Not that it was still needed except for bureaucratic reasons, but Monday dad was finally notified of his positive PCR test result. This was just about two weeks after I became aware that he was coughing again, on March 2, and started looking for any symptoms I may have, as I already mentioned, and a week after he stopped making excuses about his stomach making him cough and the “cold” being from his kidneys, which happened last Monday, albeit only to switch to thinking that he had the flu, even though he had the flu shot this year. As his symptoms had worsened the day before, so after five days, and considering that he had been in hospitals and wandering around the city because of the surgery his mother had, and just wearing a cloth mask given by his sister, at that point I was already certain he had COVID-19, but he continued to firmly reject the idea, just taking more cold and flu medicines, teas and other remedies. But at least he changed his mind about going to my mother and grandmother that day, which was a huge relief. No idea how much I had to do with that, after telling him the previous evening to be very careful, because at 99 and a half and with other respiratory problems, my grandmother quite clearly won’t make it if exposed to this, adding that she shouldn’t be exposed to the flu or even a “regular” cold either when he snapped to say that it’s so easy to be a doctor now, saying that everybody has this, as if no other viruses exist, but something worked and I can only be glad it did.
To continue with last week, Tuesday I told him that without a negative test result, I won’t believe he doesn’t have it and would ask him to act accordingly, picking a room to stay in and making sure it’s not one I’d want to go to. I was obviously referring to the result of the “official” PCR test, after reporting his symptoms, but while he flatly rejected that idea, he did get a fast antigen test from a pharmacy, leaving it on the kitchen table, with a note saying he didn’t understand anything from the instructions and asking me to tell him how to use it… Which I didn’t do that night, at first because I considered the risks outweighing the benefits, thinking that a negative result would almost certainly be a false negative, maybe even a result of him not swabbing correctly on purpose, but he’d take it as proof that he doesn’t have it and endanger himself as well as others even more. So we exchanged some words, during which he again refused to let the authorities know, stressing how much he distrusts the health system and that he’d just want to know for himself, that regardless of the test’s accuracy a negative result would be very useful for his peace of mind, that he wants to make sure he learns the result at home so he won’t be held in a hospital, and also that he won’t have them come and take him away “at [his] age”… Which is 61 and a half, but he won’t accept what it implies in any way, which also goes for the fact that he’s at the threshold of obesity and has some chronic respiratory issues.
With nothing changing the next day, and him not even using that test, I had resolved to go out the following day, get what I could to more or less last me two weeks and then call myself, trying to prepare myself for the fight that would follow. This also means that the fact that I seemed to feel sort of strange again that day, maybe also having a bit of a headache again, was quite likely just a result of anxiety, though I’m not sure what caused my right eye to get swollen after eating at night, not even fully recovering by the time I got up the next day and only doing so gradually over the following hours.
Well, we didn’t get to that fight I was preparing for, because a coworker tested positive, unsurprisingly, dad’s boss called him last Thursday morning and told him to test himself and he couldn’t blow her off too. So he used that test, it was positive, and when I got up to pee at one point he stopped me to let me know, at which point I kicked into motion, not getting back to bed but starting to get ready to leave. He gave me the list of things to get from the pharmacy, insisting on them after I told him that cheaper alternatives with the same composition exist, and told me a few more things he wanted if we were to be in isolation for two weeks, so I took all the money I still had and the handful of small bills he still had in his wallet and went out at 1:45 PM, hoping to get back in time for him to be able to call the official line that evening, to report the symptoms and request the PCR test. Actually, I was hoping he’ll call either way, but wasn’t certain what the best way to go about it was, so I left it for him to decide when he asked again just before I went out the door.
First went to the pharmacy, seeing lines but not having that long to wait, so I bought what the doctor had told him to take for both of us, but replaced two things with those cheaper alternatives for myself, the cashier even pointing out that they had the same composition, at which point I said I knew that and said so but the person I’m buying the others for insisted. Then I had a quick look in that Mega Image, seeing a great price for some kefir for him and keeping it in mind for later, then I had a quick look through the farmers’ market as well, then the Mega Image next to it, but the next purchases came only when I got to that Carrefour.
After that, I was a bit uncertain about the next destination, so I lost a bit of time because I was changing my mind on the way, but eventually got to that Kaufland… And again ended up cracking a yogurt. That time it was one I had already purchased, however, from Carrefour, so I couldn’t put it back. And to think that I had first placed it in my backpack, then moved it to the bag I had the bread in, thinking it risked being squeezed in my backpack and cracking as a result… Well, when I was placing the purchases in one of the cabinets at Kaufland, that yogurt fell out of the bag, which wouldn’t have happened if it’d have been in the closed backpack, and it was one of the top cabinets, so it cracked when it hit the floor… And I shouldn’t have even used that cabinet, because after getting everything in I realized that the door wouldn’t lock, so I had to move my stuff to one of the bottom ones anyway, and if I’d have used that one from the beginning I’d have avoided the problem as well. Still, it didn’t really break, and while some of it spilled on the floor through the crack, I placed it in a bag and kept it, being careful with it after retrieving it later, moving it in something else after getting back, just not scraping what was left on the cup, and eventually eating it, albeit not directly, but after using half of it when I boiled something and the other half when I microwaved something else.
Either way, I had a look in Kaufland, made mental notes of what I was going to get from there, then left my things in that cabinet and went to Auchan, getting a few things from there, including enough of Liza’s food to get her through this period. Then I got back to Kaufland, got what I wanted from there, retrieved my things from the cabinets, since I had placed my purchases from Auchan in another one, and saw that if I didn’t waste much I still had enough time to get back to the farmers’ market by 7 PM, which was when I recalled it closed on weekdays. I was disheartened for a moment when I reached it and saw the listed schedule stating 6 PM, but while most others had left, a few, including most of those selling apples, were still there. The first one I picked no longer seemed to be, even though the apples were still there and not even covered, and when I asked whether anybody was still selling those someone else pointed me to another person selling the same kind of apples, but those were 50% more expensive, so I looked for another one who had them at that same price and got some from there.
Since I had so many things and the cabinets at Mega Image are small and few, and also out of the way at that one that’s next to the farmers’ market, where the guard had also clearly noticed me the first time around, since the coin was getting stuck and he helped shove it in, I wondered what to do next for a moment, then decided to first go back to Carrefour, stuffing everything in a cabinet, getting a couple more things, adding those in the cabinet as well and then rushing back to that Mega Image to get the kefir and a bagel. Then I returned to Carrefour, retrieved my things… And had the coin get stuck again, this time around an employee from that area noticing that I was struggling with it and giving me a coin, then struggling with the mechanism herself for a bit, while I was arranging my stuff, so I don’t know if she was able to retrieve that coin or not.
I know it was 7:30 PM when I left that Mega Image, and dad had to call to report the positive antigen test result, ask for the proper testing and follow the procedure, and that call center should take calls until 8 PM, so the additional wasted time definitely didn’t help and I rushed as much as I could, considering all I was carrying, though the backpack and sturdy bags did help a lot. It’s a pity I didn’t weigh the stuff that time, but I think I had over 20 kg on me, adding everything together, and I just got in a minute before 8 PM. It was a few more minutes until he called, but someone still answered, which was a relief.
There was a lot of smoke in here at that point and dad was saying he hadn’t burned anything, so it took me a bit to figure out he had fried himself some chicken, likely burned it to some extent, and hadn’t aired the place at all, but he still dismissed it even when I pointed that out. And there were some other exchanges between the two of us, before and after the call, including him again saying he still couldn’t understand why I called the ambulance that time, that his only symptom was the cough, ignoring anything else he should have been looking for, that I must not talk over him when they’ll come to ask whether he had been out or met anyone since the symptoms began, so if he’ll say he didn’t go anywhere and didn’t meet anyone that’s how it must remain, but then that I was apparently supposed to talk over him while he was on the phone and told we could go somewhere and get tested right away instead of waiting for them to come, since I wanted to go but he refused for both of us… Not that I could even know what he was refusing, since I only heard his side of the conversation, of course. And when I reminded him that this virus can cause symptoms to drastically worsen from one moment to the next and he must be very careful, he just put his headphones back on and turned on music, loudly. But at least he called that day, which was a step…
I obviously continued to carefully monitor any symptoms I may have, and there has been a bit of a strange feeling in my chest ever since, possibly becoming a bit more noticeable last Friday, when for a little while I also felt a bit strange in general again, after I cleaned my room and then spent quite some time out of it, to hang the laundry to dry, while dad kept going back and forth all day and jumping at any chance to do something instead of even trying to isolate. That feeling in my chest has perhaps been again a bit more noticeable over the last couple of days, without being associated with anything else, but this started being quite normal in 2019, possibly being something I was left with after that flu that resulted in that nasty cough, and I was worried about it back then, so it probably shouldn’t in itself be notable, and at least part of it may be caused by my back, which also acted up this Thursday morning, when I woke up in quite a lot of pain, and last Saturday night and this Monday evening, when after moving a chair with something on it and, respectively, while getting the clothes out of the washing machine I felt something wrong with my lower back and, while the pain went away quickly the first time, the second time it was a day or so until it stopped hurting when I moved in certain ways. As such, at this point I’d still say that, if I didn’t somehow escape infection all this time, which seems next to impossible, I went through it during the first week of March, while dad’s symptoms were milder, when I had those two or three nights with headaches and a strange general feeling. But, of course, I won’t know without an antibody test, and the authorities aren’t offering that for free, and without obvious symptoms they refused to test me for the virus either, so I’m left in the dark.
But the part about the testing came last Saturday, and it was the day before that, after I woke up, when I found dad rather receptive when I told him what I had noticed while being stuck with that nasty cough, yet when I moved on to the fact that he keeps disliking pretty much any food and throwing it away, which is driving me crazy and even more depressed, so it seems clear that his taste and smell are also affected in some way and that doesn’t need to mean losing them completely, as some have them altered even in ways that make them think that everything is spoiled and they need to learn to ignore that, he again cut me off, angrily saying he won’t plan for such things and walking away. And that has been his general attitude, just admitting what he can’t hide, which is the bad cough, and otherwise saying he’s fine, refusing that medical assessment or even any discussion about other symptoms, and for quite a while seeming just baffled by the fact that this could happen to him and that, if it somehow did, he wasn’t strong enough to just get through it with very mild or even no symptoms and his belief in the power of his mind and the idea that if he won’t think of illness he won’t get sick, or that if he does get sick he can mostly will himself back to health with perhaps only some minor aids to help with the immediate symptoms, didn’t hold up.
There were some gradual changes, however, and probably just in time, because since Friday he does seem to be getting a bit better. But I think the first sign was last Sunday evening, when I asked how he was, he again said he was fine, I pointed out that he clearly wasn’t and told him to stop lying and give details, and while he went quiet and wouldn’t tell me anything else, he did call the emergency service, after learning that they also offered medical advice, the person he talked to completely changed the treatment our family doctor had given him, which apparently finally made him agree with me when I say that she’s not good for anything and only pushes stuff from the brands she has deals with, and someone brought him those things the next day. Not that he was taking the treatment prescribed by her properly anyway, as during those first days he kept telling me different times when he had to wake up to take some medicine and cheerily said no when I asked whether he ever remembered to take it on time, but he claimed to be more careful with this new one, and it seems to have made a difference.
We still clashed over him always wandering around, doing things, not isolating, leaving things everywhere, including stuff I may also want to eat or use and can’t exactly clean. Monday night he told me that I should answer if the gendarmes will come and check whether we’re isolating, and when I said they’d be more interested in him, as the one who tested positive, he said he didn’t want them to see that he’s wandering all over the place instead of staying in one room, then brushed me off when I said they’ll want to know he doesn’t go out, while isolating in one room would be in order to protect me to some extent. But Wednesday and Thursday were particularly notable from this point of view, since I really snapped, and Thursday cracked as well. Friday, however, when as I already mentioned he also actually started to seem to be improving a bit, he seemed to have had quite a change of mind. Definitely not to the extent which would be necessary, but it was nevertheless a significant change for him. I’ll get to the details in another post, but at this point it’s a relief to see this change. Just wondering if it’ll last, at least long enough for him to get cured, since I highly doubt he’ll learn anything from this and not snap right back to his usual behavior after that happens…
To finally get to last Saturday, I switched to using the other bathroom then, since dad kept coughing and spitting crap in the main one, even if that means being right next to the cats’ litter box when I’m on the toilet and the place’s full of dust and I didn’t dare open the window after I tried it the first time and saw all the spiderwebs and the dirt that got blown in, seeing as the place hasn’t been used as a bathroom since my mother moved out except in case of an emergency when the main one is occupied.
But the day’s main event has to do with him getting tested, after he called again in the morning and was apparently told that in their records it showed that somebody had already been here to swab him for the test. That obviously just fed his distrust of the medical system, and in the evening he was saying that somebody was supposed to come over and bring him the treatment he was given when he thought he had it, including stuff against blood clotting since, according to dad, those aren’t prescribed just so more people will die, because those from hospitals are paid according to the number of those who die from the virus, so they must make sure to meet the quota. I didn’t even deign that with any sort of reply, because while conspiracy theories aren’t known for making that much sense, that one’s wild even among those, but I did later point out that they are prescribed when needed and there may be reasons to avoid them, even giving a specific example, and in the end that guy didn’t come to bring him those things anymore, since I bought one that evening and then he made that other call the next evening and asked that guy to bring the treatment he was prescribed then instead.
Getting back to the test, I guess they put a rush on it then, since two guys came in the afternoon, and after dad was told on the phone that they won’t test me if I don’t have symptoms, one of them also explained it to me when I tried to press the matter, saying that I could be negative then but positive later, or get symptoms later, and then there will be questions about having tested me at that point, since you apparently have the right to be tested in this manner once in three months. And they also said that the test from the pharmacy is only informative, it doesn’t make dad a confirmed case and therefore at that point I’m not considered a contact of a confirmed case either, so the law doesn’t prevent me from wandering all over the city. He also said that, while it’d obviously be morally wrong, putting others at risk, the law doesn’t prevent dad from doing so either, even if he has symptoms, until and unless their test will confirm him as being infected.
Well, since they said that and we still needed some things, at 6:55 PM I went out again, rushing to at least catch the Dristor location of that cheaper pharmacy still open, the other location closing earlier on Saturday. Got a couple of the things dad wanted from there, then I went to the pet store that’s next to that Kaufland, at first just checking prices and then getting what I had to get from Kaufland before returning there for the cat food we were about to run out of, after dad had told me to get relatively little when it was on that great sale at Mega Image and had even taken half of that to my mother since then. But I still needed the celery he had also asked for, since I even asked an employee at Kaufland and was told that they no longer had any that evening, so I also rushed to Carrefour, getting that from there, plus a few other things. Finished retrieving everything from the cabinet and arranging the purchases in my bags just as the announcement came that it was 9 PM and the store closed, and was back a bit before 9:25 PM, having carried some 19 kg, including clothes and everything.
That night I had an “excuse” for only starting to eat dinner at 3:45 AM and finishing at 5 AM, since I had to deal with all the mess dad had left after making chorba… Which, following the pattern, he of course didn’t like and eventually turned into something else, after throwing away the vegetables, so the carrots and celery he had asked me to get. But, to return to eating dinner so late, this has been my pattern lately, and I actually kept track of when I took the first bite, the time being 3:15 AM both last and this Friday, 3:35 AM last Sunday, 3:25 AM Tuesday, 3:30 AM Wednesday and Thursday, and again 3:25 AM tonight, so it was only Monday that I managed to do that before 3 AM. I do take everything to my room and eat here, so at least I’m on-line while eating, and not breathing that air even longer, though at the same time I keep the window open while I’m in the kitchen, even if it’s cold, plus obviously a mask on. This has a fair bit to do with the fact that I also keep getting in bed around 5:25 AM, I think the only times when it was before 5:20 AM being last Thursday morning and this Wednesday morning.
On the other hand, before finishing this post, with last Sunday covered in the previous personal post and leaving the details about Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for another one, to make sure I have it posted tonight and don’t have to worry about getting on-line during the day, I’ll also mention that Thursday I guess I channeled some of that anger into doing 300 squats, which would be a first, but it was Tuesday when I decided to time myself again while doing the usual 100 and yet again managed to tie the record, 2:06, the annoying thing being that I would have managed to be a bit faster if I’d have checked the time sooner and set my mind on it there at the end. And I also tested holding my breath several times, starting with getting to 1:45 while using the computer, then 1:55 while still clicking a few times. There was a time when I just got to 1:40, but that was after pretty much only quickly taking a large breath and it was in between two times when I hyperventilated a bit and then stood still, getting to 2:15 and, respectively, 2:20. Then I just counted and thought I got somewhere around 2:30 while lying in bed, but that was obviously not an accurate time, so just now I took a break from writing this to try again, sitting at the computer but quite still and with my eyes closed until I was approaching two minutes and it started getting more difficult, and now I know I got to 2:30. Not that it says that much, but it should at least mean that my lungs aren’t significantly affected.