My experience: Locked Down

Audrey ButkieneI’ve always considered myself being an extrovert – I love being around people, hearing loud laughter, participating in social gatherings, being busy at work and always rush around. It can be sometimes tiring, but I love even that bit about having a busy lifestyle. I remember one of my last days at work, when me and my mentor Sophie Hall came back rushing to the office after having a brilliant and exciting day on the wards. We kept talking over each other to the rest of our colleagues, probably not making much sense. And I felt so alive that day.

Few days later I felt very ill and had to call in sick. Since then I never returned to our office…

For the next two weeks I stayed at home self isolating and it took me over a week to finally start feeling better. I started working from home—something that I’ve never experienced before. The whole concept felt very strange—how does it even work? I didn’t even have my laptop, I felt completely isolated.

The rest of my team was still working in the hospital, but with the amazing support from my managers and colleagues, I continued to work from home for another two weeks, counting the days when I can finally join my team. And then Boris Johnson announced the lock down (when I was still coming to terms with the school closure)…

I felt slight panic. I was already self-isolating for the past two weeks and now I don’t even know when I am going to leave the house. The life I knew flipped upside down, and it made me feel very anxious. I was supplied everything I need to continue working from home, we started having daily team meetings on MS Teams, I could finally see my team members again! The first day of working from home me and my mentor stayed on a video call all day to make us feel like we’re in the same room again. And it was lovely.

Audrey Picture2The next following days, which turned into weeks, I started to look for positive side of working from home—I was saving money on petrol, parking, I didn’t waste money on buying second lunch almost every day. And it also let me stay in bed extra half an hour each morning. I no longer had to wear uniform, put make up or worry about packing my lunch every evening. Everything I needed was here, in my own home.

Audrey Picture3Two weeks later the novelty of easier working conditions wore off and I started feeling low again. I felt like being in the emotional roller-coaster and craving to get back to normal more than ever. I started to miss getting ready to go work, wearing make-up, feeling the sense of accomplishment when you finish your working day and the most important part—being around people again. It is just not the same when you close your laptop at 4.3o pm and start preparing dinner without taking your time to summarise your day on your way back home. I fully understand why this might not be possible for a long time, but it is important to have hope and feel grateful for having an opportunity to keep working during the lockdown.

So far it’s been 120 days since I am working from home and I keep volunteering for every task that involves going back to the hospital, even if it’s just for few hours. I stopped taking life and work I have for granted, enjoy good and bad days because there will be many of those in the future and they will still be beautiful. And I will be able to deal with every challenge that the future holds.

Stay safe. Keep smiling.

Audrey Butkiene
Business Change Assistant
Digital Transformation Team
IM&T Department

 

 

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