Ye So I Got The Coronavirus…
The time I got the Rona in 2020
It was Tuesday, I sneezed a couple of times during work, and I assumed I must be getting a cold. I had just come back from a two week stretch in quarantine and thought there was no way in hell I could have gotten the lurgy. By Wednesday, it was clear I at least had the flu. My temperature was elevated, and I wasn’t feeling the May West. Then it was confirmed that the girl I have been seeing has tested positive and the Daily Mail headlines started to flash through my head,
‘DEADLY CHINESE FLU.’ Uh Oh...
Being a key worker and all (flex), I managed to book an appointment to get tested at the SSE Area in Belfast. A harrowing experience, to say the least. This particular test centre was a drive-through centre, which I did not know at the time. We pulled up to the takeaway window and were told to keep the windows shut by a man in full PPE, 28 days later style. He pointed to a phone number posted on a nearby wall and said to call. A frightened and sweaty young lady who looked like she had been kidnapped by Boris Johnson, answered nearby. She explained I was going to do the test in the car park in the back seat of the car, did I understand? I did, I squeaked, and the test was thrown in beside me.
I was expecting a nurse or at least a well-trained volunteer, but instead, there’s me aiming a swab up my nose in the SSE car park with a head full of Chinese flu. The test was accompanied by a list of instructions like Ikea furniture. As an added layer of difficulty, I had the new girl I’m seeing in the front seat. Obviously, I don’t want her to think I’m a spa who can’t follow simple directions. So I am sweating while I’m trying to figure out what test tube goes where and what swab goes in which orifice? Nightmare.
It didn’t help that when you asked the staff, they were two meters away, under a foot of PPE, explaining to you what to do in sign language. Thank God I have an arts degree, and I can think on my feet. I macgyvered myself a coronavirus test and labelled all the bags and the test tube and put the test tube in the bag and then the bag in another bag. However, when I sealed the last bag and finally stopped sweating, I realised there was another test tube rolling around on the seat beside me. I had forgotten a test tube - CHRIST.
We asked one of the staff and were told we’d have to do the whole test again. Brilliant. At this stage, the corona was running hot, and my brain felt like an inflated watermelon. We drove round to the exit, and I rolled down the window to explain what had happened. The staff all started shouting,
“PUT THE WINDOW UP! PUT THE WINDOW BACK UP!” ok, ok. So I then had to shout through the window that I was the idiot who had done the test wrong and was told to start over again. At this point, I hoped the Coronavirus was as deadly as they had made out, and would kill me on the spot. She scrutinised the test tube, which I had forgotten, and through a series of nods and thumbs-ups, communicated that the test would be fine. I wasn’t entirely convinced, but I didn’t need telling twice. We escaped like two convicts from a North Korean POW camp. Moral of the story, if you do catch the bug, get a professional to do the test for you, and not me.
A very sweaty 72 hours later, it was confirmed I did have the lurgy. People were very kind, sending me condolences and wishing me well on my journey to the afterlife. I thought I was grand, but apparently, I was going to die. I couldn’t really do anything except lie in my Corona riddled bed. The only excursion I made daily was to the bathroom for my shower, which I tried to save as an evening treat but mostly got too excited for. I was even shampooing and conditioning my bald head just to stay in there longer. Showering was a kind of holiday. By the end, I was doing it three times a day. (Sorry nature).
I was diagnosed on Saturday, and applying the Jesus metaphor assumed I would rise again on the Monday. This is what happened, except two weeks later! Definitely a bit of a kick to this old Kung flu. Overall the only symptoms I had were dizziness and a lack of energy, which kind of felt like a two-week hangover. Honestly, I’ve had worse doses, but I’m a healthy young chap, so I could see how an older or vulnerable person could be in dire straits with the virus.
For me, the lack of activity sucked the most. No reading, no writing, no training, and my thoughts became suitably cynical and depressive. I was reminded that your outlook on life is so conditional on how you feel, and if you feel like a big sack of rubbish, you can start to project that outward into the world. Just staring at your twitter feed in your underpants with a little piece of cheese buried in your chest hair, thinking: the world has gone to shit innit!
It has naught! You just haven’t been outside in two weeks, ye big husky walrus! Oh yes, I remember… Now all I’m thinking about now is getting my fitness back, getting my usual routine together, and appreciating the good stuff. My hair is growing back, I’m nice and plump, and a virologist in Queens wants my blood for a vaccine? What else could go wrong?