The wild ride of self-isolation, from a mum who is doing it now!


Wondering how you might cope if you need to go into self-isolation for a few weeks? Natalie Cummings from Willoughby has been quarantined at home for the last seven days, after her husband discovered he’d been in close contact with someone who had suspected case of Coronavirus. Find out how she’s been coping over the last week…

Seven days ago, my husband Chris got a call saying he’s been in close contact with a suspected case of Coronavirus and that until the results are back, he’s required to self-isolate. If he’s carrying it, we’re all carrying it, so we bunkered down. Three days indoors would be easy… or would it?

Day 1 & 2 in self-isolation

I worked from home. Chris caught up on Netflix and the kids rediscovered toys they’d forgotten existed. No commute, no reason to rush: we’re loving life in iso!

Day 3

Nervously awaiting the phone call that would set us free. Until now, we’d assumed he probably didn’t have it. Now, reality was kicking in that this three day gig might become a longer-term situation and the tension was real.

We were turning on each other. Tongues were sharp and fuses short. The kids were missing school, I was climbing the walls and Chris was craving silence.

Then the phone call came. Results are delayed until next week. Stay in isolation until the results are back.

… be cool Nat.. be cool… be cool…Arghhh! ?

It isn’t fun anymore. We have a wedding to go to in Portarlington (Victoria) this weekend. We can’t cancel our travel plans because someone else might/might not have it? How dramatic?! How utterly OTT! We need to see our friends, we need that dance floor…we need escape!

But also, we’ve just received a medical certificate from a specialist in rare and infectious disease instructing us not to fly, and to remain in isolation until the results come back… ?

Day 4

I’m angry.

Is coronavirus just a major conspiracy theory? What is happening to the world? Chris is being super cool about it and rattling off statistics he learnt on Twitter. I fight back urges to kick him. I want to go to the wedding. I’m searching under every rock for a get out of jail card. A Doctor who agrees this is over the top, a health line that says “you go girl”, an article that makes all of it make sense. But no. All signs point to continued isolation. I consider going anyway… what are the chances, right?

But then I imagine spreading little angry virus gremlins amongst the wedding guests, infecting the bride and grooms grandparents with the virus I probably don’t, but maybe might be carrying. And I know I can’t risk it.

I am where I am, and that’s just how it is.

I’ve slapped myself around and I’m ready to rock this thing. We play hide and seek, make slime, cook a feast and sing songs. I reorganise the linen press, and embark on a mammoth wardrobe cull.

What a weird and wonderful experience. I’m FULL of gratitude. Re-learning how to slow down is a strange and amazing gift.

Day 5

Magic! I’m bouncing with happiness, so long as I’m focused on what’s between our four walls.

I try not to look at my phone. The hysteria is a buzz kill and Instagram is alive with photos from the wedding. I miss our friends so much, and I wish I could be there to celebrate with them all – but there’s beauty all around me.

We cook, make unicorn poop out of play doh and the kids learn how to Shaka ?

We completely rearrange the furniture in the house and Chris is right, change is as good as a holiday.

Day 6

How have we come so far and not made a blanket cubby? We turn the dining table into a bear cave and spend most of the day hiding from and slaying bears. We run through the house, crash tackling, jumping, twirling and filling it with roaring laughter. We play snakes and ladders and almost make it though a whole round before the kids get bored and ask to put a movie on. Chris shouts: “CAMP OUT!” and drags blankets and pillows to the lounge room. We watch a low budget Disney movie about soccer. Zoe nearly pees her pants laughing at it. I watch her drift off to sleep in my arms while we snuggle on the couch.

I hope this never ends.

When was the last time you made a blanket cubby?

Day 7

Today is the day we will find out if we’re free from isolation. Just in time for the rest of Australia to go into it too. I’m not worried by the thought of extended isolation. Isolation is what you make it. With all the chaos we’re seeing online, I feel like humans need this now more than ever. It’s a chance to slow down, to reset and to reconnect.

It’s a chance to find out who you really are.

Situations like these test you. It’s up to you to decide how you’ll react. It’s normal to feel angry, to let it get you down, to feel the worry. It creeps in, but don’t let it keep you there. The sooner you accept this, and look for the good, the sooner you’ll find it.

Put down your phone and be wherever you are, with whoever you’re with. Challenge yourself to find solutions, not problems and if all else fails, just chill the f*** out.

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