. It was such a relief when my husband started to pick up the following week. Unfortunately, I didn’t improve and developed a nasty chest infection. In total I was off work sick for two months., My Social Work team members were fantastic and looked after the families that I support, which was reassuring. One colleague dropped off lovely fruit and homemade soup at my front door, which was most appreciated.

Because I hadn’t left the house in such a long time, there was an impact on my mental and physical health. I have gained weight and being stuck at home for ninety days has been frustrating. My legs have ached because I had to rest so much due to my breathlessness. I have tried to keep positive and optimistic, appreciating my small garden and not experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.

When I started to feel better, I took advantage of zoom classes from my Weight Watchers class. This helped me to plan my eating and to recognise the difficult time that I had overcome. I pulled out my cross trainer and started to exercise. This meant that I could exercise indoors which helped my mood greatly. I started to feel like the old me again.

I have been able to work from home again and provide a service, as best as I can to my families. It’s been lovely to get in touch with the people that I support. Last Thursday I was able to leave the house for a walk, the first time in ninety days. It was great as the sun was shining and it was my son’s birthday. It felt like a turning point. Although I’m shielding for a further month, I’m feeling better and hope to spend some quality time with my husband and children during the summer. Although it will be like no other summer.