Friday 7 August

As of this evening, Andy has a fever! So just like that, we’re stuck at home again, and he’s booked a test. It’s starting to feel like a farce!

It’s a nasty little virus, whatever it is, and I feel less inclined to blame my crappy immune system now that Andy has symptoms too. I’ve probably had a fever at some points myself, but I don’t like to check (it’s an anxiety thing). Today I’ve just felt lousy all over my body again, and had to have a sleep in the middle of the day.

I’m almost disappointed that it’s not Covid-19; it’s annoying to be suffering this much without the consolation of developing coronavirus antibodies, if that makes any sense at all?!

Working at home, it’s much harder to decisively take sick leave. I wouldn’t have been well enough to go to the office, but I can still work at home, although don’t think I’ve been very productive this week.

I managed to drive down to Asda to buy a few things. Then cooked another Chinese meal, plus an Instant Pot brownie. The latter was just OK, really; a waste of my diet-breaking allowance this week. I would have much preferred a slice of cheesecake, but haven’t felt well enough to go out to Bruntsfield.

Andy has been called back to work, starting on the 18th. So, another change for us soon. I will need to go back to doing all my working hours Mon-Thu and spend Fridays alone with Eilidh again. I’m mostly just relieved, as I was beginning to wonder what the future held, for the service he works for, for his job. Sounds like they are figuring out how to restart at least some workshops, with safety measures. Hopefully it will work out.

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Thursday 6 August

I got the result of my coronavirus test at 6:17am, by text and email. That’s after doing the test at about 8pm last night!

So Eilidh was able to go out for the day with her grandparents as usual, and Andy was able to go out and get his new phone, and just like that we’re back to normal. Well, the new normal.

As for me, I didn’t really feel well enough to go out anywhere. Congested, coughing, headaches, weak. And not in such good spirits.

It just depresses me that illnesses seem to hit me so hard a lot of the time. Maybe the viral load effect is true for other viruses – and I’m getting a big dose of each virus from close contact with Eilidh, so getting floored a lot?

Or maybe my thinking is biased after the bad spell I had over the first year of nursery. After all, it’s about a year since I last needed any sick leave from work. Maybe this is just a one off.

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Wednesday 5 August

Had a long sleep and got up feeling rather ropey. Temperature still normal. Still unsure about the cough, so phoned 111, knowing full well they’d err on the side of caution and tell me to isolate and get tested.

So just like that, we’re back in March, all stuck at home. Even the weather fits.

I arranged for the car to be delivered back to me, so I didn’t have to go out; they posted the key and paperwork through the letterbox. Booked a drive-thru test at Edinburgh airport for this evening. We cancelled nursery for today; booked a supermarket delivery for tomorrow.

I’ve actually felt not too bad today. And the great thing about working from home is you can work in your PJs and not worry about looking like hell or whether your coughing is bothering anyone.

I even managed to have a shower and get dressed, and try on the Il Makiage foundation that just arrived in very fancy packaging after I was snared by their Facebook advert a few days ago. You take a short quiz in which they repeatedly show you photos and you select which one looks most like your skin tone, so the algorithm matches you to the right one out of their 50 shades. (Money back if not happy.) I think it has worked out pretty well for me:

These little treats help. I’m in better spirits today, though.

Good food also helps. More Chinese cookery for dinner (it was delicious!):

Then out to the airport for the test. It was a well-run operation. Car windows closed the whole way except for when actually being swabbed. Three different locations in the throat and once up the nose. Not nice, but not terrible, and over quick. Should hopefully get results within 24 hours.

And then when I got home I actually had a look at the back of the car that had been fixed! It looks as good as new and the whole car has been cleaned and polished.

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Tuesday 4 August

Sore throat and headache. Feeling lousy. Had to have a sleep in the middle of the day. Temperature normal the one time Andy checked it. Sniffy, and starting to cough a bit. Does it meet the criteria for treating as a coronavirus symptom? “coughing for longer than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours”… what’s an episode?

I have looked up the procedure for testing and it’s either a drive-thru test or a home kit. And the home kits are not available at the moment. Drive-thru obviously requires me getting my car back, and I’m meant to be collecting it tomorrow morning – but shouldn’t be going out to do that if I meet the criteria for testing. In fact, all 3 of us would need to stay at home.

I think I’ll just have to see how much coughing I do overnight and decide in the morning.

I made a chicken chow mein for dinner. Nothing wrong with my smell and taste, I can say! It was really good. I was disappointed that some food stuck to the wok, so my “seasoning” of it has not been totally successful. But maybe it improves over time.

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Monday 3 August

And now my throat is sore. Completely unsurprisingly. I just feel sad that my 4-month holiday from confronting the existence of common bugs has ended, and I’m really, really not ready to go back to it. But what can you do?

I’m feeling angry that shielding is being stopped now, when Boris Johnson is talking about a second wave being imminent. There are shielded people having to go out to work in areas of England where there are localised lockdowns! What’s the sense of that? If the government can’t or won’t support them to stay safe at home until there’s a vaccine, what was the point of shielding at all? Keep them behind closed doors for 4 months in fear for their lives, and then send them out to work again, some of them pretty much agoraphobic by this point, just in time for the second wave! That’s just cruel.

There’s all sorts of other nonsense to be annoyed about, too. We’re being encouraged to eat in restaurants with 50% of the bill paid; we can freely go to pubs and get drunk and forget about keeping a metre apart, let alone two; we’re also being asked to consider how often we really need to go out?! Landmark Forest Park today found they need to close their rollercoaster and water slides due to previous misguidance, meaning they need to rethink their whole plan, after all the meticulous efforts they made to successfully ensure distancing, cleaning, and face covering on these rides.

Maybe we should not have kidded ourselves that we could keep anyone safe forever. Maybe we’re being ridiculous to imagine that this pandemic is a problem we can come up with sensible rules to solve, and without creating other big problems. Maybe we’ve become too addicted to the illusion of control; maybe we need, strangely, a little more fatalism.

Illness is a fact of life. Death is a fact of life. It’s never about saving lives, it’s just about prolonging them.

Some people frame it as lives vs the economy. But what kind of life is my daughter going to have when the economic fallout from this societal attempt to stop the unstoppable falls on her generation’s shoulders?

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Sunday 2 August

I was aware last night that Eilidh had a runny nose. So my mind raced during the night: how can colds be going around? If we haven’t suppressed them with the lockdown and distancing etc., then what makes us think we’ve suppressed the coronavirus, which is also highly infectious? Also, if it’s going to be a normal nursery winter with coughs and fevers, what happens when they occur – will we be under pressure to test for the coronavirus? (I can’t see her tolerating that.) How often will we all need to isolate? What happens if she starts getting ear infections again with colds? – it’s been more than a year since the grommets went in, so they may well have come out by now. If she gets a high fever, it won’t just be a case of whisking her down to the GP to have a look in her ears any more, will it? What will happen? Also, I really don’t want the old cycles of household illness to start up again, and am scared of this, not least of the anxiety I’ve worked so hard to beat down being rekindled. What happens if we actually get COVID-19, all at the same time, and are too ill to look after Eilidh? What help could we possibly get? What happens to her if we get hospitalised?

On top of this worryfest, Eilidh was awake for a long time in the early morning, and even got up for a while, chirpy and chatty. I tried to just have a sense of humour about it and go with the flow. She did settle back down and sleep until 9 or so.

I feel like it’s all knocked me out today. I’m not feeling good, physically or emotionally.

I hardly did anything in the morning besides trying to stitch a nose wire into my “skulls” mask, which didn’t even work as the stitching pinched the fabric too much and distorted the shape of the mask. I was very pissed off after that and went back to bed. Andy took Eilidh to see buskers in the city centre. She got to play someone’s washboard and kept talking about it after.

I got up, ate some soup and went food shopping. By then it was nearly time for dinner.

This evening I unpicked my stitching on the mask, and had another go: made a fabric sheath for the wire and then stitched that onto the inside of the filter pocket. I’m happy to say it has worked. Mask fits more snugly, and glasses don’t steam up. Can’t say I’m tempted to take up sewing as a hobby, though! Too much chance of it putting me in a radge!

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Saturday 1 August

Lazed in bed till late, then made some pancakes. Then we got a message from some friends we’ve not seen for ages saying they were in the park, so we went to see them and meet their new baby. They have a girl the same age as Eilidh and the two of them played together nicely for a good while, until Eilidh went into her “I’ve had enough” state.

I walked from there to Leith Walk, to go to the other Chinese shop to look for a wok paddle (which I hadn’t managed to get the other day). I stocked up on quite a few ingredients for some recipes I’m planning to try. And a couple of sweet buns.

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Friday 31 July

Cooked a simple stir-fry in my new wok at lunch time. It worked pretty well, and produced that beautiful dull clang that you hear in Chinese takeaway kitchens 😂 I’m not convinced I’ve done the seasoning correctly, as the dark colouring is uneven and has gaps, like tectonic plates of crusted oil. I think maybe I put too much oil in. Well, hopefully it’ll work itself out over time.

I had booked tickets for us all to visit the Botanic Gardens this afternoon. Bonus that the weather was good, although it didn’t reach the 28C we’d been promised. More like 22C, and overcast on and off, but felt nice and warm when the sun was out. It was a good half hour walk each way, so I got a lot of steps in today.

It’s typical in an outing like this that Eilidh will start out happily running around exploring everything, and then at some point she slows down and quietens down, seems less happy, resists attempts to hurry her up, seems drawn to whatever mundane thing is nearby. Today I sensed it’s maybe that she’s had enough stimulation, and wants to go into her own head, her own world, wants to find something to focus on and do her own thing with. So I tried to just let her do that. One of the things she spent time playing with was this rubber drain cover; stamping on it, tapping it with her “drum stick”. She was perfectly happy doing that and let us play it with her.

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Thursday 30 July

A rainy and chilly day. But strangely, 28C is forecast for tomorrow!

Eilidh spent the day with her grandparents who were dog-sitting as well, so she got to play with Saphira.

Andy and I went to Dishoom for lunch! I’ve been there quite a few times for breakfast, but never for other meals. A big step for Andy to eat in a restaurant. I thought it might be a good time to go as people might be holding off for the “eat out to help out” scheme next month, where the government pays 50% of the bill (up to £10 per diner) at a whole list of restaurants… but no, Dishoom was busy today. They are really making a lot of effort to make it safe, though.

 

The food was delicious, although I came to regret the garlic naan, which should be called death by garlic… such an unhappy stomach this evening and no dinner! On top of still feeling yucky from yesterday and not having slept well.

Took the remains of my dal home. The takeaway bag contained a couple of incense sticks!

After lunch, I walked home in the rain, via the Chinese shop where I stopped in to buy a wok. It was a lot cheaper than ones I was looking at online – sometimes it pays to shop local! This evening I carried out the ‘seasoning’ process, which involves oiling and heating it until it goes dark. The guy who served me in the shop made sure I knew I had to do this.

Maybe tomorrow I will try cooking something in it.

I sometimes wonder why I am such a cultural “tourist”. I worry that it’s not OK, that it’s cultural appropriation, fetishisation maybe. Is it OK that I want to try cooking with a wok, eating with chopsticks? Making lahmaçun one day and tofu katsu curry the next? I feel like I genuinely love food and learning other food cultures; but are things more exciting because they’re “foreign”, and if so, is that just naive curiosity or something more insidious? Have the woke police got me second-guessing myself? When I think about foreigners here trying out ceilidh dancing, learning about whisky, or singing Auld Lang Syne at Hogmanay, I see that as a really nice thing. I think maybe cultural tourism is fine – good, even – if you approach the culture with respect for people’s feelings, and also don’t grab it to wrap around yourself and parade around in like a fancy dress.

What do you think?

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Thursday 29 July

A bit of a crap day. I’m still not feeling good, and didn’t get a good night – Eilidh has been restless in the early morning lately. Got up fairly late.

Two or three days a week, I have time-sensitive tasks to do twice in the day, once mid-morning and once early afternoon. Today was one of those days, but in-between these two tasks, I decided to go to my “old” office (that is, where I worked before I was outposted to the civil service) to try and solve an issue I’m having with VPN access. I didn’t properly think about how long the trip would take, and I ended up not making it back in time for the second task. Fortunately I was able to text a colleague and she was able to do it for me.

The journeys felt SO long, I can’t believe I used to do that every day. I really hope I don’t have to again. The funny thing is, as I was arriving there, it dawned on me that I could have accomplished what I was there to do by going instead to my current workplace in town (the government office), as I have access to my NHS network there.

It’s just been that sort of day – I’ve felt like I’m not switched on. My head hurt and wearing the mask for the whole trip didn’t help, I had to loosen it. I wanted to sleep on the bus. That’s three months I’ve been having these headaches and “feeling crap” episodes, and I’m getting a little concerned. I suppose it could be related to med withdrawal, although the first headache preceded that.

Anyway, it was interesting to see the old office. Mostly empty. They have put directional signs (a one-way system around the building) and sanitiser dispensers all over, so seem to be preparing for people returning.

Oh, I got the 0.8cm nose ring. I think we’re getting somewhere now!

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