Authoratitive information is on the Government Website “Coronavirus (COVID-19)”. To visit the website click the link www.gov.uk/coronavirus
There is a great deal of media information about the current virus situation, this web page does not attempt to compete with that.
From time to time we publish information especially relevant to our members who have various heart conditions.
A very informative article “Government to relax shielding guidance from July 6” published on the British Heart Foundation website will be very helpful to some members.
To read the article click here .
Hertbeats Cardiac Support Group does not offer formal medical advice but it provides practical advice, information and help to cardiac patients and their families within the St. Albans, Harpenden, Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield areas.
A Light-hearted Look at Coronavirus and Lockdown by Brian York
Firstly we have to remember how serious this period continues to be for Hertbeats’ members, their families and friends. Nearly all members were/are shielded, extremely vulnerable or vulnerable.
For our mental health it is important to remain cheerful and so what follows is meant to be fun, though based on actual happenings!
Let’s start with the jargon. Unprecedented experience for us and not known anything like it since the Second World War. This time it’s an invisible enemy. All true! We had to Stay at Home, Save the NHS and Save Lives. It wasn’t quite as clear when it changed to Stay Alert. For me this injunction was associated with terrorism, but as I was no longer travelling on the buses and trains, I wasn’t sure what to do. I couldn’t spot any bombs as we couldn’t see the enemy, but we knew we had to scarper as quickly as possible from anyone coughing or looking hot! In my case, waiting for a hip operation, this was more easily said than done!
Nevertheless we were assured all would be well. The Chancellor said ‘whatever it takes’ and spent billions on supporting locked down workers. We oldies were fortunate as our pensions would continue to be paid. I don’t know about you, but I saved money whilst confined at home during the lockdown. I spent on food, but little else as I didn’t need petrol and most shops were closed.
There was plenty more jargon as well. We had to be reasonable, use British Common Sense (not sure how it’s different from Irish or any other common sense) and Move On (not sure where to?). We learned that ‘R’ was a number as well as a letter. When it was below 1 (like 0.4-0.7) that was good, but R+ (like even just 1.1) was very bad. Bubbles were small groups of people instead of soap blown at children’s parties, or when West Ham take to the pitch. It was regarded as good news when we began to flatten the curve. Unfortunately some of us put on weight while staying at home. When I looked down at my tum the curve was doing the opposite of flattening!
When this is all over my cat Pixie will not be pleased. She loves me staying at home all the time and helping with all activities such as tapping wrong keys on this laptop I am using to write all this, or putting herself in the washing machine when I am loading it. No, I didn’t start it until she came out!
I’ve just managed to get a haircut. I had some practice with long hair while I was in hospital for 11 weeks last year, but this time it was even longer and the 1970s Kevin Keegan look didn’t really suit me. It was even worse when I found an old pair of very short football shorts to complete the 70s look. Some male friends you may know told me to stop complaining about having (long) hair needing to be cut!
Just before lock down I had cataracts removed and was told only to drive again when my eyes were totally clear. Following the medical advice I waited until I could read the subtitles on BBC 4’s Norwegian thriller. It was only afterwards I realised I could have tested my eyesight much earlier by taking a 60 minutes drive, as the Prime Minister’s chief adviser demonstrated! Incidentally, Dominic Cummings is the only person I’ve heard of who has identified poor eyesight as a possible symptom of the virus.
Still we knew our politicians, perhaps unlike those in Italy and Spain where the virus was rampant, would look after us. When the Prime Minister himself fell seriously ill, possibly after shaking too many hands by going against government official advice, we were placed in the competent hands, we thought, of the Foreign Secretary, Mr Raab. Some of us were a little worried, as during his time as Brexit Secretary he told us how he had only just discovered that Calais to Dover was such a crucial route for British trade. Though he did his best, lack of clear knowledge was illustrated again when he thought ‘taking the knee’ in the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests originated from the fictional Games of Thrones series on TV. Although Mr Raab’s (Cambridge) degree was in Law and not History, you would have expected the Foreign Secretary to know that getting down on one knee was the well-known action of those in the American Civil Rights Movement. It was perhaps most famously seen on the bridge in Selma by Martin Luther King and thousands of supporters when their way was seemingly blocked by Alabama state troopers in their great march to Montgomery.
When the Prime Minister recovered from his very serious illness we thought the government was at last going to get on top of the virus. Mr Johnson told us we were getting a world-beating ‘Test. Trace and Track’ system, though at the time of writing this (early July) there is little sign of it and the App, launched with such fanfare, has still not escaped from the Isle of Wight ! When I asked why New Zealand and Germany had done so much better than us (just 22 deaths in NZ compared with tens of thousands in Britain), all the females in my family responded in unison: ‘because they’ve got female leaders!’.
Why the government chose the date of 4 July – and a Saturday at that – to open up pubs and greatly ease the lock down in England (except for poor Leicester) was never properly explained. Maybe it was due to more ignorance of History. 4 July is Independence Day, a national holiday in the USA, celebrating the 1776 Declaration of Independence of the 13 British colonies fighting against British rule. It was a war which Britain lost so 4 July seemed an odd date to choose for any celebrations, however low key.
Still, things could have been worse. The USA, rather than us, had Donald Trump as leader. My 10 years old granddaughter thought he had a point when he suggested people might inject themselves with bleach to stop the virus. She pointed out that if you did this you wouldn’t then catch it because you would be dead. A certain logic there! Mr Trump’s ignorant sayings are too many to recite here, but if I had any hope for him as ‘leader of the free world’ left at all, it finally disappeared when he revealed that he thought Finland was part of Russia and that Britain wasn’t a nuclear power.
But we’re still here, so let’s keep smiling and get through it all.
Some older articles shown below may be of value to Hertbeats members.
– COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for heart patients by Professor Sanjay Sharma. Click here
– Heart patients warned to take extra care with coronavirus threat. Click here
– Coronavirus: What does it mean if you have health problems? Clickhere
You can request help from Hertbeats, call the Hertbeats Care and Welfare officer, Ann Gibson.
Telephone: 01727 859127. Email click here
A BHF Cardiac Nurse can give professional help and advice, call the help line 0300 330 3311
Contact local support groups
In recent weeks numerous support groups have been established. Many roads or areas have WhatsApp groups so that people can get in touch. ‘Nextdoor’ covers wider geographical areas. Click here
In addition to that there are town or city wide groups as well as county ones. If your Hertbeats contacts are unable to help then you could contact any of these groups.
Communities 1st works alongside St Albans and District Council.
If you need help (shopping, dog walking/pet hosting, telephone tech support for online shopping or using Skype/Facetime etc) whilst isolated, you -or someone on your behalf – can complete an online form on the website.
Website: Click here
Telephone: 020 8207 5115. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Harpenden Cares: “Aims to be a trusted source of help and information throughout the Coronavirus emergency.”
Website: Click here
Telephone: 01582 460457
The Contact Centre will operate from Monday to Friday from 10:00am to 2:00pm.:
For those people who may struggle to get out for essentials such as food or medicine while they are self-isolating. If you or someone you know needs extra support then call Herts Help.
Website: Click here
Telephone: 0300 123 4044