Covid Christmas

KL covid christmas

So, did Santa bring the presents you wanted? All I got for Christmas was Covid. It’s the gift that just keeps on giving. And yet I’d been so careful. At work I’d kept a mask welded to my face which read, simply, “Veiled Comment” and only ventured into supermarkets wearing a biohazard suit and an aqua lung.

And so, after a routine PCR test, when my phone pinged me with the message that I had Covid, even my shock proof watch was alarmed. I’d turned into a public health hazard and had to be immediately exiled into Social Siberia. The Covid Grinch had cancelled my Christmas. Unlike my negative test, I tried to stay positive. At least I didn’t have to give birth in a stable, watched by a donkey…. Although, mind you, we don’t know everything about Omicron just yet, so…

I also tried to take heart from the fact that I’d contracted the fashionable new variant and not Delta, which is now just so passé, dah-ling, and seemingly so much more dangerous. With Omicron most sufferers don’t even lose their sense of smell, which, sadly, meant I’d be able to taste my own Christmas day cooking. (The kitchen is not my natural habitat. Put it this way – I use my smoke alarm as a timer.)

But the big question was, where would I isolate? I’m visiting from London and staying with my beloved 90 year old mum, who, thankfully, had tested negative. My three sisters see Mum regularly, so their spare rooms were out of the question. I doubted any hotel would welcome a plague-riddled guest, either. Luckily, a lovely friend was going on holiday and kindly lent me her Sydney house. To reinforce the feeling that I was imprisoned in solitary confinement, I would peer forlornly through the bars of her wrought iron grille front door as kind friends left emergency supplies on the doorstop – chocolate Santas, tiny bottles of champagne, plum pudding and medicines. Lots and lots of medicines. Christmas lunch was a plate of zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, cough mixtures, ventolin and pain killers.

My first symptom was a sore throat. I felt as though I’d swallowed a bag of razors, which meant that my remarks were even more than usually cutting. Next came the killer headache – as though my cranium was being cleaved by an axe. And then – the cough. I could easily have auditioned for Mimi in La Bohème which had just been cancelled at the Sydney Opera House, due to a Covid-stricken cast.

But one thing’s for sure. I’m never going to commit a crime as I just can’t do the time. Being of convict stock, I thought incarceration would come naturally. But, missing my family, I was not only climbing the walls within days, but wishing they were padded. To alleviate the tedium, I borrowed my friend’s camera with a powerful telephoto lens in order to impersonate Jimmy Stewart in “Rear Window”…. But all I could see were neighbours enjoying happy Christmas gatherings, boughs decked with holly, ice buckets full of Bolly. Closing the blinds, I resorted to TV. But, by Boxing Day, had sucked Netflix dry and was forced to watch SBS documentaries on Norwegian clog dancing.

Sadly, there weren’t even any strip searches to enliven the long, dull days of detention. All I could do was eat chocolate and drink. Although I tried to limit my intake to only one or twee martoonies a night, my post-midnight, fortissimo carol warbling meant there was little chance I’d get paroled for good behaviour.

When I finally emerged from hibernation ten days later, it was to find Sydney-siders frantically playing Dodge Omi. The government had done a volte face from the strict lockdowns of the last two years, to just letting the virus rip. With omicron running rampant, the subsequent staff shortages meant that supermarket shelves were empty and the only rapid test in town – the cricket.

In a Catch 22, Kafka-esque scenario, nobody could travel without a PCR test, although, with queues snaking back for miles at every test centre, by the time you reached the head of the line, you’d used up all your holiday time. Rapid Antigen Tests also proved harder to find than a supermodel’s pantry. There wasn’t a RAT to be found anywhere, except in Scott Morrison’s cabinet. Well, what other word can describe the ministers who failed to order enough vaccines, booster shots and antigen and PCR tests to keep Aussies safe?

Morrison keeps insisting that there are enough booster shots and tests. But if so, where has he hidden them? Down wombat burrows? The stroll-out, then the failure to act on the Australia Medical Association’s warnings last September to order boosters and RATS, leads me to wonder if our PM is a few sausages short of a barbie? Australians can speak of nothing but Scott Morrison failing the nation and Djokovic’s deportation… Out of these two, Djokovic is the only one who can actually plead in his own defence that he is good at his day job.

(Scomatose has also just proven that when he comes to tennis, he’s expert at unforced errors, backhanders and how to return a Serb.)

Anyway, at least I’m now on team #I’veHadCovid. Many of my pals feel like sitting ducks, as they wait and wonder when and if they’ll catch the dreaded virus and just how sick they’ll be.

My two vaccinations and booster shot made the Omicron ordeal much milder than any flu I’ve ever endured. But clearly that is not the case for many Australians. With over 5 million deaths globally, Covid is no laughing matter. Although if laughter really is the best medicine, we’ll all be cured in no time, as our Prime Minister is such a joke.

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