Health & wellbeing

Midsummer madness: Testing times…

29 Dec 2023 | Written by By Geraldine Durrant

Retired journalist and full-time carer for her husband, Geraldine Durrant, relays another story of twists and turns regarding her life as a carer…

You can find the previous installments of Geraldine’s column here.

I WOKE up at 8.00am one morning and glanced at the time in disbelief.

Eight o’clock? Could it really have been eleven and a half hours before that I had collapsed into bed?

I checked the time on my iPad and it seemed I had indeed had a mega sleep of the sort that in recent months I had only – well only dreamed about…

It took me a moment to understand how I could possibly have managed this Marathon.
Most nights I was summoned from bed at all hours to be, as Patrick so haughtily and so naughtily, put it, “about my chores…” – as though I were an idle Victorian scullery maid.

And then I remembered: two nights before he had been taken to hospital at midnight and I now had the house to myself.

The absence of Patrick, who was suffering from a bladder infection, an internal haemorrhage and who had pulled out his catheter, had left me churning with anxiety.

But it seemed that on the previous night, months of sleeplessness had finally caught up with me and I was out for the count.

I got up feeling both oddly “well” – constant sleep deprivation being somewhat of a dampener on the spirits – and oddly at a loose end.

Our normal daily routine was by then so finely honed that without my charge to wash, dress and feed I hardly knew where to begin.

Should I shower and dress first, and then go downstairs for breakfast?

Should I glance over The Telegraph online?

Or should I just pull up the covers and doze for another half an hour before committing myself…?

Conscience got the better of me and I leapt up and into the shower to get the day belatedly underway.

By 10.30 I had scooted around the house putting everything to rights when I suddenly felt rather dizzy – and realised that without Patrick to feed I had actually forgotten to make myself any breakfast.

But as the day went on I felt myself become more and more tired – and then the unstoppable sneezing started.

And the headache…
And the diarrhoea…

I was still attributing these symptoms to a reaction to the previous few days’ excitements when number one son said he thought I might have picked up Covid at the hospital.

“Nonsense!” I declared crossly, but after he left I realised I really ought to take a test before visiting Patrick again…

It was the first time I had done one and the throat-tickling swab and the nasal swipe provoked a paroxysm of uncontrollable sneezing and spluttering.

I poured and dipped and waited as directed and was gratified to see that the test result was apparently negative…

…until ten minutes later, when I re-checked the small plastic indicator and saw a second line had appeared under the first…

I was positive after all…

It meant I would not be able to visit Patrick for several days and I wondered how he would cope abandoned among strangers.

It didn’t take long to find out.
A small voice, lost and confused, answered my phone call and pleaded “I need help…”
“I don’t know where I am but I need you to send money to pay these people off, and a car to get me out of here…
“…and some trousers,”  he added, as an afterthought.

I tried to talk him down but he was in a complete panic so after we had gone over everything several times, I told him to let the nurse put him to bed.

Still, the Pollyanna in me reflected, as I threw the Covid kit away, things could have been worse.

A lot worse.

It could have been a positive pregnancy test…

Want to continue reading?

This piece is part of our exclusive articles for members. We post new interviews, features and stories every single day, so sign up to continue reading - today and every day!

Sign up and start your free trial today

Already a member? Log in to read the full post