Pandemic experiences – Josh and Aoislin

We asked two of our oral history group at Victoria to tell us how they’ve been doing over this difficult time.

How has the pandemic affected your ability to access healthcare?

Josh: “I have a spinal condition called scoliosis and it has been a hard time. I had a struggle to get an appointment with my spinal surgeon at The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital – Birmingham due to the virus outbreak.

My first appointment was face to face, but we were socially distancing throughout.  I’ve only now been allocated a Spinal Physiotherapist at The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital to do some Core Muscle Strengthening exercises on my thoracic region of my spine.”

Aoislin: “The NHS aren’t coping with all the people who haven’t got long to live and because people aren’t following the COVID 19 rules even more adults and children are getting ill.

I have a muscle condition called myotonic dystrophy and was put through to a physiotherapist at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham to see an Outpatient Physiotherapist. Myotonic dystrophy is a genetic muscle condition, which causes my muscles to weaken and can cause me to fatigue quicker.”

Aoislin Connolly

And what about school?

Aoislin: “I missed 6 months of my school education.  I came back to school for a few weeks before the summer holidays on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.”

Josh: “Initially, I missed a lot of schooling.  For 3 months, I didn’t come into school at all, instead, I had to do lessons via Zoom and my teacher emailed me some resources.  Then I was coming into school, but only on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I wasn’t with my normal staff or classmates.  School is now different, there is now social distancing measures around school to help stop the transmission of the virus. We have to do lessons in our class bubbles or over Zoom. Since I’ve been back at school it’s been hard to settle back in and get used to social distancing, washing hands and getting use to keeping our space.”

How have you been feeling?

Josh: “I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and anxious throughout the pandemic. I’ve been bored as well.”

Aoislin: “During the pandemic, at first, I felt a bit depressed.  When I found out the schools were closed that made me upset and angry, but I was able to talk to Josh about my feelings and he always knew how to make me feel better.  I felt a little bit happier when I came back to school for the last three weeks before the summer break.

I’ve been overwhelmed by so much on my mind due to coronavirus.  Social distancing and hand washing is constant and it is much harder to do it when we are in the classroom. Outside it is much easier to keep a 2-meter distance away from everyone but still be able to talk to them without getting close to them and spreading the virus.”

Have there been any positives?

Aoislin: “I’ve enjoyed going out for walks in the park with my dog and I’ve enjoyed speaking to my friends on Zoom.”

Josh: “I have enjoyed doing exercise e.g.  going to the park and also walking through the woods in Bartley Green as I was advised to by my spinal surgeon that I had to do more exercise until I receive my spinal physiotherapy appointment.

And what are your hopes now?

Josh: “I’ll be happy when we can be back to a new normal and get to doing things that we used to do before the pandemic in March 2020.”

Aoislin: “I am feeling a little bit more hopeful about the future and I hope we can get back to normal soon.”

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