What’s it Like to Self-Isolate?

“Day four in the Big Brother house.”

I keep expecting to hear Marcus Bentley’s slow, measured, comforting voice to enounce from some hidden microphone in my bedroom.  Self-isolation feels a bit like the Big Brother house.

So, why am I self-isolating?  Well, I have recently returned from travelling in Italy and, on the advice of both Public Health England and my workplace, I have been told to stay at home in quarantine.

I arrived in Italy on the very same day that the first news of the escalating Coronavirus crisis broke there, and I rode a tidal wave of escalating media panic from the north of the country to the south always, seemingly, staying one day ahead of the lockdowns: from Turin and Milan, to Florence, and then Rome.

Now returned home, I am fortunate that I have remote access, so I am able to continue working but, nevertheless, it feels a strange experience being in self-isolation.

Thankfully, I currently show no symptoms of the disease but, at the same time, I feel like I am in a sickbay, which psychologically makes me feel a bit of an invalid.  I am over-analysing every slight splutter and sniffle; and overdosing on the comfort of milky, hot drinks.

The outside world suddenly seems a rather remote place, which I only have a tenuous connection to.  On day two of my self-isolation, I received a phone call from a cold caller who, upon admitting that she herself was ringing from self-isolation suddenly morphed from nuisance stranger to new best friend.

I feel as though I want to be able to use this unexpected enforced time at home fruitfully: write that bestselling novel; learn how to do marquetry but, instead, I am spending most of my time just waiting.

Waiting and hoping.

© E. C. Glendenny


E. C. Glendenny is feeling a bit stir-crazy in self-isolation.

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