I had a zoom call with a group of friends on Sunday afternoon – day 2 of lockdown! We all made mimosas and got dressed up and pretended we were out for brunch. We spoke about how we were occupying ourselves for lockdown – jigsaws and houseparty apps and messing of that sort. One of the girls has a new baby so said nothing about her life had changed at all as new Mum’s are essentially on lockdown anyway! It was all very light hearted and fun to begin with.
We each went around and said one good thing that was coming out of the experience. Joe was glad he was saving money, Ceri was glad work had slowed down, and I was glad to have the opportunity to spend more time with my family. I just said it without a second thought but I felt really bad after. Two of the girls are front line staff – Karen works in theatre in Beaumont and Niamh is a midwife in Holles Street. Neither know when the next time they will see their family is. And there was me rubbing it in.
I asked how their parents were keeping – Niamh’s especially – they are close to 70 and her Dad is a cancer survivor. Her Mam also had cancer before, and has previously suffered a heart attack and a stroke in the past. They are both really worried. Niamh described the precautions they are taking at this time to ensure they do not get this virus. This included no physical contact with anyone, no leaving the house, and cleaning down grocery deliveries with disinfectant as they entered the house.
Neither of my parents are alive. I don’t really know that many old people. So this was the first I had heard of real-life cocooning. But what was interesting on the call was that while Niamh’s vulnerable parents were taking every care to protect themselves against illness, these same behaviours were not being replicated by the parents of other friends on the call. I wondered whether everyone fully understood the practice of cocooning.
And so to ensure that everyone does, I reached out to Deirdre Rooney, pharmacist and my sister. The HSE have identified pharmacists as appropriate resources to advise the community on the practice on cocooning. So here she is (from her kitchen, given the circumstances) with her guidance on cocooning.