Dad was the 49th person in New Zealand to test positive for Covid- 19,
kick starting my six-week crash course on how to live with (tolerate) your parents whilst infected with a potentially deadly virus.
If I were to sum up 2020 in one word it would be ‘frantic’ or ‘cheese-on-toast’. It was treacherous, scary and overall slow but for me it was also precious. It was a period of time I otherwise would not have spent with my hilarious - and at times highly agitating - parents.
What follows here is my somewhat 'lockdown diary’, funny at times and slightly triggering at others. I hope by sharing our story I can contribute to the wider conversation of ‘lockdown’ and how that looked and felt for different people. Which, in this case was one confirmed positive, two probable's and a dog that had no choice but to be there.
Picked mum and dad up from the airport, they look tired, groggy.
The flight from the UK never gets any easier.
Mums already tried to hug me ten times. Not sure if this is allowed, keep telling her to stop and stay two feet away at all times.
She’s developed a cough and in turn dad has developed a sympathy cough. I’m already going mad.
Keep trying to call Healthline due to mum's cough and ability to hypotheticalise herself into a tizzy. They’re too busy, can’t get through.
Dad rapidly displayed all signs of the virus in the space of an hour, to which they again disappeared and he was able to mow the lawn.
Mum has renamed the virus ‘Divorce-19’. I have declared happy hour to begin daily at 3pm.
Today we got tested for the virus - mainly due to dad developing more flu-like symptoms overnight.
We had to call ahead and wait in the car for a doctor who came out dressed in full hazmat mania. The swab was grim, going up, up, up your nose. Dad said the clear out almost made him feel better.
We should hear back tomorrow, trying to stay positive and hoping this is a serious case of the man-flu (the odds are high).
Community and Public health called this morning, dad has tested positive for Covid-19, I have tested negative. They didn’t test mum; they suspect if dad has it she more than likely does to.
I’ve been advised I will probably contract the virus in the next few days in what they casually labelled, ‘the Covid incubator’. Fun.
Mum frantically checks all of our temperatures every couple of hours. Turns out she’s had the cap on the thermometer the entire time so all results so far, have been incorrect. Relieved that we're not all cooking inside, worried that she is a trained nurse.
All house jobs are suspended until further notice.
Feeling shitty. Not literally although I’ve read that is a symptom of the virus. Headache, body aches and all-round fogginess. Still haven’t been sleeping well - very wired, dissatisfaction with life coming at a bad time.
Mum’s chest sounds bad and dad is very lethargic. They’re coughing and spluttering all over the show, would be a miracle if I don’t have it.
Asked if I can photograph them, document our experience (a semi-ploy to help retain my sanity). They’re worried about being publicly outed for having the virus, think people would find us and turn on us, egg the house and heckle us off the property.
I think they’d be too scared to come within a ten-meter radius if I’m honest.
Another call from Community and Public health to scramble the brain, I know they mean well but Jesus! We keep getting told different things by different people. It’s hard to know what we can and can’t do, how we should or shouldn’t feel.
I feel lousy. Not horrendous, not great. Not sure if it is the virus or if it’s my mind is playing tricks on me. Dad’s symptoms have kind of plateaued, he is sitting on the couch looking suicidal with his sock and sandal combo 24/7.
His body aches have gone but his throat and ears are hurting him. Tried to call through to the doctors to get him a prescription for some antibiotics? On hold for an hour, no luck.
I’ve turned my bedroom into an office, dining room and lounge in attempts to social distance myself from the virus and my parents.
Mums swept the floor four times and made a pie. We each now have our own tea towel.
Freedom day! Today is the day that we would have been freed from our two-week isolation having all gone to plan. Mum is celebrating? By making a quiche, which she keeps pronouncing as ‘quin-cee’ – I told her this is highly annoying and to please stop.
Dad got up, ate breakfast and went back to bed. He is now up again watching TV and ‘mellowing over life’. Mum told me he said he wished he was at home, she says that’s how you always feel when you’re not well isn’t it, you want your own bed.
My anxieties have mellowed to a strong 8/10. Mum keeps creating hypothetical scenarios which are more than likely never going to happen, I’ve told her I cannot partake in these conversations anymore and withdrawn myself from the equation (she’s always done this).
Neither can she sit still. I keep having to tell her to slow down so I can get an in-focus picture of her which she doesn’t like, keeps saying she needs to 'put her face on'.
Things I have learnt whilst being in Isolation:
- Dad carries his backpack with him where ever he goes, it is usually empty.
- Mum likes to rearrange the soaps in the house daily. (I mean, what’s better for moving germs around?).
- Mum and dad think wi-fi, bluetooth, data and data roaming are the same thing.
- If making soup always add a potato, two cloves of garlic and half your soul.
- Do not drink and use social media.
- The bin men will always turn up but your mum will always obsess over where they are.
- Do not pump up your bike tyres without the supervision of your dad.
- Mum and dad both have matching iPads although they both only use mum’s (it has scrabble on it).
- You must have patience with your parents.
- Mum refuses to waste food. She will instead give it to the dog as ‘tit bits’. I don’t know if I’d class half a chicken, left over veg and a loaf of bread as ‘tit bits’ but the dog is happy.
- It is ok to be alone and I think I actually prefer it.
- Cheese makes any meal better.
- Mum is the Queen disturber of the internet. She continually knocks the modem with the vaccum cleaner then spends the following hour figuring out why it isnt working.
- Dad believes that he can successfully nurture any plant cutting magically overnight.
- Your Mum will always ask if you need to the toilet before you leave the house, regardless of your age.
- Do not alter your bike seat without the supervision of your dad.
- I definitely prefer to be alone.
- Dad believes that golf courses should always stay open, even in times of a nationwide pandemic.
- Mum holds her iPhone with two hands at all times.
- How to do the cat and the cow pose (yoga). Surprisingly the cow pose doesn’t mean standing in the kitchen eating snacks.
- When mum questions ‘should I or should I not have a glass of wine’, she’s about to have a glass of wine.