Operation Oysterhood: quarantine, take two, day seven

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

The President is COVID-19-positive. And every day I hear of more and more cases of people I know being infected and/or quarantining. But this time, no one I know is in the hospital. And because all my nearest and dearest are vaccinated, I am very hopeful that it will stay that way.

Monday was mostly an admin day and I completed all the usual Monday duties around the house. I finally took out my bead Christmas tree and opened a packet of Hoghouse gingerbread hearts and all of a sudden it felt like Christmas was coming after all. It’s not easy to get into the proper mood.

Judging from the info the doctor supplied us with, yesterday was a good day to test for COVID-19 after my exposure and no symptoms so far. I went to a walk-in testing centre in Goodwood, paid a newly-announced, reduced fee of R650 (because I did not need a doctor’s appointment and referral for this PCR test, it was actually half the price of what I paid previously), had my brain tickled and went home within a few minutes of arrival (very smooth organisation). I knew that the result would be negative, but was happy to pay for the confirmation. Theoretically, a negative test does not excuse one from quarantine, and I decided to follow the advice for two reasons: the first is that there is a miniscule chance that the test could be a false negative and that there is also a miniscule chance that I might still develop symptoms and test positive ten days into quarantine, and thus become a danger to others; and the second reason is that quarantine protects me from a potential other infection source that would completely muddy the traceable infection waters. I am not an essential worker, healthcare provider or anything else important that requires me to go out there into the world as soon as possible. Quarantine keeps others and myself safe. I am continuing with my work and also resting. After the stresses of the past year, it is not a bad idea to sit at home and not risk anything for a few days. Life is hard enough as it is.

My love worked from home yesterday, and in the evening we sat a few metres apart in the chilly wind outside and just enjoyed each other’s company for a little while again. He will be out of self-isolation soon. We have wonderful plans for Christmas and I now need to keep safe not to jeopardise them. I want to enjoy the festive season without stress. At least the kind that can easily be avoided.

The pandemic has made our lives smaller and more complicated, but we need to learn how to go on anyway while doing the least possible harm to ourselves and others.

My test result arrived late in the evening when I was already asleep, but I had a huge insomnia gap (first in a while) in the early hours and saw it in the night. When I finally went back to sleep, I dreamt of being at a birthday party of a friend who passed away the year before the pandemic. The birthday party was at an old-age home and he was happy to have all his friends around him, performing a little jig for us. In the dream, seeing him in such a great mood, I thought that heaven was good for him. And then I woke up and missed him, and other loved ones who are no longer with us.

Mortality – ‘the state of being subject to death’ – is haunting.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local. Get vaccinated, please.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”


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