"My Life through a pandemic"

Laois life through the Covid-19 pandemic in a Portlaoise woman's own words

Sheila Duff

Reporter:

Sheila Duff

coronavirus covid-19

Zoom excercise class have been vital

“My experience during The pandemic 2020. I had my 80th Birthday on the 14th of February 2020. I was at the scooch game in St. Mary’s Hall and Laois Sports Partnership had a nice cake for me and sang Happy Birthday.

“Then I went to Gorman’s Pub and restaurant for a meal with some of my family. Later about 11 members of our active retirement club went for a meal in Treacy to celebrate my birthday.

“We weren’t having any family celebrations on the day as my daughter and son-in-law and 3 grandsons were to come home from New Zealand and another daughter was coming from Spain so we had booked a venue and a band for then and were going to have a big bash. Of course, that was put an end to by COVID-19.

“Then it all started, I think the last day I was out was the 14th of March when one of the members of our club had died. On that morning we had a kind of commemoration for him.

“The government came up with the restrictions then – the over 70s were to cocoon. In the beginning that was not too bad as we thought it would be only for a short while.

“Then we were allowed to go 200 metres around our own home which made it a bit easier, you might meet other people walking and saying hello across the road.

“Next we were allowed to drive five miles but not get out of car or talk to anyone. I felt liberated then. My daughter and daughter in law did the shopping and brought it to us but as time went by I missed the companionship of my friends and family.

“I was to have a hernia operation on the 30th April which had to be postponed and was rescheduled for 23rd July.

“ I spent about 26 days in hospital very bad some of the time when no one could come visit or check on me because of COVID-19 that was very hard. When I came home I had to cocoon again as my immune system was comprised. My daughter came from Spain and self-isolated for two weeks in Dublin and then came home to us to look after us for two weeks which was great.

“In the last four or five weeks, Laois Sports Partnership have put on safe activities for our Active Retirement Club that has allowed us to get out and meet up with some of our friends which is great.

“We have had some safe distancing walks and chair activator pole exercised and we even had the scooch game in St. Mary’s Sports Hall with masks, sanitisers and safe distancing.

“I hope this pandemic will soon be controlled as us old people need to live whatever time we have left as normal and not be locked up for the remainder of our lives".