Archive for the 'Covid' Category

Is it just a cold, or…

I’ve been nursing a cold for a few days.

I’m sure it’s my first since moving from the mountain into town, but Jackie insists I had a similar malady two years ago. No matter, I accept the discomfort with the style and grace that is a hallmark of my personality.

In other words, I am a lousy patient.

My colds follow a pattern. First a scratchy throat that I incorrectly label as a post-nasal drip. Then a more pronounced throat discomfort that belies my initial diagnosis. Next, a drippy nose that is held at bay by the multiple Kleenex boxes that occupy strategic places throughout the house.

An added attraction is the concern that this could be a disguised Covid virus cleverly inserting itself in a body already weakened by the trauma of a seasonal cold or flu. So, I check my temperature with the digital thermometer and find it normal. Distrusting the digital read out on the overused device, I seek human confirmation by asking Jackie to “feel my head.”

I am rendered speechless when she touches my forehead and says, “You do feel a little warm. Maybe you’ve been spending too much time on the patio. Drink some water.”

Is that all they teach you in nursing school? “Drink some water.”

My mind is riveted. I take my temperature again, 99.1. This is getting serious.  I take it once more, 99.6. I’m afraid to do it again. I try to remember what one does if they have Covid. Do you stay home, or tear off your clothes and run screaming down the street?

I imagine the ambulance screeching to a halt in front of the house. Loaded on a gurney, shoved in the bowels of the van, and taken to Ventura.

I mentally list all the things that need to be done. The appointments I’ll miss. The people who’ve been exposed to me. Taxes filed late. No pickleball.

I shake it off and remember the Covid test kit that President Biden kindly delivered to my mailbox. I should use it, I think. But then, what if the results are positive? Maybe it’s better not to know; then I could still play pickleball.

My civic pride and the genes borrowed from my parents get the better of me.

I get the test kit from the junk drawer in the kitchen. I open it and find an array of devices all cleverly designed to make it easy to mess it up. Calming myself, I realize there are two kits in the package and feel less challenged.

The instruction packet seems just a bit smaller than the Old Testament. Maybe that’s because it’s written in several languages including Sanskrit and Esperanza.

I read it. And then I read it again. It’s taking me too long, I think. I can hear the ambulance arriving if I don’t get this done soon.

I swab my nose, both nostrils. I am cautioned not to touch the tip of the swab. Why is that I think. Does the manufacturer think I have leprosy or teenage acne?

I go through the rest of steps, convinced I’ve done something wrong. Shoved it too far up my nose, swabbed in the wrong direction, moved it around too quickly, exposed it to some foreign substance. A million possibilities, but not a clue.

After wrestling with the little bottle and its multiple caps, I scoop up the precious liquid and deposit three drops in the test strip portal. It’s in God’s hands now, I think.

The instructions caution me to wait 15 minutes before looking at the results. I wonder if 10 would really be enough. Maybe they bump it up for those people who haven’t got the time to see if they’ve contracted a fatal illness.

Normally, 15 minutes passes quickly. Not this time. I could read Gone With the Wind and still have three minutes to go. I hang around the kitchen but avoid the test strip. I wait.

I can’t take it anymore. After 8 minutes I stare at the test strip. Only one line is visible. Two lines would spell disaster.

I age noticeably. I look in the bathroom mirror and I see Charlton Heston delivering the tablets to the Jews.

The kitchen timer beeps.

I check the test strip. Only one line. I take a closer look. Still only one line.

Well, so much for Covid.

I wonder when I had my last pneumonia shot. 


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