For reasons out of my control, I managed to catch the Covid over the weekend. I've done my best to protect myself, I've had the jabs and worn the masks and got high on the fumes from the copious amounts of hand sanitiser. I've not been in a pub for two years, avoided the cinema and stayed away from concerts. But I still managed to get it. Most of you already know that I have complicated health problems, chronic pancreatitis, PTSD, coronary heart disease etc, so I tried my best to not catch the plague. But alas, it wanted to infect me so I kinda feel like the unwanted chosen one.
Sunday I did a rapid test that showed a faint little line next to the "T" insinuating that the lurgy was present. I booked a PCR at a drive through centre that I knew I could fit my lanky van in and proceeded to make myself gag, heave, cry, snot and produce some very strange noises I never knew I was even capable of making! Test handed in I left to go and hide somewhere so I could feel sorry for myself in peace and wait impatiently for the inevitable.
Just past midnight, as I was blowing yet more snot from my now sore nose, my phone dings. This is it. This is when I find out I'm going to die in a few days. But nope, it was from the Covid people but it was just informing me that my test was unreadable. Unreadable? What do they mean? How can it be unreadable? How can I go through all that and you can't read the sample? More like you dropped it in the lab whilst texting your pal about last nights party.
I booked another test for the following morning and went back to sleep.
The drive there was a difficult one as every time I turned my head it felt like I was headbutting myself. Like my brain carried on spinning around. But it had to be done. I live in a van so nowhere to post one out to me, so what are the options?
That night the results were in and of course, they were positive. Not positive like "Hey, you look great today, I love your hat and oooh your eyes are so blue today" rather positive in that "You have several days of life left. Make the most of them, Jackass!" I felt aggrieved. Confused. Lost. "What happens now" I pondered. Well a few emails came through in the morning with lots of links for help and support. All a load of bollocks though. I followed the links and called the numbers and spent the day getting passed around like wet cucumber in a women's prison. All I kept getting told was "You must isolate in your home by law or you could get fined" But they weren't understanding my predicament. "If you want me to stay put then you must have provisions in place to help me. I need electric hook up and access to fresh water. My van relies on being driven to charge the batteries, electric mains charger or solar power. There is no sun and I can't drive around because you've just told me I must stay where I am. So all I need is somewhere safe to park with a plug socket. And a tap." During one phone call they even suggested I book on to a campsite! "Erm sorry? A campsite? Do you really think they're going to let me on when I reveal that I'm the latest member of the death bug crew? Or are you asking me to blatantly lie?" My statements fell on deaf ears. Eventually, I received a text message stating "All we can advise is that you contact the local authority of the area you are in and apply for emergency housing." Surely a parking space with a nearby plug socket would be much easier...
So right now I feel like I've been sucked deep into Satan's bum hole. I mean right up there. My skin is on fire as is every single muscle and joint. The headaches are almost unbearable and devastatingly I can no longer taste or smell anything at all. Not a thing. I even tested it by cooking shepherds pie yesterday and I detest shepherds pie. I'd rather live forever up Satans bum hole than eat that so I thought seeing as I'm already deep inside his firey pit of hell I'd put this lack of taste thing to the test. Sure enough, I couldn't taste it. Not a hint. Nada. What's more annoying is my shopping contained many treat items like Orange Wagon Wheels, Milka Oreo chocolate, Christmas pudding flavoured Hobnobs and mince pie flavoured walkers crisps. May as well eat ice.
I spent the first night in a lay by. It was dark when I pulled in, so just set up quickly and settled down for a night of hot and cold flushes and weird dreams. One of which Kerry and I broke into a mortuary and tied all of the corpse's feet together as we knew there was going to be a zombie apocalypse the next day so were trying to limit the number of dead people that could run or walk.
When morning eventually came and daylight poked its head over the horizon, I pulled the curtain back to be treated with what seemed like the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse! The verge was absolutely disgusting. I have never seen a lay by like it. If covid doesn't kill me then if I stay here this lay by most definitely will! There was shit roll and actual shit in the branches. There was nappies, garden waste, a pushchair, several bundles of broken umbrellas, half of a house hifi, many many empty beer cans, dozens of bags of household rubbish and rats just chilling having a snack without a blatant care. I didn't even wait for coffee. Heaving and gagging and swallowing my own sick, I made speed and fled like Amazon from its UK tax bill.
After a couple of other failed lay by attempts (Too noisy, too smelly, too doggingly) I settled on an old favourite. It's noisy but cleanish and wide. The night drew in and I bedded down for the night. I cracked the curtains by my head and watched the biblical rain smash off the road and traffic and listened to it hammering on the roof, inches above my head. I realised that before we actually fall asleep, all we are doing is pretending to be asleep. Laying there with our eyes shut being weird. I drifted off for a few hours when I was woken up by a cold wet foot. It took a few moments for me to work out what was going on but it was a familiar feeling, one I'd felt before. Ah shit, my duvet was trapped in the rear door. I gave it a tug and popped out with a squelch. It was dripping wet, halfway up as it had spent a few hours soaking up the rain that ran from the roof and usually down the door jamb. Instead of running out the bottom, it travelled through the 15 tog quilt, saturating it, the mattress topper and the mattress.
I chuckled at myself for a bit before screaming "FUUUUCK" and went for a piss. In the toilet, not the bed. I was stood there feeling super sorry for myself whilst the hot air from the diesel heater blew up my leg and tickled my bum which made me chuckle again. Then I grinned as I suddenly remembered when I spilt a drink over myself in the pub a few years ago and dried my jeans under the hand dryer. Not only was the hot air feeling the same on my crotch, but the hot air from my own heater will dry my jeans! What a fucking genius! I'll deal with the resulting condensation in the morning...
I'd just like to say a quick heartfelt thank you to those of you that have messaged and called me with offers of help and support, to Jamie the Toilet Man that came and sucked out my loo today, the 27 cars and vans that have so far beeped at me obviously recognising me and definitely not being nasty, and to Kerry for making me laugh until I choke.
One hour of life, crowded to the full with glorious action, and filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances of paltry decorum, in which men steal through existence, like sluggish waters through a marsh, without either honour or observation.