After returning from a trip to the UK to say goodbye to her mother, who died a week after her arrival, Debra completed two weeks quarantine at the Crowne Plaza on Auckland’s Queen Street.
Debra, who is an Emergency Management Advisor at the Auckland District Health Board, says she managed quite well with only herself for company, doing little things every day that helped with her look after her own wellbeing.
“Every day I had a bit of a routine, we don’t have a bath at home – so each morning I had a bubble bath and made myself a coffee to kick start the day.”
While starting the day with a coffee and bath isn’t too unusual, Debra found that a ‘normal’ routine inside a managed isolation facility can appear quite unusual for those in the outside world.
“It’s something I would never do normally, but sitting at the window I watched as the airport flyer bus travelled past every 20 minutes, It was a way to pass time and keep a schedule.”
“Keeping a bit of a structure going, doing the little things you enjoy, treating yourself with snacks and making plans for when you get out really helped me.”
Debra says connection with the outside world was incredibly important.
“In an environment where you didn’t see anyone for days, FaceTiming and staying in touch with people was super important - especially being on my own.”
“It really felt like a ghost hotel, you’d hear a knock at the door when food was delivered – but by the time you’d masked up and race to the door, nobody was there.”
“There would just be the bag, sometimes I’d yell down the hall ‘thank you’ and get a muffled ‘you’re welcome’ back from around the corner.”
She said the staff made the stay as easy as possible, checking on her physical and emotional wellbeing.
“They were thorough making sure you had everything you needed like medications and access to devices to stay connected to whānau - the staff were really caring and did everything they could to assist you and make it as comfortable as possible.”
“The whole experience has really highlighted what’s important and how lucky we are to be in a country where we can still see our loved ones and live a relatively normal lifestyle. It’s something I’m very thankful for.”
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