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Shield Us From The Stupid!

, , , , , | Working | February 6, 2021

I’m a kidney transplant patient, and as such, I’m considered extremely clinically vulnerable to the pesky illness that’s doing its world tour.

Wales has been in its third lockdown since December — it’s now January — and patients such as me have once again been advised to “shield” by the government, i.e. not leave the house if you don’t absolutely have to. That’s fine by me; I’ve chosen to continue to shield since the first lockdown anyway.

Our boiler is due for its annual service, and as it’s still reasonably new, the service has to be carried out in order to maintain the warranty. I call the company that we usually use to book it in.

The young lady taking my call is extremely slow at doing so — it’s a bit like dealing with Flash the sloth from “Zootopia” — but all is going smoothly and the service is offered for a few days hence.

Then, we get to the fun part.

Me: “Could you please let the engineer know that I am shielding, so I will require him to wear a mask while in the house and follow precautions?”

Employee: “Oh, do you have any symptoms? We can’t come if you have symptoms.”

Me: “No, I’m not infected; I’m just shielding.”

Employee: “So you’re isolating but no symptoms. I’m not sure if we can come, really.”

Me: “No, I’m not isolating. I’m shielding. I just need the engineer to know that, for safety.”

Employee: “So you’re saying it’s not safe to be in your property? Is someone else there showing symptoms?”

Me: *Getting frustrated* “No, no one here is infected. No one here is isolating. It is completely safe for the engineer to be here. I’m just shielding as I’m vulnerable, so he’ll need to keep away from me.”

Employee: “Oh, you’re vulnerable? Are you elderly? You don’t sound elderly!” *Giggles*

Me: *Ready to scream* “No, I just could get really ill if I catch it. So all I need is for the engineer to be made aware that I am shielding and that he needs to wear a mask at all times. Please!”

Employee: *Sounding more confused* “But you’re not elderly…?”

Me: *Sigh* “No. You don’t have to be elderly to need to shield.”

Employee: “Are you sure you don’t mean you’re isolating? Because we can’t come if you’re isolating.”

Me: *Trying not to yell at her* “Please, just pop on the notes that I’m shielding. Show your boss. If he doesn’t want to send anyone, just call me back. Will that be okay?”

Employee: “Okay, but I’m still not sure.” *Pauses while she types* “How do you spell shielding?”

I just wanted to bang my head against the table. If they weren’t a reliable and reasonably priced company, I’d have given up on that phone call. I was under the impression that shielding was a common enough term in the UK now, but maybe I’m wrong?! Anyway, after all that, the engineer is coming tomorrow. Phew!

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