Autumn started with a cold. Autumn finished with a cold.

In between was three months of social distancing and the world going crazy while we watched.

The second cold was worse than the first. Sherylyn ended up with a painful, hacking cough deep in her lungs. We thought—hoped—it was a cold, but some of the symptoms, like that cough, were worrying. Worrying enough to look up the COVID-19 site and see if she should be tested. Yes, she should.

I had caught the cold a week after she did. Sore throat, continuously sneezing, and my nose wouldn’t stop running. The COVID site said I should be tested, too.

So at lunchtime we took ourselves up to the local drive-through testing station. We’ve driven past it before, on our way to the supermarket, and cars have been lined up out of the car park, waiting. But this day there were only two cars in front of us. We were soon at the front.

By this time, the cold medication I’d taken had kicked in. I wasn’t sneezing any more, my nose had stopped running and I could swallow without pain. I didn’t feel too bad. So I’m sitting in the car answering all these questions about symptoms. Sneezing, runny nose, sore throat. And I’m showing none of it. I felt like a fraud. Sherylyn, at least, had to turn away occasionally to cough into her arm.

The people doing the testing were lovely, by the way. Helpful, friendly, and they didn’t make one feel a fool.

Then came the test itself. I don’t know how many of you have been COVID-tested, but here’s our experience.

They stick an extra long cotton tip into your mouth, right toward the back of your throat and take two swabs. Gag time, big time. You can’t help it.

When that’s done, they use another cotton bud and stick it way, way up your nostril and twirl it around for a count of ten. The only problem was, the meds had cleared up the nasal liquid in my throat so well that they couldn’t get anything out of mine. So the lady doing the swabbing tried it in the other nostril.

Not fun. Not fun at all.

Both of us came home and could still feel it hours later.

Then next day, just under 24 hours later, we got an SMS, saying they found no traces of COVID-19. Amazing timing, especially when it’s supposed to take up to five day. Melbourne Pathology must have been working 24/7 to get the results so quickly.

The finding was such a relief because this time there was that niggling doubt.

So here we are, certified COVID-free. (Well, technically, it’s no traces, but let’s not quibble shall we.)

How is your lockdown going? Victoria, Australia, is relaxing restrictions gradually. As of 1 June restaurants can seat diners, provided there’s no more than ten people in the restaurant and the groups socially distance from each other. The first footy game was played.

Me, I’m staying out of it a while longer. It’ll be takeaway and cooking at home for a few weeks more. Let’s see what happens after the first rush of people going out.

Stay safe.

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