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Regular conversations and quizzes have been fine, but …


I was thinking the other day that one of the many things this pandemic has highlighted to me is how much I have been taking my senses for granted. Each is so valuable but there is one that has as well as been stolen from me for the time being, and I sorely want it back!

On the positive side, my sight and sound have been heightened.  Video calls have been a life saver to allow me to not only hear but also see the faces and expressions of those close to me.  I’ve definitely been more appreciative of nature and watching the antics of some of my fellow humans on my walks.  And like many other people, I’ve really noticed how many birds sing and at what time, or can I just hear them better because they’re not competing against as much road or air traffic noise?

Since a loss of taste and smell were added as official symptoms of the virus, I’ve been more aware to check they remain in working order.  I literally wake up and smell the coffee, the herbs on the windowsill, the furniture polish … and anything else with a pleasant aroma.  I definitely prefer the more subtle, agreeable smells for my sniff test and still hold my breath before throwing any sweaty socks into the washing machine.  On the taste front, I’ve been adding weird and wonderful combinations of ingredients to dinners, just to keep us on our toes and ensure we can still differentiate the good, the bad, and the odd pretty ugly mistake!

But it’s my sense of touch that seems to have been sorely depleted on so many different levels.

Emotionally, seeing my kids’ faces and hearing their voices is great to reassure me they are safe and well having flown the nest, but what I would give to be able to hug them.  I sadly had to attend my father’s funeral during lock-down and it was almost like there were opposing magnetic forces between me and my siblings, on the one hand a definite pull to comfort each other and yet another pushing us apart to respect that 2 metre rule and stay safe.

Practically, of course, I know shopping can be done on the internet.  But I really miss being able to touch a fabric and feel how soft or suitable it might be for its purpose.  As a dog lover, it’s so unnatural, and almost physically painful, when a dog walks close to me in the park and I have to ignore it.

And superficially, I now have a couple of birthday cards in a drawer which I doubt will ever see the light of day again.  In our current clinical world of buying something if we touch it, I’ve learnt the hard way that being drawn to the front of a card because you think it will appeal to the intended recipient is one thing, but it becomes unusable when you open it on your return home to find the punchline inside totally unsuitable.

Mind you, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve embarrassed myself on that front.  A few years ago, some friends become grandparents.  They’d told me the baby’s name which was unusual but the same as one of my daughter’s female friends when she was at primary school.  So, I bought a card and gift, only to discover with a sinking heart as I walked into their home that their mantelpiece was awash with stereotypical blue cards. Thankfully, we could laugh about it and a lesson in the folly of assumptions was well learnt!

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