Over the last few days nature has been providing its very own washing service.

Many people are doing more and more washing over the last six months. Especially hand washing. That’s certainly the case here in our little corner of the world. Since about the age of 6 son has had anxieties relating to touching unclean objects. This would result in fairly frequent hand washing exercises. Thankfully only a few seconds of soap and water was sufficient to calm the fears.

That all changed in 2016 when his mum died at a relatively young age. Suddenly the world was filled with uncertainty and unseen dangers. His hand washing rapidly spiralled out of control. It became more frequent and went on for up to a minute at a time. Thankfully he started working with a wonderful nurse counsellor who over a couple of years brought his hand washing back under control. He was taught to wash like a nurse and get it done in under 20 seconds.

Then a pandemic hit. All the reassurances, all the hard earned confidence was blown out of the water. His fears re-emerged worse than ever. Life is now an ‘avoid touching anything and hand washing’ fest. He will wash his hands several times an hour. When he starts washing, he will wash for anywhere up to 5 minutes. All without trying to touch the tap and only using elbows (usually my elbow).

Any delivery or letter has to be taken into the garage for several days of quarantine before it is opened. After I have touched the item then I need to change my clothes completely and be seen to wash my hands. If I venture out then almost full decontamination procedures have to be followed.

Welcome to 2020.

This time it feels different. More engrained. The health professionals agree. All we can do is try to manage the situation until he sees that the pandemic is under control. A vaccine works and he has had it. But even then there are no guarantees. His fears and anxieties may never truly fade. Maybe they will but only until the next killer bug emerges. The future is uncertain. It is uncertain for many.