Hi Daniel, welcome back. Tell us more about your shielding experience and how you feel about returning to your NWAS family.
“I was shielding due to underlying health issues. As someone who is normally busy (I’m also an eCFR* and perform in amateur theatre amongst other things), it was very strange suddenly stopping everything.
“I am incredibly fortunate because I have my husband and two dogs at home. We are an ‘NHS household’ as my husband is the clinical lead for respiratory at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, so we haven’t escaped COVID-19 completely. Unfortunately he ended up testing positive and became very poorly. Through household social distancing, I thankfully tested negative.
“I kept busy by learning to cook and I have perfected my fudge recipe now, of course I have brought some in to work on my first day back! I also learnt to meditate to reduce my anxiety. I became a Zoom quiz master and ran a weekly family quiz to keep us all connected along with hosting other virtual social activities.
“I have had amazing support from friends, family and Team NWAS colleagues. I had weekly contact with my managers who have all helped and supported me and kept my spirits up and have enabled me to come back to work safely. My colleague Michelle, also an EMD, was shielding too and we kept each other going by dreaming about being out in the world again and of course talking about dogs and food!
“When the restrictions on those who were shielding lifted and I found out I could return to work again I immediately had that ‘new boy’ feeling. So much has changed whilst I have been shielding and I was anxious I wouldn’t catch up or understand anything! The standard work anxiety dreams of answering a 999 call with ‘Hiya….oh no that sounds painful!’ started to creep in. I still have underlying health complications but the protections in place at work have helped reduce my anxiety about those too.
“I know I have the support of my green family today because that’s exactly what it is – a family!”
Good luck Daniel and to all our other colleagues who have been shielding who have returned back this week – stay safe!
*Our Community First Responders (CFRs) are volunteers who are trained by us to attend certain types of emergency calls in the area where they live or work. An eCFR has additional training.