“Well,” said the daughter as we were sitting in the garden some three weeks ago, “you and Mum are probably the only two people I know who haven’t had COVID!”
I must admit that - having swallowed a feeling of self-congratulation - at that particular moment a couple of phrases came into my mind, one being ‘tempting fate’ and the other being ‘hostage to fortune’.
Anyway I must admit that, probably like the rest of you, Jan and I had spent a couple of years ducking and diving in order to avoid this pernicious virus and here we were approaching what appeared to be a definite lowering of infection possibilities. As a result we were feeling rather more confident in the future; although by no means reckless. I suppose it was fair to say that we did feel rather proud of ourselves.
The next morning I awoke to a rather sunny day, but my throat felt like I had been gargling with broken glass and I had a bit of a ticklish cough. Maybe I’ll have a shower I thought, that will make me feel better. I normally sing in the shower, but somehow this did not seem very appealing.
Fortunately we still had our quotient of unused Lateral Flow Tests left so I thought I’d give one a try. To be quite honest, this process in no way involved any degree of apprehension on my part, I still had our daughter’s comments from the previous day ringing in my ears – I’d be fine! Wouldn’t I?
I can’t explain the shock of seeing two red lines on the COVID-19 indicator. Surely it can’t be true, I did a double take. I’ll do another test!
Result: I’ve definitely got COVID.
First step – tell Mrs Allen.
I rush down stairs:
“Jan don’t get near me, I’ve just done a Lateral Flow Test.”
“Are you positive?”
“Yes I’m absolutely certain, I was there at the time.”
“Why must you always make a joke out of everything? You know what I mean. Do you have COVID-19?”
“‘Yes I do – I’ve actually done two tests and they both confirm that I have COVID-19 and that’s in spite of having been fully vaccinated and including the appropriately named ‘Booster’.”
We do our best not to go into panic mode. Put the kettle on. Don’t be daft.
We test Jan and she’s negative. That’s a relief. Put the kettle on!
So anyway there is no choice; it’s ‘self-isolation’ for Mr Allen - and for five days at least. Mrs Allen now decamps to the spare room. What is more; she seems to be most content with this new sleeping arrangement! Maybe it’s because my voice is now reminiscent of the late great Louis Armstrong.
What a peculiar five days this turned out to be. ‘Self-isolation’ is OK, but as far as I’m concerned, you might just as well be on your own.
For the first two days I take to my bed and for the next three days I mooch around looking for things to do within my four walls, whilst Mrs Allen continues to provide a deliver-to-your-door room service. The complications of disinfecting the various artefacts of normal living become most apparent.
Reading becomes a vital requisite and I find more to read in the daily newspaper than I’ve ever found before. I even read my horoscope when all else failed.
But in the end we have returned to normal. I am no longer infectious but left with a slight cough. More importantly - and thankfully - the lady of the house managed to avoid becoming infected and she has now become a real celebrity in my daughter’s eyes, whilst I feel somewhat of a failure.
When I started this article I had no intention of writing about COVID. In fact, over the past two years I’d tried my best to avoid it. In fact I was going to write about ‘tempting fate’ but got diverted by the fact that during this process I had contracted COVID and, as a result, changed tack to some ‘on the spot’ reporting.
So let’s just hope that we are nearing the end of this particular pandemic and let’s hope that the effects on you and yours have not been too severe and that we can return to a new normality that’s not much different to the old one!