Had the 4th jab, now my next step

It has been nearly two weeks since I had my 4th jab, so after putting things off due to the arrival of Omicron, I have started to book in all my medical appointments I should have attended to sooner. Booked my annual triple blood tests, booked to see my ENT Consultant, trying for a second time to get two MRI scans but in an upright scanner so I will not have a panic attack and hopefully might even get to book an eye test and visit a dentist as well.

I have a new friend that makes me feel more in control. It is the PPF3 mask, but without metal in it, as that is a no-no for MRI scans. One of our volunteers will drive me to and from the ENT and MRI appointments, so I will know how clean he will keep his car and let me have the windows open in the car. I have every confidence in him and with the PPF3 masks, feel at least I have a fighting chance to stay safe.

I know our stupid government has declared “open season” on us when doing away with masks, probably free testing or letting Covid-ill people roam around without shielding, but I feel for me it will be an “It’s Now or Never” situation, to quote Elvis. I start on 1st March, thereby letting my 4th jab kick in a few weeks, as was advised.

Wish me luck, as my anxiety has been so high that it is off the scales. I just pray that there will not be another new Covid variant to rain on my parade.

Take care and stay safe, x


Oh @Lulu999 I am so impressed at your bravery, yes, I think you are taking all the precautions that you can do.
You are really spurring me on to get my back log of medical appointments sorted and also my optical and dental appointments, I can walk to both of those.
Please keep updating us and perhaps visualise us all there beside you.
Look after yourself, be kind to yourself and perhaps celebrate the little wins.

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Hi Erica,

I have to tell you that my husband will be allowed in the scanning room with me, which will help keep me calm. This is an upright scanner, so is ok for him to do so. I need this not just because of feeling claustrophobic in the regular type of scanner, but due to my sinusitus, I cannot breathe well when on my back in a regular scanner.

I am also so frustrated not just being stuck in doors, but being unwell all the time, as well as things needing to be fixed or repaired around my home. I also want to meet up with my dear friend Jane who I have not seen since around Xmas 2019. Hopefully she will come to me by car in the spring and we can walk to a local park, all be it masked and at a distance. She is also my rock. I have asked her to email me daily, which she does and can call her if needs be.

I feel that I have to have some hope in my life and by trying something different, this gives me possibilities. The difference is the PPF3 mask. It does not stop one getting Covid, but it helps keeping it out (hopefully) along with other sensible precautions. Also as my husband will be with me, espcially with the scanning, if I come down with Covid, we will share this together. I know this sounds nuts, but after 35 years of marriage, we sink or swim together. We agree on that.

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@Lulu999 I think isolating for so long has made me realise what is really important to me and a husband and a friend called Jane sound priceless to me, oh, and a PPF3 mask.
You really are doing so well and spring and seeing Jane are just round the corner.

Erica, I hope that you have people to support you and to encourage you and to talk to.

I do not consider myself brave, only frustrated! Here’s another paraphrase a la Clint Eastwood: “A Man’s Got to do What a Man’s got to do” And a woman too!


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Hi @Lulu999, wishing you all the best with all of your appointments - I know you’ve been waiting a long time.


Hi @Lulu999, How are you?
Oh this is wonderful to hear! We appreciate how difficult this can be and you should be super proud of yourself. Making plans and setting appointments is a great move forward particularly knowing you can attend these safely. Coping with anxiety at it’s highest we know can be so difficult to do, so i hope in having put these steps in place will hopefully make for a much calmer experience for you.
Do let us know how you get on and in the meantime, keep doing the little things daily that make you happy & help relax you.

Take Care, Lauran

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Thanks for your comments Lauran. I realise I must face all my fears, otherwise I will never get out of here. That, at least, is easier than dealing with eventually losing my husband. I try and do my research and be as resourceful as possible regarding booking all my medical appointments, but it is does not stop my anxiety kicking in.

For my appointments, where possible I will insist I go into rooms where windows are open, but I know if this cannot be, then I must deal with the anxiety as well. Also having never needed to use a lateral flow test, will no doubt need to use this. As we have been shielding and have never used this, this too scares the *ell out of me, in case I do it wrong or it gives a positive result. Of course the results of most of my appointments too, also scares the *ell out of me.

There is precious little that makes me happy and can relax me these days unfortunately. As previously mentioned on this Forum, have so many health problems, problems with my home falling apart and worry about my husband’s advanced prostate cancer. I also find it sad that not only have I had to give up my old life but I cannot sometimes even enjoy basic things these days, such as sitting down to watch a two hour tv programme. Only sometimes now can I listen to music, but at least I do try and buy different brands of Earl Grey tea to cheer me up. Again when I am not too stressed, my husband and I dance for a minute or two at about 12.50 am to the music that is played prior to the Shipping Forecast on BBC Radio 4! That is for us.

However, I cannot continue to live in fear for the rest of my life. I must try and make the effort. The first time I took the MRI tests, I panicked last October and walked out. At least now this will be happening in an upright and open scanner so I should be more relaxed.

As a US Navy Officer said in the American Civil War: “Da*n the torpedoes; full steam ahead”


Oh @Lulu999 you describe your anxieties so clearly I wonder if it helps at all putting pen to paper.
I do love your sayings, you wouldn’t have been saying those a few months back.
I have used quite a few lateral flow tests and they get easier to do. However my limited anxiety kicks in ‘what if it is positive’ when logically I know that it is very unlikely to be.
I have a lovely visual of you and your husband dancing at about 12.50 am to the music that is played prior to the shipping forecast, what a beautiful thing to do.
Yes, we must all “Da*n the torpedoes; full steam ahead”
Thank you so much you are inspiring me xx

My mum was also one for quoting sayings, so I guess I have inherited her habit!

Yes it helps writing about my anxieties - it does not solve them, but it helps me unburden. Although it is not so healthy, being on the computer a lot, it helps me stop thinking about an “outside” I cannot go into, generally speaking. My husband has his own problems so cannot deal with my problems. I do not want to speak to friends unless in an absolute emergency, so as not to drive them around the bend, so I contact them via email. Therefore writing is generally the way I sound off!

I do not know about inspiring you or anybody else, as I see myself being very self-centred and self-absorbed - anxiety does that to you. When I was younger I use to do voluntary work, so more caring about others at that time. Obviously this is impossible now. However, I know “out there” on the Forum, others will understand how I feel, as they probably feel like I do - low, frustrated, stressed, etc.

You seem to be so calm Erica, from your writing and photo. I know you will probably disagree with me on that. You are also seem so welcoming and supportive. Wish I could be calm and supportive, but I feel like I am running around like a “Clockwork Orange” - yes another one of those phrases! However, I cannot risk a challenge and going out into the world is the ultimate challenge for me at present, like playing Russian Roulette!

Just got your second message - I do speak to the staff at BC UK and sometimes to the nursing staff at MacMillan for information and/or support. When I have had a really bad wobbly, there is a 24 hour Older People’s Mental Health Unit I can speak to in my Borough. Had two of these since lockdown. Tried Samaritans and No Panic as well, amongst others, but one can never get through to them. I keep a resource list for all kinds of emergencies!!!


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Yes @Lulu999 anxiety does make us self absorbed, you are right. and so has the last 2 yrs being isolated.
I think we are inspirational just getting through it !!
I have found this forum helps as I now know I am not alone with my anxieties.
I also appreciate everyone’s anxieties feel so very different, and I certainly do not underestimate what yours feel like in any way.
One of my sayings is ‘keep your resource tools in your ruck sack’. I used to weigh my ruck sack down with everything that was dragging me down, perhaps my resource tools now fill my ruck sack more and definitely lighten my load.
However my pesky really heavy anxieties are always trying to creep back into my rucksack.
Forgive me I see everything very visually.
I am now off to do 10 mins of stretch an relaxation Pilates

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I had my fourth jab last week and my second shingrix vax- one in each arm. I am careful that I don’t go into crowded areas and wear a mask in shops. I have myeloma but also other medical issues and haven’t missed any other appointments or procedures, including dental and optical.
Next month I have a cataract operation booked but all precautions will be taken. The only appointment I haven’t booked is with my hairdresser now that masks have been abandoned!
I go for a walk most days, weather permitting, and to shops but I miss going to the theatre and my hobbies, which take place in small, crowded places.
It’s a question of making choices but not to shut myself away.

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Hi Chrissy,

You are doing well. With me, unfortunately, there is just not me to consider. My husband use to be the “carer” for me, but now the roles are reversed. Due to his condition, he worries a lot, so I have to stay safe and well to look after him, especially as his illness affects his moods and he sleeps a lot due to his treatment. Additionally, he has always been totally disorganised, while I am not.

I am naturally more braver and outgoing than he is, so my choices have to take him into consideration. He may feel more vulnerable, but because of my Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), I am actually the more vulnerable one regarding Covid!!!

I am, after all, going to medical places where hopefully safety takes priority. (He is actually taken to hospital every 2 months for blood tests and thankfully has come home Covid-free.) It would be going to other places like the theatre, which I love and miss too, restaurants and other places that would be the major problem for me.

One step at a time.

Take care.

PS During the summer, had my hairdresser cut our hair in the communal garden a few times and inbetween I cut my own hair and my husband’s hair.

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@Chrissy, it sounds as if you are making the decisions that feel comfortable for you, good on you !!!

Yes, @Lulu999 it must so difficult for you having to consider you and your husband in all your decisions, especially when perhaps you are more outgoing.
Let’s hope we will all be able to do the things that we are all missing so much soon, until then I shall plan and fanaticise.

Hi Chrissy,

Can I ask you for some advice. As I have not been going anywhere re: medical appointments, want to know your procedure. Should one take a lateral flow test the day before going on a medical appointment and a few days afterwards to see if one has been in contact with anyone with Covid or should I do this if only I feel unwell? Rather confused on this.

Spoken to different people and they all have different routines. However, since you are vulnerable, as I am, but have been going on medical appointments unlike me, perhaps you could give me some info on this so I can make an informed decision. Thanks.

Lulu 999

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Hi @Lulu999 very good question.
My personal perspective is that if the hospital do not ask me to have a lateral flow test before an appointment and I know that I have not put myself at risk then I do a test 48hrs after the hospital visit.
I await others thoughts.

It is so confusing - for example when my husband went to the hospital regarding his prostate, they came around to our home and did tests on him a few days before his hospital appointment - think this may have been when Alpha was around, rather than Delta, not sure.

He was later transferrred to the Oncology unit at another hospital, BUT THE SAME TRUST. No pre-testing, but on entering the hospital, his temperature was taken. In both hospitals, masks were of course mandatory.

Now you know why I am so confused!!!

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My husband had to go to our hospital for a Covid test today and now has to isolate till an appointment on Thursday, I expect he will have his temperature taken and be asked more questions then.
Yes, he has visited several departments recently and he does have different Covid test regimes and questions depending on current restrictions and the type of appointment he is going for.
Yes, confused you will be @Lulu999

Hi Erica,

I am sorry about your husband’s situation. My husband just goes to one dept - to get his blood tested at the Oncology Dept. I believe. This is every two months.

Just heard tonight that our moronic PM is doing away with free testing, although I think not for people like us, so how will people who cannot pay for their utility bills and have to chose between eating and heating manage with paying for testing kits? Also those with zero hour contracts?

Apparently this starts on 1st April and my blood tests, ENT appointment and MRI scans are before that, the last strangely being on 31st March! However, as people can now run around with Covid as of Thursday, I believe, that is another kettle of (stinking) fish on the horizon.

So I have a bit of a window, in one way to get my appointments sorted, although I have not fixed eye or dental examinations yet, but I know that people will be out there with Covid. Hopefully the places I visit will do some kind of check-up, like a temperature check!

“We shall not, we shall not be moved” comes to mind. Pray I can get through my appointments and safely.

Hope all goes well with you and your husband Erica. Stay safe and well.


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