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Lockdown ‘Cabin Fever’

Updated: Aug 2, 2022

It would be pretty impossible not to have noticed that there have been major changes to our lives over the last two years. It has affected the way we work, as well as the manner in which we shop and greet people. The trends of social interaction have definitely been challenged. As we fast approach our second anniversary of ‘Lockdowns’ and all that these changes have meant, we give thanks for being alive but miss the way we lived, worked and played. In my case, I miss the way I create and innovate.

Maybe I should say a little about me: Well, I am Gibraltarian born and moved to the UK in 1985.

I am married and have 3 children, all adults with their own families for which I am really pleased to say I am a grandfather to 5 smashing and lively grandchildren with number 6 due in August.

My main role in working life has been as a Respiratory Nurse Consultant although I am semi-retired and loving having more time on my hands to pursue my hobbies, one of which is writing.

I have written several professional papers and now written a few works of fiction which I self-published through Amazon. My writing aspiration is for someone to read my stories and maybe adapt one into a film or TV serial. The ones that lend themselves to this are the “Phantasms in the Infirmary” series and Mental Dental (Murder by Proxy) [R1] and its sequel Obsession of the Damned. If you were to ask me which was my favourite, it would definitely be Mental Dental (MBP)… so if one of you reads it, you will hopefully agree it is a nail-biting thriller with twists and turns to wrong foot the reader and make it an even more enjoyable read.

Getting back on theme: My main job and function is to deliver respiratory care; writing a book is a pleasure. The pleasure of pursuing the idea and creating a relevant track and story line with interesting and innovative characters that the reader will relate to is why I write fiction. It is also a release from the seriousness of my nursing role. So the pandemic has been difficult for me to remain inspired and creative. Through Covid-19 there have

been countless sad losses of colleagues who delivered care to our patients and lost their lives in this unselfish sacrifice. We lost neighbours, friends and in many instances, family. Although officially retired, I still maintain a degree of remote clinical work and therefore keep in touch with what is happening within the sphere of respiratory care. Many of the patients I was reviewing had been affected by the Corona Virus and its many variants. Some had been infected by the virus and survived to tell the tale, some had lost loved ones. I was especially saddened to hear of one of the patients I spoke to, an I.C.U. survivor who had contracted Covid-19 and had been intubated and ventilated for some time. Whilst in the induced coma, her husband had developed symptoms, was admitted to the same unit and had passed away. The sad moment was when she told me that when she was brought back from her coma, she was told about her husband’s death. Her voice broke and like me, she had developed a ‘lump in her throat,’ concentrated emotion, helplessness and anger, all mixed in to that moment! Like with this lady’s experience, there have been far too many deaths, sad experiences and loss!

What has made the repeated lockdowns is that as a father and grandfather, the isolation and inability to see my kin, especially our grandchildren, brought a shadow to my heart and soul. We missed having time with the little ones, and the transition from seeing them at least 3 times a week to none was a bitter pill to swallow.

Our youngest grandchild was born during the lockdowns and therefore we were unable to properly meet her, hold her and welcome her to the world. We did not get to hold and play with the other four and when we visited, from a distance, communicating through a fan light window or open door, it was heart wrenching for my wife and I. We so wanted to say ‘Hi’ properly but in doing so, we may have harmed them by spreading the bacterial invisible killer.

The emptiness felt by so many was not all bad. This meant that we had time to spend at home and therefore lots of time to keep the house work ‘in check,’ to be creative, write, to strum my guitars and paint. The hours of solitude would serve to get the creative juices flowing and ideas onto paper, or PC! Wrong… for me, with the time, oodles of it, there were so many days, weeks and months with the lack of inspiration, ideas and drive that were accompanied by, blah.

So what is “blah”?

Well Greta Thunberg has adopted this to mean ‘empty words’ and according to the web, “blah” is used to refer to something which is boring or without meaningful content. It’s actually not far off the feeling of being held captive by this germ, locked down and locked in with a view to surviving and generating few if any ideas and appropriately, no words.

So for heaven’s sake why not, why was so much time yielding so little if anything?

With the time on our hands, the dream scenario of having legitimate time off and a licence to be imaginative, ingenious and clever, why could I not be bothered to write? Why was my time occupied by “blah”[R2] ? I was not working for a big corporation and therefore had no set goals or objectives to meet and push myself to remain functional. Some may have been okay with being within the same four walls and no separation from work and home environments. I personally struggled. I am an extrovert and having little social interaction is a driver: I needed that incentive of face to face to keep me “on point” and creative.

I had some threads of ideas “pre-Lockdown 1” but they remained threads. I could not push myself beyond this; time on my hands seemed to be time wasted. Maybe this was because I thrive and work better under pressure? My many years working in the accident and emergency departments, I.C.U’s and critical care in general were forcing me to work at pace I could not cope with… It was too slow!

Forcing myself to work, I used the differing hobbies to push me, spur me on and make my brain take charge. I became more disciplined and created the space to write and enable ways in which to labour the tasks, allowing much more rigid allocations of time for tasks with “Playtime” to rest the brain following on from the sp

urts. I wrote 1000 words, read through them and then did something else. My synapses needed to be controlled as I flew from writer to painter and beyond. The novel way of working had finally shown to pay for itself.

As we are spat out of the end phase of the pandemic, I look back over the last 23 months and summarise that I didn’t do too badly, all things considered. I’d cracked working from home and managed to meet my 5th grandchild and bond with her. I was able to make time to revise and improve on one of my novels, Mental Dental (Murder by Proxy), releasing it in hardback via Amazon. I have also finished a second draft to a children’s book I will be publishing soon, become adept at Zoom, delivered several lectures on COPD and asthma as well as having painted a front cover for a neurology journal. My only unmet goal is this: I have not written a number one song!

To connect on twitter – please go to @Author_man_Ram or find me on: and by all means visit Amazon and search Ram Gulrajani.

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Lorene Rogers
Lorene Rogers
Nov 09, 2022

Where can I see your book cover painting to do with neurology?

This article you've posted is at once entertaining and insightful. You indeed are a multi-talented person - thanks for sharing! Lorene Rogers

May 07, 2022

Great piece, Ram. What I want to share is my own experience was different. I work in IT sales and was always on the run. The shutdown brought me much needed time to reenergize even though I was able to work from home (still am doing so). In this time, I started to paint, write more and even do web design work. I found I needed to keep my mind busy and to create. Also an extravert, videoconferences kept me connected with people. I actually changed jobs and never met my colleagues in person, but still formed friendships. The biggest difference between us I think is the role of family. I lost my parents in 2018, so no elder care…

Unknown member
May 07, 2022
Replying to

Thank you for sharing this very interesting and invitefull piece

As you so rightly say, lockdown was a positive for you from the very start. Goes to show, as the old saying goes; one man's junk is another man's treasure.

In the field of nursing, we have a model called 'Roy's Model of Adaptation'. It identifies us as able to adapt to stimuli, in this case :lockdown and adaptation can be positive or noxious.

In this case you made a healthy 'Positive adaptation and I had the' noxious' maladaptive response.

Neither is wrong as long as we identify the response and acting on it... I acted / adapted 'eventually'.

Like you, I am an extrovert and thrive in a public…


Unknown member
May 07, 2022

Thanks for reading this, you may want to read this too?

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