Personal Message from Sue James

Posted on: 12th April 2020

I think this is the first video I’ve ever uploaded to my website but then there are many ‘firsts’ in these unprecedented times. It was filmed whilst catching my breath walking my dog, Cara, above Pendeen church. I think that most people are doing the right thing and thankfully the death figures in our Cornish hospitals is low BUT, I (and probably you realise) this is only part of the story. Many people dying outside of hospital, whether in our Care Homes or their own homes, will also be dying as a result of COVID-19 but because there is no community based testing, something else will appear on their death certificate.

Many of us have united in putting rainbows and teddy bears in our windows (except I’ve put my bear at my gate so she is seen). I’ve picked up my childhood recorder and obtained the music Somewhere Over the Rainbow and have been practising. I think my husband is fearing my plans but it will likely only be the people of Carnyorth I will inflict it on, when I do my weekly community walk to check all is well. Last week, I collected a prescription for a chap and took it to him on my walk around. Although we live quite close to each other, we have never had a conversation before and yet, like many of you reading this, he needed help and I was able to oblige.

I’m sure that all of us are being touched, in some way, by this dreadful almost incomprehensible virus. Whether it is family, friends or local community members that suspect they have had it and recovered, perhaps people who are part of those death figures or just struggling with self isolation and panic over how long will it go on.

For me, my uncle, aged 98 was taken to the Royal Gwent hospital a few weeks ago with illness unconnected to Coronavirus. His son and daughter-in-law were visiting until they developed symptoms of the virus. My Uncle was well enough to go home but my cousin was concerned that, with him unable to give his dad any support, the care package proposed was not going to be enough. My Uncle remained in hospital but then I got the call that he had developed a temperature. Although he had previously tested negative for COVID-19, a re-test proved positive. I had very mixed feelings on hearing he was then moved to Ystrad Mynach hospital, near Caerphilly for palliative care. The nurses have sent a photo to his son, who has forwarded it to me and my sister and I’ve shown my dad. Whilst the photo makes me think he cannot come back from this, he has defied death before and I’m willing him to do so again as I know he would love to achieve a message from the Queen on his 100th birthday! My cousin’s wife also had a few days in hospital as she was struggling to breath, but she is home and appears to be on the mend.

[EDIT next day: An hour and a half after publishing this, my cousin rang to say my Uncle had died. RIP Uncle Dick. No idea whether I will be allowed/ able/ should go to his funeral.]

I have to urge us all to look out for anyone locally that might be struggling. This might be that their income has suddenly reduced or stopped and they are waiting for benefits or Government aid to arrive. Do urge them, if they need to, to access the foodbank that other local folk are being so generous to donate to. Others maybe struggling with not getting out, missing friends and family but hopefully we are all learning new ways of communicating – Skype, Zoom, video through Messenger or Whats App and many, many more; or why not offer to just ring them and have a chat, like we did in the old days?! Many people will be struggling to get their shopping or medicines but may not like to ask for help; they might be torn with going out, even though they are over 70 or have health problems that mean they really should not. We must all learn to ask and accept help, as I know there are many people volunteering and really want to make a difference to someone elses life. So, if you ask for help, you’ll be making some-one else feel needed and good about themselves.

I’ll end this ramble by pointing you to what I hope is a range of useful information that I have been collecting and indexing on my website. Another more useful blog!

Stay safe at home and keep washing your hands please!