'It can feel like we are the forgotten people': Isolating Mildenhall couple have been at home since first lockdown
Covid-19 regulations have been tightened and relaxed over the past months, but one Mildenhall couple have remained shielding since March 2020 due to health complications.
Michelle Wilson, 52, started her isolation a few weeks prior to the government’s first announcement as she lives with vasculitis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of blood vessels.
As a result of her illness, Michelle has developed a chronic lung and kidney condition, meaning if she caught the coronavirus it could be fatal.
“It can feel like we are the forgotten people, I think a lot of people in my position feel the same way but I try to stay positive,” said Michelle.
“I hope to raise awareness of people that are still shielding, I don’t want sympathy, I just want people to know that for some people, leaving isolation at the moment just isn’t an option.”
Prior to the pandemic, Michelle worked at a vets in Newmarket but said she made the decision to isolate as she was conscious of the risks the virus posed to her.
“At the time, when we chose to isolate, we had no idea that it would last two years and that we would be unable to see anyone for so long,” added Michelle, whose husband, Chris also gave up his job to help protect her from infection.
On September 15, the shielding programme ended in England, however, Michelle said that with continually high cases of Covid-19 across the country she felt unsafe leaving her home still.
To pass the time at home Michelle took up water colour painting and raised over £400 for an animal charity through the sales of her work online.
“Yeah, I get sad, everyone gets sad, but being alive is such an amazing thing and though I can’t get out and do a lot, having online courses keeps me busy," Michelle added.
"I think the hardest part really is the lack of connection, even things like going to the hairdressers I haven’t been able to do for so long."
The couple have their food shopping delivered to their home to minimise contact with others.
As part of her condition Michelle is immune suppressed and has a reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases.
She has a yearly infusion treatment to prevent her immune system from attacking itself but this also prevents her immune system from attacking anything else.
“In the first year people would check up on us but now people forget that I can’t go out still, I have to find the tools to grieve for the life that I had,” added Michelle.
The pair will remain in isolation despite the latest government advice.