• Vix

Hospitals and Sunflowers

We have been self isolating as my husband had an operation on Monday and so I haven't really had to deal with going into the shops and trying to communicate with people wearing masks. We have had lots of visitors to our front gate which has been lovely but trying to self isolate in this hot weather (dreaming of swimming in the sea!!) and then the wifi goes down for 5 days with two teenage boys in the house... It's safe to say its been a stressful and anxious time. My husband is now on the road to recovery and will hopefully be home soon from hospital.

So today I went to visit my husband in hospital post op and wore my clear mask. It was a very stressful experience for me. Again, my temperature was too high - on account of wearing a very sweaty hearing aid in both ears. They took my temperature another two times and said it was still too high. The nurse kindly moved her mask down so I could understand what she was saying. She offered me a bottle of water to try and cool down. I got really teary again at this point because I really wanted to see my husband. I tried to fan down my ears and then she took it again. The right ear was too high and then she took my left, it was at the threshold. I could go in, 15 minutes into 1hr visiting time. I'm wondering is it only me that has this issue, or do other hearing aid wearers have the same problem? And why cant they use forehead thermometers? Anyway, I got to the ward and a nurse gave me a new cloth mask to wear and told me to wash my hands going in. I told her I needed to lipread but she wouldn't remove her mask. I understand that people are anxious but in an already stressful situation, it really didn't feel helpful to me.

While the hospital have to be very cautious which sadly makes life quite difficult for me, I've had some quite positive experiences out and about recently. Yesterday, I thought I would venture out into town. I wore my clear mask, I'm sure you can tell I'm smiling in the photo! I wear the elastic round my head as I get into all sorts of difficulties with getting tangled behind the ear with my hearing aids and glasses! I went to a large Tesco store very early in the morning and was pleased to see that a few of the staff were wearing clear visor masks and the woman at the till was behind a screen and she didn't wear a mask at all. The shop itself was fairly quiet and so it was easy to adhere to social distancing. I felt safe and able to communicate if I needed to.

I also visited a furniture warehouse shop where it's very easy to socially distance. I walked inside and spoke to two good friends and they were wearing masks but dropped them so I could 'hear' what they were saying - from a distance. It was lovely to see some friendly faces and I didn't feel so anxious.

I also visited a holiday company. We had booked to go away this year but obviously needed to reschedule and I needed up to date paperwork. I knocked on the door and a representative let me in and she sat behind a screen at her desk. There were no other customers so again, I felt less anxious. She was wearing a mask but when I explained I needed to lipread, she also took the mask off quite happily. I was able to communicate comfortably.

I also ventured to my local bank, there was a long queue outside and I waited patiently with the others wearing my clear mask. I was thrilled to see that the member of staff organising the queue had a clear visor on and so I was able to answer his questions with no problems.

All in all, my experience of shops/banks etc so far has been really positive but I understand there's a whole other debate about the safety of not wearing a mask etc but for me, as long as it's done sensibly, adhering to social distancing, I'm happy with it. I have been thinking about buying a lanyard with a card that says that I'm hearing impaired and need to lipread but I'm not sure how effective that would be. I understand if you wear a sunflower lanyard or badge it discreetly lets staff know that you have a hidden disability and you may need extra support. I wonder how many people are aware of this and whether they do get offered support? Someone I know has worn her sunflower lanyard out and about but says that no one has offered her extra support and in shops they seem to ignore it and don’t say anything. Perhaps we need to spread the word about these lanyards so people wearing them do get the right support!

Anyway, I'm visiting my husband in hospital again tomorrow, please send good vibes/thoughts/prayers my way so that I can get into the hospital with no problems. May take a fan and an ice pack with me just to be doubly sure!!

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