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Am I being foolish

(99 Posts)
ExD Wed 02-Sep-20 09:01:56

I am 81 and, apart from arthritis, in good health although not very robust.
I have decided to go back to my voluntary job in a hospital Tea Bar next month.
The hospital does not take covid patients now and is catering mostly for outpatients, although there are a few wards still open (we do not go into these).
There is a screen, the public are the other side of this screen and can no longer access the merchandise (which is wrapped) and have to ask for everything. We work in pairs, but only one person is behind the counter serving. We will wear masks.
My friend thinks I'm a fool. She asks why, after all these months of being super careful, am I risking my life so that people can have a cup of coffee when they could easily bring a flask from home.
I don't know why I'm going back either.
Am I really being a fool?

FarNorth Wed 02-Sep-20 11:27:46

Why are disposable gloves wrong ?

Could those advising the OP to wear gloves perhaps explain why they think that is a good idea?

The gloves pick up infection, just as hands do, and are not likely to be washed or sanitised so often.
So it seems to me that they pose a greater risk than doing without.

ExD Wed 02-Sep-20 11:28:33

I should have mentioned that it'll be card payments only.
It does seem a bit silly paying by card for a £2 cup of coffee I agree, and what will happen when customers have forgotten or don't have, a card?
I think I shall sanitise my hands between each customer, and if I think the situation is risky I'll have no hesitation in throwing in the towel at the end of the month.
I have been back to the hospital as an out patient at the eye clinic, and was impressed by the precautions being taken by everyone there. They took your temperature with one of those gun things and asked all the questions about coughs and loss of taste, before they let you through the door.
I'd be happier if there was a quick instant-result covid test (it would be a great thing for everyone, dream on perhaps?)
Thanks for your reassurance, I feel more confident now.
I think I might have a shower as soon as I get home, and a complete change of clothes - or is that really OTT?

maddyone Wed 02-Sep-20 11:30:53

MawB said it all for me.

Lucca Wed 02-Sep-20 11:32:26

Not silly at all of it makes you feel comfortable. I have teacher friends in their sixties making sure they have five different jackets suits etc and will definitely shower immediately once home.

Lucca Wed 02-Sep-20 11:33:30


^Why are disposable gloves wrong ?^

Could those advising the OP to wear gloves perhaps explain why they think that is a good idea?

The gloves pick up infection, just as hands do, and are not likely to be washed or sanitised so often.
So it seems to me that they pose a greater risk than doing without.

I’m not advising her to do that I’m asking why people say DONT!?

Suzey Wed 02-Sep-20 11:41:28

Do it see how you feel its up to you

Kerenhappuch Wed 02-Sep-20 11:58:36

No, you are not a fool! I was going to say 'how rude!', but then realised your friend may just be extending her own anxiety to you.

Your mental health is also important, if this activity gives you a focus outside the home and the opportunity to help the community, and there are all possible precautions in place, it sounds like a really good idea to go back. We can't all sit at home until we get the 'all clear'!

jenpax Wed 02-Sep-20 12:06:41

Sounds fine to me, after all we can’t live our lives ruled by fear! Sensible precautions are in place and you are an adult making an informed choice

GirlyGran Wed 02-Sep-20 12:14:04

I think you are being brave to take this decision and help others as well as maintain your mental wellbeing but I think your friend is being honest with you as there are still risks in a hospital setting just as there are in supermarkets or wherever. She obviously cares about you.
Take care.

babstomp Wed 02-Sep-20 12:42:49

Lots of people have mentioned gloves and they are not safe but if you have for example psoriasis you can’t use hand sanitizer (it’s agony) but you can wear gloves and sanitize the gloves, then washing hands when you remove them

sodapop Wed 02-Sep-20 12:51:44

Well done ExD you will be helping others and doing something positive is good for you.
Take all the precautions you feel are necessary, if a shower and washing your clothes makes you feel comfortable then that's what you do.
Good luck.

Florida12 Wed 02-Sep-20 13:04:46

No not at all, some are too quick to judge. We will all at some point have to take baby steps to venture out again. As long as you are doing all you can to follow guidelines, carry on and live your life, you are a valued part of the hospital family.

Minerva Wed 02-Sep-20 13:16:40

Good on all who have returned to voluntary work. I haven’t done anything worthy but just had my third swim at the gym and it has made such a difference to my mood and my aches and pains. Measures are in place; it isn’t 100% safe but some things are worth the tiny risk.

Nashville Wed 02-Sep-20 13:24:26

I think you would be taking an unnecessary risk. When doctors and dentists start seeing patients would be when I would reconsider such a volunteer role.

cupaffull Wed 02-Sep-20 13:45:13


I think you would be taking an unnecessary risk. When doctors and dentists start seeing patients would be when I would reconsider such a volunteer role.

Dentists are seeing patients...I have only today booked an appointment. My husband 2 week ago, had an operation and we isolated beforehand...all perfectly controlled.

So no you're not being foolish, even at 81 you need to push boundaries. We cannot stay holed up at home forever, fearful of our own shadows.
Your mental health will improve as will your arthritis pain control. We need to get moving before the depths of winter set in and we all set solid in the cold.

Lucca Wed 02-Sep-20 13:46:37

Doctors are also seeing patients. I saw GP three weeks ago

Dustyhen2010 Wed 02-Sep-20 13:47:10

While you are not a fool, but a kind volunteer I don't think you should do it just yet. Next year we should have a vaccine. Unfortunately for people in your age group if you catch the virus you could have a poor outcome. This is not another flu. Even if you caught it and survived you could have lifetime of health issues. I see you say you would be working in pairs. It would not be possible to socially distance from that person for a full shift and I think it would be very stressful trying to do so and even if they caught the virus and you didn't you would need to self isolate which is a trial. Please don't put yourself through this for the sake of waiting a bit longer. This has not gone away as all the clusters show and will get worse as people stay inside during winter.

allybongo Wed 02-Sep-20 14:03:56

wearing gloves will transfer the virus .. you will need to be constantly changing your gloves after each transaction.. and most people who wear gloves remove them the incorrect way .. thus transferring the virus on to their clean hand.
clean hands with sanitiser or better still with soap and water ..

Caro57 Wed 02-Sep-20 14:09:00

You have to do what is best, physically and mentally, for you

Rosina Wed 02-Sep-20 14:27:14

Agree about gloves - it seems people get a little over confident too, and touch their faces more frequently if they are wearing them, and they are contaminated in just the same way as skin. The virus cannot go through skin, so washing hands after every transaction is the best method.

dogsmother Wed 02-Sep-20 14:30:23

I’m with the majority, you go follow precautions for hand washing and all should be fine. You will enjoy the social aspect and probably sleep better at night.

f77ms Wed 02-Sep-20 14:37:16

I don't think you're being foolish, as long as you take precautions and keep gelling your hands. I went back to my voluntary job at the end of July and feel so much better mentally and physically. Go for it.

Dibbydod Wed 02-Sep-20 14:44:14

I think it’s absolutely.brilliant to have the opportunity to go back to your voluntary job , how lucky you are . This virus will be here with us for a long time to come, so what is better , stay at home, bored, feeling helpless and feeling that life is passing you by or go and do something that you enjoy , it will mean getting out of the house, seeing other people , socialising and when you come home , you’ll have that good feeling that the day has not been wasted , your life has not been wasted and most importantly, you’ve done something worthwhile. No contender . All the best and enjoy .

Bluecat Wed 02-Sep-20 14:51:58

To be honest, I agree with your friend, though I would not put it so rudely.

It's very kind of you to do this type of voluntary work but it is not vital. You are exposing yourself to an unnecessary risk. The virus hasn't gone, there is no cure and no vaccine.

Medical services are returning but they are not back to normal by any means. Our GPs conduct nearly all of their business online or by phone. Our daughter's GP is the same and wouldn't even offer a face to face appointment when the baby was ill. Our daughter needs some medical tests but they aren't being done at the moment because of Covid-19. If the situation was safe, normal service could be resumed but it isn't. If a doctor doesn't feel it is safe to see a patient, is it safe for you to serve them a cup of coffee?

Your age makes you very vulnerable to the virus. It is your life we are talking about, so let's not pussy-foot around. If you catch it, there is a strong chance of dying of it. I know we all have to go sometime but it is a horrible way to go.

I am sorry to be so blunt but I really think you are taking a very big risk.

MegrannyW1 Wed 02-Sep-20 15:16:15

Go and enjoy what you do