It was a Thursday, March 19, when I last left my apartment here in Sheffield, UK. My husband and I were already trying to stay home that week, only leaving our home when really necessary. I can only compare that feeling to when you know there is a major storm coming and we have to prepare ourselves the best we can, then brace for impact. The unknown was and is the worst part. On that Thursday, which now seems like another life (and it was), we went to Costco to get the last groceries for us and for my husband’s family, who doesn’t have a car. There were rumours that the UK was going on lockdown the next day. It did not happen though. It took another four days for the government to implement more strict measures.
I often think about the life I had before that Thursday. It is nostalgic and also offers ground for further reflection. I chose not to go out of my apartment during this period because I have developed asthma due to pollen and dust mite allergies since last year, also I am on a preventer inhaler twice a day, plus Montelukast at night. According to Asthma.org.uk, my current situation fits the profile of people in the group of risk that should be at home for 12 weeks, as the government previously recommended. I remember counting the weeks and realising that I would be able to go outside on the Brazilian Valentine’s Day, on June 12. However, by now, I am not sure anymore.
My husband had an ear infection a couple of weeks ago. We didn’t want to go to the hospital if things got worse. We can’t even go to the GP as it is closed to the public right now, I suppose most of the appointments have been happening through a call. My father is an OBGYN in Brazil, where I am from, and in times like these I’m lucky to have him to consult. I am aware not everyone has this option to reach a doctor that easily during quarantine.
As a Brazilian journalist from a Japanese family that later became Canadian, I tend to check on what the countries close to my heart are doing and compare to the UK. I am fortunate to be able to order everything online, from groceries to medicine, and get them delivered at home without much delay. Most supermarkets don’t have time slots, but there is always some option with local producers, such as veg and fruit boxes subscriptions. I cannot complain.
I know my family in Brasilia, Brazil, still needs to go do groceries and deliveries don’t work as well as here. There are perks of being in the UK, I live in an apartment without a balcony and with windows with safety measures to prevent them from opening fully, probably because we are on the 15th floor. Back in Brasilia, I would probably be able to open my windows fully. Small things like those are so unimportant in the end. What matters is that we are safe, we can work from home, and we have the privilege to choose to stay home all this time.