COVID Diaries Part Two - The Outbreak.


As I recently basked in my own ability to swerve the Coronavirus, and with a smug, firm belief that I'd already had it last February, it became apparent last Thursday that not all was well in the Skinch bodily-cavity of life. After Tina's positive test result on Sunday, and my own subsequent negative test the following day, my ever-present cough suddenly increased in severity, a pain began to spread deep within my chest cavity, and a general feeling of malaise took hold. After spending the first six hours of Thursday in bed nursing a painful headache, and feeling most definitely light-headed, I emerged to imbibe a cocktail of caffeine and out of date prescription painkillers in order to manage the drive to the COVID test centre for the second time that week - this time with a sense of inevitability of an outcome. An outcome which was confirmed before 7am the following morning with a text from the NHS. A positive test result.

I didn't have any particular worry about this to be honest, as I've regarded it as inevitable for a few month now, especially after Tina's diagnosis. I'll not go into massive detail about the symptoms and whatever, but I will say that having experienced it, I'm starting to wonder what all the fuss was about. Sure - it's not the most pleasant condition, but a few days of headaches, tiredness, chestiness, and general malaise for a non-medicated diabetic bloke approaching 60 seems little to endure for perhaps a generation's worth of the complete destruction of the world as we know it. The irrational fear of this virus does seem to be way worse than the virus itself for the vast majority of people. If you're of working age, relatively healthy, not hugely overweight, without severe or chronic conditions, and you're not exposed to prolonged viral loads, you're pretty much going to be ok - although the entire nature of the disease is that it's completely unpredictable in it's individual effects, hence the chaotic approach to dealing with it on a large scale. I'm not out of the woods just yet, so it's a case of resting until I have to get going again.

My main client has disappeared from the radar since I told them of my affliction, and it remains to be seen whether I'll hear from them again. I'm of no use when sick or absent, and I have absolutely no recourse in terms of being a guaranteed supplier, so it's just a case of hoping that the last five years of relentless toil and dedicated service has engendered a degree of loyalty, and that when I return to the fold next week I'll have a customer base to return to. The alternative would be bleak indeed. My initial contact with my main client regarding my return to work was met with zero response, which is worrying. Early days, and a quiet time of the year I guess. (I hope).

My self isolation period ends on Friday at midnight, so I'm looking forward to going for a walk in the fresh air more than anything else. The main side effect of my personal Covid experience is a complete absence of smell or taste, which isn't seen as anything of any significance by most people, but which constitutes 40% of my senses, and gives rise to a feeling that it's not worth preparing or eating anything because there's no point. A £200 bottle of red wine feels exactly the same as a glass of room temperature Ribena, (not that I've ever had a £200 bottle of wine), and everything I eat is simply another mouthful of tasteless gloop. This can apparently last for several weeks, due to the nerves in the olfactory system being destroyed, and in rare cases it's a permanent condition. It's tempting to get something solidly delicious for that first instance when I wake up with a sense of taste again. Unfortunately I'm not really allowed to express any negativity about my personal experience in my own household - that's only allowed for everyone else, so this consistently-unread blog is my only method of venting any frustrations safely. 

Our family Christmas is going to be a little different this year, as we've taken the sensible approach of keeping celebrations within our own household bubble. The handful of billionaires who control your habits are desperate to get us back onto the spending carousel as soon as they can, but they're not at the sharp end, and we are, so they can piss right off. Although we've presumably got some immunity, we're still all potential spreaders, and we have the risk of another 3 weeks of school to endure. Killing Grandma and Grandad isn't on anyone's Santa list to be honest.

So that's that for now. Stay safe (whatever that means), be careful if you're headed out to spend that white-collar cash on shit you don't need, and this apocalypse survivor will see you again shortly.

Brian Young shoots all aspects of the built environment for a range of clients throughout Northern England and the Borders.



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