Coronavirus: How Kirkcaldy folk are coping with self-isolation

Great support from community

By Darren Gibb
Friday, 20th March 2020, 10:31 am
Updated Friday, 20th March 2020, 10:32 am
Jackie Meek and her son
Jackie Meek and her son

With the UK Government implementing further social-distancing measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic, more people in the community are self-isolating and social-distancing to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Many of us may be isolating due to age or health issues, or some could be showing symptoms – such as a cough or a feve - but what are we doing to ensure that our mental health doesn’t suffer due to isolation?

Social-distancing is where a person does not take unnecessary trips,and minimises the contact with other people.

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Ken Rigby

That could mean working remotely from home, not attending mass gatherings, or taking part in any activities that may expose themselves to coronavirus.

Others are self-isolating because they may have symptoms, may be at risk because of their age, or have recently returned from a country that is affected by coronavirus.

But what is like to step back from the world?

Jackie Meek, a family support worker from Kirkcaldy has been in self-isolation with her son and daughter since Monday night after she developed a persistent cough, sore throat and a fever.

She said: “I decided to self-isolate just in case it was something more serious than a cold or the flu. We are generally really healthy, but we are also a very grounded and sensible family, so going into self-isolation for a couple of weeks was the right thing to do.

“We’re not stressing too much about the situation - apart from suffering a bit from cabin fever we are quite relaxed.

Jackie’s neighbours, friends and family have rallied round, offering to deliver essentials.

She added: “My friends and family have been great, making sure that we are all okay and that we have everything that we need, I have even reconnected with some friends who live in Spain that I have not spoken to in several months.

“I have been seeing all the wonderful acts of kindness that people are doing on social media, and I think it is great the way the community is pulling together to help one another. a complete stranger on Facebook even offered to pick up shopping for me if I needed it.

“The community spirit in Kirkcaldy has been amazing, and hopefully when this all calms down the ripple effect of all these kind acts will continue to happen.

“The only worry that I have is if I can't get my son’s medication, but I’m sure we will find a way to get it to us.” Jackie said.

Jackie said being in isolation had brought her family closer together, adding: “We are spending more time talking to each other, which is important to keep our feet on the ground and to not get too down about the situation.

“I think it is also important to take a step back from social media every now and again as it is far too easy to get immersed. With the amount of information oiut there, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by it all.

“We have been listening to music,d going out to the back garden to get some fresh air and playing on the trampoline – when I asked my daughter if she would like to have a go she looked at me as if I was wired to the moon!”

Ken Rigby, from the Gallatown area, has social-distanced himself with his wife as he suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and has been amazed at the amount of support that his fellow Langtounians have been offering.

He said: “My wife was scared for me as I suffer from a lung condition and I’m in the high risk category, so I decided to social-distance to put her mind at rest.

“I’m lucky because we get along really well and we enjoy each others company so it won’t be too bad being isolated in the house together.

“As we are trying to avoid going out, everyone in the community has been great offering to get our messages for us or to run errands, my local shop, Loco on St Clair Street, has been really helpful as well delivering our shopping for free.

“I have to take several different medications, including paracetamol. I ran out, and I mentioned it to my sister who lives in Gateside who put it on a Facebook group, and about half an hour later a good samaritan from Kirkcaldy had put a pack through my letterbox. It brought a tear to my eye.

“It is absolutely brilliant that everyone has banded together to make sure people are okay and are not going without during this crisis.”

Ken and his wife have been whiling away the hours by getting plenty fresh air and doing puzzles.

“We have been doing some jigsaws and colouring by numbers to keep our minds active, and taking the dog for a walk when we can," he said. “I’m 66 now so I suppose I should try to be careful - I’m just a geriatric hippy!.

“Being retired I’m used to not doing much, and we will be okay as I’ve got my pension and a military pension as well, but I’m concerned for people who can’t afford to stock up, with all this panic buying that is going on. How will anyone who doesn’t have a lot of money manage to get the essentials?”