My wedding was 15 months in the making. We had a guest list of 140, a bulletproof floor plan, a gin bar and (thanks to my accountant fiancé) literally dozens of spreadsheets. This week we made the decision to pull the pin, I didn’t sob, weep or shed a tear.
“You’re not showing much emotion” – Quote my groom, which I found ironic coming from the excel-obsessed tax accountant.
To be honest – I felt a sense of relief.
Your COVID-19 questions answered by Mamamia’s Claire Murphy. Post continues below.
Why? I know what you are thinking – and no, it was not cold feet. John and I have been together for eight years. He is wonderful, my best friend and I can’t wait to marry him. But that is boring and irrelevant… (he is also very handsome).
I was relieved because I had felt it coming for weeks. I am a doctor. At the moment I work in a geriatric ward in London in the NHS, caring for elderly patients. The reality of COVID-19 has been omnipresent in my life for some time.
John and I moved to London in 2019 for a different working experience (read: many European weekend breaks and even more Aperol Spritz). We have had the year of a lifetime but these past weeks in the NHS have left me disconcerted at best and terrified at worst.
COVID-19 crept up on me – from whispers on the ward, to emergency briefings, to not being able to wash my hands at work. (Hand sanitisers were removed because visitors and staff were stealing them from patient bedsides).
On March 13, I woke up in London at 5am. I turned on the news. The US had closed their borders. We weren’t due to leave London to get back to Australia for our wedding for another five days. I shook John awake and we booked a flight for 1.30pm. We packed and left the same day.
Arriving home, it was clear we were touching down in a country a few weeks behind on the COVID-19 timeline. Adelaide airport greeted us with a blasé screening questionnaire: “Have you been in Italy, South Korea, China or Iran?”
I was screaming internally, “At least ask me if I have had a fever! Take my email so you can trace me if needed!” No such luck. To this day almost all of Australia’s cases are imported – why were they not collecting a database of high-risk arrivals?
The reality of COVID-19 seemed to belatedly be dawning on our population. My parents came to pick me up at the airport – I did not hug them, and will not hug them for months to come.
We went into a semi quarantine. We arrived just before the government imposed their two-week self-isolation period, but felt it was better to be safe than sorry. This was commented on by friends and family as “alarmist” and “panicked”. After all “it is just a flu” and “only affects the elderly”. This could not be further from the truth.