Has Covid turned us all – ok, me – into hypochondriacs?
My little sister got a bug, probably food poisoning. First thing my mum and I wondered, panicking, is could it be Covid?
We checked the symptom list, though I already know it by heart: yes, diarrhoea is on the secondary, “less common” list! Every lurch, every vomit, every nuance of her sickness had us touching her forehead, fretting, asking is she sore, can she breathe, how’s her head?
But within days she was her sprightly self again.
Then I ate a spicy prawn curry, washed down with too much “special Appletiser” – I’m at home
so it’s allowed, Bheki Cele – and later that night I awoke with terrible acid reflux. The next day my
throat hurt. My stomach wasn’t right.
Overindulgence or … could it be Covid?
The following day heralded all the fun of the (sewage) farm, and my throat still hurt. It must be Covid! I began to isolate, either in the garden far from everyone, or in the bedroom, alone.
Later the headache started. Definitely Covid!
However, I hadn’t had any caffeine for hours and hours so I yelled a warning – “leper, leper!” – put on my mask, sanitised my hands, rang a plague bell, and went to make a strong cup of coffee. Instant cure.
Nonetheless, the next morning I took myself for a Covid test because I was worried about infecting others. I was due to travel from Johannesburg to Cape Town, and the last thing I wanted was to leave a trail of Covid scattered like toxic breadcrumbs across the Karoo.
Well, except maybe at the horrible petrol station with the awful woman.I may not bear arms, but I do bear a grudge.
So at the test centre they asked why I was there. I’m symptomatic, I explained: I’ve got a bit of a sore
throat, a dodgy stomach… “Is that all?” said the medic. I looked into his incredulous eyes, feeling suddenly feverish. My headache was returning.
Was it Covid – or just anxiety? Have I become a Covichondriac? Am I coronoid?
Apparently so. My test came back negative. This time.
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