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WHO CARES? I'm a positive person – so why this feeling of foreboding?

By Hector MacKenzie

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Karen Anderson
Karen Anderson

I have this background feeling of foreboding just now. I am normally a fairly positive person – not in a way too jolly annoying way, but just trying to always believe the best is yet to come. However, it’s very difficult to feel that hope now when it appears that everything is going to hell in a handbasket!

The first inkling was the petrol crisis. I was as usual accompanied by BBC Breakfast presenters on my morning routine and noted that they were saying a few petrol stations ‘down south’ had run out of fuel because of not enough tanker drivers to re-stock. A passing interest and then on with my day.

I work with the radio on in my back bedroom/home office, and I listened to it ramping up as each hour’s news bulletin came and went, and I believe it was about lunchtime that a politician made the fateful comment that there was no need for anyone to panic buy fuel.

“That’s that then”, I thought. “We’re bound to have fighting in the forecourts before the week is out”. It was surreal the way that ten days or so played out and I was glad to see we were not so badly affected up here. Scottish pragmatism perhaps, or Grangemouth?

I was very lucky to have done my monthly fill up a couple of days before (don’t use much diesel now that my daily commute is done in slippers) so could look on from the sidelines, but I could imagine the panic I would have felt if I was working in the NHS or if it had happened a few years ago and I needed to get back and forth to Inverness to look after my Mum.

I have noticed the gaps in the shelves of the supermarket which is also attributed to the lack of drivers. In response, I am now to be found lurking in the aisles around 8am with scraped back hair and no make-up trawling for fresh fruit that has more than one day on its use by date. My morning walk can now include a small detour when we need a loaf or something as I can’t guarantee to be able to get what I need after work. I guess I am part of the problem in that I have changed my shopping habits, if only in a very minor way.

But the biggest worry of all is the increasing numbers of Covid cases detected every day and over a hundred people a day are dying with their deaths seem to be becoming ‘par for the course’ which is devastating, especially for their family and friends. I know several carers who are all still effectively shielding as they have no confidence in their ability to stay safe if they go over their thresholds. If this is what ‘living with Covid’ is going to be for the next year or two, we can’t become complacent about people who are living with constant fear for themselves and their loved ones.

The vaccination is a wonderful breakthrough, and boosters are seemingly on the way, but we are still far from a life that we would have recognised as ‘normal’ in 2019. There will be a way out of it as time will pass, but at what cost? Surely not having scant regard for losing over seven hundred people a week? I find that hard to countenance.

Karen is Mum to an autistic teenager and campaigns for the rights of unpaid carers to be supported in their caring role and involved in the decisions that affect their lives and the lives of the people they care for. You can find her on twitter @Karen4Carers.

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