Symptomatic sympathy

I sat apprehensively in pyjamas and dressing gown, pondering how I would react if the test showed positive…..

And that was after a very long, sleepless night of discomfort with a sore throat, runny nose, and a headache. And did I say aching limbs and a sore back, too? ‘Turbulent’ might suffice as a descriptor as I sucked on Disprins and throat lozenges all night, with no one from whom to seek solace! Woe was me! how was I to cope, even survive? Now I would be locked-in, locked-up, and too daunted to contemplate shopping and meals and socialising – probably ever again! And that was just the beginning of my deliberations on the depressive reality of isolation, and the dismal descent into the depths of my psyche.

So, as the day dawned I carefully, albeit reluctantly, pushed the tip of the swab-stick into the unpleasant, presumably infected, recesses of my mucous mouth and twirled it all about. Much more carefully than it’s ever been done before. Better and more thoroughly than those who insert it into my brain (almost) when I visit the Care homes to fraternise with my friends. No doubt about it, I just knew with unerring certainty, even before the swab left my mouth this morning, that I must have the worst case ever of COVID.

But, as I waited for my test results, I started a crossword puzzle and simultaneously tried to analyse my recent journeys. My shopping forays, my visits to friends, my contact with neighbours. How many days is the incubation period? Mmmm. Have I been wearing a mask when out and about, always? Yes, mostly, even at church last Sunday. And, would you believe it, at two funerals I attended during the week with a covered nose and mouth (other than when I filled my face with sandwiches and cakes!). But then I recalled I hadn’t worn it when I bought petrol yesterday; surely that’s low risk? Ah, well, that’s life. I’ve had a good run up until now!

By this time, the pink stain had started to spread…. I averted my eyes and almost held my breath, perhaps as I should have over the last few days! Back to the crossword, anything to distract me from that spreading red marker. I managed 5-down, as I sneaked a look at the stain, then back to 6-down: “Long lasting”. The answer, ‘permanent’ did nothing to allay my worst fears. Then I stole another glance at the red stain and my heart skipped a beat! How could I have been so sick, so close to death and so stupid. I couldn’t take my eyes off the little white strip as the red hue morphed, as I watched, into a clear, sharp red line. Precisely, and positively positioned at the ‘C’ mark.

Bliss. Joy unbounded. With that C, my headache began to clear, the pain in my back felt less, and even my throat was improving, a little. My cough persists but it’s not constant, and I can attest to the efficacy of the test kits to improve your well-being. I thank God, even though I didn’t go to Church this morning, that I am reprieved for now, and almost pure again! The worst aspect is that I can’t enjoy the sympathy of friends and family. Nobody is going to give me the sympathy I deserve, and I’m suffering here! Come on, surely you have some idea of my pain and suffering. It’s ongoing, too, no doubt for days to come, and very few people will ever realise how much I suffer with this ‘man-cold’, in my self-imposed isolation.

(I write these notes with a sincere understanding and compassion for those who are suffering or who have suffered from the real thing.)

It is a cruel world. Nobody knows what a load I’m bearing, with such a brave face and a running nose, poor me…..