Corona and me

Covid-19 facemasks (Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash via Jewish News)
Covid-19 facemasks (Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash via Jewish News)

A couple of weeks ago I tested positive for Covid-19.

I didn’t have any of the typical symptoms. I was talking to my doctor about another ailment (I’m a bit of a hypochondriac), which I assumed she’d dismiss as just another one of my many moans…except she didn’t. Instead, she said that it could be an indicator of a virus.

I knew, immediately, what she was thinking. When she uttered the word, ‘corona’, I froze, then panicked and then froze again.

She told me to call maccabi, (my health care provider) in 5 minutes to arrange a test, by which time she’d have done the referral.

A flurry of calls then passed between myself and maccabi. Back and forth, Hebrew, English, even a bit of Russian thrown in for good measure.

Finally, someone turned up on my doorstep in a hazmat suit. I felt a bit ashamed and prayed that the neighbours weren’t watching although Gd knows why. I hadn’t done anything wrong…or had I? Had I brought this on myself by not being careful enough. I needed to calm down, after all, I was only having a test. It could be negative.

I showed him through to the back garden, appropriately masked and gloved, as per my instructions.

The test itself took seconds, literally. He told me to remove my mask, opened the long stick thingy, and unceremoniously shoved it down my throat, until I gagged. He then proceeded to shove it up my nose, making my eyes water. Then he made for the back gate, stopping to pet the barking dogs on his way out while stretching his open palm towards me as if to say don’t come too close as he walked away.

And that was it. I sat, alone in the garden wondering what I’d do if I was positive.

The news came fairly swiftly and it wasn’t good. I had covid.

At this point the questions and recriminations started. Who had I caught it from? How could I have avoided it? Fortunately, when my husband and children were tested, they were negative so I couldn’t have caught it from them.

The most galling part of the whole thing was that I’d only just come out of bidud (quarantine) a few days before the test and yet here I was, back in there, only this time it was the real deal.

I couldn’t believe it.

Masked Me (picture credit A. Samuels)

I’m happy to report that I got away with it lightly as I had very mild symptoms. Under normal circumstances I’d have just carried on as normal, but of course, nothing is even remotely normal these days.

Instead, I’ve had to isolate in my bedroom for 2 weeks. I’ve had daily calls from maccabi, checking how I’m doing. I’ve even been given a dedicated hotline in case my condition deteriorated to the point where I needed an ambulance. They’ve been wonderful in the circumstances.

The care and concern of my friends has also been really touching. They’ve all been checking up on me regularly, offering practical as well as emotional support. Luckily for them, I’d barely been out during the brief period between my 2 biduds and those who were affected and forced into isolation themselves have been very understanding.

When I learned that I would have to go into bidud for a second time, I thought I’d use the time wisely. I had every intention of improving my Hebrew and finally finishing my book.

Instead, I’ve done neither. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on Facebook and watched far too much telly.

On a more positive note, I’ve cleaned my bedroom and bathroom from top to bottom, safe in the knowledge that no one would come in and mess it up.

I have, however, missed so many of the things that we all take for granted. I miss going for a walk. I miss hugging my family. I miss my life.

I know that my skirmish with corona has been relatively pain free, compared to so many others who have been left devastated by it.

I also know that, despite that, I’ll be forever changed by the experience. Its sheer invasiveness and pervasiveness is something which can’t be overstated. My life simply hasn’t been my own over the last few weeks.

Although the loss of freedom has been so hard to bear, I keep reminding myself that I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve come out the other side with my health (and that of my family) intact and for that I’m very grateful.

About the Author
I’m a British lawyer from Manchester. I made aliyah in 2016 and now live in Netanya with my husband, 3 children and 3 dogs. As I wasn’t able to pursue my legal career here in Israel, I started a small business editing English language papers for academics. I also write short stories or ‘blogs’ about the trials and tribulations of my new life.
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