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Sue pictured at home

My experience of shielding in Scotland

Sue Polson

At the end of March, I received a letter from the Scottish Government to tell me I had been identified as a high risk patient. My husband also received these restrictions a week later.

Decreasing circles

So, we began shrinking our lives by reducing contact with friends and family. A few days later, I received another message to tell me I was to be ‘shielded’ which meant I could not go outside for three months. That, I didn’t need!

Again, my husband received the same letter one week later so we were both confined in our flat until July.

So far, we are still speaking - although the kitchen is the difficult area when both of us try to use it. Sharing that space can lead to strong words!

Keeping active

Perhaps the most annoying thing is that I had been working to get myself back to some sort of normality after 3 weeks in hospital following a fall. I was at the stage of going out in the wheelchair and using a rollator in the house. With the help of physios, I was about to try extending my range to going outside with the rollator. It obviously wasn’t meant to be as the shielding letter arrived and put a stop to that!

So I have been following the MS Society's exercises for wheelchair users. It’s not glamorous, but it’s all I can do, though I do feel I am losing confidence and momentum.

Personal contact and staying positive

The worst thing about social distancing and shielding is being unable to see my grandchildren, my son and daughter-in-law and our many friends who are part of our lives and visit regularly. I miss the pleasure of seeing everyone face-to-face and hearing all the news.

The beginning of July was my time to stop shielding but then this was extended and we had to add on another 4 weeks.

Last week, however, a chink of light at last: we can meet another household outside – fantastic! We can even exercise outside – well that’s not a lot of good to me, but it will help my husband.

The longer I stay locked away, the more anxious I become about joining the world again. I must begin the task of gaining back the mobility I have lost, particularly outside, and get used to groups of people around me.

For us, it can feel like there’s not much we can do (a bit like MS) other than stay positive and hope that we continue to be - if we’re honest - the lucky ones.

But, for goodness sake, what am I going to do about my hair…?

Read our updated information about shielding in the different nations of the UK