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'Decontaminating our cans of beans one by one'

“Is it just us who disinfects food deliveries?”

As a recipient of a kidney transplant, Kate's wife Holly falls within the high risk category, so together they are spending their third week in strict isolation.
Kate, who has mobility difficulties, admits to feeling guilty she can't do more to help her community or to entertain their daughter Scout.

This week's highlight is The Food Delivery which creates both euphoria and a bit of a household debate. Is anyone else disinfecting every single item before allowing them into the kitchen?

Plus Kate and Holly introduce a new podcast feature they call Isolation Issues - a game which will unite (or divide) households across Britain.

Produced by Amy Elizabeth

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19 minutes

Transcript: 'Decontaminating our cans of beans one by one'

This is a full transcript of 'Decontaminating our cans of beans one by one' as first broadcast on 3 April 2020 as part of the Isolation Diaries strand presented by Kate Monaghan. KATE - Welcome once again, Cabin Fever friends, to the inside of my head.SCOUT - [Laughing]KATE - What's so funny? Have you washed your hands? Oh, they're wet. That giggling that you can hear is my three year-old daughter, Scout. So, for any new listeners my name is Kate Monaghan. I'm in isolation here with my daughter and my wife. And I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome which is a disability which causes chronic pain, and it's been making this isolation period, well, extra tricky. I have actually been isolating for - how long have we been isolating for now, three weeks or four weeks?SCOUT - I think three weeks.KATE - Three weeks, yeah, I think you're right. Three weeks because my wife Holly is on immune-suppressant medication after having a kidney transplant ten years ago. So, we're a few weeks ahead of the UK population. And my daughter, Scout, who you just heard there…SCOUT - Ah!KATE - Yeah, thank you for throwing that ball…is just getting more and more energetic and more difficult to entertain.SCOUT - Okay. [Yelling]KATE - I can't even find five minutes to record quietly because she's just everywhere. SCOUT - [Yelling] Hiya.KATE - So, each week I've basically been keeping my recording stuff in my pocket so that I can share this experience with you all, the funny and sometimes heart-warming highs, the eating donuts obviously on the kitchen floor lows, I'm going to include it all. So, here's my week; feel free to judge, but not too harshly.  [Music] So, just getting a wee bit of fresh air. As you can hear I'm out of breath. I'm so unfit. I literally just got out of the house and now I'm trying to walk, just to do something to move my joints. But anyway, that's by the by. But yeah, I was listening to a podcast that my sister was on and, oh, all I could think about was how my brother and sister - I've got an older sister and a younger brother - my older sister helps hungry children eat. She runs a charity that is all about holiday hunger, so kids who come out of school in the holidays and they don't get their free school meals, trying to feed them and give them nutrition and all of this kind of stuff. And the podcast was about the project that she runs and what they're doing for the new situation we're in where loads of kids now are going to go hungry, and how they're trying to find ways of feeding these kids. And then I was chatting to my brother last night and he's an NHS manager and he's trying to keep the country going and doing all of this really important stuff, keeping the hospitals running; and I'm just sitting on my butt doing nothing, helping nobody. And my brother and sister are out there doing stuff, helping and making a difference, and I am just not doing anything. I'm just trying to keep my wife alive by doing nothing, and that's so hard. Hello pussycat, hello. But yeah, in our family I feel like we've got this ethos, my parents really instilled in like a social responsibility kind of thing to help people. And in this situation I just feel helpless, I feel hopeless. Like I'm helping coordinate the effort on the street to keep everyone safe in our road but I can't go out and do stuff; I can't go and get people shopping, I can't help. And I just feel it's not part of who I am. It's either that or I go out and make the conscious decision to do something, but that would jeopardise Holly. That would mean I'd have to live somewhere totally different because I couldn't live with her, I couldn't live with my child. And physically what am I going to do? So, yeah it's just hard.  [Music] What's going on, Hol?HOLLY - Well, our neighbour has just given me the wave out the window, which means he's dropped off our portion of a shop that went to them but they let us go in with the delivery, didn't they? KATE - You're always very excited about shopping. HOLLY - I am very excited, I am because it's felt…I mean, look what's in the oven, Kate. It's every old vegetable that I could find, and I've shoved it in a roasting bowl with some salt and pepper and olive oil and that's what we're having for dinner because we don't have anything else. KATE - No offence, but.HOLLY - Right, I'm going out to get it.KATE - No, no, no, no, no. HOLLY - Why?KATE - Have you got your anti-bac gloves on and anti-bac wipes? Thank you. HOLLY - But with them I can't wait...KATE - You can't just bring stuff into the house that other people have touched. HOLLY - I know, okay. I'm too excited. KATE - Yes.HOLLY - The new anti-bac. Oh my god, I can see my Easter egg!KATE - [Laughs]HOLLY - You deal with it then; I'll just watch.KATE - Right. But what's our protocol? Because we haven't had a shop this big properly for ages.HOLLY - We'll have to wipe everything down, you mean?KATE - But I don't want to waste anti-bac wipes because we've got four left.HOLLY - Well, we haven't; we've got another pack actually.KATE - Have we? No, they're floor wipes.HOLLY - No, we've got another pack somewhere. But I'll use anti-bac.KATE - Okay, I'll use the spray and kitchen towel. HOLLY - Not too taxing.KATE - Does that mean we can have something more interesting than just roasted vegetables for tea?HOLLY - Yeah, maybe, maybe.KATE - Because it's been slim pickings the last couple of days. [Laughs]HOLLY - Well, exactly, that's why I'm so excited about this shop. Especially if it includes an Easter egg. KATE - You're not meant to look at that. HOLLY - Well, we've got to do something for Easter for Scout, haven't we?KATE - Ooh, my diet Cokes.HOLLY - Exactly, the biggest things out there are the diet Cokes. KATE - Other brands are available. I don't know how to do this safely. HOLLY - Well, the bags…KATE - But the bags will be contaminated. HOLLY - I don't know. Maybe take individual items out. KATE - Spray and then pass to you? HOLLY - Yeah, and then I'll put away. KATE - It just takes all the joy out of it, doesn't it? HOLLY - I know. KATE - Decontaminating. HOLLY - Yeah, ugh. Okay, going in. KATE - I'm going in. I'm spraying. Oh my gosh. HOLLY - What? KATE - I don't think that's the size of plain flour we wanted. HOLLY - Ah no. KATE - That's like a mini plain flour. HOLLY - That's so annoying. KATE - This is the problem with online shopping. I mean, unloading shopping is boring at the best of times. HOLLY - It's freezing as well. KATE - Yeah, it's really cold, and then having to spray everything with anti-bac. HOLLY - Ooh, a pizza Scout. You can bring a bag in, Kate. KATE - I can't, because the bag is infected, Holly. If you want to get it then I can bring a bag in; if you don't want to get it then I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. Where have you put…? No, it's raining on all the shopping!HOLLY - Well, bring it. Stop it.KATE - No. [Singing] Why does it always rain on my shopping when I'm trying to clean it of all the coronavirus, yeah. Someone brought us some rhubarb out of their garden yesterday, and someone else brought some leeks that were on their own, and I didn't know what to do with them. I was like, well it says soap kills the virus. HOLLY - Come on. KATE - I'm doing it and I'm talking to my people. Soap kills the virus, so I put them in a bath of soap, and now I've probably ruined the taste of the leeks and the rhubarb, but. HOLLY - Is that why the rhubarb is looking quite sad?KATE - Why?HOLLY - Well, look at it.KATE - Yeah, because it went in with soap, hand soap.HOLLY - Oh god.KATE - Is that not okay? HOLLY - No. KATE - Why not? HOLLY - It's very OCD. [Alarm beeps]KATE - Shut the fridge. Oh, sorry for saving your life. When you don't get coronavirus you're going to be super grateful to little old me for keeping you alive. HOLLY - Who's blowing?KATE - Who is that idiot with a whistle? Every five flipping minutes I hear a whistle outside my house. [Whistle sound] Stop it! Podcast friends, are you doing this as well? Please tell me, am I taking this too far or is this right? Is this what I should be doing or is this like another level of crazy? Please can you tell me? Thank you.  [Music] It feels like things have got harder this week. I think the change in weather has really not helped. The clocks going back, well went back on Sunday, and it just didn't really make any difference. Or did they go forward? Jeez, I don't even know what happened to the clocks. Time means nothing now. It literally made no difference that the clocks did anything because there was nothing that needed to be done. It was just weird. The weather has just gone rubbish. Up here you can Holly unpacking and moving around in the kitchen now. But yeah, the weather has turned so it's cold and it's grey and it's rainy, and so all that outside stuff that we were able to do last week has just gone now. It's just hard. It just feels like a slog at the moment. And the thing that I'm finding really tough is that Holly's not allowed to go out of the house perimeter, and that means that getting Scout out of the house and going somewhere is now my responsibility. And I can't walk very much or very far and so she's kind of getting stuck inside. I've got my wheelchair but I can't use it that easily on the roads around me because it's not very safe; the pavements are all carved up by trees. Yeah, it's really almost impossible to go out using my chair from home. I'd have to drive somewhere, and then if I drove somewhere I wouldn't have anyone to lift my wheelchair out for me because Holly can't come with me. So, I just feel really stuck and I feel like I should be doing a lot more, getting Scout out and about, rather than her being stuck here, but there just doesn't seem to be an answer to it and I don't know how to solve the problem. Because normally Holly would just take her for walks and stuff and I would take her out, but I'd take her out to accessible stuff that I can sit and watch her running around doing, like soft play and play cafés and things. And instead we're just stuck in the house driving each other slightly round the bend. And I don't feel like Scout's getting enough fresh air, but I just don't know what to do. I wish I could just hand her over to one of our neighbours who would happily take her for a walk, but then we can't do that because we can't risk it, and it's really hard. And I can't take her any further than five minutes up the road and five minutes back again on a good day. And last week I pushed it too much and then I was poorly all weekend; I was just stuck. Luckily because it was the weekend we felt like it was okay to put Scout in front of Frozen 2 for the seventh time. Honestly, if I hear those songs I think I might go crazy. But yeah, it felt like it was okay to just do telly days, but in the week it doesn't feel okay; it doesn't feel like it's okay to just sit and not do anything. And Scout's totally able-bodied, she's totally fine, so she should be allowed to go out and run around and have a parent that can chase after her as she scoots along on her scooter or bike or whatever, and that just makes me feel pretty rubbish.  [Music] Why are you looking at me like that? HOLLY - I thought we were going to watch that latest drama. KATE - Yeah, we are after I've done my latest feature for the podcast. HOLLY - It's five to nine in the evening, okay. KATE - What is that…?HOLLY - Late.KATE - Too late, okay. Too late to have an item for the podcast and watch something? Okay, it's called Isolation Issues. HOLLY - Okay.KATE - That's the jingle for it as well. HOLLY - You should work on that. KATE - Oh okay. So, the idea is basically because we're in isolation together we each get to say one thing that's annoyed each other over the past week in isolation. Okay? HOLLY - Okay. KATE - Get it? HOLLY - Yeah, I'll just get my list up. [LaughterKATE - Do you like the…what's it called using the same letter? HOLLY - Alliteration. KATE - Alliteration, did you like the alliteration there? HOLLY - I loved it yeah. KATE - I hope they cut out the fact that I forgot what alliteration was and you remembered. HOLLY - I hope they don't. KATE - So, Holly Cocker, what is your isolation issue with me this week?HOLLY - It would be a tie between…KATE - No, you can't have two.HOLLY - Oh. KATE - Go on then, you can have two, just for the first one. HOLLY - It would be a tie between the midnight eating in bed or in the kitchen. And I always know you've been doing it because…KATE - You don't know. HOLLY - Yeah. KATE - No. HOLLY - I wake up to rustling, and also there will be Nutella all over the kitchen. [Laughter] And the other one would be whenever you go and make a meal or have a snack or make Scout some food you leave like this trail of destruction: a cupboard would be left open and then a can of beans or whatever. It's like a trail of what you've done. KATE - Oh my god, that's what you do. That's not me, that's you. HOLLY - I'm actually a very tidy person. KATE - That is not true! [Laughter] But you do the exact same thing. HOLLY - I don't. I'm really mindful. I'm like, oh I'll just put this back. KATE - That is the biggest load of rubbish I've ever heard in my life. HOLLY - Well, anyway I've also got a third, but that's kind of an ongoing issue. KATE - What? HOLLY - Sleep props. KATE - That's not an isolation issue. Look, I can't help my disability; I need various things. HOLLY - Anyone that doesn't know Kate, she has to go to sleep with about a million sleep props: the special pillow, a special teddy…KATE - Disability. HOLLY - …headphones in…KATE - Disability, that's disability.HOLLY - …iPad set up and phone just next to her so she can do it, snacks, pills. What are you waving at me?KATE - My splints. HOLLY - Oh yeah, your splints.KATE - My arm splints; I have to wear splints like 12 hours a day.HOLLY - That come on and off when you snack.KATE - Yeah, that does take quite a lot of noise. HOLLY - It's like this ripping of Velcro. KATE - Babes, you're not going to have any for next week if you're not careful. [Cat meows] Hi Milo. HOLLY - What's yours going to be?KATE - Okay, Holly, my isolation issue with you this week is the fact that you keep starting jobs and then halfway through you'll say, "Oh I think Scout needs a meal, or Scout needs a snack".  HOLLY - Well, she probably does. KATE - Which is mainly code for you're bored and you want something to eat. HOLLY - What have I started and haven't finished? KATE - And then everything is just left all over the place. Look at our landing: it's like littered with rubbish because you sort of get halfway through a job, like sorting out a cabinet, and then you're like, oh now I'm bored of sorting out this cabinet. HOLLY- It's a boring job. KATE - It is a boring job.HOLLY - But also they're your jobs too. And I know there are half-painted shelves but they will get painted soon. KATE - Will they or will they just get left? Really? Milo, get off of us. Milo is just climbing all over us. Milo, Milo the cat by the way, not our child.  [Music] I cannot believe I haven't mentioned my new friends who are popping up all over the place during this time. They come out to play at certain times, and then they hang around for ages even though they're not really wanted. It's my anxiety acne. Yeah, it's really great; whenever I get anxious my skin just breaks out in acne around my forehead and my nose and stuff, and it's just so annoying. Holly, my wife, was just like, "Ooh look at your massive spot on your forehead" and I was like, "I know, I know". And I don't know how to get rid of it. It just lasts for weeks and weeks and weeks; it just does not go. As if having anxiety isn't bad enough on its own, oh, let's just throw in some spots to make you feel great about yourself as well. Brilliant. Thanks body. [Music] So, I've been pretty honest this week I guess, even admitting to my anxiety acne terrible skin. Thank goodness this is a podcast and you don't have to actually look at me. I haven't cried yet. Well, I haven't cried on mic; I have cried before but I haven't recorded it just yet. I'm sure it's only a matter of time. In fact, this next week I think it's time that, my fringe is getting totally out of control, so I'm going to have to get Holly to cut it. That might be the time the tears come and it also might be the time divorce comes. Who knows what will happen in episode 4. I'm finding podcasts very calming at the moment actually, especially at night time before I go to sleep, and I've been digging through the Ouch archives, also known as the BBC Sounds app, which I can highly recommend, and if you want to go back and have a listen to some of the stuff that we made before all this weirdness happened. I'd particularly like to recommend the episode which featured George Robinson who's in sex education, and Fergus Flanagan, the magician with OCD, because that was just a lovely heart-warming chat to be honest with both of them about what's it like to have a disability that's physical and a disability that's mental health. I think it's really good. And then go and listen to the podcast we made with Sinead Burke, which was a total highlight for me. We had such a great chat with her one-on-one and she had some really interesting stories to tell about going to the Met Ball and all of this kind of stuff that people like you and me I guess can only dream of.  Anyway, whilst we're sharing stuff, if you've had a moment, just like I've had lots of moments, and you want to reach out and let me know how you're coping, please do get in touch. Email my producer Amy Elizabeth, that's amy.elizabeth@bbc.co.uk, Amy spelt A-M-Y. You might even have some skincare tips; I really hope you do. Is it still okay to put toothpaste on your spots? I don't know. I can't remember if that's a good or a bad thing. Anyway I'd be up for trying anything. It's really helpful for me to share this experience with you and I hope you feel the same, so stay strong, stay safe and I'll talk to you next week. 

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