Diaries Of Mr A.N.Muggins and His Honourable Wife : Covid Scare
It wasn’t so bad being under the shadow of waiting to find out whether they actually had Covid! Alfred had just thought he had a cold, and had been keeping quiet about it, so as not to worry anyone. But his wife, who had seemed normal enough when he got in from his rounds, and had been watching TV as usual, suddenly at bedtime had felt breathless, and added to the awful cough, which had been getting worse that day, started complaining that she thought she might have the dreaded virus! And on top of that she felt rather tired and exhausted, perhaps not altogether surprising due to the late hour; it was already past midnight!
Alfred was just trying to settle the household pets, before going to bed himself. He brought the cat down to the kitchen with all her foods and condiments provided. The two dogs were walked around the block, and both had been sufficiently wined and dined, sufficiently fed. All this he was doing, and the little dog had to be kept separated from the cat, and he knew he would sleep like a log as usual, if he could only actually get into bed and have some peace and quiet.
But there was no peace and quiet! His wife was disturbingly requesting the paramedics! What a nuisance, he thought! He would be up half the night now! But his fear of the dreaded virus, combined with his fear of his wife’s disfavour, and his strong sense of duty, even if he was lazy, caused him to offer action. He carried on with a couple of chores while showing concern and sympathy. He asked his wife whether she was really struggling to breathe? Did they really need to call an ambulance?
If she really was needing hospitalisation the ambulance or paramedics might be necessary, but maybe it would be wise to see how she felt in the morning, to see how she went? They should not waste the paramedics’ precious time. He could not help but wonder whether she was putting it on, although to be fair she usually had a good degree of common sense when it came to medical matters, although she could exaggerate dangers, but was not averse to insisting upon medical opinion.
At any rate she did calm down a bit. There was some medication she normally took which she had forgotten to take so that made her feel a bit better once taken. “Shall we see how you feel in the morning? And then we can try to book us both in for a covid test if we think it might be that.”
“You’re going to have to go off work Alfred, and me too. We must isolate and book a test!”
Alfred was relieved. This was a far better option than having to ring a 999 call or even a 111, either of which would have involved some difficult and sometimes irrelevant questions, and then probably waiting for the paramedics to arrive. He probably wouldn’t get any sleep. Luckily he wasn’t working in the morning, but later in the day, and this was the evening of Christmas Day, and tomorrow was Boxing Day. What a time to be ill or to have to request time off work! At least they could face that hurdle in the morning, after a good night’s sleep!
He felt that he only had a cold, but if his wife was breathless just maybe she had the virus and that meant he must have it too or was about to get it. So clearly they would have to get it checked out. At least he was going to get his good night’s sleep after all, which felt like his main priority for now.
Gently, taking care not to get too close to Mrs Muggins, he crawled thankfully into bed, turning away from her so that she could not breathe on him, just in case she did actually have the virus and he didn’t yet. Actually he thought to himself that it was an incredibly brave thing he was doing to risk further contact with someone who could possibly give him the virus, if he didn’t have it himself already. But he certainly couldn’t be arsed (as the expression went) to stretch out on the long settee downstairs, without the usual comfortable douvet. He just didn’t care at this stage. He just wanted sleep, and any dreams that would kindly be sent his way.
In the morning she said she had had a good night, and the breathing had not been too bad, but she still thought she was chesty, so it could be a chest infection which his wife got quite often. But who knew for sure? As far as both of them knew, it could well be Covid! After a reasonable lie in, when he was ready Mrs Muggins messed about on the internet to find where to book a test, which they picked in a relatively local park test centre.
“Shall we book in for an available one at 10.30, or we could have one at 12.30?” asked his wife. “Well I really don’t think I can make it for 10.30,” protested Alfred, “unless I go in my pyjamas without a full wash and shave. I think we should book in for the 12.30, then we can have a nice cup of tea in bed and get up slowly and pleasantly. I might even be able to read for a while!”
After all it was Boxing Day and they should be able to enjoy Christmas, as his wife’s breathing did not seem half as much of a problem in the light of day, as it had appeared late at night. And if they were to have Covid at least they both felt comfortable right now, which was always the most important thing to worry about. “We’ll get up in reasonable stages and get to the test centre in the Park Car Park on time.”
In the meantime Alfred rang work to tell them he would have to be off isolating until he got his test results, which they accepted graciously as it was important that no one should bring the virus to work if they thought they might have it. So suddenly he had two days off basically until he got the test result, which they would get by text and by email. Somehow he did not feel they had the dreaded virus, but it was right to get it checked out, particularly with his wife’s symptoms. And if the news was to be bad news, at least it was Christmas and they could enjoy some of it now, off work! They would face the future together as always. What else could they do?
They went together in his wife’s nice big car, which he called the ‘Tank’, imagining himself dominating battlefields, getting up and down awkward slopes, and pushing lesser cars (like his own) out of the way. He drove, as he usually did when they were going somewhere together. He liked to think he was an even better driver than her, but in fact it did occur to him that he was a bit like her chauffeur in reality. Not that he minded really. It came easy to him, and he was good at it, even though he tried to draw the line at buying any petrol for it, or dealing with its care and repair. He had his own car to look after, and was generous enough in so many other ways. Too generous in fact!
They came to the park and rolled up to the drive in Covid test centre. A young man with mask and visor tried to communicate through closed car windows, which Alfred knew would invite miscommunication and impatience, but at least this time (they had taken tests together earlier in the year in a similar way) they did not have to ring the attendants up on his mobile while driving and trying to look at test kits passed through the briefly opened window. At least this time they would at least have some idea of which bag was meant to go inside which other sealed bag while trying to read lots of complicated instructions, and interpret pictures, and talk over the phone all at the same time, while sitting in front of a steering wheel. They were told this was a do it yourself test centre. (Strangely, while writing this report of his (and his wife’s) exploits and writing ‘do it yourself’, one of his many favourite tracks came over the computer on You Tube, ‘Do It Again’ by Steely Dan! ‘What a coincidence!’ he thought, allowing himself to be distracted.)
Alfred’s wife volunteered to place the testing stick at the back of his throat around his tonsils, as they had done to each other once before a few months before, but suggested he did his own nostrils. Eagerly he agreed, being still a little nervous of doing that to himself, but he didn’t mind doing his own nostrils! At heart he was just another coward in a world full of cowards. To his surprise she didn’t trust him to do her tonsils, despite having done them some months before on the earlier occasion. He refused to be offended by her refusal, and accepted that she was probably better at doing that than he was!
With the hard part completed all they had to do now was to return home and enjoy the rest of Christmas for a couple of days, until the news of the result of the test would be forced upon them, for good or ill. Somehow he now had a sneaking suspicion that they would be alright. His own symptoms felt more like an ordinary cold to him than anything more sinister, and even his wife was now thinking that she felt better than the last night, and that maybe her bad breathing and chestiness might be a chest infection, which though that would normally be a cause for concern, now that felt like a very preferable option to the dreaded coronavirus. At any rate all would become clear in a day or two when they received their results.
All they had to do until then was sit at home and ‘chill out’, and actually enjoy the next two days or so, with no chores to perform, no shopping and no meeting anyone else, except Mrs Muggins’ son who lived with them. Even the grandkids, who they often babysat for, would have to stay away! Muggins looked forward to the peace and quiet, and of course he could not go to work until he got a clean negative result. Secretly he was quite pleased, although if it transpired that they did have the virus then his feelings would doubtless evaporate into fear and panic very quickly.
After the test, and after they got home, to his great pleasure he found himself watching Calamity Jane which was less than half way through, while Mrs Muggins went into the kitchen and started organising what food they were going to eat for lunch, from the very full Christmas stocked fridge. The very fact that they were both ready for something to eat seemed to be a positive sign that they hopefully did not have the virus, although both were still tired from the disruption of the previous night. And Mrs Muggins even made him a cup of tea, so he hardly had to lift a finger, and could start watching Christmas TV straight away.
He loved an old western even if it was a musical. He found Doris day’s Calamity Jane quite charming, and particularly when she finally put a dress on. In some ways she reminded him of his wife, who was in the kitchen at the time.
Then to his great satisfaction a fairly recent rendition of the Cinderella came on and he and his wife by now thoroughly enjoyed immersing themselves in the fantasy of nice young woman made good, in a setting which was so far away from ordinary life as to be the perfect antidote to any worries they might have about the virus. And it was after all Christmas as well, so why shouldn’t they relax totally now they were both off work. Apart from making lots of cups of tea and coffees he could relax and spend hours doing something he loved, watching TV!
Thankfully the Covid Test result came in late at night at the end of the day after the test, onto his Email, which he did not notice until the morning, and onto his phone via text message the next morning. His was negative. He told his wife, as soon as she was awake, and she checked hers, which was likewise negative. Nothing to worry about after all. Well that was a relief. The only downside was he would have to go back to work again later that day, but that was a lot better than the risk of being dangerously ill!