Mother of Divine Jesus, what did the aul one on the NHS helpline just say. ‘You need to self isolate for 14 days Mam’. Ah maybe she got me mixed up with someone else, I’m not her Mam, my daughter doesn’t work for the NHS. ‘Erm, could you repeat that please, do you need my name for identification purposes?’ (I didn’t want to be rude and explain the obvious, ‘I’M NOT YOUR FECKIN MAMMY’) ‘ Because you have just returned from Venice Madam (ah that was better, the difference a ‘D’ can make}, our advice is that you must self isolate for 14 days because of the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Northern Italy.’ ‘Ah but I have no symptoms’, I explained as patiently as possible. ‘I understand that Madam’ was the pained response, ‘but as it can take up to 14 days for the symptoms to appear, you need to take this precaution.’ JAYSUS!
I sat in my car, for another hour, phoning the hospital, I had just come from where I had had a pre-assessment for a spinal injection. I had turned on the radio as I drove out of their car park, to be greeted with all sorts of measures the NHS were advising to take and to be clear, had rung the helpline to see if it was ok to go ahead with the procedure. Be careful what you wish for, I had been bricking it during the assessment and if I’m very honest, the thought of postponing having a big needle shoved up the crack of my arse, no matter the relief it was likely to give my legs, was a bit of a relief in itself. The cost of that though…14 feckin days in isolation. I don’t do isolation, I NEED PEOPLE!!!
Then I remembered that my little bestie with whom I share a flat, was due home later that day. Sure I’d been really looking forward to our catchup, as she works away caring for the elderly. I wouldn’t be alone after all. Surely we could get her a mask and maybe I could wear one too and we could still catch up, albeit in muffled tones. I dialled her number quickly, intent on giving her notice as she drove towards home singing to herself at the thought of her two week break ahead. ‘Noooh,, ah, oh eeh, WOW’ was pretty much the sum total of the conversation before she hung up to ring the helpline for advice on whether she could come home. Five minutes later, we were giggling together as she recounted that she could indeed come home but would have to stay 15 feet away from me at all times. We’d be talking to each other from different rooms, but I was happy with that, better than sitting singing ‘All by Myself’ for the next fortnight. Ah but my happiness was short lived as no more than five minutes later my little bestie rang back to say that her doctor’s surgery had advised her to stay away, as she worked with the elderly and might compromise them. Slam Dunk! Back to solitary confinement for me…thank God for social media and the mobile phone.
Food…secondary to company but very important…how would I manage for 14 days. I’d fade away. Nah, it’d take a lot longer than that for me to fade away, no use kidding myself. Ah sure isn’t there online shopping. Jaysus, I’d better get online and book a slot, or I could be waiting days. Normally reluctant to pay for the pricey slots, today I didn’t care. I just wanted ‘a’ slot. I just wanted FOOD, my BFF Then another thought struck me. Sure I’d have to ask the delivery man to leave the food on the doorstep. But haven’t they stopped using plastic bags and now deliver in a plastic tray, which they empty when they get into your home. Ah I’d just have to put shopping bags on the front porch and ask them to put them in there, coz they couldn’t leave the fresh fruit on the doorstep. Would I need to explain, when I book my slot? I don’t think there’s those sort of provisions, when booking. ‘Do you have Coronavirus symptoms?…if so tick box’. Eh no, I don’t have symptoms…so that doesn’t apply. Maybe there would be another box…’Have you come back from Africa, Singapore, Northern Italy?….yeah, I could tick that box. I checked….no boxes. It’d just have to be the bags option then. Luckily I have an intercom so I can tell them I’ve left the bags on the doorstep. Can you imagine if I didn’t. I’d be talking through the front door. I suppose it’d make a difference from talking through my arse.
I had enough food at home to get me through the next couple of days and if I was truthful, I could really do with a good rest, so once home, I climbed into my bed and watched Netflix, munching on the yummies I had indoors, trying not to think of the kilos I’d accumulate over the next 14 feckin days. I would even miss the pancakes my wonderful daughter-in-law would undoubtedly be making for my grandkids, I didn’t have the ingredients for them in the house, so even if I had been inclined to make them myself, it’s never the same, not sharing the joy. Mind you, I didn’t mind not sharing the joy when it came to other goodies, like chocolate and crisps. I was joyful all by myself.
Reaching out to my fellow travellers on our Whatsapp group, it soon became apparent that we were all rejects of society for the foreseeable, as even in America, the advice was to self isolate. How the feck were we going to do this, without tearing our currmulativehair out?
Acceptance, that was the key. Sure it’s not like I wasn’t used to being house bound, sure don’t I get shingles regularly. As I wiped the sweat from my brow and reached for the paracetemol to ease the cramps in my legs and arms, the growing pain in my head, I stopped in my tracks…what the feck!! Reaching for my phone I researched ‘Symptoms of Coronavirus’.
To be continued…..!!!