It is no joke being a reluctant hypochondriac during a global pandemic. I never wanted to be the kind of person overly concerned about health and well-being. My mother was, lots of her sisters were. I thought it was dreary and self-defeating and swore it would never happen to me.
But it did, it crept up on me, especially in the middle of the night when sleep wouldn't come. I try hard to resist it. I fight it all the time.
That pain in my chest. I just slept awkwardly on my tit. Not the beginnings of pneumonia.
That cough. A tickle, just the common cold.
That fever. We had an oil delivery. I notched the heating up. And I'm wearing a particularly cosy cardigan.
That urge to self-isolate. I'm just fucking sick of callers. It's an excuse not to socialise.
I was OK until Wednesday. I wanted to go shopping in town, to visit TK Maxx, Camerons, all (nearly all) the charity shops in search of something new. I was discerning, only bought one coat for me (Barnardos) and one jumper for Bert (Marie Curie) and was heading back to the van. There was a group of young men walking in front of me. One lad pulled a big wad of kitchen roll from his pocket, snottered into it, threw it on the ground and spat. I froze. Slowed my step, made sure I was at least ten feet behind them. We all got to the next set of crossing lights, they stopped, I started walking backwards, the green light comes on, we all move forward, me maintaining ten-foot distance, they turn left, I turn right, big sigh of relief.
I couldn't get over it, told everyone about how spooked I was. Next morning I wake up with the cold and convinced myself I had the virus. For about twenty minutes. All that rummaging through clothes rails, God knows who else had been there before me, God knows where they'd been, what they had wrong with them. That new (to me) Zara coat will be the death of me.
I caught myself on. Went for a walk (in a graveyard, poignant) met the grandchildren, helped with homework, baked biscuits, forgot I was dying and so on...
Then, later, just after Martha and Evie had gone home, Banjo Man calls in, watery-eyed, streaming with the cold and freshly sent off a site in Dublin town for coughing too much. The site foreman had asked him to get checked out and let them know if he was OK but testing is suspended here so all he can do is self-isolate, just in case, while we all build up our herd immunity. Apparently 20 cases of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland but if testing is suspended it is bound to be many, many more.
Then this morning I woke up convinced my cold was something worse and it was more than an hour before I caught myself on.
Bert went shopping in Lidl and there was no toilet roll and no butter. Also, no maple syrup which is a great shame as I had accidentally dropped our practically full bottle on the tiled floor - huge mess to clean up. And me not well.
The Zara coat I risked my life for. I have requested if it should end badly for me, that I am to be buried in it.