The Tale Of Five Tests

By the time the words Corona (the problem and not the beer), Covid had infiltrated our lives, I had hoped I would be able to avoid the situations which led to me having to take a test to see if I was positive or negative. And for a largely positive person (outlook in life-wise and not disease)I was looking forward to staying negative for a long, long time to come. But in the words of John Lennon, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.” And so I had reason to get tested. Not once, but multiple times as it would play out.

During the first test, I kept looking at best case scenarios which would be me testing positive and taking a 2 week holiday, all expense-paid, in the guest room and getting waited on hand and foot, without having to interact much with anyone. I would binge-watch, binge-read and just wait out the germs exiting my system. The worst case scenarios would have been my 80+ father-in-law getting it. He has co-morbidities, is a difficult patient with the most minor of issues and no one wanted him to have that over his head at his age.

Instead an 11-year old fidgety boy came up positive amongst all of us. He took it like a champ. Got everyone’s attention and basked in it for whatever it was worth. Was prayed over and showered more love and affection than he has been since he broke his hand a few years back. And Covid was dealt with in a manner so calm and efficient that it hardly seemed like a problem.

The second test was a necessary follow-up to the first test and when the results came, I whooped up so loudly both Red and TO came running out of their rooms to see what had happened. We did our own versions of “take that you nasty pathogen!” and went our merry ways.

The third test was necessary before I went in for a surgical procedure late last year and while I was fairly sure it would show me as non-reactive, my mind was already bracing for the intrusion of the excessively long swab burning through my nasal passage and making me gag. I needed only to gag because the nose was thankfully left alone and I was cleared for the surgery.

The fourth test came up recently when I traveled after a gap of almost a year and a half. The place I was landing in mandated a negative test report so I went through the rigmarole of the burning nose and retching to get the said report and I was nighty put out that no one checked or even mentioned it when I landed. All that swabbing up and down dark alleys in one’s body and all for nought.

Am getting tested again in an hour or so. I came back home and have what are now called “mild symptoms“. In a pre-Covid world, I would have been able to accurately put them down to a change in climate, exposure to the air conditioning in a cramped place or just a cold and let it ease itself out of my system. But in circa 2021, they are mild symptoms and need to be viewed with suspicion till forays through my body prove otherwise.

The world that we know has changed but not the people. Not much anyhow. We are still doing the things we want and are pretty comfortable with taking what we think are “acceptable risks”. You live with something unpleasant long enough and it stops being a Boogeyman and gets reduced to being an inconvenience.

A year ago having an occasion to have a test would have given me quite a bit of worry. Now it’s just a matter of temporarily moving into a room on my own for an enforced staycation vs. being free to move around and cough in public without being looked at as Typhoid Mary. And while I hope that this post doesn’t get added to with an anecdote of a sixth test, it is entirely a possibility and one that will be taken up with a weary “here we go again” +some kind of tongue-in-cheekness.

TO put it very succinctly before going to bed last night, “Be NE-GA-TIVE Ayu!”

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