A courier has kept an online journal to track how the coronavirus pandemic has transformed her work during the lockdown.
Alyson McKell, 52, started keeping the diary as her normal routine with Eagle Couriers was turned on its head within just a few days as the Covid-19 crisis developed.
She spent three weeks charting the changes – from a doubling of her work with the NHS to the isolating effects of social distancing and the “eerie” experience of driving on deserted roads.
Among the NHS work undertaken by Ms McKell as part of a 35-stong fleet in Glasgow, is delivering vital medication to the homes of cancer patients and collecting and delivering palliative care medicines to care homes.
She also ferries vital PPE to frontline NHS staff in hospitals and hospices, transfers blood for the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, and collects countless samples from surgeries and clinics all over Greater Glasgow and Clyde for safe delivery to hospital labs.
Ms McKell, from Townhead, Glasgow, has been a driver with Eagle Couriers for 14 years.
She said: “I love being a courier. No two days are the same. Even if you turn up to a place you visited the day before, there will be different people, so it is always new.
“However, one of the biggest changes is with social distancing, particularly in the hospitals. Of course, it is absolutely necessary, but it still feels very impersonal.
“There aren’t many businesses or offices open at the moment, but even those which are still operating, people are distancing and the world feels a much less friendly place.”
Another challenge for Ms McKell is getting used to deserted roads.
She added: “In some ways it is great. Recently I had to drive from Glasgow to Bathgate to change vans.
“It would normally take me at least 50 minutes each way. Instead I was there and back in an hour.
“But in other ways it is really quite eerie. I saw another driver go straight through a red light. At the next set of lights, he stopped to apologise to me.
“He said he was totally spooked by the silence of the roads and his concentration just lapsed.”
The most rewarding aspect of her new routine is that the number of important deliveries she makes for the NHS have doubled.
She added: “I’ve always enjoyed the NHS part of the job and now it is even more interesting. I am visiting different wards and departments that I never even knew existed.
“While I’ve been working with Eagle, we’ve always delivered blood and other samples across the NHS for testing. The reality is that we don’t always know what we are delivering or what it’s for.
“But what I do know is that we are delivering an awful lot more at the moment and I certainly hope it is helping in the fight against Covid-19 and that we are doing our bit.”
To keep up-to-date with Ms McKell’s diary, go here.
- March 30: Delivered a consignment of personal protective equipment (PPE) to nursing and medical staff at the Marie Curie Hospice at Stobhill Hospital.
- March 31: Assisted the occupants of a car that skidded off an M8 slip road at Blochairn and struck a pole.
- April 6: Faced a 20-minute wait at Boots in Clydebank to collect vital end of life, palliative care medicines for a care home in Yoker.
- April 8: Delivered vital legal paperwork to Young Offenders Institution Polmont near Falkirk.
- April 9: Collected medication from the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre to be delivered to the homes of cancer patients.
- April 14: Delivered laptops and other vital work at home equipment to residential addresses across Glasgow on behalf of a client.