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Mensa keyworkers - Maxine's role takes new turn

Maxine Bates is Mensa's regional officer for the East Midlands and runs an event planning business - but she is also a part-time administrator in a GP surgery, and so part of the team working to keep the health service running in difficult times

I run my own event planning/balloon decorating business, which is obviously non-existent in the current circumstances, and I lost all my prom night bookings in one fell swoop when schools closed.

However, I also work part time for the NHS as the administrator at a GP surgery so am classed as a key worker - although that feels fraudulent as I'm not front line staff.

It's quite weird now going into work with no patients on the premises (only a very few classed as urgent) and all staff having to take their temperatures upon arrival (two have already been sent home for seven days having been 37.8 or over) and wipe keyboards and desks with anti-bacterial wipes before starting work.

We are now dealing with paperwork relating to virtual clinics where hospital appointments are being carried out via telephone rather than face-to-face. I do wonder if the general public will think twice about going to their GP, Minor Injuries Unit, A&E or phoning for an ambulance after this pandemic has ended, having seen how few are seeking help and managing to sort their own health issues instead.

I hope the amazing support shown for the NHS, carers, supermarket staff, delivery drivers, etc, will continue as we now have proof that a lowly-paid shelf stacker is more critical to survival than an overpaid sportsman!  

I consider myself very lucky to have a home I love with a garden and feel for those living in high rise flats with no garden or balcony, with children to entertain, or facing the risk of losing their job.

I can't stress how important it is to stay at home as it's people who spread the virus. I only leave my property to
go to work and back and to top up my food cupboards once a week. Even a daily walk poses a risk if touching gates and stiles in fields. It's surprised me how many Mensans haven't considered such things.

I've already had to cancel three travels, but am quite enjoying my 'staycation' in this beautiful weather. Kim and Aggie would be proud of my sparkling clean house, my garden is now manicured and various things inside and out have been painted!

I'm missing my regular gym sessions and exercise classes, but can't get myself motivated to join Joe Wicks in front of the TV when not at work. However, I've taken up hula hooping for exercise! As someone used to constantly multi-tasking and organising things I'm taking advantage of more 'me time' for pampering, reading and watching TV.

Obviously I'm missing all my Mensa events and other social activities and seeing friends in person. Thank goodness I can keep in touch via social media with those who matter. The East Midlands Mensa Facebook group has a 'discussion of the day' and I'm posting a weekly general knowledge quiz with chance to win prizes.

It's actually nice seeing names I don't recognise joining in and I truly hope members will feel more involved and tempted to venture out to meet other members if they didn't do so previously. Assuming we are let out again in the coming weeks!

I don't think the world will ever be the same again as the pandemic has touched every single person, but hopefully it will be a kinder place to live. In the meantime, please sit on your sofa and save the planet. It's not difficult and I've seen the heartbreak of a death due to coronavirus causes. It's unbelievable to think this is happening thousands of times over. Stay safe and I look forward to all those hugs on the other side of this madness!