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Adjusting to self-isolation

02 April 2020

Virtual pub quizzes with the family and indoor cycling are two coping strategies for IT account manager Chris Cook, who says he is adjusting to self-isolation after getting over the initial panic.

Chris Cook
Chris Cook and his girlfriend Lucy Ashford

Transplant patient Chris, 30, said: “I am used to video calls and teleconferencing for work, so being able to use it to chat to family is brilliant.

“It is so much better to see people in conversations, it feels more personal than just a phone call, which helps.

“We have done a pub quiz and slide show, I am doing indoor cycling and now also trying yoga. I'm also making sure I keep in touch with family and close friends at least once a day.

“Our dog Melvin is also great to have around. Now I have got over the initial panic I am settling into it OK and feel less unsettled. I’m not leaving the house or garden at all so can take comfort knowing I am safe indoors.”

Chris lives with girlfriend Lucy Ashford, 27, in Harrogate and says he feels lucky having her to help as oppose to living alone where he thinks the isolation would be much more difficult for people.

“Once this is over, we can’t wait to do the Three Peaks in Upper Wharfdale with our dog Melvin, it will feel such a treat.”

Chris was born with a bladder condition and damaged kidneys, that declined over time throughout his childhood and early teens. At the age of around 15 he had a bladder operation and began catheterising and at 23 he had a kidney transplant thanks to a donation from his dad Peter.

“The transplant operation went well, and I recovered quickly. There were no rejection issues so I feel very lucky,” Chris said.

“Having a transplant is exactly as you read – it was like light was flicked on for me. I hadn’t realised how ill I had become because it was such an incremental decline. I had been slowly going downhill for 20 years.

“After transplantation I felt invincible and went on a holiday with friends to Thailand but had to come home early as had over done things! Apart from that I have been very well.

“I even did the Great North Run nine months after transplant. I keep an eye on diet and make sure I keep healthy. I don’t feel limited in life. I can feel there is an organ in front of my belly, and I don’t play rugby anymore but that is about it.

“There’s been some frustrating times but mostly all good. The Coronavirus situation has been scary for transplant patients because we are immune suppressed and the notion of being described as 'highly vulnerable' is inherently unsettling. But as we progress into extended self-isolation and the new 'normal', I am feeling much more secure at home and positive about the fun to be had once COVID-19 is a thing of the past. I hope others are also feeling that sense of unease lifting as we get accustomed to it.”

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